Torre, Barbosa score; Team PH 2nd

Eugene Torre and Oliver Barbosa, two grandmasters separated by nearly three generations, delivered the killer blows in the Philippines' amazing 3-1 victory over powerhouse England Tuesday in the eighth round of the 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey.

Torre, the 60-year-old chess legend, defeated old rival GM Nigel Short (2698) with the black pieces at board three while Barbosa, 26, continued his winning run with white, this time at the expense of GM Jones Gawain (2653).

GMs Wesley So and Mark Paragua, playing on opposite ends of the four-board match, hacked out draws with GM Michael Adams (2722) and GM Nicholas Pert (2555), respectively.

The Filipinos came into the tournament, hoping to improve on their worst showing - 50th place - two years ago in Russia.

With three rounds left, the Filipinos can do the impossible - win this tournament - beginning with a much-anticipated showdown with China Wednesday.

The Philippines and China are in five-team logjam for second place with 13 points, two points behind solo leader Russia. Also with 13 points were Armenia, Germany and the United States.

Russia inched closer to regaining the crown by edging Ukraine, 2.5-1.5, with GM Sergey Karjakin (2785) overcoming GM Andrei Volokitin (2709) at board three.

China held Armenia to a 2-all draw, Germany nipped Hungary, 2.5-1.5; while the United States trounced FYROM, 3-1.

The Philippines has had good results against England in the past, but has never won against the European giant.

In 1970 in Siegen, Germany, the two teams faced and drew all four board matches.

National Master Sammy Estimo, then making his Olympic debut, claimed he was approached by the English captain proposing a draw.

"England has been wary of the Filipinos for the longest time," Estimo said.

The Filipinos rejected the English overture because the late International Master Ruben Rodriguez wanted to play, according to Estimo.

Eventually, all four matches ended in draws. The other members of the team were IM Renato Naranja at board one and Torre at board two.

The Philippines and England again fought during the penultimate round in 1988 in Thessaloniki, Greece with similar result: Four drawn games.

Torre and Short, the only remnants of the 1988 squads, faced each other again at board three on Tuesday.

Short came into the match undefeated with an impressive run of five wins and two draws.

He opened with a queen pawn to which Torre responded with the Nimzo-Indian.

The match came down to an endgame where Short had a rook and two bishops as opposed to Torre's rook and two knights.

Theoretically, Short had the advantage, but the Englishman played poorly, allowing Torre to trap one of his bishops with a series of clever knight moves.

The end came in 41 moves.

Torre's performance is short of phenomenal given his semi-retirement and personal loss. He left the wake of his mother to join the team.

In four matches, Torre has two wins and two draws and a performance rating of 2816 which belies his ELO of 2469.

Barbosa took much longer to bounce back from a previous loss to Hungarian GM Zoltan Almasi, needing 102 moves to bring down Gawain.


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