Online Olympiad: Severino, IPCA make it

August 10, 2020
Sander Severino
Sander Severino

THE Philippines' FM Sander Severino and his team IPCA (International Physically Disabled Chess Association) is making another big leap in international chess. IPCA, bannered by Severino and Asian Paragames champion WIM Anto Jennitha of India, earned the right to play in Division 2 of the FIDE Online World Chess Oympiad scheduled Aug. 12-16. The 66th-seed IPCA finished second to Portugal in 10-team Group B and join 14 other Division 3 countries which will advance to the next round -- Division 2.

That means Severino  and IPCA will now have a chance to join the Philippines in Division 2, another gruelling 50-team competition to determine the 15 qualifiers this time to the Top Division.

“Yeheyy! Pasok na Team IPCA sa Division 2,” wrote the Severino, the 36-year-old pride of Silay City, Negros Occidental,  in his Facebook post late Sunday.

In Division 3 Group B action which ended late Sunday, Portugal topped the competition with 15 points.

IPCA finished in a tie for second to third places with Scotland with 14 points.

Portugal, IPCA and Scotland will join 12 other teams from the other group eliminations.

Group A -- Singapore (16), Ireland (13) and Albania (13).

Group C -- Belgium (17), Jordan (13) and Thailand (11).

Group D -- Chile (16), Bolivia (14), and Denmark (13).

Group E -- Mexico (15), Costa Rica (14) and Guatemala (12).

Actually, Severino managed  only three points on three wins and three losses as the top board player for IPCA.

Two of those losses were reportedly caused by power outage and internet problems. He was also forced to sit out three games -- fourth to sixth round --  due to the same problems last Saturday.

But Severino said he expects to play a lot better when Division 2 action begins.

.He said Mayor Mark Golez allowed him to play in a place with a generator and good  internet connection starting this week.

With Severino and  IM Andrei Gurbanov of Israel struggling in the top two boards, IPCA leaned on Jennitha and FM Ilia Lipilin of Russia  to make it in the group play.

Jennitha, a  33-year-old  polio victim from India, scored 7.5 points in nine games, while Lipilin, the IPCA world junior champion from Russia, tallied 6.5 points in eight games.

Of the 15 Division 3 qualifiers, only two other Asian countries -- Singapore and Thailand -- made it to the next round.

Singapore, led by GM Wei Ming Goh  and WGM Gong Qianyun, topped Group A with 16 points.

Thailand tallied 11 points and finished third behind Belgium and Jordan in Group C.

Malaysia, on the other hand,  failed to make the cut in Group A and wound up fourth with 12 points.

As the 39th-seeded team based on combined performances in the Batumi Olympiad, the Philippines is already seeded in  Division 2, along with 34 other teams.

The GM Eugene Torre-coached Filipinos are bracketed in Group C, along with  Netherlands, England, Croatia, Slovakia, Bangladesh, Turkmenistan plus three qualifiers from Division 3.

The 10 teams will play a nine-round tournament from Aug. 12-16.

The top three teams in this group, along with 12 other top teams from the four other groups will advance to the Top Division where the top   25 seeded teams wait.