THE Filipino woodpushers begin their campaign against Libya Tuesday in the 40th Fide Chess Olympiad at the Wow Convention Center in Istanbul, Turkey.
The 35th-ranked Philippine team is composed of Grandmasters Wesley So (Elo 2652), Oliver Barbosa (2554), Eugene Torre (2469), Mark Paragua (2508) and GM candidate Oliver Dimakiling (2428). The country wound up a worst-ever 50th place in the last Olympiad.
Libya, ranked 113th, is headed by untitled Elarbi Abobker (2259), Fide Masters Al-Zayat Ahmed (1977) and Asabri Hussien (2211), Asabri Hussan (2179) and unrated Mansour Abdallah.
In the distaff side, Woman International Master (WIM) Catherine Perena leads the Filipina team aiming to improve on its 44th place finish in the 2010 Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
Perena (2091), WFM Rulp Ylem Jose (2061), Woman National Masters Jannelle Mae Frayna (1991), Jedara Docena (2061) and Jan Jodilyn Fronda (2022) are ranked No. 57.
First up for the Filipinas are No.121 Pakistan featuring Siddiqui Nida Mishraz (1670) and unrated players Wasif Zenubia, Khuaja Ghazala Shabbir, Khuaja Fatima Shabbir and Mehak Gul.
“I like our chances now. We have a young but experienced batch of players ready to do their best for the country,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines Abraham Tolentino.