The Philippine Chess team expects an easy opening at the start of the 38th World Chess Olympiad Thursday in Dresden, Germany.
Non-playing team captains Eugene Torre and Cesar Caturla said in a report posted on SportsNews.ph that expect a virtual “walk in the Dresden park” in the opening rounds of the sport’s biggest tournament.
“The first round is usually the easiest. Then it gets tougher everyday,” said Torre.
The team is pinning its hopes on veteran grandmaster (GM) Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor on board one, GM Wesley So on board two, GM Jayson Gonzales on board three and IM John Paul Gomez on board four.
The fifth man in the team, GM Darwin Laylo, is the reserve.
The women's team, meanwhile, is composed of Catherine Perena (board one), Shercila Cua (board two), Dasy Rivera (board three), Cheradee Chardine Camacho (board four) and Christy Lamiel Bernales (reserve).
The country’s best performance in the Olympiad was seventh in the 26th Olympiad held in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1988. The RP team then was headed by Torre and GM Rogelio Antonio Jr.
In the 2006 Olympiad in Turin, Italy, the Philippines finished 44th overall, with a lineup that included Torre, Antonio and So.
The women's team fared better, finishing in a tie for 23rd to 27th places.