CHESS:  MARIANO  BECOMES  RP'S  5TH  GRAND  MASTER

MANILA, June 12, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Dante Navarro  -  Ten years after he ruled the Asian Juniors in Malaysia and nine after he obtained his first GM norm in Singapore, Nelson Mariano II became the fifth Filipino grandmaster when he clinched the third and last part of the elusive GM title yesterday in the first ASEAN Chess Confederation GM Circuit in Bangkok.

Needing two points in the last two rounds to complete the required number of points for a GM norm, Mariano did just that, halving the point with eventual winner GM Nguyen Anh Dung of Vietnam in the morning match and then drawing with Myanmar GM Zaw Win Lay in the afternoon.

Those draws gave Mariano, the lowest-rated in the fold with 2416 Elo rating, 6.5 points for second behind Anh Dung, who finished with 8 points to dominate the compact six-player, Category 10 double-round robin event organized by the Asean Chess Confederation to give Asian players a chance to earn international titles and ratings.

"Matagal ng hinog si Nelson. And his becoming the country’s newest GM makes him a good model for our youth," said GM Eugene Torre as he welcomed the former prodigy to the club of GMs who included the late Rosendo Balinas, Joey Antonio and Bong Villamayor.

Thus, Mariano’s rating is expected to go up to 2475 in July and his title is expected to be confirmed during the World Chess Olympiad in Calvia, Majorca, Spain in October.

"It only showed that we have a vast pool of talents," added Torre, also Asia’s first GM who clinched the title in 1974 in Nice. "Actually, we have so many GM candidates, basta mabigyan lang ng suporta, makakapag-produce pa tayo ng maraming GMs."

Unfortunately, Mariano didn’t have enough of that (support) but got the job done just the same. Thanks to long-time chess patron and lawyer Andy Gatmaitan, who backed Mariano’s participation in the event, including his stint in the Bangkok Open two weeks ago.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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