By Cip D.C. Cabrera
(Photo courtesy of Jagran English)
CHENNAI, INDIA — In the final round of the 44th World Chess Olympiad at the Sheraton Mahabalipuram Resort and Convention Center here, the Philippine men’s team equaled its performance four years ago by stunning third seed Norway with a 2.5 to 1.5 trashing to raise its standing from 58th place in the rankings to 31st in the prestigious event.
It was international master Paulo Bersamina (ELO 2429) who placed the proverbial “icing on the cake” on the last board as he outplayed Norwegian grandmaster Frode Olav Olsen Urkedal (ELO 2543) in 37 moves of a Grunfeld Defense to cap the sweep of the final two rounds after a 4-0 shutout of Guatemala on Monday.
It was an unfortunate defeat for the highly-rated Norwegians as Norway paid the price for not fielding world champion Magnus Carlsen (ELO 2864) in the final round as the Filipinos secured draws in three boards.
GM Mark Paragua (ELO 2430), playing white, scored the first draw against GM Aryan Tari (EO 2672) in 30 moves of a Caro-Kann Defense on board one followed by GM John Paul Gomez halving the point with GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (ELO 2639) after 35 moves of a Ruy Lopez and GM Darwin Laylo (ELO 2432) agreeing for a truce with Johan-Sebastian Christiansen (ELO 2607) in 38 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined.
Meanwhile, the women’s team failed to get the breaks as they fell to Cuba, 2.5-1.5, just a day after the Filipinas blasted Asian rival Vietnam, 3-0. The Filipinas ended the tournament with 13 points.
Woman international master (WIM) Jan Jodilyn Fronda (ELO 2181) bowed to fellow WIM Yerisbel Miranda Llanes (ELO 2300).
In the matches pitting WGM Janelle Mae Frayna (ELO 2224) against IM Lisandra Ordaz Valdes (ELO 2339), WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego (ELO 2101) against woman grandmaster (WGM) Maritza Arribas Robaina (ELO 2246) and WIM Kylen Joy Mordido (ELO 2023) against WIM Yaniela Forgas Moreno (ELO 2355) all ended in draws. (ai/mtvn)