Female chessers turn back Venezuelan rivals
The Philippine women’s team smashed Venezuela, 3-1, to storm back to relevance even as its men’s squad suffered a 1-3 defeat to higher-ranked Croatia after three rounds of the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia, Wednesday night.
Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna and Woman International Master Bernadette Galas delivered the decisive victories against IM Sarai Sanchez Castillo and Woman FIDE Master Marvia Arcila on the top and fourth board, respectively, to lead the way for the Filipinos, who leapt to a share of 24th spot with four match points.
WIM Catherine Secopito and WFM Shania Mae Mendoza drew with WIM Tairu Rovira Contreras and WFM Corals Garcia on the second and third boards to complete the win, which boosted the team’s bid to improve on its 34th place finish in Baku, Azerbaijan, two years ago.
Needing at least a draw to seal the match win, Galas, who rested in the first two rounds, went for the win and took it after she turned a pawn advantage into a marathon 79-move victory over her opponent in an Alekhine duel.
For the 22-year-old Frayna, her win over Castillo was her third straight against the same opponent after earlier prevailing over WIMs Vania Fausto Da Vilhete of Mozambique and IM Laura Unuk of Slovenia in the first two rounds.
The women’s team was playing Slovakia in the fourth round at press time.
The men’s squad absorbed a 1-3 defeat from Slovakia and fell out of the lead group after starting this 11-round tournament with wins over San Marino, 4-0, and Slovakia, 2.5-1.5.
United States-based GM Julio Catalino Sadorra mishandled a winning middle game and settled with draw versus GM Ivan Saric, the same result extracted by GM John Paul Gomez, who split the point with GM Marin Bosiosic on board four.
IMs Jan Emmanuel Garcia, 22, and Haridas Pascua, 25, fell to GM Ante Brkic and GM Sada Martinovic.