1 of 2
WOMAN Grandmaster (WGM) Janelle Mae Frayna leaned on her endgame creativity in clawing her way out of trouble and into a victory and powered the Philippines to a 3.5-0.5 rout of Angola on Monday night and into the top 12 after four rounds of the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.
After an opening misstep that blew away her early positional edge, Ms. Frayna gave up the exchange and then watched Esperanca Caxita implode in the endgame to carve out a 71-move win of an English Opening that sealed the one-sided win.
Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Marie Antoinette San Diego were quick to hammer out victories on boards two and three while WGM candidate Kylen Joy Mordido couldn’t cash in on her winning chances by splitting the point with Renelsa Taiane Antonio on last board.
The emphatic triumph catapulted the Filipinas, whose participation is sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, into 34-country tie for 12th place with six match points to show.
Seeded 39th, they could ram their way into the top 10 if they could sustain their spectacular form and shock the Netherlands, seeded 17th who were smashed by the Poles, 3.5-0.5, in the fifth round at press time.
National women’s team coach and non-playing captain GM Jayson Gonzales could stick with Mses. Frayna, Fronda and San Diego and possibly send in Shania Mae Mendoza in the 19-year-old Ms. Mordido’s place as they go all out for nothing less than a win against the mighty Dutch.
MEN’S SQUADEqually impressive were the Filipinos, who slammed Monaco, 3.5-0.5, on a win that was sealed by GM Banjo Barcenilla escaping defeat with a marathon 80-move standoff of a King’s Indian Attack with Ukrainian-born WGM Tatiana Dornbusch on top board.
GMs John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo and International Master Paulo Bersamina all had easier paths in outclassing their respective opponents from boards two to four to lift the country to a 23-nation logjam at 18th spot also with six points.
The GM Eugene Torre-mentored 52nd-seeded squad was clashing with 31st pick Sweden at press time with GM Mark Paragua back on board one in Barcenilla’s place. — Joey Villar