Grandmaster Joey Antonio smashed Indian Nassir Wajih to capture the 1st Asian Seniors Online Chess Championship crown.
The 58-year-old Antonio, seeded fifth and the lowest ranked among the five GMs who made it to the finals, won five and drew one in his first six of nine games including a win over fourth seed GM Tair Vahidov of Uzbekistan to highlight his victory.
The 13-time national champion and 10-time Olympiad veteran then split the point with third pick Alexi Barsov and top pick GM Saidali Iuldachev both of Uzbekistan in the next two rounds before destroying Wajih in the final round for the title.
Antonio was quick to thank fellow GM John Paul Gomez for restoring the former’s confidence after the latter gave up his slot to the FIDE Online Olympiad qualifier two weeks ago to allow him to make it to the team.
“Malakas ang kumpiyansa ko dahil sa binigay na opportunity ni GM JP (Gomez) sa akin,” said Antonio, who is part of the Agila ng Pilipinas team seeing action in the rapid online version of the Olympiad early next month.
Also finishing strongly was another Filipino, International Master Ricky De Guzman, who wound up fourth with 5.5 points.
De Guzman, who topped the Zone 3.3 qualifier last week ahead of National Master Rudy Ibanez and Antonio, was tied for first with Antonio the fifth round but he lost three straight that derailed his title bid.
He demolished Bangladeshi Jamal Md. Mohsin in the last round to salvage fourth.
Vahidov was second with 6.5 points while Barsov was third with six points.
Ibanez, who coaches Polytechnic University of the Philippines and Arellano, was 10th with four points.