Banjo humbles young masters
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The emergence of the young guns seems to be the signal of the changing of the guards in Philippines chess.

But grizzled veteran Grandmaster Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla Jr. said not yet.

Barcenilla, the second oldest participant in the 11-player field at 47 years old, turned back the time and topped the National Chess Championship dubbed as the Battle of Grandmasters at the PACE Center in Quezon City Tuesday night.

The United States-based Barcenilla finished undefeated with seven points on four wins and six draws out of the possible 11, winning by a full point over International Master Paulo Bersamina and GM Darwin Laylo.

He capped his sterling performance by dethroning titleholder IM Haridas Pascua in 44 moves of an English duel that was highlighted by the former’s brilliant queen sacrifice that forced mate.

Barcenilla thus claimed his first national title since winning the National Open 23 years ago.

He also claimed one of the two slots to next year’s World Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia where he will be making his fifth appearance. The other three members will be decided by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

“I’m just happy to play in the Olympiad again,” said Barcenilla.

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