THE Philippine chess team opens its campaign today in the 39th World Chess Olympiad Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia where 158 countries are competing in the biennial chess championships.
The RP men's team is composed of Grandmasters Wesley So, Eugene Torre, Darwin Laylo, John Paul Gomez and Cebuano International master Richard Bitoon. The women?s squad is composed of WFM Cheradee Camacho, WFM Catherine Pereña, WFM Shercila Cua, Rulp Ylem Jose and Jedara Docena.
The Philippine men's team has an average ELO rating of 2552 and is ranked 38th overall. Russia is the highest rated team in the men?s side with an average ELO rating of 2749.
GM So will man the team's top board with Gomez assigned to play Board 2 after the disqualification of GM Joey Antonio. Bitoon was designated to take Antonio's slot and will be the team alternate while Laylo takes Board 3 with Torre, Asia?s first chess grandmaster, manning Board 4.
Antonio, the country?s second-ranked player, was pulled out of the team by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) for his failure to compete in two important qualification tournaments.
The defending men?s champion is Armenia, which seeking its third straight title after winning in Turin, Italy (2006) and Dresden, Germany (2008). Georgia is the defending women?s champion.