Philippines chessers open Olympiad campaign

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines launches its ambitious bid for World Chess Olympiad glory as it faces Oman in the men’s division and Guam in the women’s section at the start of 44th edition of the biennial event in Chennai, India.

The 52nd-seeded Filipinos will field Grandmasters Mark Paragua, Darwin Laylo and John Paul Gomez and International Master Paulo Bersamina against the lowly, 146th-ranked Oman squad composed of two FIDE Masters, a Candidate Master and two untitled players.

Board 2 player GM Banjo Barcenilla gets a rest. “I will rest because I need to transfer hotels today (yesterday),” Barcenilla told The STAR.

The Filipinas, for their part, are resting top board chesser WGM Janelle Mae Frayna and will field in WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WIMs Marie Antoinette San Diego and Kylen Joy Mordido against the 119th-seeded Guamanian side with not a single titled players.

“We just had a meeting and Janelle will take a rest, Mordido will play,” said GM Jayson Gonzales, the women’s team coach and non-playing captain.

The opening round was being played at press time.

The country is eyeing to improve on its 37th-place finish in the men’s and 67th in the women’s in the last over-the-board edition of the event in Batumi, Georgia four years ago.


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