PHILIPPINES newest chess grandmaster Oliver Barbosa won the overall title in the DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters being held at the Swiss Garden Hotel & Residences in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday.
The Taytay, Rizal native finished with 7.0 points to bag the overall title and the 4,000 RM prize that goes with it. The former University of the Philippines top player Barbosa, who achieved his third and final Grandmaster norm in the eight settled a truce with former Asian junior champion Vietnamese GM Nguyen Anh Dung in the ninth and final round.
The event was organized by Fide Master Peter Long in close cooperation with DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, Dato' Sri Edmund Santhara, KLCA and MEGB Group Chess and sanctioned by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). “Once again our flag has been raised in this foreign land,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) Chairman/President Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr.
Another Filipino entry Richard Bitoon of Medellin, Cebu won over Uzbek GM Tahir Vakhidov in the ninth and final round to earn his third and final GM norm. Bitoon and IM Jahongir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan finished second and third with 6.5 points each. Vakhidov achieved his first ever Grandmaster norm when he drew quickly with Singapore Grandmaster Wong Meng Kong.