PH draws with Israel, stays in hunt for podium finish in Para Chess Olympiad

The Philippines drew with second seed Israel, 2-2, in the fifth and penultimate round Friday, Feb. 3, to stay on course for a podium finish in the 1st FIDE Olympiad for People with Disabilities in Belgrade, Serbia.

Sander Severino draws his match to help the PH team to a 2-2 standoff in the penultimate round of the FIDE Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities. (FIDE)

Playing skipper James Infiesto salvaged a marathon 74-move standoff of a King’s Indian Attack with International Master Andrei Gurbanov on board three while Darry Bernardo crushed Woman FIDE Master Aleksandra Aleksandrova’s Queen’s Pawn Stonewall Opening in 28 moves on board four.

FM Sander Severino split the point with GM Yehuda Gruenfeld in 70 moves of an English game on board one to complete the escape act.

Only Henry Lopez was the lone casualty as he succumbed to FM Alexey Streltsov in 37 moves of a Queen’s Pawn game on board two.

The draw kept the Filipinos, whose trip is bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission, in a four-nation logjam at No. 3 with Israel, Hungary and India with seven match points apiece.

Top pick Poland remained unperturbed at the helm as it smashed India, 3-1, with a perfect 10 points while IPCA clobbered Cuba, 3.5-0.5, to seize solo second with eight points.

The Filipinos were battling the Indians in the final round at press time with hopes of carving out the triumph that could seal them either the silver or a bronze.