IM Paulo Bersamina

International Master Paulo Bersamina stunned Grandmaster Frode Olav Olsen Urkedal to lift the Philippines to a shock 2.5-1.5 victory over third seed Norway in the 11th and last round Tuesday to finish 32nd in the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Bersamina’s upset victory was all the Filipinos needed to wrap up the match win against a team that rested reigning world classical champion Magnus Carlsen in the final round as Grandmasters Mark Paragua, John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo all drew their duel on boards one to three.

And the 24-year-old Bersamina wasn’t supposed to play but board two player GM Banjo Barcenilla requested to be rested as he has been playing sick the whole tournament.

It proved to be a blessing in disguise as Bersamina delivered the match-clinching triumph.

It was a strong finish for the Filipinos, who finished higher than their seeding—52nd—while eclipsing its 39th-place effort in the last over-the-board edition of the biennial meet in Batumi, Georgia four years ago.

The squad, which was sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, scored 14 match points.

All five players earned rating points for their hard work with Gomez and Paragua emerging the top two scorers with seven and 6.5 points, respectively, in 10 grueling games.

The Filipinas, for their part, missed out on their bid to register their best finish in Olympiad history after losing to 14th seed Cuba, 2.5-1.5, in the last round and wound up at 39th with 13 points.

But the effort was a significant improvement from the team’s forgettable 67th place performance in Batumi.

Woman International Master Jan Jodilyn Fronda fell to WIM Yersbel Miranda Llanes on board two while WGM Janelle Mae Frayna and WIMs Marie Antoinette San Diego and Kylen Joy Mordido drew their games on boards one, three and four, respectively.

Source: Manila Bulletin (