PH women's team holds Poland to 2-2 draw

The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 06 2014 08:29 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2014 04:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine women’s team pulled off a shock 2-2 draw with No. 8 Poland to barge into the top 15 but the men’s squad bowed to second seed Ukraine, 1-3, in the third round of the 41st World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway Monday night.

Jan Jodilyn Fronda stunned WGM Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska in 63 moves to save the day for Team Phl as Janelle Mae Frayna and Cheradine Camacho salvaged a pair of draws against their highly-rated rivals.

Frayna fought WGM Jolanta Zowadska to a fighting 66-move standoff of an English Opening in a game she actually controlled with a positional advantage in the middle game. She, however, lost the initiative with what appeared to be a defensive Queen move that enabled Zowadska to counter but still forced a draw on the 66th despite going one pawn down in a rook-and-pawn endgame.

Earlier, Camacho, ranged against a player boasting of a GM title, stormed Monica Socko’s weak kingside and went on to gain a draw after 37 moves of a French Defense on the top board.

But it was Fronda who came away with the stirring win as she used her two pawns at center to launch an attack before eventually defeating Horowska in their super-sharp Sicilian encounter on Board 3.

Catherine Perena bowed to WGM Marta Bartel in 68 moves of their Dutch duel on the last board.

But the 2-2 feat tied the Philippines for 15th place with five match points alongside fourth round foe and 11th seed Spain, Bulgaria, Poland, Colombia, Kazakhstan, India, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey.

It was indeed an impressive performance by the gutsy Filipinas, who pulled off the rug from a Polish team that has an average rating of 2402 as against the Phl’s 2171.

But while the Filipinas continued to beat the odds, the men’s team fell apart against a heavily favored Ukraine side. GMs John Paul Gomez and rookie Paulo Bersamina lost to Ruslan Ponomariov and Alexander Moiseenko on second and fourth boards, respectively, while GMs Julio Catalino Sadorra and Eugene Torre drew with World Challenger Vassily Ivanchuk and Anton Korobov on Boards 1 and 3, respectively.

The Phl thus fell down of the rankings with three points as it faces Finland in the fourth round.