mark paragua - Paragua leads Team PH in Asian online chess tilt
GM Mark Paragua (Photo from Mark Paragua’s Facebook account)

The Philippines, bannered by Grandmasters Mark Paragua, Banjo Barcenilla and John Paul Gomez, seeks a strong finish as it plunges into action in the 2020 Asian Online Nations Chess Cup which will unfold on Saturday.

Paragua will play on Board One, Barcenilla Board Two and Gomez Board Three while the other members of the Agila Pilipinas are International Masters Paulo Bersamina and Haridas Pascua.

National men’s team coach GM Eugene Torre will be the squad’s non-playing skipper.

The Filipinos will play the first three rounds Saturday, the next three on Oct. 16 and the last three on Oct. 18.

Paragua has been winning a lot of big local tournaments including the first Philippine Bullet Championships, while Barcenilla has topped the qualifying event for the FIDE Online Olympiad a few months back but he relinquished playing top board to the former in the last minute.

Gomez, meanwhile, is coming off a solid effort in a recent tournament hosted by Bangladesh and gave his clear intention to play after he also gave up his berth to GM Joey Antonio in the last Olympiad.

Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna, WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza, WIM Bernadette Galas and WIM Kylen Joy Mordido will form the women’s side.

They will see action Sunday with three outings, another three on Oct. 17 and the final three on Oct. 19.

The top eight after the nine-round elimination will advance to the two-match knockout playoffs.

Teams to watch out for in the men’s are India, Kazakhstan, Iran, Indonesia and Australia while the women’s will have India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Australia, Vietnam and Iran as the countries to beat.

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