Filipino chessers start bid in OlympiadBy Roy Luarca
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ISTANBUL, Turkey—Team Philippines aims for a strong start in the 40th Chess Olympiad when it faces lightweight teams in both the Open and Women’s divisions Tuesday at Istanbul Expo Center.
The 35th-seeded men’s team, headed by Grandmaster Wesely So, tangles with Libya, ranked 113th, while the 57th-seeded women’s squad, led by Woman International Master Catherine Perena, clashes with No. 121 Pakistan.
Matches of the 11-round tournament that drew a record field of 158 countries to this historic and cosmopolitan metropolis start at 3 p.m. (8 p.m. in Manila), with the Filipinos gunning for lopsided victories.
So, who arrived from the United States Monday evening, will handle black but with his superior Elo rating of 2652 is expected to hurdle Abobker Elarbi (Elo 2259) in the top board.
GM Oliver Barbosa (Elo 2554) will be making his first Olympiad appearance with the white pieces on board 2 against Fide Master Ahmed Al-Zayat (1977) while 2006 Turin Olympian Mark Paragua (2508) plays black against FM Hussien Asabri (2211) on board 3.
International Master Oliver Dimakiling will be manning board four with white against Hassan Asabri (2179) in place of the grieving GM Eugene Torre.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director GM Jayson Gonzales, who is acting as coaches of both teams, decided to give Torre a break, in deference to the death of his mother on Saturday.
Gonzales, however, is fielding his regular lineup of Perena (Elo 2091), Woman Fide Master Rulp Ylem Jose (2061), Janelle Mae Frayna (1991) and Jedara Docena (2061) in the distaff side. Completing the women’s team is Jan Jodilyn Fronda (2022).