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Filipinos fall short

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The Philippines ended its campaign with twin losses yesterday but drew consolation from the individual exploits of Grandmaster Eugene Torre and newly-minted WGM Janelle Mae Frayna at the close of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Filipinos dropped a shock 2.5-1.5 loss to Australia in the Open division and went down, 3-1, to Lithuania in the women’s section.

Torre, 64, needed 90 moves to upend International Master Moulthun Ly in a queen-against-rook endgame, but failed to affect the outcome.

The Filipinos lost in board two and four with the black pieces while GM Catalino Sadorra drew with GM David Smerdon in the top board.

GM John Paul Gomez bowed to GM Zhao Zong Yuan while GM Rogelio Barcenilla lost to IM Anton Smirnov.

As a result, the Filipinos ended the 11-round Swiss System with 6 points on 5 wins against 4 losses and two draws.

Torre, however, provided the bright spot for the Filipinos by finishing unbeaten in all 11 matches. He won nine matches and drew twice to score the most points by anyone in the field.

In women’s play, the Philippines went to Lithuania, 3-1, to finish the tournament with 6.5 points on 6 wins against 4 defeats and a loss.

Newly-minted WGM Janelle Mae Frayna lost with the white pieces at the hands of GM Viktorija Baciu.

The loss, Frayna’s second in 11 matches, came after obtaining an international master title with her victory over IM Olga Zimina of Italy on Saturday.

However, women’s captain Jayson Gonzales said Frayna will be awarded the IM title only after she reaches an ELO rating of 2400.

Frayna has a current ELO rating of 2281 and is expected to improve to at least 2320 after the Olympiad.

An IM title is more prestigious and difficult to achieve than a WGM title.

Also losing their matches were WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda against IM Deimante Daulyte and WFM Shania Mae Mendoza against WFM Daiva Batyte.

WIM Catherine Secopito averted a shutout by beating WIM Salomeja Zaksaite.

On Monday, the Filipinas edged Italy, 2.5-1.5.

Meanwhile, the United States crowned itself the Open champion after edging Canada, 2.5-1.5.

Philippine-born GM Wesley So and GM Fabiano Caruana provided the decisive victories for the Americans who finished ahead of Ukraine through a superior tiebreak. (REY BANCOD)

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