The Philippines downed Cyprus, 3-1, to storm back into contention in the men’s side, even as its women’s team suffered a heartbreaking 2.5-1.5 defeat to higher-ranked Serbia after three rounds of the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India Monday night.
Grandmasters Banjo Barcenilla, John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo delivered the wins on the second to last boards that cautioned the impact of GM Mark Paragua’s shock defeat to FIDE Master Konstantinos Michaelides on top board.
The win sent the Filipinos, seeded 52nd, into a 63-country logjam at 26th place with four match points apiece and they could improve even further if they hurdle 89th pick Monaco in the fourth round being played at press time.
The loss by the Filipinas, whose participation is being bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission, sent them spiralling from a share of the lead to a 53-team tie at 22nd place also with four match points and were battling Angola in the fourth round.
WFM Shania Mae Mendoza suffered the lone defeat for the squad to WIM Adela Velikic on board three while WGM Janelle Mae Frayna and WIMs Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Kylen Joy Mordido all drew their games.
Mendoza, a former UAAP MVP and Far Eastern University standout, blew her drawing chances that could have forced a 2-2 upset draw with the 18th-seeded Serbians.
Mordido also had her chances for a win, but couldn’t cash in on it and settled for a truce.
Instead, it sent the GM Jayson Gonzales-mentored Filipinas to their first defeat after dumping Oman and Nicaragua in their first two assignments.