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PH chessers climb to 23rd spot

ANOTHER lopsided triumph by the Philippine men’s team in the fifth round of the 42nd Chess Olympiad on Tuesday hoisted the Filipinos to 23rd place and set them on a sixth-round showdown with Norway, led by world champion Magnus Carlsen.

The Philippines crushed South Africa, 3.5-.5, to tally eight match points from four wins and a loss.

Once more, Eugene Torre carried the team and was supported by Ino Sadorra, who manned top board after missing play for three rounds.

Sadorra, who complained of sudden headaches after Round 2, was cleared by doctors Tuesday to play the fifth round. If Carlsen is fielded against the Philippines, Sadorra will face him.

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“We will take this a match at a time,” said men’s captain James Infiesto in a Facebook message.

Torre, 64, has 4.5 points out of five rounds making him the team’s “lifesaver”, as he was described by Jayson Gonzales, captain of the women’s team.

The Philippine women team crushed Algeria, 4-0, to land to 27th place on seven match points on three wins, one draw and one loss. The Filipinas play Mexico in Thursday’s sixth round.

Wednesday is a day-off for the 140 teams taking part in the Olympiad, considered the second most prestigious event after the world championship.

“It will be tougher the last six rounds so the team should take advantage of the break,” said GM Jayson Gonzales, the National Chess Federation of the PH executive director and women team captain.

Sadorra came back with a vengeance after he dismantled GM Kenny Solomon’s Nimzo-Indian Defense in 62 moves on top board.

Torre and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. bested International Masters Watu Kobese and Donovan Van den Heever on Boards 3 and 4, respectively, while GM John Paul Gomez halved the point with IM Daniel Cawdery on second board to complete the impressive win.

The women’s team was more ruthless as WIMs Janelle mae Frayna, Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Catherine Secopito and WFM Shanian Mae Mendoza swept Algeria with wins over WIMs Sabrina Latreche, Amina Mezioud, Amira Hamza and Hayat Toubal, respectively.

Frayna, the reigning women’s national champion who finished fifth in the World Juniors in India a couple of weeks ago, was the most impressive among the bunch as she has an undefeated record of 3.5 points on two wins and three draws including two against Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia and Harika Dronavalli of India, who own men’s GM titles.

The 19-year-old Far Eastern University standout is seeking to do good here to secure her third and final GM norm that will make her the first Filipina Women’s GM in the trip made possible by the Philippine Sports Commission, under chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.

Topics: 42nd Chess Olympiad , Philippine men's team , 23rd place , Magnus Carlsen , Eugene Torre , Ino Sadorra
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