Barbosa powers PH past Bulgaria-A A +A
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
GRANDMASTER (GM) Oliver Barbosa pulled off a sensational victory on board 2 to power the Philippines to a stunning 2.5-1.5 win over a formidable Bulgarian side in the fifth round of the 40th World Chess Olympiad early Tuesday morning in Istanbul, Turkey.
Barbosa, playing in the Olympiad for the first time, handled the black pieces superbly to beat GM Kiril Georgiev and give the Filipinos 10 match points after six rounds for a share of the fourth to eight places.
The Filipino woodpushers, seeded only 35th in the tournament, were up against a tough rival in the 10th seed and all-GM Bulgaians, but managed to hold their ground despite possessing lower Elo ratings man-for-man.
GM Wesley So, the country's top board plater with an Elo rating of 2652, drew his match with GM Veselin Topalov (2752) while the veteran GM Eugene Torro (2469) also halved the point with GM Ivan Cheparinov (2681) on board 3.
The other PH competitor in the sixth round, GM Mark Paragua, (2508) also halved the point with GM Alxander Delchev (2596) on board 4, leaving Barbosa to carry the fight for the Philippines and hoping to extract a full point from him to sustain its hot start.
Barbosa did not disappoint as came to the match well-prepared, although he had to scramble in the end game against Georgiev due to time pressure.
The huge win over Bulgaria put the Philippines inside the top 10 of the team standing and avenged its defeat in the Olympiad in Russia two years ago.
The Filipinos had won over Libya, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Iceland to put themselves in a solid position thus far in the tournament. Their only loss came at the hands of the third seed Armenians.
Aside from the Philippines, also with 10 points are No. 2 Ukraine, fourth seed Hungary, sixth seed China and 18th seed Spain.
The top-seeded Russia, Armenia and seventh seed Azerbaijan are currently sharing the top spot with 11 match points each,
Next up for the Philippines is Hungary, which crushed Poland, 3-1, in the sixth round. Azerbaijan was to play Russia and China will meet Armenia.
The Philippine women's team was not as lucky, losing big, 1-3, to France in the sixth round to remain at 8 points, three points off the leaders.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 05, 2012.