Grandmasters Julio Catalino Sadorra and John Paul Gomez pulled off hard-earned victories while International Master Jan Emmanuel Garcia escaped with a draw from an inferior position to lift the Philippines to a 2.5-1.5 win over Slovakia and stay on top after the second round of the 43rd World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia Tuesday night.
The United States-based Sadorra caught GM Christopher Repka into his opening preparation to gain material advantage and hammer out a 37-move win of a Slav Defense while Gomez fought his way out of a difficult position to eke out a 63-move triumph over GM Tomas Petrik of a Ruy Lopez.
For Garcia, an Olympiad newbie, he came into the endgame a pawn down but managed to create disturbing bishop and queen threats to escape with a draw in 65 moves of a Dutch Defense with IM Viktor Gazik to help seal the pulsating win for the Filipinos, who are ranked lower than the 48th-seeded Slovakians at 54th.
FIDE Master Joseph Mari Turqueza, a last-minute replacement to IM Haridas Pascua, who was complaining of headaches and sinusitis, in the second round, ran out of opening tricks and lost to IM Martin Nayhebaver in 41 moves of a Sicilian battle.
The Philippine team, supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, thus remained in a huge 41-country group on top that included powerhouse United States, which has Cavite-born GM Wesley So as board two player, with four match points.
The win came a day after destroying San Marino, 4-0, in the opening round Monday.
It will play No. 18 Croatia, which crushed Monaco, 3.5-.5, in the third round being played at press time.
The women’s squad, in contrast, succumbed to Slovenia despite a smashing victory by WGM Janelle Mae Frayna over WIM Laura Unuk on top board.
WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego lost their way and suffered painful defeats at the hands of WGM Jana Krivec and WFM Teja Vidic, respectively, on the last two boards.
WIM Catherine Secopito split the point with WFM Lara Janzelj on second board.
They play the Venezuelans next.