Philippine chess teams sweep rivals in Olympiad opener

THE Philippines scored a sweep in both the men’s and women’s divisions in the first round of the 40th FIDE World Chess Olympiad Tuesday night at the WOW Convention Center in Istanbul, Turkey.

The 35th seed men’s team blasted 112th seed Libya, 4-0, while the 57th seed women’s team blanked 121st seed Pakistan, 4-0.

Grandmaster Wesley So beat Elarbi Abobker after 48 moves of Caro Kann defense on board 1 to set the tone of the rout.

GM Oliver Barbosa nipped FIDE Master Al-Zayat Ahmed after 42 moves of Queens Pawn Game on board 2; GM Mark Paragua waylaid FM Asabri Hussien after 30 moves of King’s Indian Defense on board 3; and International Master Oliver Dimakiling toppled Asabri Hussan after 30 moves of English Opening on board 4 to complete shut-out.

In the distaff side, Woman International Master Catherine Perena crushed Wasif Zenubia  on board 1; Woman FIDE Master Rulp Ylem Jose outclassed Siddiqui Nida Mishraz on board 2; Woman National Master Jannelle Mae Frayna downed Khuaja Ghazala Shabbir on board 3; and WNM Jedara Docena scalped Khuaja Fatima Shabbir on board 4.

In Wednesday’s second round, the men’s team will face 23rd seed Moldova, which crushed 100th seed Pakistan, 4-0, while the women’s team will face 16th seed Slovenia, which swept 78th seed Uruguay, 4-0.

The country’s chess teams are supported by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) headed by Chairman/President Prospero “Butch” Pichay, the Philippines Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee. Noli Cruz

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