Filipinos cap Chess Olympiad stint with shock victory over Norwegians

Roy Luarca

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Filipinos cap Chess Olympiad stint with shock victory over Norwegians

STRONG RUN. The Philippine chess team delivers above expectations.


Team Philippines stuns third-ranked Norway in the final round to wrap up its run inside the top 40 out of 187 teams in the 44th Chess Olympiad

MANILA, Philippines – Never underestimate the Filipinos.

The third-seeded Norwegians found this out too late on Tuesday, August 9, as they yielded to the lower-ranked Filipinos, 2.5-1.5, in the 11th and final round of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

International Master Paulo Bersamina stunned Grandmaster Frode Olav Oben Urkedal on board 4 for the marginal point as the Philippines, ranked 52nd, placed 32nd among 187 teams in the Open division.

Seeded third and boasting higher-rated players, Norway opted to sit out world champion Magnus Carlsen, leaving Grandmaster Aryan Tari to man board 1 against Filipino GM Mark Paragua; GM Jon Ludwig Hammet to play board 2 against GM John Paul Gomez; and Johan Sebastian Christiansen to tackle GM Darwin Laylo on board 3.

It proved to be Norway’s undoing as Paragua, Gomez, and Laylo were able to secure draws against their higher-ranked opponents.

As a result, Norway plummeted to 59th place in the division won via tiebreak by Uzbekistan over Armenia. 

The Uzbeks and the Armenians scored 19 points out of a perfect 22, relegating the second-seeded Indians and the highly favored Americans, who tallied 18 each, to third and fourth places, respectively.

The Filipinas bowed to the Cubans, 2.5-1.5, and settled for 37th spot in the women division, where they are seeded 39th among 161 teams.

WGM Janelle Mae Frayna drew with IM Lisandra Breza Ordaz, and so did WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego with WGM Robaina Maritza Arribas, and Kylen Joy Mordido with Yaniela Forgas. WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, though, bowed to WIM Yerisbel Miranda on board 2.

Team Philippines thus improved on its performances in the 2018 Batumi (Georgia) Olympiad, where the Filipinos landed 54th in the Open division and 67th in the distaff side of the biennial event which wasn’t held in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ukraine topped the Women’s division with 18 points, edging Georgia, which also posted 18. India tallied 17 points, nipping the United States, also with 17, for third place via tiebreak.

Host India copped the Gaprindashvili Cup, rewarded to the federation with the best cumulative performance in the Open and women’s division.

Gomez emerged Team Philippines’ highest Open scorer with 7 points in 10 games, followed by Paragua with 6.5 in 10 matches, Laylo with 6 points in nine games, GM Rogelio Barcenilla with 4 in seven duels, and Bersamina with 4 points in eight games.

Frayna scored 6.5 in nine games, Mordido with 6.5 in 10 matches, San Diego with 6 points in nine games, Fronda 6 in 11, and WFM Shaniah Mae Mendoza 2 in five games.

The Cavite-born and raised Wesley So played board 3 for the all-Super GM Team USA, and contributed the most with 7 points in 10 games. –

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