DESPITE Grandmaster Mark Paragua’s heroics, the Philippines absorbed a 1.5-4.5 setback to pacesetting Bulgaria last Sunday, being relegated to fifth and bowing out of contention after nine rounds of play in Pool A of Division 2 of the 2020 FIDE Online Olympiad.
Playing with black, the US-based Paragua outmaneuvered GM Aleksander Delchev on Board 1 in the seventh round to claim the country’s lone win against the Bulgarians, who ruled the 10-nation pool with 41.5 points to advance to the top division play featuring 40 teams.
Germany took second place with 34.5 points while Indonesia, running fourth entering Sunday’s last three rounds, slipped into third spot with 34.5 points, relegating Australia to fourth place with 32.5 points.
The momentum of Paragua’s victory failed to boost his teammates, with veteran GM Joey Antonio, playing white, highlighting the whitewash by absorbing a stunning setback on Board 2 against FIDE Master Momchil Petkov.
Woman Grand Master Janelle Mae Frayna proved no match for female Bulgarian Grandmaster Antoaneta Stefanova on Board 3 while Woman International Master Bernadette Galas and International Master Daniel Quizon also lost to their rivals on Boards 4 and 5, respectively.
Woman International Master Kylen Joy Mordido salvaged a draw on Board 6 against FIDE Master Krasteva Beloslava.
With Paragua leading the way, the Filipinos prevailed over Bangladesh and Turkmenistan by identical scores of 4.5-1.5, respectively, in the eighth and ninth rounds.
The top three teams from Pools A, B, C, D and E of Division 2 will advance to the top division play with 25 seeded squads , including Norway, bannered by world champion Magnus Carlsen, and the US featuring Wesley So, the world No. 8. The competition is set from Aug. 21 to 23.