INTERNATIONAL Master Mark Paragua had a rude debut on board 1 on Monday as the Philippines absorbed a 1-3 loss at the hands of Estonia in the 10th round of World Chess Olympiad at the Grand Casino in Mallorca, Spain.
Estonian super Grandmaster Jaan Ehlvest (Elo rating 2631) exploited the white pieces to the hilt in humbling the 20-year-old former chess prodigy, setting the tone of the lopsided contest.
Also losing on board 3 was FIDE Master Manny Senador (2432), who got outwitted by IM Olav Sepp (2455) in another match where Estonia, seeded 33rd, also had the edge of using the white pieces.
It was left to IM Jayson Gonzales and National Master Darwin Laylo to save face for the 40th seeded Filipinos as they drew their matches against IMs Alexsandr Veingold and Tarvo Seeman on boards 2 and 4, respectively.
Taking a breather were Grandmasters Eugene Torre and Joey Antonio, who were set to resume board 1 and board 2 duties in the final four rounds, beginning with the contest against IPCA in round 11 on Tuesday.
With their second straight setback, the Filipino chessers fell into a share of 40th to 47th places with England, Kazakhstan, Spain B, Romania, Indonesia, Uruguay and IPCA.
The women’s team did not fare any better and fell to Bosnia Herzegovina, 1-2, and were now lodged in 57th place overall.
In the women’s side, WIM Beverly Mendoza and Loreshyl Cuizon drew with Sanja Dedijer and Nada Skrkar Nada, respectively.
WFM Sheerie Joy Lomibao, however, lost to WIM Elena Titova-Bovic on board 1.
Paragua, whose GM title was delayed after Alushta failed to furnish the International Chess Federation with the results of their two GM tournaments where the Filipino played, bowed to veteran Ehlvest in 45 moves of a Slav defense.
His unfamiliarity with the Slav forced him to give up a major piece for two pawns in the opening stages of the match en route to absorbing his second loss.
Gonzales, the regular board 4 player, missed a winning middle game in his English encounter with Veingold and battled hard in the endgame to save a draw, despite being a pawn down, after 82 moves.
The Filipino gave up a pawn to allow his two bishops maneuvering room, but overlooked a rook move that would have won him a major piece in five moves.
Laylo, the reigning national champion, won an early exchange in a King’s Indian battle with IM Tarvo Seeman, but was unable to turn the tide and had to settle for a draw in 80 moves.
Pacesetting Ukraine drew with the United States, 2-2, bringing its total to 29 points, two points ahead of Russia, which edged France, 2.5-1.5.
Armenia whipped Slovenia, 3.5-0.5, to gain solo third place, half-a-point ahead of the Americans. India and China remained the best-placed Asian teams with 24 points followed by Vietnam with 22.5 points.