The Philippines got off to a rousing start Friday, sweeping all its matches in the Open and women’s divisions of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.
With top board player Grandmaster Catalino Sadorra watching in the sidelines, the men’s squad shut out Jersey, 4-0, a victory matched by the women’s team over Netherlands Antilles.
GM John Paul Gomez, playing board one, humbled Paul Wojciechowski, GM Eugene Torre disposed of Krzystof Belzo, GM Rogelio Barcenilla beat Garry Forbes and International Master Paulo Bersamina took the measure of Graham Mooney.
The big win set up the Filipinos to a second round showdown with Paraguay Saturday.
Sadorra swings into action with the white pieces against GM Neuris Delgado Ramirez who boasts an ELO rating of 2618.
Gomez takes on GM Axel Bachmann (2641), Torre faces GM Jose Fernando Cubas (2470) and Barcenilla clashes with GM Zenon Franco Ocampos.
Paraguay clobbered Kuwait, 3.5-0.5, in the first round.
As expected, the favorites, led by No. 1 Russia, No. 2 United States and No. 3 China, hurdled their opening round assignments.
Philippine-born Wesley So, playing the second board for the United States, scored a win at the expense of GM Oscar dela Riva Aguado.
The only surprise was pulled off by Sudan which held Bulgaria to a 2-all draw.
There was no such mishap in the women’s section with China, Ukraine and Russia rolling to 4-0 victories.
The Filipinas swept all their matches to arrange a showdown with No. 4 Georgia in the second round.
Against Netherlands Antilles, Woman International Master Janelle Mae Frayna humbled WFM Ailen Oriana Mena, WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda outplayed Mariana Sanchez, Christy Lamiel Bernales clobbered Arzy Zahia Salim-Moussa, and WIM Catherine Perena-Secopito dumped Taqesyah Marcos.
The Filipinas will have their hands full against Georgia which has two grandmasters and the same number of IM in its lineup.
Frayna takes on GM Nana Dzagnidze while Fronda battles GM Bela Khotenashvili Bela.
Bernales and Secopito face IMs Nino Batsiashvili and Salome Melia, respectively. (REY BANCOD)