Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna opens her title defense in Tuesday’s start of the Philippine National Women’s Championships, presented by Nova Wellness Store, at the PACE in Mindanao Ave., Quezon City.
The 25-year-old Frayna looms as the early favorite to reign supreme anew, having won last year’s edition of this nine-day tournament staking a total cash purse worth P140,000 with the lion’s share of P50,000 going to the champion courtesy of Nova president Travis Vincent Chua.
The event, sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, headed by Prospero Pichay, Jr., will also be part of the selection process for the national team seeing action in several international meets, including the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games in Thailand next year.
Expected to give Frayna a run for her money are fellow Olympiad veterans Woman International Masters Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Bernadette Galas and Marie Antoinette San Diego and Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza.
Also in the fold are Vic Glysen Derotas, Mary Joy Tan, Franchesca Largo, April Joy Claros, Ayana Usman, Bea Mendoza and Kate Nicole Ordizo with NCFP CEO GM Jayson Gonzales as tournament director and Reden Cruz as chief arbiter.
“I’m well prepared but it will be a rough road for me because the competition is tough,” said the 25-year-old first Filipina WGM.
Chua, a former mainstay of Ateneo in the UAAP, said his vision is produce future national team members.
“I will continue to support chess so we can produce future national team players and perhaps another WGM,” said Chua.
The tournament will implement a single-round robin format using standard time control.