PH chessers hold 12th-seed Norway to 2-2 split, move to joint 13th spot in Olympiad

GRANDMASTER Julio Catalino Sadorra blew his winning chances against reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen and settled for a draw as the Philippines escaped with a 2-2 standoff with 12th seed Norway in the sixth round of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Playing black and defending with the French Defense, Sadorra, 30, gained a pawn advantage early after a bishop sacrifice but couldn't hold on to it in the end after running into time trouble in the first time control.

The 41-move draw helped the Filipinos scraped out a split after GMs John Paul Gomez, Eugene Torre and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. all drew their games against higher ranked GMs Jon Ludvig Hammer, Aryan Tari and Frode Urkedal, respectively.

Because of it, the Filipinos moved into a 16-team group at No. 13 with nine match points each approaching the last five rounds of this biennial meet using an 11-round System format.

Janelle Mae Frayna, Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Catherine Secopito won over WIM Alejandra Rodriguez Guerrero, WIM Lilia Ivonne Fuentes Godoy and WFM Miriam Parkhurst Casas on boards one to three, respectively, to give the Phl a 3-1 win  over Mexico in women's section.

Shania Mae Mendoza failed to cash in on her early advantage and suffered her first loss in three outings to Ivette Ale Garcia Morales on board four.

With the win, the Filipinos jumped into the Top 10 alongside nine others with nine points apiece, just two points behind co-leaders Russia and Ukraine.

The men's team will tangle with Italy next while the women's side tackles two-time champion No. 8 Hungary.

Interestingly, Hungary will be the third Top 10 team the Philippines will be facing after shocking No. 4 Georgia, 2.5-1.5, in the second round and losing to No. 5 India in the next, .5-3.5.

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