THE Philippines whipped Costa Rica, 3.5-.5, in the men's division and drew with Canada, 2-2, in the women's side during the upset-filled fourth round of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad.
Despite resting top board player IM Julio Catalino Sadorra for the third time in four days, the Filipinos had little problem against the lower-rated Costa Ricans for their third win in the 11-round tournament being held in a beautiful but low-lying walled city overlooking the Caspian Sea.
Overall, the Philippines is tied for 14th to 48th places with six match points.
GMs John Paul Gomez and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. and IM Paulo Bersamina delivered the three victories for the 53rd-seeded Filipinos, who are still obviously adjusting to chess life without Wesley So.
Gomez, who took up the cudgels for the team for the second straight game since Sadorra fell to illness and was rushed to the hospital three days back, destroyed IM Sergio Minero Pineda in 44 moves of the French Defense.
Barcenilla battled his way back from an inferior position to subdue IM Leonardo Valdez Romero in 74 moves of the King's Indian Attack while Bersamina bounced back ftom a disappointing loss with a strong game to beat IM Alexis Murillo Tsijli in 43 moves of the Nimzo-Indian.
Completing the Filipinos’ day of triumph was Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, who continued his exceptional showing in his record 23rd Olympiad appearance.
Torre, now 64 but still playing like 24, extricated himself from a difficult -- maybe losing -- position to save a draw in a rook and pawn endgame in 64 moves.
So far, Torre is the team's leading scorer with three wins and one draw.
“Eugene has been the team's life saver,”said GM Jayson Gonzales, executive director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and one of the team's two captains.
The Filipinos, who are hoping to improve their 46th-place finish in 2014 Tromso Olympiad, get another opportunity to jump into the Top 10 when they meet No. 79 South African in the fifth round.
South Africa upset No. 40 Austria, 3-1.
WFM Shania Mae Mendoza emerged as the leading lady in the Philippines' fighting 2-2 draw against Canada.
Mendoza made a good impression on her first ever game on the Olympiad stage by beating Maili-Jade Ouellet.
WIMs Janelle Mae Frayna and Catherine Perena-Secopito split the point with FM Zhou Qiyu and Lali Agbabishvili on first and third boards while WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda succumbed to WIM Yuan Yuanling on board two.
The draw, however, put the 46th-seeded Filipinas into a tie for 32nd to 51st places with five points.
Up next is No. 64 Algeria, which routed South Korea, 3.5-.5.
Meanwhile, defending champion China crushed Italy, 3-1, to share the lead with five other countries with eight points.
GMs Wang Yue and Ding Liren clinched the victories for the Chinese.
But top seed Russia fell in ambush to Ukraine, 1.5-2.5, and second seed United States was held to a 2-2 draw by No. 17 Czech Republic.
GM Ruslan Ponomariov shocked Evgeny Tomashevsky and Andrei Volokitin toppled Alexander Grischuk for Ukraine's two wins.
All four matches in the US-Czech Republic ended in draws, including So's third board encounter against Zbynek Hracek.
Netherlands toppled England, 3.5-.5, in another upset.
Joining the lead pack are host Azerbaijan, which downed Romania, 3-1; India, which edged Cuba, 2.5-1.5; and Belarus, which nipped Latvia, 2.5-1.5.
In the women's division, only four teams -- Ukraine, Russia, Serbia and Kazakhstan -- share the lead with perfect eight points.
Ukraine overwhelmed France, 3.5-.5; Russia bested Hungary, 2.5-1.5; Serbia downed Sweden, 3-1; and Kazakhstan stopped Lithuania, 2.5-1.5.
China survived Latvia, 2.5-1.5, despite the shock loss of world champion Hou Yifan to Dana Reizniece-Ozola on board one.
B. Acosta (CRC) vs. E. Torre (PH)
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 Bg4 5. Qb3 Qb6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Nh4 Bh5 8. h3 Bg6 9. Nxg6 hxg6 10. Bd2 Be7 11. Be2 Nbd7 12. Qc2 O-O 13. O-O e5 14. cxd5 exd4 15. Na4 Qc7 16. dxc6 dxe3 17. Bxe3 Nd5 18. Bd2 Ne5 19. Rac1 Nxc6 20. Bb5 Rac8 21. Bxc6 bxc6 22. a3 Rfd8 23. Nc3 Nxc3 24. Bxc3 Qf4 25. Rfe1 Bg5 26. Rcd1 Rxd1 27. Qxd1 Rd8 28. Qe2 Bf6 29. g3 Qf5 30. Bxf6 gxf6 31. Rc1 Qd7 32. b4 Kg7 33. h4 Qd3 34. Qxd3 Rxd3 35. a4 Rd4 36. Rxc6 Rxb4 37. Ra6 Rb7 38. g4 Rb4 39. f3 f5 40. gxf5 gxf5 41. h5 Rh4 42. Rxa7 Rxh5 43. Kg2 Rh4 44. Kg3 Rb4 45. Ra6 Rc4 46. a5 Ra4 47. Ra8 Kf6 48. a6 Kg5 49. f4+ Kf6 50. a7 Ra3+ 51. Kf2 Ra2+ 52. Ke3 Ra4 53. Kd3 Ra1 54. Kc4 Ra2 55. Kd5 Ra1 56. Kc6 Ra2 57. Kb6 Rb2+ 58. Kc6 Rc2+ 59. Kd7 Rd2+ 60. Ke8 Re2+ 61. Kf8 Rh2 62. Kg8 Rg2+ 63. Kf8 Rh2 64. Kg8. 1/2-1/2
A.Murillo Tsijli (CRC) vs. P. Bersamina (PH)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 b6 5. Ne2 Ba6 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. Nxc3 d5 8. Qf3 O-O 9. g4 Nbd7 10. g5 Ne4 11. Nxe4 dxe4 12. Qxe4 Qxg5 13. h4 Qg6 14. Qxg6 fxg6 15. b4 c5 16. Ra2 cxd4 17. exd4 Rac8 18. Rc2 Nf6 19. Rg1 Rf7 20. Rg5 Bb7 21. Bh3 Re7 22. Be3 Be4 23. Rc1 Bf5 24. Rg3 Nh5 25. Rf3 h6 26. Bd2 Rd8 27. Bc3 e5 28. d5 e4 29. Rxf5 gxf5 30. Bxf5 Nf4 31. Rc2 Rc7 32. Bd2 Nxd5 33. c5 Re8 34. c6 e3 35. fxe3 Nxe3 36. Bxe3 Rxe3+ 37. Kd1 Rxa3 38. Bg6 Rg3 39. Be4 Rg4 40. Re2 Rxe4 41. Rxe4 Rxc6 42. Ke2 Kf7 43. Kf3 b5 0-1