PH chessers move inside top 20
The Philippines overpowered Monaco and Angola via identical scores of 3.5-.5 in the men’s and women’s division, respectively, and entered the top 20 after four rounds of the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India, on Monday night.
Grandmaster (GM) Banjo Barcenilla fought his way out of an inferior position in squeezing out a marathon 80-move draw of a King’s Indian Attack with Ukranian-born woman GM Tatiana Dornbusch on Board 1 to cap the rout.
GMs John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo and International Master (IM) Paulo Bersamina waylaid their respective foes on boards two to four with relative ease to plug the Filipinos into a 23-nation tie at 18th place with six points apiece.
The Filipino women were equally impressive following wins by woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna, and woman IMs (WIM) Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Marie Antoinette San Diego on the top three boards and a draw by WIM Kylen Joy Mordido with Renelsa Taiane Antonio on the last board.
Those feats propelled the GM Jayson Gonzales-mentored women’s squad to a 34-country logjam at 12th spot with six points each.
The country will have a chance to gatecrash into the top 10 if it could pull the rug from under a higher-ranked Sweden in the men’s contest and the Netherlands in the women’s side in the fifth round, which was ongoing at press time.
The men’s team, mentored by GM Eugene Torre, is expected to field in Gomez, Laylo and Bersamina anew on the last three boards and either between Barcenilla and GM Mark Paragua on board one.
Gomez and Laylo have been specifically playing well with the former scoring three points with two wins and three draws and the latter winning all his first three outings.