Paragua heads PH chess team aspirants to Online Olympiad

MANILA, Philippines – Grandmaster Mark Paragua gets the chance to return to Team Philippines when he joins national players in  a double round-robin elimination on July 11 and 12 for slots to the first FIDE (International Chess Federation) Online Olympiad.

The New York City-based Paragua was given the opportunity for being the highest-rated local player available, not just because he topped the recent National Bullet Chess Championship and the Battle of Grandmasters.

Also vying for the board 1 and board 2 spots in the mixed team event are GMs John Paul Gomez, Rogelio Barcenilla Jr and Darwin Laylo and International Masters Paulo Bersamina and Haridas Pascua.

GM Julio Catalino Sadorra is the country's highest rated player with an Elo 2564  but he begged off this year, citing he's not in competitive form.

The online event slated July 22 to August 30 is set to compensate for the aborted 2020 Chess Olympiad in Moscow.  

Paragua, the first Filipino to breach Elo 2600 but is now down to 2529, was part of the Philippine team to the 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2012 Chess Olympiads before migrating to the United States.

The third and fourth highest scorers will serve as alternates for the team to be composed of two male players, two women, one male junior and one female junior player.

The male junior spot will be contested by IMs John Marvin Miciano, Daniel Quizon, FM Alekhine Nouri, IM-elects Michael Concio Jr, Eric Labog Jr, and Chester Neil Reyes using the same format. The second-highest scorer will serve as alternate.

According to National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe, the selection process for the women players will be announced on Wednesday.

Considered as shoo-in is Janelle Mae Frayna, the country's first and only Woman GM. – Rappler.com