PH stuns Spain in Chess Olympiad

The Philippine women’s team brought down 15th seed Spain, 3-1, to zoom to a share of 13th place after six rounds of the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia on Sunday night.

The Pinay woodpushers used their opening preparation to catch the fancied Spaniards off balance as Woman FIDE Master (FM) Shania Mae Mendoza and Woman International Master (WIM) Bernadette Galas pulled off shock wins over FM Marta Garcia Martin and Woman GM (WGM) Monica Calzetta Ruiz on boards two and four, respectively.

WGM Janelle Mae Frayna and WIM Antoinette San Diego had eked out fighting draws with IM Sabrina Vega Gutierrez and IM Ana Matnadze on first and third boards, respectively, much earlier before Mendoza and Galas put on the finishing touches with a pair of masterful wins.

That sent the Philippines, which is being backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, from a share of 23rd to a seven-country tie at 13th spot with nine match points each and was tackling 14th seed Georgia 2, which fell to Georgia 1, 1.5-2.5, in the seventh round at press time.

The Filipinas are also eyeing to surpass the country’s best finish in this biennial meet at 22nd place in 1988 in Thessaloniki, Greece.

“We’ll play the same line up we used in round six and hopefully get similar result,” said Philippine women’s team coach GM Jayson Gonzales.

The Philippine men’s squad, for its part, bounced back from three straight defeats by whitewashing Jersey, 4-0, on wins by GMs Julio CatalinoSadorra and John Paul Gomez and IMs Jan Emmanuel Garcia and Haridas Pascua to move from a forgettable tie at 101st spot to a share of 77th with six points.

The Philippines hopes to climb further out of ignominy as it tangles with Albania in the seventh round at press time. –TMT