PH women stun No. 4 Georgians
THE PHILIPPINE women’s team caused a stir in the 42nd Chess Olympiad by stunning powerhouse Georgia, 2.5-1,5, in the second round Saturday even as the men’s team yielded to Paraguay, 1.5-2.5, in the Open division of the biennial championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Woman International Masters Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Catherine Perena-Secopito hurdled higher rated rivals while WIM Janelle Mae Frayna held Grandmaster Nana Dzagnidze, the top female performer in the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, to a draw on board one.
Fronda toppled GM Bela Khotenashvili on board two while Secopito bested IM Salome Melia on board four as the Filipinos followed up their 4-0 rout of Netherlands Antilles in the first round.
IM Nino Batsiashvili scored the lone point for the fourth-ranked Georgians, besting Christy Lamiel Bernales on board three.
The Filipino women, who posted a perfect 4.0 match points along with the Chinese, the Russians and 28 other teams, face another stern test Sunday when they battle the fifth-ranked Indians.
Frayna, bidding to become the country’s first WGM, is pitted against GM Dronvalli Harika while Fronda and Secopito are ranged against IM Rout Padmini and WGM Swaminathan Soumya, respectively.
Further enhancing his chess legacy, GM Eugene Torre trounced GM Jose Fernando Cubas on board three, while GM Julio Catalino Sadorra drew with GM Neuris Delgado Ramirez on board one.
The 64-year-old Torre is seeing action in a record 23 Olympiads.
The Filipinos’ bid of sustaining their 4-0 rout of Jersey, however, vanished when GM John Paul Gomez bowed to GM Axel Bachmanra on board two and GM Rogelio Barcenilla lost to GM Zenon Franco Ocampos on board four.
The 53rd-ranked Filipinos will try to get back on track when they tangle with the No. 87 Nigerians.
Coach James Infiesto opted to rest Sadorra and will be fielding Gomez, Torre, Barcenilla and IM Paulo Bersamina against Nigeria.
Top seed Russia, defending champion China and the United States, which fields Cavite-born So, on board three, are among the leaders with 4.0 points. Roy Luarca