Paragua, Barcenilla pace Chess Olympiad qualifier

MANILA, Philippines – United States-based Grandmasters Mark Paragua and Banjo Barcenilla took a step closer toward slots to the inaugural FIDE Online Chess Olympiad by placing 1-2 in the first phase of the double round-robin qualifier on Saturday, July 11.

Now living in New York with his family, Paragua won over GM Rogelio "Joey" Antonio and International Master Haridas Pascua and drew with Barcenilla of Arizona, GM Darwin Laylo and IM Paolo Bersamina for 3.5 points.

Barcenilla trounced Pascua in the first round but settled for draws in the next 4 to slip to second 3.0 points.

Laylo and Barcenilla have 2.5 points each going to the second phase of the qualifier on Sunday.

With only 2.0 points to show, Antonio, who got into the qualifier after GM John Paul Gomez gave up his slot, needs to score 3.5 or better to contend for the right to play either board 1 or board 2 for the six-player mixed team being formed by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines headed by Rep. Prospero Pichay.

The third and fourth highest scorers will serve as alternates.

Also being contested are one slot each for junior boys and junior girls.

Untitled Michael Concio Jr. paced the boys’ under-20 side with 3.0 points, towing IM John Marvin Miciano (2.5) and IM Daniel Quizon (2.0).

Jerlyn Mae San Diego led the girls’ section with 3.0 points.

The country's lone Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna and WIMs Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Catherine Secopito and Bernadette Galas have secured the 2 regular and 2 alternate berths for women while WGM candidate Kylen Joy Mordido is assured of the regular girls’ U-20 slot. – Rappler.com