RP blanks rivals in Chess Olympiad
KHANTY-Mansiysk, Russia – The Philippines completed a rare double celebration in the 39th World Chess Olympiad, pulling off similar easy 4-0 victories over South Korea in the men’s division and Netherlands Antilles in the women’s category in the first round Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) here.
GMs Wesley So, John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo and IM Richard Bitoon swept their lowly-rated Korean rivals in one of 44 shutout victories on opening day and put the 37th-seeded Filipinos in the early lead in this prestigious, two-week long competition considered as the ‘Olympics’ of chess.
So, manning the top board for the country in only his third appearance in the Olympiad since 2006 Turin, made short work of Sanghoon Lee (ELO 2146) to set the tone for the Filipinos’ dominant showing.
Gomez, who achieved his GM title during the 38th Olympiad in Dresden, Germany two years ago, trounced Kyul Lee (ELO 1971) on board two.
Laylo , who saw action during the World Chess Cup held in this oil-producing region in Western Siberia last year, whipped Munkhbat Chogdov (ELO 2236) on board three, while Bitoon, a last-minute replacement to GM Rogelio Antonio Jr., crushed Hoon Young Jun on board four.
Cheradee Chardine Camacho, Catherine Perena, Shercila Cua and Rulp Ylem Jose also hurdled their matches against Netherlands Antilles to boost their chances in the women’s division.
Camacho, the 16-year-old pride of La Union who emerged as the top Filipina player during the Dresden Olympiad, demolished Maria Elisabeth Delemarre.
Perena humbled Nadiniela Coffie, Cua bested Azry SalimMoussa and Jose dumped Benigna Coffie to complete the filipinas’ day of triumph.
“I;m happy with the performance of our players,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay, who is set to join the 13-man Filipino delegation in Khanty-Mansiysk later this week.
Expectedly, the twin victories put the Filipinos in an early collision against powerhouse countries in the second round Wednesday.
So will get an early acid test when he plays black against super GM Alexei Shirov (ELO 2749) as the Philippines battles No. 16 seed Spain, 3.5-.5 winner over No. 90 seed Algeria in the first round.