Paragua shoves PH inside top 10; So-led US at No. 2
The Philippines relied on the heroics of Grandmaster (GM) Mark Paragua as it shocked Sweden, 2.5-1.5, in the fifth round on Tuesday night to barge into the top 10 of the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.
With the match tied at 1.5 points apiece following draws by GMs John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo and International Master Paulo Bersamina on boards two to four, Paragua fought his way from an almost equal position and squeezed out a 69-move draw with Erik Blomqvist on top board to snatch the upset win against the 31st-ranked Swedes.
The Filipinos, who are backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, thus leapfrogged straight to an 18-country tie at eighth spot with eight match points to show. The Filipinos are the lowest-ranked team in that logjam, seeded only 52nd out of 182 men’s teams in this 11-round, 12-day event.
India 2 and Armenia share lead with perfect 10 points while a Wesley So-led United States, Uzbekistan, India 1, Cuba and Iran were a point off the pace at third to seventh spots.
The country was looking to sustain its impressive showing at press time, going for another mammoth triumph versus 22nd seed Israel, which absorbed a 2.5-1.5 defeat to So and the Americans.