Fide confers Grandmaster titles to Barbosa, Bitoon
MANILA, Philippines — The World Chess Federation (Fide) has conferred the Grandmaster title to Oliver Barbosa (2571) and Richard Bitoon (2515), hiking the total number of Filipino GMs to 16.
Barbosa, who hails from Taytay, Rizal, earned his third and final GM norm in the DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters last September in Kuala Lumpur where he bagged the overall title and the 4,000 RM (about P57,000) prize.
Bitoon obtained his final GM in the same event where he finished tied for second with IM Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan.
Barbosa and Bitoon joined the country’s elite GM circle, including Eugene Torre, Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr., Bong Villamayor, Nelson Mariano II, Mark Paragua, Wesley So, Darwin Laylo, Jayson Gonzales, John Paul Gomez, Joseph Sanchez, Roland Salvador, Rogelio Barcenilla Jr., Julio Catalino Sadorra and the late Rosendo Balinas Jr.
“Our target is to hit 20 Grandmasters next year so we can ask the World Chess Federation if we can have our zonal championships in the Philippines,” National Chess Federation of the Philippines head Prospero Pichay Jr. said.