Mixed fortunes in Chennai

WOMAN Grandmaster (WGM) Janelle Mae Frayna and Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza essayed impressive wins to lift the Philippines to a 2.5-1.5 win over Nicaragua Saturday for a share of the women’s lead after two rounds of the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Frayna trounced Woman International Master (WIM) Maria Esther Granados Diaz on the top board, while Mendoza downed Patricia Alvarez Gutierrez on Board 3 and WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda drew with Michelle Ferrifino to seal the Filipinas’ second straight win.

WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego was the lone casualty as she fell to untitled Maria Jose Granados Ortiz on Board 4.

The Filipinas’ victory cushioned the men’s 1-3 loss to sixth-seeded Azeri. They battle No. 18  Serbia with WGM-candidate Kylen Joy Mordido taking San Diego’s place on Board 4.

GMs Mark Paragua and John Paul Gomez fought their way to draws with Rauf Mamedov and Vasif Durarbayli on Boards 1 and 3, respectively, while GM Banjo Barcenilla and IM Paulo Bersamina succumbed to Gadir Guseinov and Nijat Abasov on Boards 2 and 4.

GM Darwin Laylo, who won on Board 3 in the country’s 4-0 rout of Oman in the opening round Friday, will suit up in place of Bersamina in the third round against Cyprus.

The teams, whose participation in the 11-round 12-day event is bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission and the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, is coached by GMs Eugene Torre and Jayson Gonzales.