THE Philippines scalped another giant by way of a 2-2 draw with fifth seed Poland in the seventh round Friday night to stay in the hunt in the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.
Grandmaster (GM) Mark Paragua delivered perhaps one of his biggest victories to date after he brought down reigning World Cup titlist and world No. 18 Jan-Krzysztof Duda on the top board.
GM Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla drew with super GM Kacper Piorun on the second board to help catapult the Filipinos, whose participation is backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, in a tie for 14th place with 18 other nations with 10 match points apiece.
The country trailed, .5-1.5, after GM John Paul Gomez drew with GM Wojciech Moranda on the third board while GM Darwin Laylo imploded in deep time pressure and blundered away drawing chances to lose to GM Mateusz Bartel on Board 4.
Good thing Paragua saved the day by pulling off the magnificent result against a team that owns an impressive average rating of 2654 against the Philippines’ 2451.
Poland was the Philippines’ third biggest prey after Sweden, 2.5-1.5, in the fifth round and Israel, 2-2, the sixth round.
The Filipinos hope to add another on their growing list of victims as they tackled fancied Greece in the eighth round on Saturday.
In the women’s section, the Filipinas stormed back into contention after drubbing a listless Bolivia side, 3.5-.5, on wins by Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna, and Woman International Masters (WIM) Marie Antoinette San Diego and Kylen Joy Mordido on Boards 1, 2 and 4 and a draw by WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda on Board 2
They faced favored Slovenia also Saturday.