MANILA, Philippines -- Grandmaster (GM) Oliver Barbosa delivered the clincher for the 35th-seed Philippine team as the Filipino woodpushers nipped 10th-seed Bulgaria, 2.5-1.5, in one of the biggest upsets in the sixth round of the 40th World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey.
Handling the black pieces on Board 2 against GM Kiril Georgiev (ELO 2682), Barbosa (2554) scrambled with his two rooks and knight against Georgiev’s queen and bishop when the Bulgarian blundered his 57th move in their Slav encounter.
A couple of moves later, Georgiev was forced to resign, handing Barbosa the win.
The team victory wouldn’t have been possible without the valiant stand of GMs Wesley So (2652), Eugene Torre (2469) and Mark Paragua (2508) who drew their respective matches against higher-rated players.
So split the point with GM Veselin Topalov (2572) on Board 1; Torre agreed to a draw opposite GM Ivan Cheparinov (2681) on Board 3; and Paragua halved the point with GM Alexander Delchev (2596) on Board 4.
It was the country’s fifth victory in six rounds, good for 10 match points and a share of the fourth spot behind leaders Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and fourth-round tormentor Armenia.
The three frontrunners have 11 match points. A team win is equal to two points while a draw is equal to one point.
"One of the biggest upset in chess Olympic history ... the Filipino's carved a name for themselves among the chess elite's ... history has been written today and forever will be remembered ... the Istanbul Olympiad's Tournament Revelation," said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) Chairman Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr., who watched the game live through the Internet.
In the women’s division, the Philippines yielded to France, 1-3.
Woman International Master (WIM) Catherine Perena (2091) provided the lone win over IM Almira Skripchenko (2442) on Board 1.
Woman National Master (WNM) Janelle Mae Frayna (1991) bowed to WIM Milliet Sophie (2411) on Board 2; WNM Jedara Docena (2061) lost to IM Silvia Collas (2261) on Board 3; and WNM Jan Jodilyn Fronda (2022) suffered defeat in the hands of WIM Andreea Bollengier (2253) on Board 4. -- By Marlon Bernardino