Quizon nears Grandmaster status

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Quizon nears Grandmaster status
International Master Daniel Quizon
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines -- The long wait for the Philippines’ next chess Grandmaster could be over soon.

This after Daniel Quizon inched a few steps closer to becoming one after claiming his third and final GM norm following a magnificent, come-from-behind title conquest in the second and final leg of the Hanoi Grandmaster Chess Tournament in Vietnam Sunday.

The 20-year-old two-time national champion scored the needed seven-point requirement that he capped with a smashing win over Vietnamese GM Bui Vinh in the ninth and final round in claiming the last required result to close in on the coveted title.

But it didn't look like it early on after absorbing a stinging second-round defeat to Vietnamese FIDE Master Banh Gia Huy.

And then he went on a rampage as he strung together five straight wins and 6.5 points in the last seven rounds that he capped with shock wins over GMs Nguyen Anh Dung and Bus of Vietnam and a draw with GM Vojtech Plat of the Czech Republic.

“Hindi ko po inexpect na makuha ko dahil sa talo ko sa second round,” said Quizon, whose other GM results came in two Eastern Asia Juniors editions in 2018 in South Korea and last year in Kota Kinabalu.

All Quizon needed to do now to become a full-pledged GM is to reach the 2500-rating plateau.

The Dasmarinas bet’s current live rating is 2460.6, including the 19.3 he earned in this leg and the 9.3 he gained in last week’s first leg where he finished tied for first before dropping to second after tiebreaks were applied.

To reach 2500, Quizon said he would join a tournament in Thailand this month, three meets in Vietnam the next and two or three tournaments that his coach, FIDE Master Roel Abelgas, is planning to stage in May and June.

And there’s the FIDE World Chess Olympiad in September where Quizon earned a spot and will make his debut after ruling the National Championships in Marikina last January.

“Matagal ko nang pangarap ang maging Grandmaster,” said the World Cup veteran.

If Quizon eventually clinches the GM title, he would be the 17th Filipino to ever become one with the last coming 14 years ago when Richard Bitoon, now United States-based, achieved such status.

There, he would join an elite group that includes Eugene Torre, Rosendo Balinas, Joey Antonio, Mark Paragua, Darwin Laylo, Banjo Barcenilla, Oliver Barbosa, Julio Catalino Sadorra and Wesley So.

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