RP play Korea in Olympiad opening round

KHANTY-Mansiysk, Russia – The Philippines gets a good chance to open its campaign in the  39th World Chess Olympiad on a bright note, drawing lowly  Korea as its opening-round assignment on Tuesday at the  3,500-seater Khanty-Mansiysk Sports  Development Center.

The Philippines, seeded  37th with an average ELO rating  of 2552, is  heavily favored to beat  Korea,  ranked  only No. 112  in the prestigious  team tournament  being hosted by this oil-producing Ugra region  located in Western Siberia.

GM Wesley So, the country’s highest-rated player in history with an ELO of 2668, will banner the Filipinos’ campaign  to improve their 46 th-place finish in the Dresden Olympiad two years ago.

Also in the five-man team are GMs John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Eugene Torre and IM Richard Bitoon.

Korea is expected to  field its top player, Munkbat Chogdov (ELO 2236) against So in the top board.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay  welcomed the Filipinos’ first-round pairing against  the lowly-rated  Koreans.

“It’s clearly in our  favor. We should have a  good  result against the Koreans. In fact, I won’t be surprised with a 4-0 result,” said  Pichay, recalling  that the Filipinos  drew no less than China as their  first-round assignment during the 2008 Olympiad in Dresden, Germany two years ago.

In the women’s division,  No. 50 seed Philippines  begins its campaign against No. 110 seed Netherlands Antilles.

The Filipinas will be bannered by  WFMs  Chardine Cheradee Camacho (ELO 2186),  Catherine Perena  (ELO  2103), and Shercila Cua (ELO 2099) , Rulp Ylem Jose  (2039) and  Jedara Docena (ELO 2033).

Dubbed  as  the ‘Olympics’ of chess, the  two-week long tournament attracted a total of  1,380  men’s and women’s players from 159 countries, including  247 GMs,  63 WGMs,  160 IMs , 87 WIMs, 81 FMs and 80 WFMs.

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