The Philippines made a good start by beating two early favorites in the ongoing first FIDE Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Filipino woodpushers first scored an upset over Uzbekistan, 3.5-0.5 in Round 1.
ASEAN Para Games gold medalist and FIDE Master Sander Severino beat Sirojiddin Zaynidinov in Board 1 while Arena Grandmaster national master Henry Lopez crushed Sandorbek Mamarajabov in Board 2.
Board 3 player NM Darry Bernardo shaded Marsel Shayusupov while ASEAN Para Games gold medalist Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza settled for a draw with Axadxon Kimsanboyev in Board 4.
Uzbekistan is the reigning World Chess Olympiad champion just last year in Chennai, India.
“Beating their Disable National Team gave us huge confidence going to our 2nd round against powerhouse Czech Republic’s all Masters line-up,” Philippines head coach NM James Infiesto said.
The Philippines continued its winning ways as of 31 January by beating Czech Republic, 2 1/2-1 ½ in Round 2.
Severino downed Milan Orsag in Board 1 while Lopez, Bernardo and Mendoza all settled for a draw.
Lopez tied with Milan Babula and Bernardo and Mendoza had a draw with Vit Vaclav and Anna Ryvova, respectively. Round 3 will be against the host country Serbia.
Host country Serbia downed Croatia, 2.5-1.5 while top-favorites Poland and Israel defeated Germany and Venezuela respectively in similar, 3-1 victories.
The other first round results: Hungary crushed Turkey, 3-1; Cuba downed Montenegro, 3-1; IPCA trounced Kazakhstan, 3-1; FIDE beat Zambia, 4-0; India defeated Panama, 4-0; Czech Republic crushed Kyrgyzstan, 2.5-1.5; Romania downed Kenya, 4-0; ICCD tied with Zimbabwe, 2-2.
“We still can’t believe until now that we are here in the Olympiad for Disabled fighting against the best in the world,” said Infiesto, thanking the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Paralympic Committee for backing up the squad.