Unfortunately, for team Philippines, the streak was cut to 5 wins only, as Vietnam was too much for them to handle in the final round of Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018 (Open). All games ended decisively, and Vietnam won 3-1. Thus, Vietnam finished 7th in the ranking, while Philippines settled for 37th place — still a satisfactory performance considering they’re 54th seed.
When the dusts finally settled, 3 teams: USA, China and Russia, tied for the top place. And just like in the previous Olympiad, the grand winner was settled via a tiebreak system — no tiebreak matches whatsoever. A karma, indeed, for USA – just as how they won the last Olympiad, China dethroned them via other teams’ performances, and not necessarily by their own efforts.
USA won against Armenia and Poland lost to China in the penultimate round of Batumi Chess Olympiad 2018. Russia even routed England in the 10th round to earn them at least a shot at the title.
Right before the final round, USA and China are tied for first place. It will be directly decided as they face each other in the final round, unless they draw their match, which will give Russia, France and Poland the chance to join the fray.
It must have been Philippines’ strategy, after all, to lose their games to Croatia, Estonia and Lebanon in Rounds 3, 4 and 5, respectively, in order to breeze through their matches towards the end of the tournament.
With this Round 9 win, Philippines (Seed No. 54) is now at number 31 in the ranking, and is set to face Ecuador (Seed No. 78) in the penultimate 10th round.
If things go well, Philippines might even land in the top 20 at the end of this Olympiad.