PH chess team starts bid in Chess World Cup

Published July 12, 2021, 1:50 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Janelle Mae Frayna

The Philippine chess team starts its ambitious bid at the Chess World Cup 2021 starting Monday night, July 12, in Sochi, Russia.

Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna banners the squad also composed of GM hopefuls Daniel Quizon, Michael Concio Jr and Paulo Bersamina as the young squad seeks to defy the odds against their experienced rivals.

Frayna, 24, clashes with world No. 54 Hoang Tranh Trang of Hungary with hopes of avenging her defeat in their previous meeting at the 2018 Batumi Olympiad, while 16-year-old Quizon collides with former world No. 4 Evgeny Bareev of Canada.

Concio, 15, is expected to have his hands full against two-time Indian champion Aravindh Chithambaram while Bersamina, 22, duels with 15-year-old GM Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa of India.

“Although we’re the underdogs in terms of rating, I’m still confident of our chances,” said Frayna in a previous interview.

Quizon and Concio, who made the cut after a 1-2 finish in the Asian Zonal 3.3 qualifier, shoot for GM norms while Bersamina eyes to close in on the GM title.

“I’ll probably need to win seven games in the World Cup, but I know it will be difficult,” said Bersamina, whose rating of 2462 is close to formally snagging a GM title once he breaches 2500.

Two hundred and six players including world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway are competing in the Open Section, while 103 players will take part in the Women’s side.