By U.S. News Agency / Asian

Defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) served notice of its title-retention bid by winning its first two assignments in the 2010-11 UAAP Chess team championships at the 9/F, FEU Technology Bldg., Nicanor Reyes St., Sampaloc, Manila.

Led by veteran Sheider Nebato and handled by coach GM Jayson Gonzales, FEU fashioned out a pair of 3.5-.5 victories over University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the first round and University of the Philippines in the second round to take the early lead in this prestigious eight-team, seven-round tournament.

Nebato defeated Gerald Ferriol of UST and Wilbert Pilarta of U.P. in their board-two matches to lead the Tamaraws’ early show of force.

Alfredo Rapanot crushed Patrick Erle Florendo of UST and Marc Christian Nazario of U.P. on board three, while Antonio Chavez outclassed Jude Emil Fronda of UST and Simone del Roario of U.P. on board four.

Only FEU’s top board player, Lennon Hart Salgados, failed to extract the full point when he drew his matches against Joey Albert Florendo of UST and Leo Daylo Jr. of U.P.

“So far, so good. We’re actually looking forward to having another banner year in chess,” said Gonzales, who is hoping to lead FEU to a rare five-peat in the men’s competition.

FEU is now two and a half points ahead of its closest pursuer, University of the East (UE), and three points clear of De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University.

Bannered by Nelson Mariano III and Aaron Rivas, UE drew with La Salle, 2-2, in the first round and edged Adamson University, 2.5-1.5, the following round.

La Salle, led by Fran Robert Grafil and Emmanuel Songcuya, followed up a draw with UE with another 2-2 standoff against Ateneo.

Ateneo also opened the tournament with back-to-back draws against Adamson in the first round and La Salle the followring round behind two victories by Alcon John Datu and Gabriel Layugan.

First round 3-1 winner U.P. over National University on the first round, and Adamson share fourth to fifth places with 3.5 points.

In the women’s division, La Salle trounced FEU, 3-1, in the first round and UE, 3.5-.5, in the second round to grab the early lead with 6.5 points.

Aices Salvador subdued Ronan Reigner Senora of FEU and Chessa May Nadera of UE to lead the DLSU Lady Archers’ back-to-back triumphs.

Also providing victories for La Salle over FEU are Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Judit Pineda over Lovelyn Medina and Angelina Mortos, respectively.

Jedara Docena averted a shutout for FEU when she beat Akiko Charmaine Suede.

U.P. drew with Ateneo, 2-2, and blanked Adamson, 4-0, while NU swept UE, 4-0, and drew with FEU, 2-2, to forge a two-way tie for second place with six points.

In solo fourth is UST, 3-1 winner over Adamson in the first round.