High school student Giovanni Mejia stunned Grandmaster Rogelio Barcenilla Jr. in Sunday’s start of the 2012 Battle of the Grandmasters at the Paraw Club in Boracay.
Barcenilla had a slight edge against the 14-year-old Mejia, but after passing the first 40 moves, the veteran grandmaster inexplicably fell to a double attack and lost a piece. Some 15 moves later, Barcenilla resigned in 66 moves of a Sicilian Defense.
“I had a slight advantage, but I blundered and my position collapsed quickly,” Barcenilla texted Manila Standard Today.
Raul Mejia, Giovanni’s father, said in a phone interview that his son was happy with his result. Giovanni, the youngest qualifier since top Philippine grandmaster Wesley So entered the finals at the age, of 12, is a being supported by the mayor of San Jacinto, Pangasinan where the elder Mejia comes from.
So is not playing in this tournament as he is preparing for his college studies (at Webster University) in St Louis, USA where he was recruited by former women’s world champion Susan Polgar.