Chess

Severino forces draw; Lopez, Bernardo back in contention with 4th round wins

Lynde Salgados
Severino forces draw; Lopez, Bernardo back in contention with 4th round wins

GOLDEN. Sander Severino is an athlete to watch out for after his two-gold haul from the 2018 Asian Para Games.

Jat Tenorio/Red Ox Media Events

Sander Severino picks up his first draw the hardest way after starting 3 of 3 on board 5

Filipino hopeful FIDE Master (FM) Sander Severino had to defend well to salvage a draw and remain in the elite group, but fellow unbeaten compatriot National Master (NM) Jasper Rom finally cracked under pressure in the fourth round of the 4th World Chess Championship for People with Disabilities on Monday night, November 8.

After successively facing higher-rated opponents, visually-impaired NM Rodolfo Sarmiento also melted as he suffered from back-to-back losses. The remaining Filipinos – NMs Henry Roger Lopez and Darry Bernardo – provided the haymakers when the five-man Philippine Paralympic team experienced thus far the most laborious fourth-day undertakings in the competition via Tornelo online format.

“It was really hard labor,” said Severino, the reigning 2020 International  Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA) world champion, who earned his first draw the hardest way after starting 3 of 3 on board 5.

Elevated on board 3, the white-wielding Severino, who confronts two dangerous enemy  passed pawns on the queenside, managed to force a draw via repetition of moves against Russian juggernaut Maksim Ermakov, who gave him the real test of might in a Queen’s Gambit Declined Ragozin Variation (49 moves).

The board one match also ended in a truce between Polish Grandmaster Marcin Tazbir and his countryman Pawel Piekielny, even as another Russian FM Stanislav Babarykin rolled to his fourth win on board two in a marathon 64 squeaker over Polander Tonasz Miozga.

On board 4, Rom was again racing against time with black in an extremely difficult mid-game tussle where he had only 38 seconds to Argentinian Leonel Amato’s 8 minutes and 30 seconds. Unlike in his previous games in a similar situation, Rom failed to hold on after 33 moves of the French defense which saw both combatants in tactical mood and with their uncasted kings roaming vulnerably in the center.

As Sarmiento fell victim to India’s Ashutosh Singh (44 moves) in another Colle System, Lopez and Bernardo went berserk opposite Juan Carlos Montenegro of Argentina and Marie Moulin of France to catch up Rom at 3-1 win-loss slate

Lopez downed Montenegro in 39 moves of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, while Bernardo needed just 33 to demolish Moulin in Sevi-Slav Botvinnik Variation.

“Almost halfway, the grind is getting much tougher now. We can only pray that the final half of the world championship will give us a good result,” Philippine Paralympic team coach NM James Infiesto told Rappler.

Joining Babarykin and Amato with perfect 4 points are Ismail Mohammed Aayan of England, FM Lipilin Ilia of Russia, Choroszej Aleksander of Poland, and Otero Munelo Harlen Jose of Venezuela.

The draw put Severino in a 16-man group of 3.5 pointers sharing 7th to 22 places. While Rom led a big bunch of 3 pointers that included Lopez and Bernardo.

The nine-round Swiss tournament with 45 minutes + 30 seconds increment per move is an individual competition with an additional team ranking. 

Fifty nations are represented in the 10-day competition. – Rappler.com