By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The Philippines won its last three games capped by a 5.5-0.5 demolition of Bangladesh in the final round to clinch a spot in the Top Division of the 2021 FIDE Online Chess Olympiad Saturday.
Grandmaster Darwin Laylo, Woman International Master Jan Jodilyn Fronda, IM Michael Concio Jr., Ma. Elayza Villa and Jersey Marticio delivered the wins while IM Paulo Bersamina drew with GM Ziaur Rahman in their over the Bangladeshi that secured them a spot in the elite group set Sept. 8 to 10.
Laylo subdued Grandmaster Bin-Sattar Reefat in 29 moves of a Catalan Opening, Fronda outlasted Tanima Parveen in 56 moves of a Scotch Opening, and Concio downed IM Rahman Mohammad Fahad in 66 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defense.
Marticio crushed Woman FIDE Master Anjum Noshin in 30 moves of a Scotch Opening, while Villa survived WIM Sharmin Shirin Sultana in 73 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, averted a shutout after GM Ziaur Rahman split the point with Bersamina in 30 moves of a King’s Indian Defense.
The Filipinos also blanked Kyrgyzstan, 6-0, in the seventh round and Shenzen-China, 4-2, in the penultimate round.
Indonesia and the Philippines actually ended up tied for first with 16 match points apiece but the Filipinos settled for the No. 2 seeding after the tiebreak.
Shenzen-China took the last slot in Pool A with 13 points.
The 15 Division 2 qualifiers joined the top 25 in the world based on rankings in the Top Division.
The Filipinos also improved on their performance last year when they ended up stuck in Division 2 and missed the cut.