SINGAPORE— Its confidence boosted by its exceptional showing in the just-concluded Asian Schools Championship where it won six gold medals to run away with the overall title, the gutsy Philippine chess team eyes another excellent finish when they take on their Southeast Asian neighbors in the 2015 ASEAN Age Group Chess Championships which kicked off at the Nanyang Technological University here Tuesday.
International Master Paulo Bersamina, an incoming freshman at National University and Far Eastern University's board 2 player WFM Shania Mae Mendoza, who won a gold each in the Asian Schools tilt, will continue where they left off in a bid to hand the Philippines a possible second overall title in a span of two weeks.
They will be joined by WIM Janella Mae Frayna, also of FEU, who will be gunning for her third and final WGM norm when she sees action in the girls' under-20 category.
Frayna, 19, planed in late Monday along with the bulk of the Philippine delegation which totals 63, the biggest group of chess players so far sent by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines led by its president and chairman Prospero Pichay, NCFP Vice President for Visayas Cong. Neri Colmenares and Executive Director GM Jayson Gonzales and bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission headed by its president Richie Garcia and also backed by the Philippine Olympic Committee led by its president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco.
Other promising chess players (boys) who had been installed as favorites owing to their impressive performances in previous age-group tournaments include Asian Schools tilt bronze medalist Joseph Vergara (boys under 8), Michael Concio (boys under-10) Emmanuel Van Paler (boys U-12), Stephen Rome Pangilinan (Boys U-14), Rhenzie Kyle Sevillano (Boys U-16) and Austin Literatus (Boys U-18).
In the girls side, picked to contend for the title are Jerlyn Mae San Diego (U-12), Allaney Doroy and Kylen Joy Mordido (U-14) and Samantha Glo Revita (U-16).
Another gold here by Bersamina in the boys U-20 will automatically make him a full-pledged IM, while Mendoza's possible second gold will give her an outright WIM title.
Day 2 Rounds 1 and 2)
SINGAPORE -- Woman International Master Janelle Mae Frayna continued to live up to her top billing, scoring back-to-back wins to figure in a three-way tie for the lead in the girls' Under 20 category in the 16th ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championships at the Nangyan Technology University Executive Center here.
The 19-year old Frayna, the top-ranked player in her category with an Elo rating of 2265, beat Malaysian Azhar Puteri Rifqah Fahada for her second consecutive victory after crushing another Malaysian, Azman Hisham Nur Majiha, in the opening round.
The FEU stalwart currently shares the lead at two points each with India's Sagar Tejasmin and fellow Filipina WIM Bernadette Galas of De Salle University.
Ranked third with an Elo of 2030, Galas swept past Nguyen Truong Bao Tran of Vietnam in the first round, before disposing of Xu Yuze of China in the second.
The Filipinos, however, suffered some painful setbacks.
IM Paulo Bersamina and WIM Shania Mae Mendoza, coming off impressive victories in the Asian Schools Championships also held here, faltered in the first two rounds, with Bersamina dropping his second game for 0.5 points in the boys' U-20, and Mendoza settling for two draws in a row for 1.0 points in the girls' U-18.
IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, however, took up the cudgels for the Filipino campaigners in the boys' U-20, by stringing up his second straight win to share the lead with three other foreign competitors.
Other Filipino players who made big strides in the second day of the tournament include Cedric Kahiel Abris in the boys' U-8 (2 points), Fide Master Alekhine Nouri and James Henry Dalacday in the boys U-10 (2 pts), John Meryll Jacutina in the boys U-16 (2 pts), Jerlyn Mae San Diego and Mhage Sebastian in the girls U-10 (2 pts) and Alaney Jia Doroy in the girls U-14.