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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

WGM Frayna crowned PH women’s chess champion

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Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna turned back Shania Mae Mendoza in the 11th and final round to crown herself queen of the 2021 Philippine National Women’s Chess Championship at the PACE building in Quezon City Thursday night.

Janelle Mae Frayna

The top-seeded Frayna outplayed the second-ranked Mendoza in the opening to snatch a pawn edge, seal the win and claim her third national women’s title after reigning supreme in 2013 and 2016.

“It’s been a while since I won here because I focused on competing in the men’s event the past several years,” said the 24-year-old Frayna. “It was a tough field and I’m glad I won.”

But the impressive performance was not without a hitch as Frayna needed to overcome an opening round defeat to 13-year-old wunderkind Ruelle Canino.

The loss turned out a blessing in disguise as it lit a fire inside Frayna, who scored 7.5 points, highlighted by six victories since then to run away with the championship, the top purse worth P50,000 and a berth to the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games in May next year.

“She (Canino) is a good player and could be the future of Philippine chess. She beat me, no excuses,” said Frayna. “It was a wake-up call for me and I decided to go for the win each game.”

Frayna ended up finishing a full point ahead of eventual runner-up Kylen Joy Mordido, who is a third and last result away from following the former’s footsteps as the country’s second WGM.

The 19-year-old Mordido halved the point with Cebu pride Marian Calimbo in 34 moves of an English Opening.

The Dasmarinas, Cavite bet went for the win and, in fact, seized a slight positional advantage.
But Mordido saw Frayna seal the deal, making it moot for her to just draw.

Mendoza slipped to joint third with third pick Jan Jodilyn Fronda, who split the point with Marie Antoinette San Diego, with six points apiece but clinched third place via tiebreak.

Rounding out the rest of the placings were San Diego, Bernadette Galas, Rinoa Mariel Sadey, Allaney Jia Doroy, Canino, Lexie Grace Hernandez and Calimbo.

The event was backed by PSC chair Butch Ramirez, Chess Movement, Inc. chair Dr. Ariel Potot, PCSO general manager Royina Garma, Endgame Sports Founder Atty. Cris Aspiras, POC President Bambol Tolentino, NCFP head Butch Pichay, Atty. Roel Canobas and Barkadahan Para sa Bansa party list nominees Petchi Ragos and Atty. Juman Paa.

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