Grandmaster (GM) Rogelio “The Ironman” Antonio strikes again.
Having played thousands of chess games online to earn the “Ironman” moniker, Antonio scored 7.5 points out of a perfect 9 on Tuesday, July 21, to clinch the Asian Seniors crown at the expense of Uzbek GMs Tair Vahidov and Alexei Barsov.
The 58-year-old Antonio won 5 of his first 6 matches and never wavered to relegate Vahidov to 2nd place with 6.5 points.
Barsov landed 3rd with 6.0 points, towing a group of 5.5 pointers led by Filipino International Master Ricky de Guzman.
“I really played well,” said Antonio, the tournament’s 5th seed. “No trouble at all. I had the advantage in all of my matches.”
De Guzman kept pace with Antonio after the fifth round, but got sidetracked with successive losses to Vahidov, top seed GM Saidali Luldachev, and Barsov starting Round 6. A victory over Jamal Mosin enabled De Guzman to salvage 4th place after the tiebreak.
Another Filipino, Rudy Ibanez, posted 4.0 points to place 12th, 4 notches better than his 16th ranking.
Antonio opened up with victories over Fide Master (FM) John Duneas, Candidate Master Kinani Ali Mahdial, and Vahidov before settling for a draw with De Guzman.
Resuming his run, Antonio beat FM Abbas Khakpoor and Ram Bahadi Chhetri before drawing with Barsov and Saidali. The pride of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, prevailed over Nassir Wajih in the ninth round.
According to Antonio – the 2017 World Seniors runner-up in Acqui Terme, Italy – his triumph in the Asian Seniors is part of his preparations for the first FIDE Online Chess Olympiad, where he is also a member of Team Philippines.
He thanked National Chess Federation of the Philippines president-chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay and executive director Cliburn Anthony Orbe for their support. – Rappler.com