MANILA, Philippines — Twelve-time national open champion Grand Master (GM) Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr. flashed his vintage form in winning the 5th Gathering of Knights and Kings Open Chess Tournament last Thursday at the Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School in Quezon City.
Antonio, who plays for the Philippine Army chess team, edged the country’s top-rated player, GM Wesley So, in the finals to win the P6,000 top prize.
“It was a great feeling, beating GM Wesley So in the one-game blitz final,” Antonio said.
Antonio said he felt he had “no chance” of beating So, who is a Southeast Asian Games gold medalist. “Especially since I am nearing 50-years-old this year, and they say that playing blitz is only for the young,” he said.
Antonio needed to beat Fide Master David Elorta to arrange a title showdown with So in the Masters Division.
Other champions in the respective divisions are: Allan Cantonjos of the Philippine Air Force (non-master); businessman Raul Villate (executive); International Arbiter and National Master Elias Lao (seniors); Woman National Master Christy Lamiel Bernales (women’s); Carlo Caranyagan of Arellano University (kids); and Rodolfo Canonigo (visually impaired).
International Arbiter Gene Poliarco supervised the tournament. He was assisted by Fide Arbiter Ilann Perez and Alex Dinoy. — By Marlon Bernardino.