MANILA, Philippinesâ€”Ageing vanguards Eugene Torre and Rogelio Antonio Jr. proved their mettle Thursday night as the Philippines prevailed over favored India, 2.5-1.5, and barged into the gold-medal match of the 16th Asian Games chess competitions at the Guangzhou Chess Institute.
The 48-year-old Antonio, a 12-time national champion, trounced fellow Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran in board two, while Asia’s first GM Torre, still razor-sharp at 59, bested GM GN Gopal in board four to propel the Filipinos to a title clash with powerhouse China on Friday.
The Chinese, fifth placers in the 2010 Chess Olympiad held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, also asserted their superiority over the Iranians, 2.5-1.5, in the other semifinal encounter.
China ripped Iran, 3-1, in the fifth round of classification play.
GM John Paul Gomez sealed the Filipinos’ triumph when he drew with GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly in board three, negating the loss of GM Wesley So to GM Pentala Harikrishna in board one.
The Filipinos, with So and Torre hurdling their rivals, also downed the Indians, 2.5-1.5, in the fifth round. Antonio drew his match while Gomez bowed to his rival that time.
The Chinese dealt the sixth-ranked Filipinos a 3-1 thrashing in the second round.
The women finals, featuring China against Uzbekistan, will be held simultaneously with the men finals starting at 1 p.m. China routed Vietnam, 3.5-0.5, while Uzbekistan beat India, 2.5-1.5, on Thursday.