Philippine chess team confident vs Russia
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:43:00 08/23/2008

Standings after six rounds:17.5 points — Russia; 16 — Philippines, India; 15.5 — Georgia, England, Armenia; 15.0 — Azerbaijan, Slovakia; 13.5 — Turkey-A; 12.5 — Turkey-Mersin; 12.0 — Switzerland-A, Sri Lanka; 11.5 — Greece, Syria, Turkey Girls-A, Turkey-C; 11.0 — South Africa-A; 10.5 — Switzerland -B, Turkey-B

MERSIN, Turkey — The Philippines got a much-needed break Thursday in time for their all-important seventh-round showdown against top seed Russia in the World Under-16 Chess Olympiad at the Mersin Great Municipality Sport Hotel here.

Still smarting from a close 1.5-2.5 setback to defending champion India in the sixth round Wednesday, the Filipinos spent some time fine-tuning their games in preparation for the much-awaited encounter against the top-seeded Russians in this tough, 10-round tournament organized by the Turkish Chess Federation and sanctioned by the International Chess Federation (FIDE).

Grandmaster Wesley So (ELO 2577) will play the top board for the Filipinos against International Master Aleksandr Shimanov (ELO 2480)

Shimanov has five wins and only one loss at the hands of IM B. Adhiban of India in the second round which ended 3.5-.5 in the Indians’ favor.

National Master Haridas Pascua, Alcon John Datu and Jan Emmanuel Garcia will join So in the Filipinos’ biggest test in the tournament.

Aside from Shimanov, Russia will field Oleg Yaksin (ELO 2307), WFM Anastashia Bodnarlik (ELO 2394) and either WFM Varvar Refina (ELO 2201) or Ilia Iljiushenok (ELO 2315)

“This is another big challenge for the team, but I’m confident Wesley and our three other players can hold their own even against the Russians,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero Pichay.

“Wesley, who has five wins and one draw, is also right on target for his second straight individual gold medal on board one,” he added.

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