Frayna becomes PH’s first Woman Chess Grandmaster

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Frayna becomes PH’s first Woman Chess Grandmaster
Frayna achieves the historic feat at the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines now has its first ever Woman Chess Grandmaster in 20-year-old Janelle Mae Frayna.

According to a press release, Frayna achieved the historic feat when she clinched the third and final WGM result with a 33-move draw with International Master Daavademberel Nomin-Erdene in a stinging 1.5-2.5 decision to 15th seed Mongolia after the ninth round of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan Sunday night, September 11.

Frayna scored 6 points on 4 wins and 4 draws against just one loss in 9 games.

“I’m proud to announce that WIM (Woman International Master) Janelle Mae Frayna achieved the third and last result to become the first Woman Grandmaster from the Philippines,” GM Jayson Gonzales, the women’s skipper and Frayna’s personal trainer and coach at Far Eastern University, said in the press release.

Frayna’s opponents included 3 men’s Grandmasters (Georgia’s Nana Dzagnidze and India’s Dronavalli Harika), one with a men’s International Master title (Nomin Erdene), and two other Women International Masters (Sabrina Latreche of Algeria and Alejandra Guerrero Rodrigiez of Mexico).

Meanwhile, GM Eugene Torre is also set to make history as he slew GM Diego Flores in the Philippines’ 2-2 draw with Argentina.

Torre, 64, now has an undefeated record of 8 points on 7 wins and two draws, the highest points by any individual player in the 11-round tournament. 

Torre, however, is running fifth in the battle for the gold medal on board 3, which will be determined by whoever ends up with the highest performance rating, behind a stellar cast that included GM Wesley So, who is representing the United States.

Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi currently leads the way with 2887 followed by Hungarian GM Zoltan Almasi’s 2871 while French GM Laurent Fressinet is at No. 4 with 2857.

“Hopefully, Wesley and I could end up as board medalists and I’m also thinking of helping the team win matches,” said Torre, whose lone board medal was a silver in the 1974 Nice Olympiad where he emerged Asia’s first ever GM. –

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