THE Philippines stands a good chance of doing well in the FIDE Online Chess Olympiad from July 24-Aug. 30.
In fact, the GM Mark Paragua-led Filipinos are hoping to make it all the way to the playoff stage where the top 16 countries will play in knockout-style battle for the coveted gold medal.
National Chess Frderation of the Philippines (NCFP) executive director Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe and Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre believe the Filipinos have the talents and skills to compete aganst the world’s best in this inaugural online chess competition being introduced by FIDE in response to the coronavirus outbreak last March.
“We have a very good chance. We’re hoping to make it to the Top 16 and reach the playoff round. Libre naman ang mangarap,” said Orbe during yesterday’s fourth “Usapang Sports on Air”by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom.
But there’s a hitch -- a big one at that.
Orbe and Torre are worried about the internet connections of the Filipino players when the competition begins on Aug. 12.
“Medyo may problema sa mabagal na internet connection. Importante yun sa oras ng laban ng mga players natin,” explained Orbe during the weekly session sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
Orbe said the NCFP thru President/Chairman Rep. Prospero “Butch” Pichay will be knocking on the doors of telecommunications giants Smart and Globe to ensure a high-quality internet connection for the 12-player Filipino team.
Torre echoed Orbe’s observation.
“Sa online chess, importante yun internet ng players. Magaling ka nga sa chess kung mabagal naman yun internet connection mo,” claimed Torre.
Orbe recalled the experience of IPCA world champion FM Sander Severino, who nearly failed to win the title when his internet connection went out due to power failure.
“Yun kalaban nya, kaka-resign lang nun mawala yun internet connection. Kung medyo nag-tagal pa at bigla nawala yun kuryente, talo tayo.”
In the Olympiad, the Philippines will be represented by GMs Mark Paragua, Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr., Darwin Laylo and Rogelio Antonio, Jr. (men)., WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, WIM Catherine Pereña-Secopito and WIM Bernadette Galas, IM Daniel Quizon and Michael Concio (boys) and WIM Kylen Joy Mordido and Jerlyn Mae San Diego (girls).
With the Philippines in Division 2 are Getmany, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy, England, Hungary, Israel, Belarus, Sweden, Croatia, Indonesia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Colombia, Ecuador, North Macedonia, Latvia, Switzerland, Norway, Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Australia, Moldova, Iceland, Montenegro, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia and Netherlands.
Awaiting them in the Top Division are Russia, China, United States, Armenia and Ukraine, the top five seeded teams; and Azerbaijan, India, Cuba, Poland, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Georgia, Iran, Canada, Egypt, Peru, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Paraguay, France, Morocco, Algeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa.