Janelle Frayna is PH’s first female chess grandmaster

  • Janelle Frayna is the first Filipina chess grandmaster
  • She earned the title Woman Chess Grandmaster (WGM) during the World Chess Olympiad
  • She scored six points on four wins, four draws, and just one loss over nine rounds in all

Janelle Frayna, a 20-year-old from Legazpi City in Albay, made history after becoming the first woman chess grandmaster from the Philippines.

Frayna managed to score six points on four wins, four draws, and just one loss over nine rounds during the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku in Azerbaijan, which was enough to earn her the title of Woman Chess Grandmaster (WGM).

“I’m proud to announce that WIM (Woman International Master) Janelle Mae Frayna achieved the third and last result to become the first Woman Grandmaster from the Philippines,” Grandmaster (GM) Jayson Gonzales, who also serves as Frayna’s personal trainer, told Rappler.

The psychology major who is currently running for honors in her senior year at the Far Eastern University (FEU) faced off with some of the best chess players in the world, including three Men’s Grandmasters, Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia and Dronavalli Harika of India, Men’s International Master (IM) Nomin Erdene, and two other Women International Masters (IM), Sabrina Latreche of Algeria and Alejandra Guerrero Rodrigiez of Mexico.

She eventually toppled IM Daavademberel Nomin-Erdene from Mongolia during the ninth round.

Frayna’s victory earned praised from Filipinos. She had previously placed fifth at the World Juniors in India, narrowly missed the WGM title there

“You represented our country well. You make us proud,” National Chess Federation of the Philippines president and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay said in an interview with the Inquirer.