Filed Under: Chess, Chess Olympiad, Richard Bitoon, Rogelio Antonio Jr., Eduardo Peralta, Wesley So
KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia—International Master Richard Bitoon delivered the clincher as the Philippines nipped Paraguay, 2.5-1.5, in the fourth round Thursday in the 39th Chess Olympiad.
Bitoon, a last-minute addition owing to the suspension of Grandmaster Rogelio Antonio Jr., exploited the white pieces to beat Fide Master Eduardo Peralta in 24 moves of the Sicilian Sveshnikov in board 4.
The pride of Medellin, Cebu, softened up Peralta’s kingside with a pawn storm and unleashed a decisive queen and bishop attack to secure the win for the 37th-seeded Filipinos, who were held to draws in the upper boards.
GM Wesley So, playing on board 1 for the fourth straight time, split the point with IM Jose Fernando Cubas by perpetual check in 46 moves of the French Defense; while GM John Paul Gomez, taking the place of GM Darwin Laylo, drew with FM Manuel Latorre in 34 moves of the Indian defense. GM Eugene Torre also drew with FM Guillermo Vasquez in 67 moves of the English opening.
The win over Paraguay propelled the Philippines into a tie for 36th to 56th places with five points based on the matchpoint-style scoring system which gives two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss.
Only seven teams, led by Russia 2 and Russia 1 and Vietnam, remained perfect with 8 points.
Also unbeaten were Georgia, Netherlands, Armenia and Hungary, which leaned on the win of GM Judit Polgar to edge China, 2.5-1.5.
Fifth-round action will pit the Philippines against No. 74 Uruguay, which toppled Tajikistan, 2.5-1.5, in the fourth round.
So plays top board anew against GM Andres Rodriguez Villa, Gomez meets FM Manuel Larrea, Torre battles IM Bernardo Roseli and Bitoon faces Alvaro Guerrero.
In the women’s division, the Philippines drew with Israel, 2-2, with Jedara Docena providing the lone win over WFM Mansel Efroinski on board four.
Cheradee Chardine Camacho drew with IM Masha Klinova, while Rulp Ylem Jose halved the point with WGm Ella Pitam.
Though Catherine Perena bowed to WGM Bella Igla, the Filipinos still climbed into a share of 32nd to 40th places.
The women’s team will face Argentina, which drew with England, 2-2, in the fifth round.