RP places 50th in Chess Olympiad


Posted at Oct 04 2010 02:48 PM | Updated as of Oct 04 2010 10:53 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Richard Bitoon (ELO 2447) bowed to fellow International Master (IM) Aleksandr Volodin (ELO 2433) in the closing round of the 39th World Chess Olympiad in Russia, as the 37th seed RP team settled for 50th place.

With Bitoon’s loss, the RP team suffered a 1.5-2.5 defeat against its final opponent, the 48th seed Estonia, on Sunday at the Complex “Arena Ugra” of Khanty-Mansiysk.

Grandmasters (GMs) Wesley So (ELO 2668), John Paul Gomez (ELO 2527) and Darwin Laylo (ELO 2522) settled for draws against GM Kaido Kulaots (ELO 2592), GM Meelis Kanep (ELO 2532) and IM Olav Sepp (ELO 2485), respectively.

Photo by Leilani Chavez, abs-cbnNEWS.com

The RP team garnered a total of 12 match points after 11 rounds of competition.

It actually shared 49th to 63rd places, but after the Sonneborn-Berger tiebreak was applied, the Filipino chess players landed in overall 50th place, the country’s worst performance in the biennial meet.

The country finished 46th in the 38th edition of the event in Dresden, Germany topped by Armenia.

The Filipinos logged their best-ever finish in 1988 in Thessaloniki, Greece where they placed 7th. But the chess landscape took a drastic change following the breakup of the vaunted Soviet republics and the rise of several nations that adopted former Soviet players.

Two years ago in Istanbul, Turkey, the Filipinos came within a point of barging into the elite circle, winning their last 3 assignments to finish in 17th place, their best showing in the post-Soviet era.

Second seed Ukraine (19 match points) was declared the overall champion, narrowly defeating top seed Russia 1 (18 match points), Israel (17 match points) and Hungary (17th match points) which finished second, third and fourth, respectively.

In the women's division, the 52nd seed Philippines came up with its impressive victory in the tournament, edging 61st seed Brazil, 2.5-1.5.

The RP ladies (12.0 match points) ended up in 44th place after the tiebreak points were applied.

In the last edition in Dresden, the RP ladies finished in overall 43rd place after accumulating the same 12.0 match points. In the 2006 Turin Olympiad, they settled for an overall 23rd-place finish.

Tournament favorite Russia 1 (22 match points) won the championship, followed by China (18 match points.)

Georgia, Cuba, the United States, Poland, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria settled for 3rd to 8th place with identical 16 match points apiece. – by Marlon Bernardino