MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine men’s and women’s teams who are seeing action at the 40th World Chess Olympiad starting August 27 at the Istanbul Expo Center in Turkey hope to improve on their finishes two years ago.
This was bared by former Olympiad player and now head coach Grandmaster (GM) Jayson Gonzales during the sendoff party for the Philippine team last Sunday.
“We’ll be aiming for a top 20 finish,” boasted Asia's first GM Eugene Torre.
The Philippine team finished at 50th place in the 39th World Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia in 2010.
"We are confident that we can perform well in this Olympiad," said Gonzales, who is also the executive director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.
Gonzales was a member of the Philippine team during the 36th Chess Olympiad in 2004, which finished 12th in the men’s team category.
Board One in the men’s team will be manned by GM Wesley So (ELO 2652), Board Two by Oliver Barbosa (ELO 2554), Board Three by Eugene Torre (ELO 2469) and Board Four by Mark Paragua (ELO 2508).
The alternate player is GM candidate and International Master Oliver Dimakiling (ELO 2428).
Gonzales, who will be coaching both the men’s and the women’s sides, believes the Filipina woodpushers are also capable of improving from 44th place two years ago.
The women’s squad is made up of veteran campaigners Woman International Master Catherine Perena, Woman FIDE Master Rulp Ylem Jose and Woman National Masters Janelle Mae Frayna, Jedara Docena and Jan Jodilyn Fronda.
The Philippine Team’s Istanbul campaign is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee. – By Marlon Bernardino