RP chessers whip Puerto Rican

KHANTY-Mansiysk, Russia – The Philippines whipped Puerto Rico, 3-1, despite resting top player GM Wesley So for the first time in seven rounds  to set up  a keenly-awaited  eighth-round showdown with  the GM Veselin Topalov-led Bulgaria in the 39th World Chess Olympiad here Tuesday.

GMs John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo struck with much-needed victories in the first two boards for the 37th-seeded Filipinos , beating  CM Mark Machin and IM Alejandro Montalvo, respectively, in this prestigious, 11-round competition dubbed as the ‘Olympics’ of chess.

Gomez  outwitted Machin in  68 moves of the Modern defense while Laylo subdued  Montalvo  by time forfeit in  29 moves of the Scandinavian defense to lead the  bid  of  the Filipinos  on a day So took a day off.

Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre halved the point with  Raul Vasquez, while GM-candidate Richard Bitoon split the point with Ramon Ovalle to complete the Filipinos’ day of triumph.

The lopsided win  by Filipinos  of  non-playing captain Atty., Edmundo Legaspi enabled them to climb into a tie for 19th to 44th places with nine points on four wins, one draw and two losses based on the match point-style scoring system which gives  two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss.

In the women’s division,  the Philippines dropped a close 1.5-2.5 decision to  No. 35 Peru.

Rulp Ylem Jose provided the lone victory for the  52 nd-seeded Filipinas when she outplayed  Lucia Orbezo on board four.

Top board  player  Cheradee  Chardine  Camacho suffered her first defeat, losing to WGM Deysi Cori, while Shercila Cua also dropped her  third-board match against WFM Ingrid Aliaga, and Catheirne Perena settled for a draw with WIM Ann Chumpitaz on board two.

Overall, the Filipinas dropped  to a tie for 32nd to 50th places with eight points on three wins, two draws and two losses.

Up next for the Cesar Caturla-coached Filipinas is Southeast Asian rival Vietnam, 3-1 upset winner over  GM Peng Zhaoqin-led Netherlands.

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