Woe befell the women of Palawan’s Queen’s Gambit. A game short of 50 percent, they lost twice in Saturday’s (May 29) action at the Wesley So Cup Conference of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines.

Zamboanga nipped the all-women’s squad, 11-10 and Surigao dealt the wobbly Palawan squad a 13-8 decision. Now, with three wins and six losses, this is not the position where Palawan did not think it would occupy.

With two games more before the first phase of the conference, Palawan will have to do something to be within 50 percent and enter the quarterfinals. It has a chance.

Padmini Rout, the Indian lady who holds the men’s International Master title, and Beverly Mendoza have started winning. Catherine Secopito appears to have recovered from a slump.

It just happens that bad luck really comes in buckets as seen in this blitz game between National Master Paulo James Florendo of Zamboanga and Woman International Master Mikee Charlene Suede.

Florendo (White)-Suede (Black). Black to play

To get those tactical juices flowing, take a look and work out Black’s sacrificial line. Suede, known as an aggressive player, wades into the fray with 23…Nexg3! 24. fxg3 Rxe3 25. Rxe3 Nxg3 26. Bg2 Nf5 27. Re2 Bxg2 28. Rxg2 Qxf3 29. Qxb6 Qd1+ 30. Kf2 Qd2+ 31. Kf1 Qd1 (A mistake. 31… Ne3 ch wins. White is forced to exchange his Queen for a Knight. No doubt lack of time to win the Queen vs Rook ending played into Black’s decision to go for a repetition of moves which leads to a draw) 32. Kf2 Qd2+ 33. Kf3 Qd3+ 34. Kf2 Qd2+ 35. Drawn

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