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.