Filipino chessers eye semis berth in Asian Nations tourney

Joey Villar ( – October 22, 2020 – 1:26pm

MANILA, Philippines – International Master Paulo Bersamina, Grandmaster Banjo Barcenilla and Woman IM Jan Jodilyn Fronda try to prove that the individual board medals awarded them were no fluke as they lead the Philippines’ campaign in Friday’s start of the Asian Nations Online Chess Cup quarterfinals.

Bersamina and Barcenilla, who copped the gold and silver on boards three and two, respectively, are expected to see action when the Filipinos gun for a semifinal berth against the second-seeded Kazakhs.

Fronda, the bronze medalist on board two, for her part, will try to will the Lady Agilas to the semis against the lower-ranked but dangerous Sri Lankans in the women’s section.

The Philippines have already overachieved as it finished second in both divisions behind Iran in the men’s and top seed India in the women’s.

GM Mark Paragua is manning the top board despite losing his last two outings while non-playing captain GM Eugene Torre may pick between GM John Paul Gomez or IM Haridas Pascua to see action on board four.

For the Filipinas, coach GM Jayson Gonzales, may opt for their top four boards in Fronda, WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Bernadette Galas.

Or they could choose WIM Kylen Joy Mordido, who has three points out of four, to play on board four in lieu of Mendoza, who also has three points but had more games with six, assuming the former’s laptop problems is already fixed.

Against Kazakhstan, the Philippines eked out a 2.5-1.5 win in the eighth round on wins by Bersamina and IM Haridas Pascua on the lower boards and a draw by Barcenilla on board two.

Paragua suffered the team’s lone loss there.

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