MANILA – Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Janelle Frayna is optimistic about her title defense in the Philippine National Women’s Chess Championship grand finals from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7 at the Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence (PACE) on Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City.
Frayna is looking forward to winning the standard chess, blitz and rapid events for the fourth time in the tournament that will also select the players going to Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Thailand next year.
“I feel like I'm still at my peak right now," Frayna said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Philippine Sports Commission building inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila on Tuesday.
Frayna was with National Chess Federation of the Philippine (NCFP) Executive Officer GM Jayson Gonzales and Nova Wellness store president Vincent Travis Chua in the weekly session presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), MILO, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
Despite her confidence, Frayna knows she has to be cautious.
“Anything can happen in a match so you always have to be at your best. If you relax, you will not notice that someone has replaced you. So you should always be at your best,” said the 25-year-old Frayna, who studied psychology at the Far Eastern University.
Frayna and Woman International Masters Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Beverly Mendoza, Bernadette Galas and Marie Antoinette San Diego will be pitted against the seven young players who advanced to the grand finals after a series of eliminations.
Among the seven, Frayna described Woman National Master April Joy Claros, 15, as gifted.
"I see a very bright future for her. She has the talent and she's hardworking which are both important to become a successful chess player," Frayna said.
Gonzales said two of the seven qualifiers are future national team members.
“I can see two who may become members of the national team looking forward to the 2024 (Chess) Olympiad in Hungary,” said Gonzales, the head coach of UAAP champion Far Eastern University.
Meanwhile, Chua has committed to help the NCFP programs, starting with the Women's Chess Championships grand finals.
"As long as I can, I will continue to support chess. I believe that we can excel in the sport," said Chua, a former member of the Ateneo chess team in the UAAP. (PNA)