Almost but not enough for Pinoy chessers

August 17, 2020
Pinoy chessers

INDONESIA is in, the Philippines is out.

That’s how things went  for the two Southeast Asian rivals at the conclusion of the FIDE Online Olympiad 2020 Division 2 Group A elimination phase Sunday.

The Indonesia will now advance to the next round where Russia, China and the United States and 22 other seeded registered teams are waiting.

Indonesia will join Group A champion Bulgaria and runer-up Germany and 12 other teams from the four other Division 2 groups to the next round starting Aug. 19.

And the Philippines?

Well, the Filipinos kissed their short-lived campaign goodbye with a loss to Bulgaria, 1.5-4.5, in the  seventh round and back-to-back victories over also-rans Bangladesh, 4.5-1.5, in the eighth round and Turkmenistan, 4.5-1.5, in the ninth and final round.

Overall, the GM Mark Paragua-led Philippine team finished with 10 points on five wins and four losses in the 10-team, three-day online rapid chess competition organized for the first time by FIDE due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Bulgaria, bannered by GM Aleksander Delchev and  former women’s world champion GM Antoaneta Stafanova, topped the tournament with a perfect record of nine wins and 18 points.

Germany, led by GM Dennis Wagner and WGM Filiz Osmanodja, came in second with 15 points on seven wins, one draw and one loss.

And Indonesia, backstopped by GM Susanto Megaranto and IM Irine Kharisma Sukandar, took the third and last Group A spot with 12 points on six wins and three losses.

“Better luck next time. Our players did their best against higher-rated opponents. The four junior players in our team even surpassed our expectations,” said Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre.

Torre, who also serves as the national team head coach, pointed to the Filipinos’ 4.5-1.5 upset victory over second seed Belarus in the fourth round and 3.5-2.5 win over Indonesia in the second round as the high points in the Online Olympiad campaign.

The low point?

The Philippines’ narrow 2.5-3.5 setback to Belgium,a team which came all the way from Division 3 and seeded second to last in the  Division 2 Group A.

“The loss to Belgium in the fifth round hurt a lot, especially coming after our big win over Belarus in the fourth round,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) executive director Atty. Cliburn Orbe.

“Lessons learned. Maybe we should not have rested our top players against Belgium. in the fifth round,” added Orbe, referring to the critical three-round stretch where the Filipinos lost to Belgium, Australia and Bulgaria from fifth to seventh rounds.

Both Torre and Orbe agreed the Filipinos can learn a lot from their negative result and turn it into something positive in the future.

“Our junor players played well in the Online Olympiad. I think we should also focus on their development to prepare them for future competitions,” said Orbe during his post-game analysis.

Orbe, who served as president of the Philippine Executive Chess Association (PECA) before joining the NCFP,   said the FIDE Asian Online Chess Camp for Girls Under-20 was ”very helpful in the development of our young female players.”

Overall, the New York City-based Paragua emerged as the leading Filipino scorer with  5.5 points on five wins, one draw and two losses.

Two of Paragua’s five victories also came aganst super GMs Vladislav Kovalev (ELO 2633) of Belarus and Aleksander Delchev (ELO 2630) of Bulgaria. 

WIM Bernadette Galas was the to female scorer with four points on threewins, two draws and two losses.

WGM Janelle Mae Frayna was second with 3.5 points on two wins, three draws and two losses.

The biggest contribution, however, came from the four junior players from Dasmarinas City, Cavite chess team under Mayor Pidi Barzaga and veteran coach Roel Abelgas.

IM Daniel Quizon finished with 4.5 points on four wins, one draw and one loss; Jerlyn Mae San Diego  had a perfect score of four points after winning all her four games; WIM Kylen Mordido had three points on two wins, two draws and one loss; and Michael Concio had 1.5 points on one win, one draw and one loss.

Also failing to make the grade was the FM Sander Severino-led IPCA (International Physically Disabled Chess Association), which finished second to last in Group B.

Severino, who made the country proud by winning the IPCA world championship last month, finished with four points on two wins, four draws and one loss.

But hiis team, IPCA, managed only one win, two draws and six losses in the 10-team Group B dominated by Greece (16 points), Romania (13 points) and Slovakia (13 points).

Severino, the 35-year-old pride of Silay, Negros Occidental, defeated FM Thanadon Kulpruethanon to lead IPCA to a 4-2 victory over cellar-dwellar Thailand in the third round.

Severino also won over IM Jingyao Tin as IPCA battled Sigapore to a3-3 draw in the final round.

Also making it to the next round are Spain (15), Netherlands (14), and Italy (14) in Group C; Turkey (17), Croatia (14) and Norway (13) in roup D; and Hungary (16) , England (16) and Argentina (12) in Group E.

Top Division games will be played on Aug.19-23.

The moves:

Round 7

A. Delchev (2630)  vs.M. Paragua (2573) 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 O-O 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 c6 7.O-O Qb6 8.c5 dxc5 9.Na4 Qb5 10.Nxc5 Na6 11.a4 Qb6 12.a5 Qb5 13.Nxa6 Qxa6 14.Re1 Bf5 15.Bf1 b5 16.Bf4 Rfd8 17.Qc1 Rac8 18.Be5 Bf8 19.b4 Ne4 20.h4 Qb7 21.Qb2 Qd7 22.Rac1 h6 23.Bf4 f6 24.Bg2 g5 25.Be3 Bg7 26.hxg5 hxg5 27.Nd2 Nd6 28.Rc5 Be6 29.Rec1 Bd5 30.Qc2 a6 31.Qg6 e6 32.f3 Qf7 33.Qxf7+ Kxf7 34.Bf2 Nc4 35.Nf1 Nd6 36.e4 Bc4 37.Nd2 Bf8 38.Bf1 Bxf1 39.Kxf1 Nc4 40.Nxc4 Bxc5 41.bxc5 bxc4 42.Rb1 e5 43.Rb6 exd4                                                       0-1