The Philippines moved up to the Top 10 as it blasted South Africa, 3.5-0.5, in the fifth round of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Grandmaster (GM) Julio Catalino Sadorra, who was rushed to the hospital days back due to constant headaches that cost him two games, came back with a vengeance after he dismantled GM Kenny Solomon’s Nimzo-Indian Defense in 62 moves on top board.
GMs Eugene Torre and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. bested International Masters (IM) Watu Kobese and Donovan Van den Heever on boards three and four, 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 Woman IMs (WIM) Janelle Mae Frayna, Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Catherine Secopito and Woman FIDE Master 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.
The tournament, which is using an 11-round Swiss System format, took a much-needed one-day breather yesterday before resuming today.
Sadorra and the men’s squad will be needing it as it faces 12th seed Norway, which is being led by reigning world champion GM Magnus Carlsen, in the sixth round.