By Cip D.C. Cabrera
WGM Janelle Mae Frayna (ELO 2325) is expected to spring back to action (Mindanao Goldstar Daily courtesy)
CHENNAI, INDIA — Fresh from its victory last Tuesday night over the high-ranked Swedes in the fifth round, the Philippine men’s team mentored by Asia’s first grandmaster (GM) Eugene Torre (ELO rating 2437) drew strength from GM Banjo Barcenilla (ELO 2463)’s masterful effort as it salvaged a draw from a near trashing at the hands of the vaunted Israeli team to stay alive in the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Tamil Nadu, India.
Pressed by the relentless attack of GM Tamir Nabaty (ELO 2631) of a King’s Indian encounter on board two, Barcenilla stave off his opponent’s advance to save the day for the Filipinos, who as of press time are tied at 14th spot with 10 other teams with nine match points.
GM Mark Paragua (ELO 2461) was the last to finish as he tried his best to squeeze a victory over GM Vital Boruchovsky (ELO 2551) but ended up halving the point with the Israeli in 59 moves of a Four Knights Game that capped the stunning standoff.
Earlier, GM Darwin Laylo (ELO 2432) pave the way for an easy draw with veteran GM Ilya Smirin (ELO 2601) on board three, which came after International Master (IM) Paulo Bersamina (ELO 2429) bowed in the opening to GM Evgeny Postny (ELO 2564) on the last board.
As coach of the men’s team, GM Torre is expected to field an all-GM roster versus powerhouse Poland led by its team captain GM Bartosz Socko (ELO 2630).
GM John Paul Gomez (ELO 2451) is expected to replace Bersamina in the lineup.
On the distaff side, the Philippine women’s team failed to overcome lower-ranked Ecuadorians, scoring a 2-2 standoff which could have resulted otherwise had Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza (ELO 2153) defeated WIM Anahi Ortiz Verdezoto (ELO 2133) on board two.
It was WGM candidate Kylen Joy Mordido (ELO 2023) who delivered the lone win on board four while WIMs Jan Jodilyn Fronda (ELO 2181) and Marie Antoinette San Diego (ELO 2101) were held to draws on the second and third boards, respectively.
The split sent the Pinay woodpushers slipping down in a 13-country tie at 48th place with seven points. They are scheduled to play Bolivia tonight in a match where WGM Janelle Mae Frayna (ELO 2325) is expected to be injected back into the roster in place of Mendoza. (ai/mtvn)