GM Banjo Barcenilla

The Philippine men’s team held higher-ranked Israel to an upset 2-2 draw Wednesday night after six rounds in the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Grandmaster Banjo Barcenilla provided the spark with a board two victory over Tamir Nabaty as the 52nd-ranked Filipinos slightly slipped for a share of 14th place with 10 others with nine match points.

GMs Mark Paragua and Darwin Laylo split the point with Avital Boruchovsky and Ilia Smirin on boards one and three, respectively, while International Master Paulo Bersamina yielded to Evgeny Postny on board four.

The Filipinos expect a tougher match in the seventh round when they face fifth seed Poland, which is coming off a 2.5-1.5 loss to Serbia.

The women’s crew, likewise, were held to a similar 2-2 draw against lower-ranked Ecuador to skid for a share of 48th place with seven match points.

Kylen Joy Mordido spelled the difference for the Filipinas with a victory over Analia Karen Miranda Vargas on board four as Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Marie Antoinette San Diego halved the point with Carla Heredia Serrano and Josselyne Penafidel Mendoza on boards one and three.

Shania Mendoza, for her part, suffered a board two defeat against Anahi Ortiz Verdezoto.

The 39th-seeded Filipinas hope to regain their composure when they face No. 60 Bolivia, which prevailed over Kenya, 3-1.

Source: Manila Bulletin (