Barbosa nails third GM norm

Individual standings after round 8

6.5 points—IM Oliver Barbosa (Philippines)

6.0 points—IM Jahongir Vakhidov (Uzbekistan)

5.5 points—IM Richard Bitoon (Philippines)

5.0 points—IM Das Arghyadip (India)

4.5 points—GM Tahir Vakhidov (Uzbekistan)

3.5 points—IM Goh Wei Ming (Singapore)

3.0 points— IM Nguyen Van Huy (Vietnam)

2.5 points—GM Nguyen Anh Dung (Vietnam)

2.0 points— IM Mas Hafizulhelmi (Malaysia)

FILIPINO International Master Oliver Barbosa won over Vietnamese IM Nguyen Van Huy in the seventh round then split the point with Malaysian IM Mas Hafizulhelmi in the eighth

to earn his third and final GM norm going to the ninth and final round of the DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters at the Swiss Garden Hotel & Residences in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia late Friday, September 9.

The former University of the Philippines standout raised his total 6.5 points, the needed score for a GM aspirant in the single-round robin format, category 9 World Chess Federation (FIDE) sanctioned tournament.

Barbosa got his first GM norm during the 10th Asian Continental Individual Chess Championships in Mashhad, Iran last May and his second during the National Chess Championship: 4th Battle of the Grandmasters at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila last July.

“Nagbunga din po y’ung pagtitiyaga ko. Salamat sa walang humpay na suporta ni chairman (Prospero) Pichay sa local at international tournament ko pati kay PSC chairman (Ricardo) Garcia,” said Barbosa, currently no.4 in the latest Philippines-FIDE ranking list with 2538 Elo rating. Barbosa guns for another major title as he faces former Asian junior champion Vietnamese GM Nguyen Anh Dung in the final round.

Barbosa is set to join the elite circle of Filipino GMs, including Eugene Torre, Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr., Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor, Nelson Mariano II, Mark Paragua, Wesley So, Darwin Laylo, Jayson Gonzales, John Paul Gomez, Joseph Sanchez, Roland Salvador, Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla Jr., Julio Catalino Sadorra and the late Rosendo Balinas Jr.

Another Filipino entry IM Richard Bitoon scored back-to-back draws against Singaporean IM Goh Wei Ming and Indian IM Das Arghyadip, respectively for 5.5 points. The Medellin, Cebu native is a must win situation against Uzbek GM Tahir Vakhidov in the final round to obtain his third and final GM norm.

In the swiss competition, NM Edgar Reggie Olay of Philippines defeated Aussie IM Brian Kelly to score 6.0 points in eight outings and secure his third and final IM norm. Olay earned his first IM norm during the 2008 Pichay International Open in Subic and his second during the 2010 Pichay International Open at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila. Liberty Icao

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