By Jean Malanum

PODIUM FINISH. The members of the Philippine chess team pose with their medals at the end of the 1st FIDE Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday (Feb. 4, 2023). In photo are (back row, from left) coach Saul Severino, National Master James Infiesto, National Master Darry Bernardo and Cheyzer Mendozal and (front row, from left) FIDE Master Sander Severino and National Master Henry Roger Lopez. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The Philippines held India to a draw in the final round to place third in the 1st FIDE Chess Olympiad for People with Disabilities at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday.

National Master Darry Bernardo won against Kumar A. Naven after 79 moves of a Carro-Kann Defense on Board 4 to save the day for the Filipinos.

Playing-coach NM James Infiesto lost to Inani Darpan in 57 moves of a Bishop’s Opening on Board 3.

FIDE Master Sander Severino split the point with Kutwal Shashikant after 37 moves of a Caro-Kann Defense on Board 1 while NM Henry Roger Lopez held Gangolli Kishan to a draw after 34 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined on Board 2.

The Philippines, India, Serbia 1 and Uzbekistan registered identical 8.0 points after six rounds but they were ranked based on their accumulated tiebreak points.

“Right now, I don’t have anything on my mind. I am just happy. We will just continue doing what we are doing so far,” said Bernardo, who bagged the individual gold medal on Board 4 with 5.5 points.

Severino earned the Board 1 individual silver medal with three wins and three draws.

“We did this for flag and country,” said Severino, winner of the 2020 International Physically Disabled Chess Association World Online Chess Rapid Championships.

The other members of the Philippine team are Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza and coach Saul Severino.

Poland downed Israel, 3-1, to pocket the gold with 12 points.

Pawel Piekielny prevailed over International Master Andrei Gurbanov after 28 moves of a Catalan Opening on Board 3 while International Master Jacek Stachanczyk conquered Woman FIDE Master Aleksandra Aleksandrova after 42 moves of a Philidor Defense on Board 4.

Grandmaster Marcin Tazbir drew with Grandmaster Yehuda Gruenfeld on Board 1 and FIDE Master Marcin Molenda settled for a draw with FIDE Master Alexey Streltsov on Board 2.

International Association of Chess with Physical Disability nipped Hungary, 2.5-1.5, to claim the silver medal with 10 points. (PNA)