Chessers bounce back

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY Of lilibeth barcenilla/fb ROGELIO Barcenilla leads the Philippines to a 3-1 victory over Cyprus in the 44th Chess Olympiad.

By TDT

August 2, 2022

The Philippines bounced back with a 3-1 mastery of lowly Cyprus in the Open division of the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India Sunday.

A day after absorbing a 3-1 defeat at the hands of sixth-seed Azerbaijan, the Filipinos bucked the stunning loss of top board player Grandmaster Mark Paragua by winning the rest of the games.

Rogelio Barcenilla, playing white on the second board, used the English Opening to whip untitled Alexandros Isaakidis in 34 moves.

A member of the 1988 team that posted its best finish — seventh — in the Olympiad, Barcenilla outmaneuvered his opponent in the middlegame to trap the queen on the kingside.
Facing material loss, Isaakidis resigned.

In board three, GM John Paul Gomez employed the Caro-Kann system with black against the English Opening and proceeded to trounce Ioannis Damianou after 40 moves.

Damianou looked good until he made a dubious knight move on the 26th that led to a loss of the pawn and the game 14 moves later.

GM Darwin Laylo swung back into action and picked up his second straight win at the expense of Michalis Florentiades in 40 moves of a Slav defense.

Laylo launched a kingside pawn storm and won the exchange after Florentiades sacrificed a rook for a bishop and a pawn to save her trapped queen on the 23rd.

With his advancing pawns wreaking havoc on his foe’s defenses, Laylo came through with a three-move combination to seal the victory via mate.

Cyrpus got a consolation of sorts when FIDE Master Konstantinos Michaelides stunned Paragua after 42 moves of a Catalan Opening.

Paragua, playing his third straight match, had the game under wraps after winning the exchange but threw it all with a blunder on the 26th that cost him the queen.

The Filipinos take on Monaco in the fourth round.

Top seed United States clobbered Georgia, 3-1, to remain perfect after three rounds.

Philippine-born American GM Wesley So did not see action.

In the women’s section, the Philippines took a 2.5-1.5 loss at the hands of 18th seed Serbia.

Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna, playing black on the top board, battled WGM Teodora Injac to a 28-move draw while WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda split the point with WGM Jovana Eric after 59 moves of a Sicilian in board two.

In board 4, WIM Kylen Joy Mordido halved the point with WIM Marina Gajcin in 78 moves of an English Opening.

Serbia completed the narrow victory through WIM Adela Velikic who outlasted WFM Shania Mae Mendoza in 71 moves.

The Filipinas clash with Angola on Monday.

India, Ukraine and Georgia were among the teams that rolled to their third straight wins.


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