12 Famous Chess Players in Philippines of All Time

Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

The Philippines is home to some of the best chess players in the world. The country is home to several grandmasters, including Wesley So, the first Filipino world champion. Other strong players from the Philippines include Eugene Torre, Mark Paragua, and Joey Antonio.

These top players have achieved great success in international chess tournaments, earning titles and medals. This article will provide an overview of some of the best chess players in the Philippines and their accomplishments.

1. Paulo Bersamina

Paulo Bersamina is a Filipino chess player who has achieved remarkable success in the sport. In 2014, he was awarded the title of International Master by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

Since then, he has represented the Philippines in several Chess Olympiads, including the 2014 and 2016 editions. His career reached new heights in 2021 when he qualified for the Chess World Cup.

Unfortunately, he was unable to progress past the first round, as he was defeated 1.5-0.5 by the Indian grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa. Despite the setback, Bersamina can be proud of his performance and the level of success he has achieved in the world of chess.

He is an inspiration to aspiring Filipino chess players and a reminder of the potential of Filipino players in the global chess scene.

2. Daniel Quizon

Daniel Quizon is a Filipino chess grandmaster who has recently made a name for himself in the world of competitive chess. He is currently the Philippine Chess Champion and was awarded the title of International Master by FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) in 2018.

This honor is a testament to his skill and dedication to the game. Furthermore, Daniel recently qualified to compete in the 2021 Chess World Cup, where he was pitted against the experienced Russian grandmaster Evgeny Bareev in the first round.

Unfortunately, Daniel was defeated 1.5-0.5 by Bareev and was knocked out of the competition. Despite this setback, Daniel has shown that he is a formidable chess player and is likely to continue to make a name for himself in the world of competitive chess.

3. Janelle Mae Frayna

Janelle Mae Frayna is an iconic figure in the world of chess. She is a Filipina chess player who achieved an impressive feat in 2017. That year, she was awarded the title of Woman Grandmaster by FIDE, the international chess federation.

This made her the first-ever Filipino to achieve this impressive title. Her success doesn’t stop there. She has also earned the title of three-time and current Philippine Women’s Chess Champion. This remarkable accomplishment speaks to her skill and dedication in the sport.

Frayna has become an inspiration for many aspiring chess players in the Philippines and around the world. As a Woman Grandmaster, Janelle Mae Frayna has achieved a status that very few can lay claim to. She is a symbol of excellence in the sport.

Her success has garnered the attention of the international chess community, and she is now seen as a role model by many other aspiring chess players. Janelle Mae Frayna’s accomplishments speak to the hard work and dedication she has dedicated to her craft.

She has become an example of what is possible when you put your mind to it. Her success has opened the door for other Filipinos to achieve similar accomplishments in the chess world. Her story is an inspiration to all who strive for greatness.

4. Mark Paragua

Mark Callano Paragua is a Filipino chess grandmaster who has achieved incredible success at a young age. He won the Philippine Chess Championship in 2012, becoming the youngest Filipino master ever at just nine years of age.

He went on to beat Eugenio Torre’s record two years later, becoming the youngest Filipino grandmaster ever at 20. Paragua’s achievements have been remarkable, and his dedication to the game of chess has been an inspiration to younger generations of Filipino chess players.

His success has shown that age is no barrier when it comes to excellence in the game, and that hard work and dedication can take you far in the world of chess.

5. Darwin Laylo

Darwin Laylo is a Filipino chess grandmaster and a highly respected player in the chess world. He is a two-time winner of the Philippine national championship, winning in 2004 and 2006.

His success in these tournaments earned him a place in the Philippine teams for the 2004 Calvià Olympiad and the 2006 Turin Olympiad.

During these international tournaments, he demonstrated his extraordinary skill and expertise at the game of chess, becoming a star player for the Philippine teams.

His achievements during these Olympiads earned him recognition and admiration from chessplayers all over the world.

6. Rogelio Antonio Jr.

Rogelio Antonio Jr., more commonly known as “Joey” Antonio or GM Joey, is a Filipino chess grandmaster. He was awarded the title in 1993 and has since become a highly respected figure in the international chess community.

He is known for his impressive tactical skills as well as his strong endgame play. Antonio has had a long and successful career in chess. He has won numerous national and international tournaments, including the Philippine National Chess Championships in 1997 and 1999.

He has also represented the Philippines in some of the world’s most prestigious events, such as the World Chess Championship in 2000. Joey Antonio is widely regarded as one of the most talented chess players of his generation.

He is especially admired for his deep understanding of the game, as well as his ability to come up with creative and unexpected moves. He has a deep passion for the game and is always eager to share his knowledge and strategies with aspiring chess players.

In addition to his accomplishments in chess, Rogelio Antonio Jr. is also a successful entrepreneur. He owns a business that manufactures and sells chess sets and other chess-related products.

Antonio is also active in promoting chess in the Philippines, organizing and sponsoring events to help young players develop their skills. Overall, Rogelio Antonio Jr., or GM Joey, is a highly respected figure in the international chess world.

He is admired for his impressive tactical skills and endgame play as well as his passion for the game. He is also a successful entrepreneur and works to promote chess in the Philippines.

7. Oliver Barbosa

Oliver Barbosa is a Filipino chess grandmaster who achieved great success in his career. He earned his International Master title in 2008 and his grandmaster title in 2011, which is the highest title in chess.

Barbosa achieved further success when he won the 10th Parsvnath International Grandmasters Tournament in New Delhi, with an incredible score of 9.5/11, and a Tournament Performance Rating of 2710.

This was an incredible achievement, as Barbosa had to defeat many other top-level grandmasters to win the tournament. His success in the tournament shows his incredible skill as a chess player and demonstrates his commitment to the sport.

8. Alekhine Nouri

Alekhine Nouri is a remarkable chess player. He was named after the famous Russian chess player Alexander Alekhine. At the age of 7, Alekhine became the youngest Filipino FIDE Master as well as the youngest FIDE Master in the world.

This is an incredible feat, as it puts him in a class of his own. He is currently the reigning Philippine Juniors Champion and has been an inspiration for other young chess players.

His success has shown that age is no barrier to success and that talent and dedication can lead to great things.

9. Wesley So


Wesley Barbossa So is an impressive chess player who has achieved much success in the game. He is both Filipino and American and has managed to become the United States Chess Champion on three separate occasions. He is also a three-time Philippine Chess Champion.

According to the March 2017 FIDE rating list, So was ranked as the second-highest-rated player in the world, with an Elo rating of 2822. This makes him the fifth-highest-rated player in history, an incredible accomplishment.

So’s success has been remarkable, and he has proven himself to be one of the best chess players in the world.

10. Jayson Gonzales


Jayson Gonzales is a Filipino chess grandmaster, a title that is a testament to his extraordinary talent and skill in the game of chess. Originally from the Philippines, Gonzales has been playing chess since he was a child.

As he grew older, he developed an impressive skill set and knowledge of the game, eventually earning the title of grandmaster. A grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can achieve and is granted by the World Chess Federation.

To be a grandmaster, one must demonstrate an immense skill and understanding of the game, which Gonzales has done. Gonzales has been competing in chess tournaments since he was a young man, and has achieved numerous titles and awards.

He is a two-time Philippine National Champion and has represented the Philippines in international competitions. In 2019, Gonzales was awarded the title of Grandmaster for his impressive performance in the Asian Cities Chess Championship in China.

Gonzales is passionate about the game of chess and is dedicated to teaching it to people of all ages. He often travels to schools and organizations to give lectures and talks on the game.

He is also a strong advocate for youth participation in chess and has been involved in numerous initiatives to promote the game. Jayson Gonzales is an incredible chess player and a true inspiration to aspiring grandmasters.

His hard work, passion, and dedication to the game have earned him the title of grandmaster, and he is a role model for many aspiring chess players.

11. Nelson Mariano


Nelson Isurina Mariano II is a renowned Filipino chess player. He achieved the title of Grandmaster, the highest chess title in the world, in 2004. This made him the fifth Filipino player ever to receive this title from the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE).

Mariano also won the Asian Junior Chess Championship in 1994, further solidifying his place as one of the best Filipino chess players in the world.

His achievements are a testament to the strength of Filipino chess players, as he is only one of five Filipino Grandmasters to ever receive the title from FIDE.

12. Buenaventura Villamayor


Buenaventura “Bong” Mendieta Villamayor is a renowned Filipino chess player who has achieved great success in the game. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious title of Grandmaster by FIDE, making him the fourth Filipino to receive this honor.

This accomplishment puts him in a small circle of chess elite and is a testament to his skill and dedication to the game. Villamayor’s success did not stop there. In 1998, he won the national championship of the Philippines, further cementing his status as a top-tier player.

His success has inspired many Filipino chess players to reach for the same level of excellence and become one of the few Grandmasters in the country. Villamayor’s legacy will continue to be remembered in the Philippines for many years to come.

His achievements have been a source of pride for the Filipino chess community, and a reminder of the potential of Filipino chess players. He is an example of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication to the game.


The Philippines is home to some of the world’s best Chess players. From Wesley So to Eugene Torre, the Philippines has produced some of the greatest Chess players in the world.

The high level of Chess play in the Philippines has been a result of hard work, dedication, and commitment to the game. These players have shown that the Philippines is a leader in the Chess world, and its players are recognized around the world for their skill and expertise.

Photo of author

Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

I am a professional chess player for over 10 years, one of the youngest Grandmasters in the world and amongst the top ranked in the western hemisphere. I have been playing chess since I was a child, and it is something that I have always been passionate about. My passion has taken me to numerous tournaments around the world where I have competed against some of the best players in the world. Through hard work and dedication, I have achieved great success at these tournaments and have become one of the youngest Grandmasters in history. My goal is to continue to improve my game and reach new heights within this sport. LinkedIn