Sunday, March 15, 2009


Barcenilla wants to earn GM title here
By Joey Villar Updated March 15, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Grandmaster-candidate Rogelio Barcenilla Jr. is back in the country after years of exile in the United States.
Barcenilla, now 36, quietly flew to the country alongside GM Joey Antonio to pursue his dream of becoming a GM on local soil where opportunities are now aplenty.
“I’m here to finally get my GM title,” said Barcenilla, twice denied by the FIDE, the world chess governing body, of the title due to technicality.
“I will not give up because it has been my dream for so long now,” added the two-time Asian Junior champion, former World Junior third placer and many-time Olympiad team member.
Barcenilla gained his first two norms following strong efforts in a closed GM event in Jakarta, Indonesia and the 1996 Yerevan Olympiad and would have clinched the title if FIDE did not nullify his effort in the GM tournament in Subic Bay in 1997.
Barcenilla left the country terribly disappointed, pursuing his dream instead in the US.
He picked up some wins including the 2001 Marshall Chess Club GM tournament in New York which he thought would finally earn him the GM title. Alas, he was again denied by a special FIDE committee by a mere vote.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. said he’ll help Barcenilla achieve his dream.
“I’m happy he (Barcenilla) decided to return. We have several international tournaments in the country, he could get his final GM norm here,” said Pichay during Friday’s launching of the Phoenix Petroleum and Dapitan City Battle of the Grandmasters slated late this month in Dapitan, Zaomboanga del Norte.
Barcenilla, however, will not be able to join the Battle of the GMs but vowed to join the Asian Individual Championship and the Subic Bay International Open this May.
“I have a scheduled flight back to the US on March 28 but I will be back in May to join the two tournaments,” said Barcenilla.
Barcenilla would have been the fourth GM after Eugene Torre, the late Rosendo Balinas and Antonio if not for the technicality.
Six other Filipino players have become GMs -- Bong Villamayor, Nelson Mariano II, Mark Paragua, Darwin Laylo, Wesley So and Jayson Gonzales. Barcenilla said he won’t mind becoming only the 10th.
“What’s important is the GM title. It’s all that matters,” said Barcenilla.

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