Pinay chessers on a roll

September 28, 2018
Eugene Torre and Jayson Gonzales

WHEN the men can’t deliver for the Philippines,  let the women take over.

In  another worthy performance, the Philippine women’s team produced another morale-boosting 2.5-1.5 upset win over No. 29 seed Slovakia and vaulted into  contention after four rounds in the 43rd World Chess Olympiad.

WFM Shania Mendoza shocked WGM Zuzana Cibickova on board three and WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego toppled WFM Dominika Ferkova on board four in a pair of thrilling victories at the Chess Palace in Batumi, Georgia.

The Philippines’ leading lady, WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, did her part by drawing with veteran IM Eva Repkova.

The two victories by Mendoza and San Diego, coupled with the draw  by Frayna, were enough to cushion  the impact of  the loss of WIM Catherine Perena-Secopito to IM Zuzana Stockova on the second board.

Counting  their smashing 3-1 victory over No. 55 Venezuela in the second  round  Wednesday, the  43rd-seeded Filipinas  climbed into a share of  12th to 41st places with six points  based on the scoring system that gives two points to a win, one point to a draw and none for a loss.

The GM Jayson Gonzales-coached Filipinas will meet No. 25 England in the fifth round.

But while the women are sitting  pretty, the men had another uninspiring day.

The GM Julio Catalino Sadorra-led men’s dropped a 1.5-2.5 decision to No. 55 Estonia and  skidded  to a share of  66th to 119th places with only four points to show.

IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia’s setback to GM Aleksandr Volodin on board  three was  the turning point in the match.

The United States-based Sadorra drew with GM Kaido Kulaots as did GM John Paul Gomez
against GM Ottomar Ladva and IM Haridas Pascua against FM Ilja Sirosh.

Handled by Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, the Filipinos swept their  first  two assignments against  San  Marino ( 4-0) and Slovakia  (2.5-1.5) but lost to Croatia (1-3).         

The  Filipinos, seeded 54th in the 185-nation field,  will try to recover lost ground when they meet  No. 102 seed Lebanon.

Supporting the 10-man Filipino delegation are  the Philippine  Sports Commission  (PSC), headed by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, and National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), led by president Rep. Prospero “Butch” Pichay and secretary-general Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.    

The moves:

Round 4

S. Mendoza vs. Z.Cibickova

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 a6 6. O-O Ba7 7. h3 O-O 8. Re1 d6 9. Bb3 h6 10. Nbd2 Nh5 11. Nf1 Qf6 12. Be3 Nf4 13. Ng3 Bxe3 14. fxe3 Ng6 15. Rf1 Qd8 16. d4 Na5 17. Rf2 Nxb3 18. Qxb3 Rb8 19. Raf1 Be6 20. d5 Bd7 21. Nf5 Kh7 22. Qc2 Ne7 23. Nxe7 Qxe7 24. Nh2 Kg8 25. c4 a5 26. a4 c5 27. b3 b6 28. Rf3 Qh4 29. g4 Rbd8 30. Qg2 Bc8 31. Rg3 Qg5 32. Qf2 Qe7 33. Rf3 g6 34. Rf6 Kg7 35. Qh4 Rde8 36. R1f3 Rh8 37. Nf1 Bf5 38. R3xf5 gxf5 39. Ng3 Qd8 40. Nxf5+ Kf8 41. Nxd6 Re7 42. Rxf7+              1-0

D.Ferkova vs. A. San Diego

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Ne2 b6 7. O-O Bxc3 8. bxc3 d6 9. Ng3 O-O 10. Bb2 Ba6 11. e4 Rc8 12. f4 cxd4 13. cxd4 Nb4 14. Be2 Bxc4 15. Bxc4 Rxc4 16. Qb3 d5 17. Rac1 Nc6 18. e5 Na5 19. Qf3 Ne4 20. Nxe4 dxe4 21. Qxe4 Qd5 22. Qxd5 exd5 23. Rxc4 Nxc4 24. Bc1 f5 25. Kf2 Kf7 26. Ke2 Ke6 27. h3 b5 28. g4 a5 29. Rg1 g6 30. g5 Rc8 31. Rg3 Nxe5 32. Ba3 Nc4 33. Bc5 Kd7 34. Rb3 Re8+ 35. Kf2 Kc6 36. a3 Re4 37. Rf3 Re8 38. Rd3 Rb8 39. Rb3 Nd2 40. Rb2 Ne4+ 41. Kf3 Nxc5 42. Rc2 b4 43. Rxc5+ Kd6 44. axb4 axb4 45. Rc2 b3 46. Rb2 Rb4 47. Ke3 Kc6 48. Kd3 Kb5 49. Rb1 b2 50. Kc3 Ka4 51. Kd3 Kb3        0-1