After three games in the Wesley So Cup of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines, Palawan’s Queen’s Gambit has one win and two losses.
After trouncing Cebu, 13.5-7.5 in the first match on Wednesday, Palawan had all the reasons to look to the second match vs Talisay with optimism.
After Palawan ruled the blitz section with 4.5-2.5, Toledo flexed its muscles in the rapid phase where a win is worth two points and a draw one point. Toledo dominated Palawan, 10-4, as former Asian champion Padmini Rout stumbled against Rogelio Enriquez, an experienced tough-to-beat veteran and Mikee Suede resigned after a mouse slip on board seven.
Top board Shania Mae Mendoza lost both games to Toledo’s Iranian import Amir Bagheri, who sat tight and slowly outplayed her foe.
The team has a new board order. Shania Mae Mendoza is top board, Padmini second, comebacking veteran Beverly Mendoza at third where her foes are women, Carmelita Abanes or Cecile Cuizon on board four, Catherine Secopito board five, Antoinette San Diego on board six and Mikee Suede board seven.
By placing Secopito at board five and pitting San Diego against lower rated males, Palawan hopes to gain points at these boards which eluded them in the First Conference. Beverly Mendoza, who used to be the anchor in the Philippine teams to the Olympiads but has not been playing often in recent years, but the Palawan team hopes she can recapture that as the tournament goes on.
And the followers of the Palawan All-Women’s team hope that Shania Mae will wield the form that made her upset Armenian Grandmaster Hovhannes Gabuzyan in the first round and that Padmini will be back on track.