THE Philippines faces three major hurdles when the Asian Nations Cup 2020 online chess team tournament enters its final stretch on Sunday.
Bannered by United States-based GMs Mark Paragua and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr., the Filipinos need to finish strong in the final three rounds to keep their hopes of making it to the knockout quarterfinal round in this nine-round competition hosted by the United Arab Emirates.
The first of these three must-win assignments for the Filipinos is against top seed India in the seventh round of the prestigious tournament which attracted 189 players from 38 countries.
Paragua, Barcenilla, GM John Paul Gomez, IM Paulo Bersamina and IM Haridas Pascua will carry the fight for the fourth-rated Filipinos against the highly-favored Indians.
After six rounds, Iran leads the way with 11 points on five wins and one draw, followed by Australia and Kazakhstan with 10 points.
India and Kyrgyzstan share fourth to fifth places with nine points.
The Philippines is tied for sixth to 11th places with Indonesia, Mongolia, Japan, Nepal and Singapore with eight points on four wins and two losses based on the scoring system that gives two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss. Last Oct.10, the Filipinos opened their campaign on a bright note by sweeping their first three assignments against Palestine (4-0), Syria (4-0) and Thailand (3-1).
The crack started on Oct. 15 with the Filipinos dropping a 1.5-2.5 decision to Iran.
And although the Filipinos edged Mongolia, 2.5-1.5, in the fifth round, they were ambushed again by No. 6 seed Australia, 1-3.
Overall, Paragua and Bersamina were the Filipinos’ top scores with 4.5 points in six games.
Both Paragua, who plays the top board, and Bersamina have four wins, one draw and one loss.
Barcenilla has three wins, one draw and one loss in five games, while Gomez has three wins, one draw and two losses in six matches.
Pascua has one loss.
In the women’s division, the Philippines is tied for fourth to 12th places with four points on two wins and one loss after three rounds.
The WGM Janelle Frayna-led Filipinas blanked UAE, 4-0, in the first round; and Iraq, 4-0, in the second round.
The Filipinas, however, lost to Indonesia, 1.5-2.5, with IM Irine Sukandar beating Frayna in the highly-anticipated battle between the top two players of their respective countries.
The other members of the team are WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Bernadette Galas.
Leading the way in the women’s division are Kazkahstan, Vietnam, Iran and Indonesia, all with perfect three wins and six points.
Men Round 4
P. Bersamina, Paulo (Philippines) vs. E. Ghaem Maghami (Iran)
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.f4 e6 4.Nf3 d5 5.g3 d4 6.Ne2 d3 7.cxd3 Nc6 8.d4 cxd4 9.d3 Nf6 10.h3 e5 11.Bg2 Bb4+ 12.Bd2 Nd7 13.O-O O-O 14.Bxb4 Nxb4 15.a3 Nc6 16.f5 a5 17.g4 b6 18.Ng3 Ba6 19.Rf2 Nc5 20.Bf1 a4 21.g5 Rc8 22.h4 Na5 23.Nh2 Nab3 24.Rb1 Rc6 25.Qf3 Qc7 26.Ng4 Nd7 27.f6 g6 28.h5 Rc2 29.Rd1 Rxf2 30.Qxf2 Ndc5 31.Qh2 Ne6 32.Qh4 Nf4 33.hxg6 fxg6 34.Qh2 Bc8 35.Bh3 Be6 36.Nh6+ Kh8 37.Bxe6 Nxe6 38.Qh4 Nf4 39.Qg4 Qc2 40.Nf1 Ne2+ 41.Kh2 Nf4+ 42.Kg1 Ne2+ 43.Kh2 Nf4+ 44.Kh1 Qe2 45.Nf7+ Kg8 46.Nh6+ Kh8 47.Nf7+ Kg8 48.Qxe2 Nxe2 49.Nh6+ Kh8 50.Nd2 Nxd2 51.Rxd2 Nf4 52.Ng4 Re8 53.f7 Rf8 54.Nxe5 Kg7 55.Rc2 Ne6 56.Rc4 Nxg5 57.Rxa4 Nxf7 58.Ra7 Kg8 59.Rxf7 Rxf7 60.Nxf7 Kxf7 61.a4 Ke6 62.b4 g5 63.a5 bxa5 64.bxa5 Kd6 65.a6 Kc7 66.e5 Kb6 67.e6 1-0
Women Round 3
J. Frayna (Philippines) vs. I. Sukandar (Indonesia)
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.c4 O-O 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qa5 9.Nb3 Qh5 10.c5 a5 11.a4 d6 12.cxd6 Rd8 13.Nb5 Bh3 14.e4 Qxd1 15.Rxd1 Bxg2 16.Kxg2 Nxe4 17.Bf4 exd6 18.Nxd6 Nxd6 19.Bxd6 Bxb2 20.Rab1 Be5 21.Bxe5 Rxd1 22.Rxd1 Nxe5 23.Rd5 Nc4 24.Rc5 Nb2 25.Rb5 Nxa4 26.Nxa5 Nc3 27.Rb3 Rxa5 28.Rxc3 Ra8 29.Rb3 Rb8 30.Kf3 b5 31.Ke4 Kg7 32.Rb4 Kf6 33.Kd5 h5 34.Kc5 Kg7 35.h4 Kf6 36.Rf4+ Ke6 37.Re4+ Kf6 38.Rf4+ Kg7 39.Rb4 Kf8 40.Rxb5 Rd8 41.Rb2 Kg7 42.Kc4 Kf6 43.Kc3 Kf5 44.Rb5+ Kg4 45.Rb4+ Kh3 46.Rf4 f5 47.Kc2 Kg2 48.Kc1 Kf1 49.Kc2 Ke2 50.Kc3 Rd3+ 51.Kc2 Rf3 52.Ra4 Kxf2 53.Ra6 Rxg3 54.Kd2 f4 55.Rf6 f3 56.Kd3 Rg4 57.Kd2 Rd4+ 58.Kc3 Rxh4 59.Rxg6 Rg4 60.Rh6 Kg2 0-1
Standings after six rounds:
11 points — Iran
10 — Australia, Kazakshtan
9 — India, Kyrgyzstan
8 — Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Japan, Nepal, Singapore
7 — Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iraq