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List of Articles by Marlon Bernardino

Big wins by Garcia, Pascua as Philippines beats Ecuador

By Marlon Bernardino
05 Oct 2018

INTERNATIONAL Masters (IMs) Jan Emmanuel Garcia (Elo 2439) and Haridas Pascua (2435) trounced lowly-rated opponents as the 54th seed Philippines carved out a 3-1 victory over 78th seed Ecuador in the tenth and penultimate round of the 43rd Chess Olympiad at the Sports Place in Batumi, Georgia, Thursday night.

Playing black, the City of Manila resident Garcia made a brilliant knight sacrifice at d2 square and fashioned out a 47-move win of a Scotch Opening against Fide Master Kevin Noboa (2256) on board three while the Baguio City based Pascua, playing white, defended well throughout the game to eked out a 33-move victory of a Double Fianchetto Opening over International Master Miguel Munoz Sanchez (2254) on board four.

Grandmaster Julio Catalino Sadorra (2553) settled for a truce with Grandmaster Carlos Matamoros Franco (2494) in 37 moves of Catalan Opening on board one and so did as Grandmaster John Paul Gomez (2464) against International Master Christhian Barros Rivadeneira (2345) in 53 moves of Sicilian Defense Dragon variation on board two.

It was a fifth consecutive win for the Nationals after a sorry loss to 102nd seed Lebanon, 1.5-2.5, in the fifth round. Then the much rejuvenated Filipinos defeated 151st seed Jersey, 4-0, in the sixth round, 60th seed Albania, 2.5-1.5, in the seventh round, 67th seed Uruguay, 3-1, in the eight round, 95th seed Zambia, 2.5-1.5, before beating 78th seed Ecuador, in the tenth and penultimate round.

The win climbed the PH men's team in a tie from 13th to 19th place with 14 points together with Croatia, Norway, Sweden, Moldova, Austria and eleventh and last round opponent 27th seed Vietnam, who salvage thrilling 2-2 draw against 16th seed Germany.

Against long-time Asean nemesis Vietnam, Sadorra goes up against Grandmaster Le Quang Liem (2715), Gomez will face Grandmaster Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (2620), Garcia will face Grandmaster Tuan Minh Tran (2491) and Pascua opposite International Master Nguyen Anh Koi (2463).

According to National Chess Federation of the Philippines director and MVP Olympics PLDT Team Manager Martin "Binky" Gaticales, the country’s male squad, whose team captain is Asia's Grandmaster Eugene Torre is leading the way in the Group B category along with Norway.

A possible upset wins against highly-touted Vietnam will enable the Filipinos to land at top 10 in the Open section with 185 team entries.

Mr. Gaticales added that it is possible for the Philippine team to better its best-ever seventh-place finish in the 1988 World Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki, Greece. Women's Team, on the other hand making it to the Top 22nd place then.

Third seed China blasted overnight solo leader 11th seed Poland, 3-1, to raise their total to 17 match points output and create a two-way tie for first place with the top seed and defending champion United States, who defeated 8th seed Armenia, 2.5-1.5.

Thus, the United States and China will slug it out for the gold medal and championships trophy on Friday.

The United States spearheaded by World Championships Challenger and Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana (2827), Filipino Grandmaster Wesley Barbasa So (2776), Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura (2763) and Grandmaster Samuel Shankland (2772) against the power house of Chinese squad led by Grandmaster Ding Liren (2804), Grandmaster Yu Yangyi (2765), Grandmaster Bu Xiangzhi (2712) and Grandmaster Li Chao (2708).

Meanwhile, the 43rd seed Philippine women's team, led by Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna (2287), suffered a setback against 46th seed Moldova.

The Pinay chess players absorbed a 1.5-2.5 beating at the hands of Moldova a day after beating 77th seed South Korea, 3-1.

Frayna failed to convert her winning position instead moving Queen to f2 in the 33th move made a blunder move of King to h1 succumbed to Woman International Master Diana Baciu (2266) in 35 moves Queen's Indian defense on board one.

Woman International Master Catherine Perena-Secopito () defeated Woman Fide Master Olga Hincu in 45 moves of another Queen's Indian defense on board two, Woman Fide Master Shania Mae Mendoza split the point with International Master Svetlana Petrenko in 48 moves of Sicilian defense on board three while Woman International Master Bernadette Galas yielded to Woman Fide Master Paula Alexandra Gitu in 50 moves of another Sicilian skirmish on board four.

The defeat sent the Philippines women's team from being tied at 46th to 63rd placers with eleven points, the same output of last round opponent 33th seed Australia, who brought down 55th seed Venezuela, 3-1.

Against the Aussie woodpushers, Frayna, Mendoza, Woman International Master Marie Antoinette San Diego (2102) and Galas will test the mettle of Woman Grandmaster Julia Ryjanova (2330), Woman Grandmaster Jilin Zhang (2224), Woman Fide Master Nguyen Thu Giang (2134)and International Master Irina Berezina (2112), respectively.

Team Captain Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales gave Perena-Secopito a rest and activated San Diego, a top player of Dasmarinas Mayor Elpidio "Pidi" Barzaga Jr.(Marlon Bernardino).


Photo: After a hard fought 10th round games at the 43rd Chess Olympiad, the team captain Asia's First Grandmaster Eugene Torre Philippines' mens team enjoy the dinner at the Euphoria Hotel in Batumi, Georgia Thursday night.

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