AMID poor showing of its men’s basketball team, College of St. Benilde scored a pair of 4-0 wins over Jose Rizal University to top in the first round of the 86th NCAA chess tournament.

Leading the cause for the Blazers are Jerson Bitoon, Narquinden Reyes, Narquingel Reyes and Jessie Abucejo to finish with 28 points, now 2.5 points ahead of closest pursuer and defending champion Letran.

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Reigning MVP Chester Brian Guerrero, Ivan Gil Biag and Benjamin Lising won their matches on boards one to three while Jesus Alfonso Datu settled for a draw with John de Leon on board four to complete a 3.5-.5 win over Arellano U to end second with 25.5 points.

In the other contest, La Salle-Greenhills upended the Letran Squires by a precarious half-point lead, after Letran eke out a close 2.5-1.5 decision over the determined Arellano U Junior Chiefs.

Cherry Mejia and Christina Drapete provided the wins on boards one and four, respectively, with Mikee Suede managing a draw with Carlo Caranyagan to carve out the squeaker.

The Junior Blazers got the wins from Giovanni Mesia, Alfonso Ramos, Miguel Lahoz and Angelo Nuestro to hack out the pulsating win over the Light Bombers that increased their total to 25 points.

Arellano, mentored by National Master Rudy Ibanez, played the spoiler’s role as Jay Gutierrez grounded Christian Dave Cabloa on board three to help hand the first round pennant to CSB.

The victory sent the Junior Chiefs at third place with 23.5 points, overpowering the Staglets, the defending champions, who dropped to fourth place with 23 points. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)