The 12-member Philippine team left the country Wednesday to participate in the 44th World Chess Olympiad that begins Friday and ends Aug. 10 in Chennai, India.

Photo from National Chess Federation of the Philippines Facebook account

The members of the team are Grandmasters Mark Paragua, Banjo Barcenilla, Darwin Laylo and John Paul Gomez and International Master Paulo Bersamina in the men’s side, and WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, WIMs Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Marie Antoinette San Diego and Kylen Joy Mordido and WFM Shania Mae Mendoza in the women’s section.

GM Eugene Torre will coach the men’s team while GM Jayson Gonzales in the women’s squad.

Barcenilla arrived Wednesday morning from Arizona while Paragua was scheduled to land the same night from New York.

The rest left the country Wednesday afternoon via Malaysian Airlines.

The country is looking to improve on its performance in the last over-the-board staging of the biennial meet in Batumi, Georgia four years back when the men’s team finished 37th and the women’s squad at 67th.

The 11-round, 12-day tournament has drawn participation from 188 teams from 186 countries in men’s and 162 from 160 squads in the women’s with the host fielding three teams in both divisions.

Philippine-born Wesley So will also be there as he will spearhead title-favorite United States, which included top 10 players like So in Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura.

Source: Manila Bulletin (