Newly-minted Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna downed International Master Olga Zimina to lead the Philippines to a 2.5-1.5 victory over Italy in the 10th and penultimate round, while adding the International Master title to her achievement in the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The 20-year-old Frayna took the IM title after scoring seven points on five wins and four draws against one lone loss the day after she also obtained the WGM title to become the very first Filipina to ever do so.
Currently possessing a rating of 2281, WGM Frayna can only assume the IM title if she reaches the 2400-rating mark.
Frayna’s victory, alng Shania Mae Mendoza’s triumph over WFM Desiree Di Benedetto on board four and a draw by Christy Lamiel Bernales with WFM Daniela Movileanu on board three also lifted the Philippines to the much-needed win over Italy to match 12 other teams with 13 points.
China leads with 18 points.
The Philippines will take on 12th seed Lithuania in the final round.
The lone casualty of the day was WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, who lost to Marina Brunello on second board.
“Janelle (Frayna) had made history by becoming the first Filipina WGM and men’s IM title-holder, which she both achieved in this Olympiad,” said GM Jayson Gonzales, NCFP executive director.
“But our biggest goal is for the team to make it to the top 10, which will be the country’s best finish in the women’s division if ever we achieve it. And hopefully we could, with everyone’s prayers,” he added.
In the Open section, GM Eugene Torre trounced Fide Master Iain Gourlay as the Philippines beat Scotland, 4-0, while hiking his personal total to nine points on eight wins and two draws in 10 outings.
GMs Julio Catalino Sadorra, John Paul Gomez and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. downed IM Andrew Meet, GM John Shaw and FM Neil Berry on boards one, two and four, respectively.
The Philippine teams, backed the Philippine Sports Commission, has 12 points and will take on Australia in the final round. The US and Ukraine are on top with 18 points.
Torre is still a candidate for a medal on board three at No. 5 with a performance rating of 2813. Former teammate GM Wesley So, now representing the US, leads the race with a 2883 rating.
Azeri GM Rauf Mamedov is at No. 2 with a 2839 rating followed by Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi at 2837 and Hungarian GM Zoltan Almasi at 2819.