WORLD  CHESS:  RP  SWEEPS  MAURITIUS  IN  OLYMPIAD  OPENER
 
MANILA, MAY 23, 2006 (STAR) The Philippines scored an expected romp over unfancied Mauritius, fashioning out a 4-0 victory in the opener of the World Chess Olympiad, a rout it hopes to duplicate when it takes on Luxembourg Monday in the second round of the biennial event in Turin, Italy.

With GMs Mark Paragua and Eugene Torre opting to sit it out, GM Joey Antonio, NM Darwin Laylo and FMs Oliver Dimakiling and Wesley So got the job done for RP as they trampled a bunch of unranked rivals in Roy Philips, Patrick Li Ying, Deevarajan Chinnasamy and Patrick Marie, respectively, to join the early surge of the big guns.

The 35th-ranked Filipinos hope to sustain that momentum when they play Luxembourg, listed as No. 63 in a field of 146, in the second round.

The romp is expected to boost the confidence of the young members of the team, including 12-year-old So, who became the youngest Filipino ever to play in the Olympiad after humbling a slew of veteran campaigners in the elims.

So gets another chance to prove his worth ó and readiness ó in a tournament of this magnitude as he plays alongside Laylo and Dimakiling against Luxembourg, which also blanked Mozambique, 4-0.

Paragua, the highest-ranked Filipino player, also debuts on the top board as Antonio sits out the round along with Torre.

But while the menís team frolic against a lowly squad, the womenís team suffered a numbing 0.5-2.5 setback to eighth-ranked Germany. Sherily Cua averted a shutout by holding Juergens Vera to a standoff on board 3.

WFM Sheerie Joy Lomibao bowed to IM Kachiani-Gersinska Ketino on the top board while Catherine Perena lost to Nill Jessica on the second board.

Morocco pulled off a shock 3-1 victory over second seed India even as Russia beat Kazakhstan, 4-0, on the top board. Other results saw Armenia defeat Venezuela, 3-1; France thump Bolivia, 3.5-0.5; the United States survive New Zealand, 2.5-1.5; the Netherlands blank Faroe Islands, 4-0; and Italy A whip Monaco, 3.5-0.5.

Other second round pairings pit Russia vs Latvia, Netherlands vs Bangladesh, Bulgaria vs Indonesia, Estonia vs Spain, Germany vs Canada, Australia vs Romania, Italy A vs Israel, Georgia vs Iran, and Poland vs Qatar.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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