Filipinos have a good chance in Asian chess tilt

December 07, 2018
Eugene Torre
GMS Eugene Torre (left) and Jayson Gonzales make their first appearance in the TOPS’ “Usapang Sports at the National Press Club in Manila. Photo by Genie Villota

THE 17th Asian Continental Chess Championship-2nd Manny Pacquiao Cup is one of the biggest events to be held in the country in recent years and that "Filipino players should make the most of this opportunity to play against some of  the world's best."

This was stressed by GM Jayson Gonzales when he guested with Asia's first GM Eugene Torre during the 3rd TOPS "Usapang Sports" at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.

Gonzales, also the project director,  said World Chess Olympiad champion China and Asian heavyweights India and Kazakhstan are sending their best players  in the tournament serving as qualiying event for the 2019 World Chess Cup.

“This is a good opportunity for  our  players to show  their  wares while  playing against top players from Asia,”said Gonzales. “Konting sikap lang,  may pag-asa naman tayo  na manalo.”

Gonzales said the  nine-round event  sanctioned  by  the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), headed by President Prospero  “Butch” Pichay and sponsored by the  Philippine Sports Commission (PSC),  led by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez,  is expected to draw at least 126 players from 16 Asian countries, including those from China, India, Iran, Vietnam and Central Asia

Among the notable players to watch  are GMs Wang Hao (2730), Wei Yi (2728) and Ni Hua (2683), also of China; GM Parham Maghsoodloo (2689) of Iran;  and  GM Baskaran Adhiban (2682) and GM S. P. Sethuraman (2664) of India in the men's division.

WGM Guo Qi of China, who took home a silver in both the team and individual event of the 2014 World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway and is currently rated 2368, is the top seed in the women’s division.

Also expected to battle it out for  the crown  are WGM Wang Jue (2367) of China and WGM Padmini Rout (2341) of India.

GMs John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Rogelio Antonio Jr., IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, Haridas Pascua, Marvin Miciano, Paolo Bersamina and newly-crowned Asian  Seniors champion IM Chito Garma will banner the Filipinos’ campaign in the men's division.

WGM Janelle Mae Frayna  will lead the country's campaign in the women’s side.

At stake in the tournament is a total cash prize of $50,000 with the men’s champion getting the lion’s share of $10,000 and the women’s titlist winning $6,000.

An automatic GM title and norms will be given outrightly to the champion.

The top five finishers in the men’s side will also earn slots to the World Chess Cup 2019 set Nov. 4-30 in  Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia where the top two will automatically booked a berth to the Candidates Tournament serving as the last qualifying tournament before the next World Championship in 2020.

The top woman will advance straight to the Women’s World Cup, which is similar to the men’s World Cup.

Meanwhile, Torre urged   chess fans  allover the country  to come and show their  support  to  the Filipino players  in this prestigious competition  supported by Sen. Pacquiao himself.

Torre  also  urged  public officials  and   individuals to follow the  example of  Sen.  Pacquiao and support  not only chess but other sports as well.

“Nun’ lumapit ako kay Sen. Pacquiao sa kanyang  opisina   para  humingi  ng  suporta dito  sa chess, hindi  na  ako nag-dalawang salita at  kaagad siyang  tumugon  at   nangako ng  tumulong,” explained Torre.