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Sports

Pinay chessers miss winning lines vs Hungary

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Pinay chessers miss winning lines vs Hungary
Janelle Mae Frayna.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine women’s team came close to stunning heavily favored Hungary and barging into the top 10 but blew its golden chances with critical mistakes in the end, resulting to a heartbreaking 2.5-1.5 defeat in the eighth round Sunday night that sent the team crashing out of the Top 30 in the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

With the match knotted at one apiece following a win by Jan Jodilyn Fronda on board two and Kylen Joy Mordido’s loss on board four, Janelle Mae Frayna was on her way to beating an old rival in Hoang Thanh Trang with what appeared to have been a winning position and Shania Mae Mendoza clawed her way from a losing game and a pawn down by sending it to what was a clear drawn game with Zsoka Gaal on board four.

A win by Frayna and a draw by Mendoza would have sealed the Filipinas a stunning victory against the same Hungarian squad that beat them in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2016 and a place in the top 10 after nine rounds of this 11-round biennial event.

But in a snap of a finger, Frayna missed the winning line against the same player who eliminated her in last year’s World Cup in Sochi, Russia and drew their game while Mendoza completely blundered away her drawing opportunities to concede defeat.

That sent the country, which was being backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, stumbling down to a share of 31st place with 16 others with 11 match points instead.

But they would have a chance to redeem themselves as they were battling Southeast Asian powerhouse Vietnam in the 10th and penultimate round at press time for a chance at a top 20 finish that would eclipse their forgettable 67th-place effort in Batumi, Georgia four years ago.

CHESS

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