WORLD Seniors vice champion GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. will banner the Filipinos’ campaign in the FIDE Asian Seniors online chess championship scheduled July 13-21 on Chess.com.
Antonio, dubbed as the “Ironman” of online chess, will set out as one of the top favorites in the two-part competitions for players 50 years old and above.
“It’s always an honor for me to play for our country. I would never get tired doing it,” Antonio told People’s Tonight when asked for the opportunity to represent the country again.
The 58-year-old pride of Calapan Oriental Mindoro, who finished a fighting second to GM Julio Granda Zuniga of Peru in the World Seniors held in Acqui Terme, Italy in 2017, is widely expected to rule the 44-player qualifying tournament for Zone 3.3 players and advance to the tournament proper -- a nine-round Swiss system finals -- where the top three players from the six other zonals eliminations will also join.
Veteran IM Chito Garma, who topped the Asian Seniors in Tagaytay City in 2018, and IM Angelo Young, who finished eighth in the World Seniors in Bucharest, Romania in 2019, are also seeing action in the event co-organized by the Asian Chess Federation.
Comebacking IM Petronio Roca, who finished runner-up to Garma in the 2018 Asian seniors, is also in the list.
Actually, a total of 30 Filipino players are vying for the three tickets for Zone 3.3 to the grand finals.
They will be up against 14 other players from seven other countries belonging to Zone 3.3 -- Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
The top three finishers in Zone 3.3 will join the other top players from the other zonal eliminations:
Zone 3.1 -- Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Oman Palestine and Syria,
Zone 3.2 --Moldova, Nepal, Pakistan , Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
Zone 3.4 -- Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.
Zone 3.6 -- New Zealand
Zone 3.7 -- India
The zonal tournaments shall be seven-round Swiss system events held every day.
The top three men and best women will qualify for the nine-round Swiss system finals.
In all, a total of 117 players are competing in the 50-above category.
The other Filipino players seeing naction in the 50-above category are IMs Ricky de Guzman and Emmanuel Senador, NMs Rudy Ibanez, Alex Lupian, and Jonathan Tan, PECA president Alfredo Paez, national team coach James Infiesto, Vic Arellano, Emmanuel Asi, Joselito Asi, Joselito Cada, Jimmy Dano, Felix Duterte, Nunilon Fulo, Melzar Galicia, Martin Gaticales, Jose Guevarra, James Infiesto, Mario Mangubat, Augusto Marcial, Cezar Mariano, Leonardo Navarro, Alfredo Paez, Joel Pineda, Danilo Reyes, Rolzon Roullo, Jimmy Siagaya and Rey Urbitztondo.
In the 65-above division are 35 participants, including Filipinos Antonio Molina and Gerard Yulo.
GM Eugene Torre, who topped the Asian Seniors 65-above class in New Zealand in 2017 and Tagaytay City in 2018, begged off from the tournament.
At stake are cash prizes amounting of $3,000 with the champion receiving US$500.
The runner-up and third placer will earn $400 and $300, respectively.
The fourth up to the sixth placers will get $200, $150 and $150.