First move

September 25, 2018

THE  43rd World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia opened Monday with the Philippines taking on  lowly-rated opponents in the first round in  both the  men’s and women’s divisions.

The GM Eugene Torre-coached Filipinos will make the first move  against No. 144 seed San Marino in the  men’s tournament  which  attracted  919  players -- including almost the whole world chess elite --  from183 countries.

Torre decided  to  field  United States-based GM Julio Catalino Sadorra  and  his three  young  guns  --  IM  Jan Emmanuel  Garcia, IM Haridas Pascua and FM Mari Joseph Turqueza.

GM  John Paul Gomez gets a day off.

The women’s  team, handled by GM Jayson Gonzales, will open their campaign against No.117 Mozanbique.

The Filipinas will send WGM  Janelle Mae  Frayna, WIm Catherine Secopito, WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Marie  Antoinette  San Diego to battleground, while   giving WIM Bernadette Galas an  extra day of rest.

Both San Marino, the fifth smallest  city in the world with a population of approximately 33,000, and  Mozambique, a  war-torn  Southeast African country near the Indian Ocean,are not expected  to put up a challenge to the Philippines in  the first day of the 11-round, two-week long event.

But  the Filipinos are  bracing for tougher competitions in the succeeding rounds based on the Swiss system format.

Top seed United States,led by  GMs Wesley So and  Hikaru Nakamura, will open its campaign against No. 89 Panama.

So will  play top  board for the US in place of  GM Fabiano Caruana.

Other  notable   first-round matches will pit No.2 Russia against No. 90 Uganda;  No. 3 China  against No. 92  Morocco;  No. 5  India aganst No. 94 El Salvador; No. 6  Ukraine against No. 95 Zambia; No. 7  France against No. 96 Yemen; No. 8  Armenia  against No.  97 Japan; No. 9  England against No. 98 Angola; and No. 10   Israel against No. 9 Bolivia.

In the women’s division, it will  be Russia against Costa  Rica,  Ukraine  against Monaco,  China against Tajikistan, Georgia-1 against  South Korea,  India against New  Zealand, France aganst Albania,  Poland aganst Guatemala,  Kazakhstan against Singapore and US aganst URuguay.

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