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Chess Olympiad: PH teams’ top 10 hopes sent crashing


The Philippines fell to Hungary in the women’s section and Georgia in the men’s side with the same 2.5-1.5 scores in the ninth round Sunday that may have zapped its hopes of a top 10 finish in the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza and Woman International Master Kylen Joy Mordido lost their matches on boards three and four while WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda won her game on board two and Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna drew hers on top board.

The stinging loss sent the Filipinas, whose trip is financed by the Philippine Sports Commission, reeling to a 17-nation logjam at 31st place with 11 match points and would need to win their last two games including one against Southeast Asian rival Vietnam for them to finish in the top 20.

But they could have turned it around as Frayna had the winning position against old conqueror GM Hoang Thanh Trang and Mendoza scrambled to turn an inferior position and a pawn deficit into a drawn endgame.

Frayna and Mendoza threw away their opportunities though with the former ending up with a standoff and the latter a heartbreaking setback.

The men’s, for their part, saw IM Paulo Bersamina losing to GM Levan Pantsulaia on board four while GMs Mark Paragua, John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo all carving out fighting draws on the first three boards.

It sent the Filipinos to a 24-country tie at 58th spot with 10 points but they could move up from there if they could beat the lower-ranked Guatemalans in the 10th and penultimate round at press time.

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