The Philippines stunned heavyweights India and Kazakhstan then trounced Kyrgyzstan to jump to the No. 2 spot at the conclusion of the Asian Nations Chess Cup Open division eliminations on Sunday, October 18.
Grandmaster (GM) Rogelio Barcenilla tripped GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly on board 2 to provide the marginal point for the Filipinos in their duel against the top-seeded Indians, co-champions with the Russians in the 2020 Online Chess Olympiad.
GM Mark Paragua drew with child prodigy Sarin Nihal on board 1 and so did International Masters (IMs) Paulo Bersamina and Haridas Pascua against GMs SP Sethuraman and Khrishnan Sasikiran, on board 3 and 4, respectively, pushing the Filipinos behind the Iranians after 9 rounds of elimination.
Iran wound up with 15 points against 14 points of the Philippines and surprise third-placer Mongolia.
Their morale lifted by the victory over the Indians, the Filipinos bested the Kazakhs, 2.5-1.5, on victories by Bersamina and Pascua over GM Mustas Kazhgaleyev and IM Denis Makhnev. Barcenilla drew with GM Rustam Khusnutdinov, while Paragua yielded to GM Rinat Jumabayev.
The Philippines, seeded 4th among 39 countries, completed its romp by overpowering Kyrgyzstan, 3-1, on wins by Barcenilla, Bersamina, and Pascua. Paragua suffered his second straight defeat at the hands of IM Semaky Tologontegin.
Bersamina is the Philippines' best performer thus far with 7 points in 9 games, followed by Bercanilla with 6 of 9, GM John Paul Gomez with 3.5 of 5, Pascua with 2.5 of 4, and Paragua with 5 of 9.
Completing the quarterfinals cast are No. 4 Australia with 13 points and Indonesia, India, Kazakhstan, and Singapore with 12 each.
Iran tangles with No. 8 Singapore, the Philippines faces No. 7 Kazakhstan anew, Mongolia battles India, and No. 4 Australia clashes with No. 5 Indonesia in the round of 8 where play shifts to knockout.
Philippine men's team captain GM Eugene Torre will be in a quandary whether to field Paragua against the Kazakhs owing to his back-to-back losses. – Rappler.com