MANILA, Philippines – The Far Eastern University’s (FEU) men’s and women’s chess teams will begin their campaign to retain their titles in the 73rd University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) chess tournament starting Saturday.

The FEU teams, mentored by Grandmaster (GM) Jayson Gonzales, will battle their college counterparts after the opening rites at the FEU New Tech Mini Auditorium in Manila.

The opening rites will be attended by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) President Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., Asia’s First GM Eugene Torre, FEU athletic director Mark Oliver Molina, Ateneo’s Richard Palou and Jocelyn de Leon of the UAAP board.

Reigning men’s most valuable player (MVP) Sheider Nebato will spearhead the FEU men’s campaign with the support of teammates Joseph Bersamina, Antonio Chavez Jr., Kevin Mirano, Alfredo Rapanot and Lennon Hart Salgados.

Out to retain the title for the FEU’s women’s team are Jedara Docena, Teresa Marie Galang, Lovelyn Medina, Angelina Mortos, Ronna Senora and Nikki Erica Yngayo.

Among the strongest contenders this year are last year’s runner-up Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) , led by Season 72 Rookie-MVP Chardine Cheradee Camacho, and the Nelson Mariano-led University of the East (UE) squad.

Adamson University (AdU), meanwhile, will defend its junior title crown.

International arbiters Elias Lao and Gene Poliarco will officiate the tournament. — By Marlon Bernardino