PH women’s early success falls prey to inexperience, lack of exposure

05:04 AM October 17, 2018

After scoring a win that turned people’s heads, the Philippines’ women’s chess team looked like it was ready to make history in the recent 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

But the lack of competitive tournaments took its toll on the squad, which failed to carry the momentum of their early success for the rest of the tournament.


Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales told sports journalists at the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum Tuesday that inexperience played a key role in the downfall of Janelle Frayna and her teammates.

“The regularity [of competitions] is what we lacked,” Gonzales said at the public sports forum at Tapa King-Farmers Plaza in Cubao. “The talent, skill and bravery is there. But in all sports, you need more than that.”


Frayna, who joined Gonzales and Women’s International Master Shania Mae Mendoza in the forum, pointed out a glaring example: In one of her matches, her opponent had a total of 1,700 games on her data list. Frayna? 350 games.

And she is the most experienced player in a squad that also includes Catherine Secopito, Bernadette Galas, and Marie Antoinette San Diego.

“So comparison-wise, a veteran female chess player from another country would have a big gap [against Filipinos],” Frayna said. “And how could we [narrow the gap]? We need to play, and not just play, but we need to perform better.”

The Filipinos scored a stunning 3-1 win over seventh-ranked Spain. But they skidded after that, tumbling to a 67th place finish out of a record 151 entries representing 146 countries.

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TAGS: 43rd Chess Olympiad, Chess, Sports
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