WORLD Seniors vice champion GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. is playing in the two-day FIDE Online Chess Olympiad qualifer this weekend, after all.
Antonio, who was initially not included in the six-player qualifying tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), will take the place of GM John Paul Gomez.
Gomez, one of five players who originally qualified for the Moscow-bound Olympiad team during eliminations held last year, decided to give up his spot to Antonio.
The 34-year-old campaigner from Biñan, Laguna, who earned his GM title during the Dresden Olympiad in 2009, said Antonio is best suited for the faster rapid time control that will be implemented in the online version of the unique FIDE event.
The NCFP immediately welcomed the decision of Gomez.
“In an unprecedented gesture of sportsmanship, humility and unselfishness, GM John Paul Gomez has requested to allow him to give way for GM Joey Antonio to compete in the playoff this weekend,” said NCFP executive director Clibun Orbe.
“While GM Gomez said he defeated GM Antonio in the last two games they played in standard time control, he also cited he was defeated by GM Antonio in the last two games they played on rapid time control,” said Orbe in the official NCFP website.
The 58-year-old Antonio will now get a chance to represent the country in the Olympiad for the first time since the 2006 Turin Olympiad in Italy.
Aside from Antonio, the other players vying for the two regular and two reserve slots to the national team to the Online Olympiad are newly-crowned Pichay Birthday Cup “Battle of GMs” champion GM Mark Paragua, GM Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr., GM Darwin Laylo, and IMs Paulo Bersamina and Haridas Pascua.
Based on tournament format designed by FIDE, each participating country will be composed of six players, in a mixed format with a minimum of three female players and two junior players.