NEW YORK CITY – Elmhurst Chess Club mainstay Gilbert Buenaflor Gonzales has warned that the entry of United States Chess Federation (USCF) National Master Tyrell Harriott, among other foreign chess masters in the final edition of the 2017 Mansion World Chess Cup Rapid Championship, might derail the chances of Pinoy players aiming for a grand slam.
“Tyrell will wipe out all our previous edition winners because he is fast and an active blitz player anywhere in New York,” feared Gonzales, winner of the Cup’s 13th edition.
Gonzales’ concern came after tournament arbiter Rainier Labay hinted that they might invite Harriott, a Chess-in-the-Schools full-time classroom instructor, in the Cup’s final leg.
“We have the best line-up among the Filipino players and I am confident that we can give the foreign players a run for their money as what they did in the past,” quipped Labay, the fastest blitz player in the community.
Meanwhile, Ejhay Labuac, second placer in the 10th edition and former University of Manila champion, disagreed with Gonzales.
“I will retire (from playing chess) if Tyrell will beat us,” enthused Labuac, who has played with Harriott in Steinway on several occasions.
According to the Manhattan-based Marshall Chess Club, Harriott is an active tournament player who has traveled to many countries to play chess.
“His competitive milestones include: 2nd place U2000 at The World Open in 2012, 1st place U2000 at The Continental Open in 2012, and 1st place U2100 at The Manhattan Open in 2012. Tyrell is passionate about technology and incorporates chess learning software, SMARTBoards, and online assessments into his pedagogy,” the chess club reports in its website.
“I want to play in the next one,” Harriott, who tots a World Chess Federation rating of 2175 (rapid) and 2197 (blitz), told Labay in a social media message.
“We will invite you next,” replied Labay, who, along with FIDE Master Rico Salimbagat, is one of the highest rated Pinoy chessers now campaigning in the US.
The previous winners were: Benchly Buccat (2nd, 6th, 7th, 9th editions); Alex P. Vidal (3rd, 5th, 11th, 12th editions); Normando “Lolo Andy” Punzalan (1st and 4th editions); Gonzales (8th, 13th editionsd); Albert “Etik Etik” Riviera (10th edition); Thomas Hagakore (14th edition).
The Mansion World Chess Club Rapid tournament was organized in honor of Wesley So, a Cavite-born 24-year-old super-grand master now ranked No. 2 in the world, after he reached the 2017 World Chess Cup semi-finals the Tbilisi, Georgia recently.
He lost to China’s GM Ding Liren, who lost to Armenia’s GM Levon Aronian in the championship.