The 38th edition of the biennial World Chess Olympiad finally unfolds in the majestic city of Dresden. Events as grand in scale such as this one will surely have its share of glitches.

At the start of the first round, no less than eight teams from the originally announced list of participants in the Open section, for one reason or another, did not be suit up to play i.e. not paired.

This uncertainty in the final make up of the field, coupled with the recently modified Swiss pairing scheme adopted for this team event, were the main reasons for the drastic changes in the pairing match ups as originally conceived for the teams. Worst affected by this are teams originally seeded near the bottom first and third quadrants (assuming we divide the whole competing group into four quadrants) who were initially paired against lower ranked teams. The shake up suddenly relegated them near the top of the second and fourth quadrants which resulted in being paired with a higher rated team instead.

This was the situation where the members of the Philippine men’s squad found themselves into, although luckily for them they were paired against a team where they have had a good chunk of experience playing with in the past. Still, this wasn’t enough to overcome the adversary, even after Wesley So’s first win against a top 30 ranked player. It was only a matter of time before the Chinese gang of Wangs eventually ground down Gonzales and Villamayor. Nevertheless, the outcome can be considered a decent result after Gomez agreed to split the point with Li.

Our women’s team obtained a better first round result, played a level match against Lithuania which opted not to field their top player, a move that very nearly cost them the match.

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