THIRD seed Philippines battled to a 2-2 draw with Canada on the strength of victories by AGM Henry Lopez and Darry Bernardo in the opening round of the first FIDE Online Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities.
Lopez defeated Gilbert Perez on board two, while Bernardo subdued Chantal Nicole on board three to lead the Filipinos’ modest start against the lower-rated Canadians in this prestigious competition organized by FIDE as part of the United Nations “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” celebrations on Dec. 3.
Lopez, the 35-year-old polio-stricken champion from Panabo City, Davao won despite handling the disadvantageous black pieces.
The victories by Lopez and Bernardo cushioned the impact of the upset loss of reigning IPCA world champion FM Sander Severino, who bowed to FM Terry Song on board one; and Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza, who fell to Louis Morin on board four.
The Philippines Team-2, led by Menandro Redor and Arman Subaste and handled by coach Roel Abelgas, did a lot better.
Redor, Subaste Felix Aguilera and Cheryl Angot swept their assignments as the Philippines-2 blanked Mongolia, 4-0.
Redor trounced Mijgee Khishigbayar, Subaste clobbered Gombo Gonchigdorj, Aguilera whipped Boldbaatar Baasankhuu and Angot dumped Gan-Ochir Delgerdalai.
The road gets even tougher for the two Philippine teams supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).
The Philippines Team 2 now plays sixth seed Russia-1 and Philippines-1 battles United States in the second round.
Russia-1, bannered by FM Stanislav Babarykin, humbled Kyrgyzstan, 3-1, while the USA, led by Michael Aigner, settled for a 2-2 draw by Russia-2 in other first-round matches.
Top seed Poland, led by FM Marcin Molenda and FM Lukasz Nowak, swept Bangladesh, 4-0, while second seed Germany, led by CM Mirko Eichstaedt and FM Michael Becker won by forfeiture over Turkmenistan.
In other notable first-day results, Israel bested India-2, 3.5-.5; Cuba edged Colombia-2, 2.5-1.5; Ukraine-1 downed Armenia, 3-1; India-1 nipped Azerbaijan, 3-1; North Macedonia outclassed Turkey-3, 3-1; Croatia edged Panama, 2.5-1.5; Ukraine-2 routed Turkey-2, 4-0; Ukraine-3 outplayed India-3, 2.5-1.5; India-4 stopped Venezuela, 3-1; and Poland 3 repulsed Ecuador, 3-1.
The event will consist of two stages.
The first one is a seven-round Swiss System event on Nov. 21-28, from which the best four teams will qualify to play a double-round semifinal on Nov. 29-30.
The two best teams will then advance to the finals, while the two others will compete for third prize.