Pinay Chess Team humbles Nicaragua in India

Filipina Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna and FIDE Lady Master Shania Mae Mendoza scored impressive wins to lift the Philippines to a 2.5-1.5 win over Nicaragua Saturday night and a share of the women’s lead after two rounds of the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Frayna trounced Woman International Master Maria Esther Granados Diaz on top board while Mendoza downed Patricia Alvarez Gutierrez on third board while WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda halved the point with Michelle Ferrifino to seal the Filipinas’ second straight win. Their opponents were all Nicaraguans.

Only WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego was the lone casualty as she fell to Maria Jose Granados Ortiz on the fourth board. The Filipinas’ victory cushioned the fall of their men’s counterparts, who were slammed by the sixth-seeded Azeri in a 3-1 result.

They would have a chance to keep their iron grip of the lead as they battle 18th pick Serbia with WGM-candidate Kylen Joy Mordido taking San Diego’s place on fourth board.

GMs Mark Paragua and John Paul Gomez fought their way to draws with Rauf Mamedov and Vasif Durarbayli on boards one and three while GM Banjo Barcenilla and IM Paulo Bersamina succumbed to Gadir Guseinov and Nijat Abasov on boards two and four, respectively.

GM Darwin Laylo, who won on board three in the country’s 4-0 rout of Oman in the opening round Friday, will suit up in place of Bersamina in the third round against lowly Cyprus.

GMs Eugene Torre and Jayson Gonzales coach the Philippine teams whose participation in the 11-round, 12-day event is being bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission and the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.