Friday, August 17, 2012


This is one of the clippings that Roberto Hernandez has compiled since learning chess from 1972-2012.
Tore or Torre means rook in Filipino language.

MALLORCA, SPAIN -- Grandmaster Eugene Torre would sit out the first round of the World Chess Olympiad for the 2nd time since 1970, a decision reached to give national champion Darwin Laylo his baptism of fire in the world's most prestigious chess tournament.

Torre, assigned the top board for the 17th straight time, is giving way to give reserve player Laylo a chance to see action alongside GM Joey Antonio, International Masters Mark Paragua and Jayson Gonzales in the first round.

Follwoing a team meeting presided by captain Sammy Estimo, the following board order was decide: Torre, Antonio, Paragua, Gonzales, Emmanuel Senador and Laylo.

Senador is also sitting out the first round.

The Philippines' first round rival has yet to be ascertained, but based on the team seeding, it could either be Bahrain or Malta. The pairing, however, remains unofficial since 9 more teams are expected to come in late in the day.

A total of 120 teams, led by powerhouse Russia, are taking part in the open section.

The Philippines is also fielding a team in the women's section which has lured 85 teams so far.

Two-time national champion Sheerie Joy Lomibao, Women International Master Beverly Mendoza, rookies Loreshyl Cuison and Aices Salvador make up the board assignments in that order.

With 2 GMs, one GM-elect and one IM in the fold, the Philippines is seeded 41st.

Despite the absence of world no. 1 Garry Kasparov, Russia retains its top seeding with super GMs Alexander Morozevich (2758), Peter Svidler (2735) and Alexander Grischuk (2704) manning the first 3 boards.

Ukraine, with GMs Ruslan Ponomariov (2710) and Vassily Ivanchuk (2705), is ranked 2nd while GM Boris Gelfand (2693) leads the 3rd-ranked Israel.

GM Viswanathan Anand of India, ranked second behind Kasparov with an ELO of 2781, is making his first appearance in the Olympics after a long absence.

His presence elevated India to No. 5 in the team seeding, the highest among Asian countries. Other highly-ranked Indian players in the field are GMs Krishnan Sasikiran (2668) and GM Pentala Harikrishna (2612).

Despite its modest seeding, the Philippines is expected to figure prominently in the race for the Top 10 standings.

"We have a pretty solid lineup. We hope to do well here," said Torre.

Antonio said he is not discounting the possibility of a Top 10 finish.

"We will fight hard to bring honor to the country," said the 42-year-old Antonio, who along with Torre powered the Filipinos to their best finish --7th in the 1988 Thessaloniki Olympiad in Greece.

One thing going for the Filipinos is the presence of Paragua who is coming off his best season in his career with two international victories in Alusha, Ukraine that earned him his GM title.

The 20-year-old former child prodigy is on a roll.

After conquering the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, Paragua won a small international tournament in Torino, Italy, site of the 2006 World Chess Olympiad. He scored 5.5 points in 6 rounds.

Two days before the start of the Olympiad, Paragua also topped a blitz tournament against a cast of GMs and IMs here.

With Torre and Antonio expected to hold their own in the first 2 boards, the Filipinos are expected to strike hard in the lower boards.

Aside from Paragua, Gonzales, one of the key members of the team that dominated the Southeast Asian Games, will be a force to reckon with at board 4.

The team could also count on its reserve player in Senador and Laylo.

Senador has played in two Olympiads including the 1996 Yerevan Olympics in Yemen where his acquited himself well.

Laylo, on the other hand, was a former national junior champion who finished 2nd behind Sasikiran in the Asian Junior championships in 1999.

The delegation arrived Thursday afternoon following a 24-hour journey which included a six-hour stop in Zurich, Switzerland.

The team members were met by Paragua who came in a day earlier from Torino, Italy.

Salvador, left behind while the travel documents of her mother is being processed, is expected to rejoin the team in the next few days.

Source: Tempo Newspaper
"World Chess Olympiad -- SACRIFICE ROOK"
By Rey Bancod --Associate Editor
October 16, 2004

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