October 01, 2018

SHANIA Mae Mendoza and Bernadette Galas pulled off stunning reversals and Janelle Mae Frayna and Marie Antoinette San Diego came through  with  fighting draws in  the Philippines’ day of triumph in the 43rd World Chess Olympiad.

In their strongest showing yet,  the Filipinas completed a stunning 3-1 upset win over No.15 seed Spain in the sixth round to barge into a share of 13th  place in the women’s tournament in Batumi, Georgia.

Mendoza shocked FM Marta Garcia Martin in  marathon 85 moves of the Catalan  while Galas toppled WGM Monica Garcia  Galzetta in 56 moves of the Trompovsky to lead the Filipinas’ sensational triumph over the higher-rated Spanish opponents.

Frayna,  playing top board for the sixth straight round,  settled for a draw by repetition of moves with IM  Sabrina Gutierrez Vera in 43 moves of the French.

San Diego, who took over from Catherine Perena-Secopito, also  managed an interesting game before agreeing to a draw with IM AnaMatnadze in 73 moves of the Reti.

“The determination and hard work of our players paid off. It is really great to see their courage in confronting stronger and more-superior opponents,” said GM Jayson Gonzales in an e-mail to People’s Tonight.

Gonzales, who was personally tapped  by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero “Butch”  Pichay to handle the team, said both Mendoza and Galas have shown tremendous discipline in the team’s preparation before the match.

“I told Shania that her rival might play 5... bishop to D6. And strangely enough,  the opponent did play it. Shania  manage to maneuever her pieces  and play well at the end with awesome combination, even  sacrificing a knight for a pawn  on 43rd move to win impressively,” noted Gonzales.

Gonzales also said good opening preparation for Trompovsky.l was the key to Galas’ upset win over Calzetta, a top scorer of Spain.

“Before the game, we talked about the posdibility that the Spaniard might make 7. g6 whuch is a blunder because white can win a pawn. Fortunately, Calzetta made such mistake and Galas came up with an endgame —  a  Karpovian endgame technique,” explained Gonzales.

Overall, the  43 rd-seeded Filipina s have four wins, one draw and one loss for nine match points, good for a tie for 13th to 20th places  with still five rounds left.

Up next  in the seventh round is No. 14 seed Georgia-2.

The Filipinas are hoping to match, if not surpass, the country’s best finish in this biennial meet at  22nd place in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1988.

The 1988 team was led by Girme Fontanilla,Mila Emperado and Cristina Santos.

In the men’s division, the GM Julio Sadorra-led team also had a good day following a 4-0 win over lowly Jersey.

GM John Paul Gomez and IMs Jan Emmanuel Garcia and Haridas Pascua also delivered the wins as th Filipinos snapped a three-game skid and improved to six points and 77th place.