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PH chessers take on Jersey

3sadorra copy

GM Sadorra sits out Chess Olympiad opener.

The Philippines sat out top board player Grandmaster Catalino Sadorra when it played lowly Jersey Friday at the start of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Filipinos, ranked 53rd in the 170-team Open event, were expected to get by the 143rd seed Jersey which does not have a single international master in the team.

GM John Paul Gomez (ELO 2492) will play black on the top board against Paul Wojciechowski (1992) while GM Eugene Torre (2447) will see action on board 2 against Krzystofk Belzo (2044) with the white pieces.

GM Rogelio Barcenilla (2455), playing board three, faces Garry Forbes (1911) and International Master Paulo Bersamina (2408) takes on Graham Mooney (1840).

Games were set to start at 3 p.m. (7 p.m., Manila time).

Team captain James Infiesto said they decided to reserve Sadorra for the much harder opponent in the second round.

“Siguradong mas malakas kalaban bukas kaya pahinga muna si Sadorra,” said Infiesto.

The team with the best win-loss record after the 11-round Swiss System event will be declared champion. Ties will be resolved through game points.

Meanwhile, the women’s squad, ranked 46th, was set to battle No. 117 Netherland Antilles.

Woman International Master Janelle Mae Frayna (2281) tackles WFM Ailen Oriana Mena (1715), WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda (2128) battles unrated Mariana Sanchez, Christy Lamiel Bernales (2065) collides with Arzy Zahia Salim-Moussa (1403), and Catherine Perena-Secopito (2119) clashes with Taqesyah Marcos.

Women’s captain GM Jayson Gonzales decided to reserve board four player WFM Shanai Mae Mendoza.

The team arrived Thursday noon following a 20-hour flight from Manila that included a four-hour stopover in Istanbul, Turkey.

Barcenilla and Sadorra, who are based in the United States, came earlier. Barcenilla checked in Wednesday while Sadorra arrived Thursday morning.

The delegation, headed by lawyer Ruel Canobas, is billeted at the Boulevard Hotel along with the other top teams.
Infiesto said it rained heavily Thursday evening, but the weather on Friday was similar to Manila.

All the competing teams, including the top three seeds Russia, the United States and defending champion China, are already in town. (REY BANCOD)