THE 43rd World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia opened Monday with the Philippines taking on lowly-rated opponents in the first round in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
The GM Eugene Torre-coached Filipinos will make the first move against No. 144 seed San Marino in the men’s tournament which attracted 919 players -- including almost the whole world chess elite -- from183 countries.
Torre decided to field United States-based GM Julio Catalino Sadorra and his three young guns -- IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, IM Haridas Pascua and FM Mari Joseph Turqueza.
GM John Paul Gomez gets a day off.
The women’s team, handled by GM Jayson Gonzales, will open their campaign against No.117 Mozanbique.
The Filipinas will send WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, WIm Catherine Secopito, WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego to battleground, while giving WIM Bernadette Galas an extra day of rest.
Both San Marino, the fifth smallest city in the world with a population of approximately 33,000, and Mozambique, a war-torn Southeast African country near the Indian Ocean,are not expected to put up a challenge to the Philippines in the first day of the 11-round, two-week long event.
But the Filipinos are bracing for tougher competitions in the succeeding rounds based on the Swiss system format.
Top seed United States,led by GMs Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura, will open its campaign against No. 89 Panama.
So will play top board for the US in place of GM Fabiano Caruana.
Other notable first-round matches will pit No.2 Russia against No. 90 Uganda; No. 3 China against No. 92 Morocco; No. 5 India aganst No. 94 El Salvador; No. 6 Ukraine against No. 95 Zambia; No. 7 France against No. 96 Yemen; No. 8 Armenia against No. 97 Japan; No. 9 England against No. 98 Angola; and No. 10 Israel against No. 9 Bolivia.
In the women’s division, it will be Russia against Costa Rica, Ukraine against Monaco, China against Tajikistan, Georgia-1 against South Korea, India against New Zealand, France aganst Albania, Poland aganst Guatemala, Kazakhstan against Singapore and US aganst URuguay.