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Pinoy chessers favored

Sander Severino

THE Philippines will open its campaign in the first FIDE Online Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities against Canada.

Bannered by reigning IPCA world champion FM Sander Severino and AGM Henry Lopez, the third-seeded Filipinos are favored to beat the lower-rated Canadians in the opening round of this prestigious competition organized by FIDE as part of the United Nations “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” celebrations on Dec. 3.

Severino,who made history by winning the first IPCA Online World Championship last June, and Lopez will be supported by Darry Bernardo on board three and Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza on board four.

Coach of the team is Davao City-based chess official James Infiesto.

Team Philippines-B, led by Menandro Redor and Arman Subaste and handled by coach Roel Abelgas, will battle Mongolia in another first-round encounter.

Joining Redor and Subaste in action are Felix Auilera and Cheryl Angot.

Based on FIDE website, a total of 61 registered teams from 45 different countries are expected to participate in the event that allows four games of three open section slots and a woman.

Poland, Germany, the Philippines, Israel, and Cuba are the top favorites, along traditional “chess superpowers” like Russia and Ukraine.

The Filipinos are seeded third — thanks to Severino, who is the fifth highest-rated among the 150 participants with an ELO of 2364.

The two teams are fully supported by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

The event will consist of two stages.

The first one is a seven-round Swiss System event on Nov. 21-28, from which the best four teams will qualify to play a double-round semifinal on Nov. 29-30.

The two best teams will then advance to the finals, while the two others will compete for third prize.

The time control in all stages is 25 minutes + 10 seconds, and for the first time, a FIDE event will be held on Tornelo, a web-based tournament management software.

Overall, a total of 400 participants, led by GM Marcin Tabir of Poland and GM Yaacov Silberman of Israel, and 12 IMs, are entered.

Nguyen Tran of the United States, born in 2011, will be the youngest participant, while Aldric Gomez of France will be the oldest, at 79 years old.

The event will be as global as expected from an Online Olympiad, with 21 teams from Asia, 20 from Europe, 13 from the Americas, and seven from Africa.