FIDE confirms Sadorra as Phl 14th GM

- Joey Villar -

MANILA, Philippines - FIDE has confirmed Julio Catalino Sadorra’s grandmaster title, raising to 14 the growing number of Filipino GMs.

The 25-year-old Sadorra obtained his third and final GM norm after capping his solid effort in the UT Dallas Grandmaster Invitational with a victory over GM Alexander Shabalov of the US last March although the confirmation was only made during the FIDE second quarter presidential board meeting in Al Ain, UAE early this month.

“I guess my hard work and faith paid off, I feel so elated and relieved at the same time,” said Sadorra, a sophomore at University of Texas-Dallas majoring in Applied Mathematics.

Sadorra thus joined the country’s elite circle of GMs, including Wesley So, Eugene Torre, Joey Antonio, Nelson Mariano II, Jayson Gonzales, Bong Villamayor, Rogelio Barcenilla Jr., Mark Paragua, John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo, Joseph Sanchez, Roland Salvador and the late Rosendo Balinas.

Sadorra is also coming off a 10th place finish in the 20th Chicago Open in Wheeling, Illinois last May where he gained the needed rating points to meet the 2500 requirement. He totes a 2508 rating.

FIDE also confirmed the Women International Master titles to Chadine Cheradee Camacho and Catherine Perena. Other Filipino WIMs are Girmie Fontanilla, Cristine Rose Mariano, Beverly Mendoza and Fil-Aussie Arianne Bo Caoili.

Grandmaster Eugene Torre may end up coaching the Phl chess team vying for the gold in the 26th Southeast Asian Games slated Nov. 11-25 in Palembang and Jakarta, Indonesia.

“GM Torre is well-respected as a chess player not only here in the country but also in Asia and the world. He will be a perfect choice to coach our delegates to the SEA Games,” National Chess Federation of the Phl secretary-general Bambol Tolentino told The STAR yesterday.

“No one deserves it more than him (Torre),” he added.

The 59-year-old Torre said he would like to see the young guns headed by super-GM Wesley So to play for Phl in the biennial event even as he stressed his willingness to help in their preparation – as a trainer, non-playing team captain or coach.

“The young guys should play in the SEA Games especially since there is a rapid event there where our players are strong at,” said Torre. “As far as I’m concerned, whatever capacity I can contribute or in anyway I can contribute, I’ll be there because I know I’m a good soldier.”

Torre, however, clarifies he isn’t retiring yet, saying he has several tournaments lined up, including the Battle of the GMs.

Torre is also eyeing a spot in the team seeing action in the 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, hoping to stretch his record stint to 21.

Torre holds the record of 19 consecutive Olympiad stints after the 2006 Turin meet, besting Finland’s Heikki Westerinan’s 18. He is currently tied with former World Championship challenger GM Lajos Portisch of Hungary with most number of non-consecutive appearances with 20.

“If we’ll get that chance, why not? I just want to contribute to the team any way I can for flag and country,” he said.

Torre hopes the Filipinos could match, if not surpass, their best finish - seventh - in the 1988 Thessaloniki Olympiad.

“It would be tough today because there are stronger teams now because of the dissolution of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia,” said Torre. “But with the proper preparation and a little luck, it can be done.”









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