March 21, 2023

Grand Master-elect Haridas Pascua has failed to make the cut to become a member of the Philippine Team for this year’s first FIDE Online Chess Olympiad.
The Federation Internationale des Echecs kicked off the Online Chess Olympiad on July 22 and will end on Aug. 30 after top wood pushers from various federations (countries) competed in the qualifying rounds.
The 25-year-old Pascua was defeated twice by Filipino Arizona-based GM Banjo Barcenilla, who eventually became the top winner in the Philippine qualifying rounds with six points from his wins over Pascua.
Barcenilla was expected as a formidable qualifier, having won the championship trophy in the Battle of Grandmasters last year.
Other Filipino players who made the cut were New York-based GMs Mark Paragua, Darwin Laylo, and Joey Antonio. 
The women’s team, on the other hand, forwarded the names of WGMs Janelle Mae Frayna, Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Catherine Secopito, and Bernadette Galas while WGM candidate Kylen Joy Mordido also earned an automatic slot after ruling the Asian Juniors qualifier held online last month.
Also making the cut were International Masters Daniel Quizon and Michael Concio, who will represent the boys’ 20 and under 20 plus Jerlyn San Diego in the girls’ 20-under.
The Philippine Team will be called Agila Pilipinas.
The Olympiad tournament will be staged as an alternative event to the over-the-board edition rescheduled next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. – Harley F. Palangchao