Pinoys chessers stay red-hot as Garcia, Pascua win

October 05, 2018

FIVE rounds ago, the GM Eugene Torre-coached Philippine team hit rock-bottom at 101st place following an alarming three-game losing skid in the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia..

The  players -- all  five of  them --  couldn’t do anything right, anything good for three long rounds from third to fifth rounds.

Torre, ever the  optimist, kept the faith.

An  unbelievable five-round winning streak capped by Friday's decisive 3-1 win over Ecuador finally did the trick for Torre  and  the 54th-seeded Filipinos.

Overall, the Filipinos are now tied for 13th to 19th places with 14 points on seven wins and three  losses with more than a fair chance of climbing higher depending on the outcome of their 11th  and  final  round match against Southeast  Asian rival Vietnam.

Defending chanpion United States, led  by  Filipino GM Wesley So, and China share the top spot  with 17 points.

The  Americans and the Chinese clash in the final round.

Stepping up on bat against Ecuador  were  IMs  Jan  Emmanuel Garcia and Haridas Pascua, who hurdled  their rivals in the bottom  two  boards  to provide the  much-needed victories.

Garcia, the hero in the Philippines'  2.5 -1.5 win over Zambia in the previous round, subdued FM Kevin  Noboa on board three, while Pascua,  who has now won five of his last six matches,  trounced IM Miguel Munoz Sanchez

United States-based  GM Julio Sadorra  and  GM John  Paul Gomez did  their  share  by drawing their  matches against GM Carlos Franco and  IM  Cristhian Rivadeneira, respectively,  on the first two boards.

It  was  not a good round for the WGM Janelle  Mae Frayna-led women’s team, which lost 1.5-2.5 to Moldova and fell to 46th place with 11  points on five wins, one draw and four losses.

Frayna, the country's highest-rated  female player, lost what could have been a won game against WIM Diana Baciu.

Also losing was WIM Bernadette Galas, who fell to WFM Paula-Alaxandra  Gitu.

WIM Catherine Perena-Secopito  won over WFM Olga Hincu and WFM Shania Mae Mendoza drew with IM Svetlana Petrenko.     

“It was sorry loss for our team. We could have won the match against Moldova. Janelle is winning. Instead of king to h1, it should be queen to f2. This is  really  unfortunate,” said GM Jayson Gonzales.

The Filipinas hope to finish their campaign with a bang against No. 33 seed Australia.

The Filipinos' campaign is supported by the Philippine Sports  Commission (PSC),  headed  by  Chairman William   “Butch’  Ramirez, thru the National  Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), led  by President/Chairman Rep.  Prospero  “Butch” Pichay and secretary-general  Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino..

The moves:


H. Pascua vs. M.Munoz

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 g6 3. Bg2 d5 4. c4 d4 5. b4 Bg7 6. Bb2 c5 7. O-O O-O 8. d3 Nfd7 9. Nbd2 Nc6 10. a3 e5 11. Nb3 Re8 12. Nfd2 f5 13. bxc5 Qe7 14. a4 Nf6 15. Qc2 h5 16. Nf3 Be6 17. Rfe1 Rad8 18. Rad1 Ng4 19. h3 f4 20. hxg4 hxg4 21. Nh2 Qg5 22. Bc1 Qh5 23. gxf4 Kf7 24. e3 Rh8 25. Nf1 g5 26. fxg5 e4 27. exd4 Rxd4 28. Qd2 Be5 29. g6+ Kxg6 30. Rxe4 Rd7 31. Rde1 Rdh7 32. Rxe5 Nxe5 33. Qf4           1-0