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Grandmaster Catalino Sadorra came tantalizingly close of defeating world champion Magnus Carlsen Thursday, but let the opportunity slip away as the Philippines settled for a 2-all draw with Norway in the sixth round of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Sadorra, whose ELO rating of 2560 is dwarfed by Carlsen’s 2857, played solidly with black and had a chance to put away his opponent who made an inaccurate pawn sacrifice on the 24th move.
But Carlsen, aided by the Filipino’s time trouble, climbed out of the hole and won back the pawn that resulted in a draw in 41 moves of a French defense.
“The game was tense at the beginning because Magnus as usual doesn’t play into your prep (preparation) or theories so we started playing the game from the start,” Sadorra said in an interview with Susan Polgar of the Chess Daily News.
“We started thinking and then he missed a tactic that allowed me to take over the initiative. He even gave up a pawn for pressure but it was dubious and I was able to fend off his attack,” he added.
Sadorra said he was disappointed with the result.
“I was pushing in the end but it was only time trouble that kept me from converting the advantage into a win,” he rued.
The rest of the matches also ended in draws.
GM John Paul Gomez, playing white at board two, drew with GM Jon Ludvig Hammer in 57 moves of a Caro-Kann, GM Eugene Torre halved the point with GM Aryan Tari in 31 moves and GM Rogelio Barcenilla signed the truce with GM Frode Urkedal after 59 moves.
Of the other drawn matches, Torre had the best chance to pull off the win, but he missed the winning continuation that could have given the team a narrow victory.
With five rounds remaining, the Filipinos now have 4.5 points, good for a share of 13th place. They face Italy on Friday.
India grabbed the solo lead with 6 points following a thrilling 2.5-1.5 win over the Netherlands. In second place with 5.5 points was the United States which whipped Ukraine, 2.5-1.5.
In the women’s section, the Philippines trounced Mexico, 3-1, to climb to a share of 10th place, its best showing so far at this stage of the tournament.
Woman International Master Janelle Mae Fronda, hoping to become the country’s first woman grandmaster, clobbered WIM Alejandra Guerrero Rodriguez with the black pieces after 40 moves of a Ruy Lopez Opening.
The other wins were recorded by WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda over WIM Lilia Ivonne Fuentes Godoy and WIM Catherine Secopito over WFM Miriam Parkhurst Casas.
WFM Shania Mae Mendoza lost in board four to WIM Ivette Ale Garcia Morales.
The Filipinas now have 4.5 points, just a full point behind co-leaders Russia and Ukraine. They battle Hungary in the seventh round. (REY BANCOD)