Chess Olympiad: RP yields to Estonia, tumbles to 50th spot | Inquirer Sports

Chess Olympiad: RP yields to Estonia, tumbles to 50th spot

11:00 AM October 04, 2010

KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia—The Philippines faltered against lower-rated Estonia, 1.5-2.5,   Sunday night and tumbled to 50th place at the close of the 39th Chess Olympiad in this city’s Sports Development Center.

International Master Richard Bitoon bowed  to IM Aleksandr Volodin in their board 4 encounter, sending the Filipinos to their worst finish ever in the 11-round biennial competition won by Ukraine.

Hobbled by a weak rook move on the 36th, the white-playing Bitoon resigned 17 moves later with Volodin threatening mate in their Sicilian Taimanov variation duel.

The other games ended in draws with Grandmaster Wesley So splitting the point on board 1 with GM Kaido Kulaots in 27 moves of the Gruenfeld Exchange variation.
GM John Paul Gomez also halved the point on board 2 with GM Meelis Kanep in 27 moves of the Sicilian and so did GM Darwin Laylo against IM Olav Sepp on board 3.
The Filipinos wound up with 12 points on five wins, two draws and four losses based on the scoring system that gives two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss.
Led by board 1 gold medalist GM Vassily Ivanchuk, Ukraine finished with 19 points, towing Russia-1 (18), Israel (17), Hungary (17), China (16), Russia-2 (16), Armenia (16), Spain (16), United States (16) and France (16), in that order.  
The Filipinos actually shared 49th to 63rd places in the 149-team competition, but emerged 50th overall after  the Sonneborn-Berger tiebreaker.
That’s four rungs lower than their  46th–place effort in the 2008 Dresden Olympiad and six places lower than their 44th-place windup in the 2006 Turin Olympiad. The Filipinos’ best finish ever in the Olympiad was seventh during the 1988 edition in Thessaloniki, Greece.
The Philippines, however, emerged as the best Southeast Asian team after Vietnam plunged to 52nd with 12 points and Singapore landed 58th also with 12. In women’s play, the Philippines shared  37th to 48th places with 12 points on five wins, two draws and four losses.
Meanwhile, National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero “Butch” Pichay was named by reelected Fide president Kirsan  Ilyumzhinov to the world chess body’s panel of  advisers while NCFP secretary general Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino was elected Zone president.

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TAGS: Chess, Chess Olympiad, John Paul Gomez, Richard Bitoon, Wesley So

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