Unheralded Salimbagat shines in NY chess blitz
By Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 22, 2013 – 5:29pm
MANILA, Philippines — Unheralded Filipino Rico Salimbagat made the country proud after he emerged solo fourth place in a strong FIDE-sanctioned, Grandmaster-laden blitz tournament in New York recently.
Coming into the nine-round tournament as a virtual unknown with a measly FIDE rating of 2265, Salimbagat, a Tanauan, Batangas native who is now based in Queens, New York, surprised everyone and scored 6.5 points on five victories, three draws and a lone loss, which was good for fourth spot.
Salimbagat stunned Estonian Grandmaster Jaan Ehlvest, the eventual champion, with a snappy sixth round win and drew with Russians Igor Sorkin, who wound up second, and top seed GM Alexander Stripunsky, the fifth placer.
His only loss came in the seventh round against Georgian GM Mikhail Kekelidze, who finished third with seven points.
Ehlvest, Sorkin, Stripunski and KeKelidze have ratings of 2657, 2538, 2696 and 2635, respectively, all way above Salimbagat’s current rating.
“I’m happy with my performance because I defeated Ehlvest and drew with Sorkin and Stripunski even though I was up by a pawn and I just drew it because I have a few time left,” said Salimbagat, who works as a maintenance engineer at the Warwick International Hotel in New York.