The Philippines overpowered Monaco and Angola via identical scores of 3.5-.5 in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively, barge into the top 20 after four rounds of the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India Monday night.
GM Banjo Barcenilla fought his way out of an inferior position in squeezing out a marathon 80-move draw of a King’s Indian Attack with Ukranian-born Woman GM Tatiana Dornbusch on top board that capped the rout.
GMs John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo and International Master Paulo Bersamina waylaid their respective foes on boards two to four with relative ease to power the Filipinos into a 23-nation tie at 18th place with six match points apiece.
The Filipinas were equally impressive following wins by WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, and WIMs Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Marie Antoinette San Diego on the top three boards and a draw by WIM Kylen Joy Mordido with Renelsa Taiane Antonio on the last board.
It propelled the GM Jayson Gonzales-mentored women’s squad, which is being bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission, to a 34-country logjam at 12th spot with six points each.
The country will have a chance to gatecrash into the top 10 if it could pull the rug from under a higher-ranked Sweden in the men and the Netherlands in the women in the fifth round at press time.
The men’s team, mentored by GM Eugene Torre, is expected to field in Gomez, Laylo and Bersamina anew on the last three boards and either between Barcenilla and GM Mark Paragua on board one.
Gomez and Laylo have been specifically playing well with the former scoring three points with two wins and three draws and the latter winning all his first three outings.
The women’s side has been drawing consistent efforts from Frayna, who has 2.5 points out in three matches, and Fronda, who has scored three points on two wins and a couple of truces.