PH hangs on with a draw

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Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza and Woman International Master Bernadette Galas pulled off shock wins as the Philippines carved out a 2-2 draw with higher-ranked England after five rounds of the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia Friday night.

Mendoza punished WFM Louise Head for a greedy pawn capture and fashioned out a 35-move win of a Slav Defense on board three while Galas turned a quiet positional game into a material and lasting edge and hacked out a 43-move triumph over WIM Sue Maroroa of an English encounter on board four.

Up 2-0 and a draw away from pulling off the shock win, Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna and WIM Catherine Secopito lost their way and suffered painful defeats at the hands of IM Jovanka Houska and FM kshaya Kalaiyalahan on the top two boards as the English team escaped with the standoff.

The Philippines dropped from a share of 12th to a 10-country tie at 23rd with seven match points to show in this tournament that gives two points for a win, a point for a draw and none for a loss.

United States leads the way with perfect 10 points.

The draw, however, was a big result for the Pinay woodpushers as their 43rd rank paled in comparison to England’s 25th.

They hope to inch closer to the tournament’s big guns as they face off with the 15th-seeded Spaniards in the sixth-round tonight.

This 11-round tournament took a one-day break yesterday.

While the women’s squad kept its impressive showing, the men’s side, which is seeded 54th, continued to disappoint following a 1.5-2-5 defeat to 102-ranked Lebanon.

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