Home Editors' Picks Paragua, Frayna represent PHL in FIDE World Cup in Azerbaijan

Paragua, Frayna represent PHL in FIDE World Cup in Azerbaijan

THE PHILIPPINES’ Mark Paragua and Janelle Mae Frayna aim to pull off a surprise or two when they wade into battle in the ultra-competitive FIDE World Cup slated July 29 to August 25 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Mr. Paragua will tackle Slovakian Jergus Pechac in a two-game duel where the New York-based Filipino Grandmaster (GM) is the heavy underdog as his rating of 2438 pales in comparison with the latter’s 2608.

But despite the disparity in rating, the 39-year-old Mr. Paragua should rely on his experience after having participated in thrice before in 2005, 2011 and 2013 as well as showing his penchant for catching big fishes reminiscent of his sensational upset of Polish super-GM Jan Krzysztof Duda — rated 2750 — in last year’s World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Mr. Paragua have also stunned Armenian Sergei Movsesian in 2005 in advancing to the second round before eventually succumbing to Russian veteran Alexey Dreev.

“I hope to play well in this event,” said Mr. Paragua.

Ms. Frayna, a Woman GM who is coming off a strong showing in the Chennai Olympiad where she finished a strong 18th overall among top board chessers, for her part, eyes to do better this time around as she clashes with Indonesian International Master Medina Wardan Aulia.

Ms. Frayna made her debut World Cup stint two years ago in Sochi, Russia but fell to nemesis Vietnamese-Hungarian GM Hoang Than Trang.

“This will be my second time in the World Cup and the last one ended in a dramatic exit for me after a 1-1 score with GM Hoang in the standard and a 2.5-1.5 defeat in the rapid tiebreaks,” said Ms. Frayna.

Mr. Paragua and Ms. Frayna, whose trip are going to be funded by Philippine Sports Commission and National Chess Federation of the Philippines, are hoping and praying to do the impossible as a top three finish will catapult them straight to the Candidates Matches where the winner gets a crack at playing the reigning world champions in their respective divisions. — Joey Villar