Chess: 2-day tryouts get going to fill up slots in PH team

Darwin Laylo

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines will hold a two-day tryout this weekend for the team it will field to the first FIDE Online Olympiad 2020 slated July 22 to August 30.

NCFP executive director Cliburn Orbe announced in the group’s official Facebook page that Grandmasters Mark Paraua, Banjo Barcenilla, John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo, and International Masters Haridas Pascua and Paolo Bersamina would play a double-round robin for four slots on Saturday and Sunday.

It means each player will play five rounds a day using a time control of 15 minutes with five seconds increment.

“The standings will determine who will play on top board, board two and who will be the two reserves,” said Orbe.

On the same days, IMs John Marvin Miciano and Daniel Quizon, FIDE Master Alekhine Nouri, Michael Concio and Chester Neil Reyes will also battle it out in another double-round robin format for a sole berth reserved for Under-20 chessers to the squad.

The online Olympiad, which was done as a temporary replacement to the main Olympiad that was reset from this year to next in Russia, will implement a unique format where a maximum of six players can only play—two open or men’s slots, two women, one U20 boy and one U20 girl.

Orbe said the tryout for the women’s will be held at a different date.

Paragua got the NCFP nod being the highest rated Filipino chesser available with 2529 after GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, who is No. 1 in the country in terms of rating with 2564.

Barcenilla, Gomez, Laylo, Bersamina and Pascua were in the group because they were initially the players who made it to the team via the qualifying tournaments done last year.

The players being eyed in the women’s team are WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Shania Mae Mendoza, Bernadeth Galas, and Antoinette San Diego while the WGM-candidate Kylen Joy Mordido and Jerlyn San Diego leads the girls juniors side.