MANILA, Philippines - GM Eugene Torre and youthful Paulo Bersamina trampled their respective rivals as the Philippines trounced Finland, 2-5-1,5, to get back on track but the PH women's team absorbed a stinging shutout loss to No. 11 Spain in the fourth round of the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway Tuesday night.
The 16-year-old Bersamina checkmated IM Vilka Sipila on the 45th of a Sicilian to deliver the first point for Team Phl on Board 4 before Torre, 62, clinched the match with a 30-move over IM Mikael Agopov in their seldom-used Larsen Opening game.
GM John Paul Gomez drew with IM Mika Karttun in 36 moves as the troika pooled 2.5 points to make up for the loss of top board player GM Julio Sadorra to GM Tomi Nyback in 28 moves of a Slav defense.
The victory hiked the Phl’s total to five match points to move to joint 23rd with 18 other teams.
But while the men’s team rebounded from a third round loss to second seed Ukraine, the women’s squad failed to sustain the momentum of their shock 2-2 draw with No. 8 Poland as it succumbed to Spain to drop from No. 15 to a share of 30th, also with five match points.
Janelle Mae Frayna and Jan Jodilyn Fronda bowed to IMs Olga Alexandrova and Ana Matnadze in the middle board then Chardine Camacho and Christy Lamiel Bernales blundered away their chances against IM Sabrian Vega Gutierrez and WIM Amalia Aranaz Murillo, respectively.
The men’s team, meanwhile, takes on Chile in the fifth round while the women’s squad tangles with 14th seed Bulgaria.
Bersamina used his active pair of bishops against Sipila’s immobile knights in the early going to gain the initiative, won the exchange in the middle game before sacrificing a rook to checkmate his foe.
Torre flashed vintage form, employing an old line he took from long-time friend and the late American world champion Bobby Fischer, to rattle Agopov. Torre then launched a kingside attack to gain a pawn then later a rook for a bishop before storming Agopov’s kingside, forcing the latter to resign with a loss of material or mate threat.