PH teams suffer twin losses in Chess Olympiad

Roy Luarca
PH teams suffer twin losses in Chess Olympiad
The Philippine men's team yields to Georgia, while the women's squad bows to Hungary

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines suffered losses in both the open and women’s divisions of the 44th Chess Olympiad on Sunday, August 7, hampering the Filipinos’ bid for better finishes in the biennial event in Chennai, India.

The men’s team yielded to higher-rated Georgia, 1.5-2.5, while the women’s team bowed to 12th seed Hungary, 1.5-2.5.

Grandmasters Mark Paragua, John Paul Gomez, and Darwin Laylo drew with GMs Baadur Jobava, Mikhel Mchedlishvili, and Luka Paichadze, respectively, but International Master Paulo Bersamina faltered against GM Levon Pantsulaia on board 4 for the second straight defeat of the men’s team.

The Filipinos also dropped a 1.5-2.5 decision to the Greeks in the eighth round and got stuck at 10 points, good for a share of 56th to 82nd places in the open division being led by Uzbekistan with 16 points, followed by India 2 with 15.

Top seed Team USA banked on victories by Fabiano Caruana and Filipino-born Wesley So to subdue the Greeks, 2.5-1.5, and join six others at 14 points.

Woman IM Jan Jodilyn Fronda won over WGM Traa Gara, while WGM Janelle Mae Frayna held GM Thanh Hoang Trang to a draw. Women Fide Master Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Kylen Joy Mordido, however, surrendered to WIM Szidonia Lazarne and WIM Zsoka Gaal, respectively, leaving the Filipinas with 11 points and a share of 31st to 48th places.

The women’s team tangles with Southeast Asian powerhouse Vietnam in the 10th and penultimate round on Monday, August 8.

The Filipinos are expected to rebound as they are pitted against the Guatemalans, who have no GM on board and are rated No. 83 against their No. 52.

In the 2018 Batumi Chess Olympiad, the Filipinos placed 54th while the Filipinas landed 67th. –

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