Filipino GM to join World Senior Chess Championship

MANILA, Philippines – Grandmaster Rogelio "Joey" Antonio will try to do what he nearly achieved two years ago when he competes in the 2019 World Senior Chess Championship set to occur from November 11 to 24 in Bucharest, Romania.

The 57-year-old Antonio placed 2nd in the 2017 edition of the event held in Acqui Terme, Italy, but will be facing more formidable opponents in the 50-and-above category this year.

Fact is, the 13-time Philippine Open champion, is only seeded 19th among 139 entries, including 22 GMs, booked at the Rin Grand Hotel, venue of the 11-round tournament.

Antonio, accompanied by National Master Cesar Caturla, flew out of Manila on Sunday, November 10, and will be arriving in Romania's capital in time for the opening ceremony.

Caturla, a member of the Philippine team to the 1976 Haifa (Israel) Chess Olympiad will compete in the 65-and-over section.

With his current Elo rating of 2427, Antonio is way below the rating of top-seed GM Kiril Georgiev (2582) of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, second-seed GM Darcy Lima (2540) and third-ranked Zurab Sturua (2540) of Georgia.

Despite the odds, Antonio is determined to surpass his effort in 2017, when he wound up behind GM Julio Granda Zuniga of Peru and ahead of GM Eric Prie of France.

GM Eugene Torre also represented the Philippines in the 65-plus category that time, sharing 2nd to 10th places before landing 7th after the tiebreak.

Antonio's trip is being supported by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines headed by Congressman Prospero Pichay, the Philippine Sports Commission, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor). –