MANILA – The Philippines relied on International Master Paulo Bersamina’s crucial win on Board 4 as it pulled the rug from under third pick Norway, 2.5-1.5, Tuesday to finish on a bright note in the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India.

Getting a go after a last-minute decision to rest an ailing Grandmaster Banjo Barcenilla, Bersamina brought down Grandmaster Frode Olav Olsen Urkedal to lift the Filipinos to a shock win against a team that faultily decided to rest reigning world standard champion Magnus Carlsen.

GMs Mark Paragua, John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo eked out draws on Boards 1 to 3 that paved the way for Bersamina’s magnificent, last-gasp triumph against Urkedal.

The upset win put the 52nd-seeded Filipinos, who were backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, at 32nd place, an improvement to their effort in the last over-the-board edition of this biennial meet in Batumi, Georgia four years ago at 39th.

It was also a solid effort individually for all five Filipinos, who all gained FIDE rating points.

The most gains were achieved by the duo of Gomez and Paragua, who finished with seven and 6.5 points in 10 games, respectively.

The Filipinas, for their part, failed on their bid of registering their best effort in the Olympiad after faltering against the 14th-seeded Cubans, 2.5-1.5.

The defeat was sealed by WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda’s defeat on board two that came after WGM Janelle Mae Frayna and WIMs Marie Antoinette San Diego and Kylen Joy Mordido all drew their games on boards one, three and four, respectively.

They finished at 39th with 13 points, which surpassed their embarrassing 67th-place finish in Batumi. (PR)