We need more Wesley -- Torre

December 06, 2018
National Press Club
Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre (second from right) pushes for more private support for chess during the 3rd TOPS “Usapang Sports” at the National Press Club in Intramuros. Also in photo are former PSC Commissioner and environmentalist Tisha Abundo, TOPS president Ed Andaya of People’s Tonight and GM Jayson Gonzales.

THE Philippines hopes to produce more young and talented players in the mold of GM Wesley So and further boost the popularity of  chess in the country with the  hosting of  the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championship-2nd  Manny Pacquiao Cup at the Tiara Hotel in Makati on Dec. 10-20.

Asia’s first  GM Eugene Torre said the staging of  the prestigious compet ition, which also serves as qualifying tournament to the World Chess Cup 2019, is “good for chess, good  for  the country and good for the players.”

“Our players need this kind of exposure of playing against world-class players from China and other top Asian countries, especially with the Southeast Asian Games in Manila coming up next year,” said Torre during the Tabloid  Organization  in Philippine Sports (TOPS) 3rd “Usapang  Sports” at the  National Press Club in Manila.

“We need more Wesley So, so we  need more tournaments like  this Asian Continental  Championships,” added Torre.

GM  Jayson  Gonzales  said at least 126 players from 16 countries in Asia, including host Philippines, are  expected to see action in the nine-round tournament, which the country will be hosting for only the second time since 2013.

“Our top players, led by GMs Rogelio Antonio, Jr. , Darwin Laylo and John Paul Gomez, newly-crowned Asian seniors champion IM Chito Garma  and WGM Janelle Mae Frayna will be there to spearhead the Filipinos’ campaign,” added  Gonzales.

Gonzales said players from traditional chess powers China, India, Vietnam and even  Central Asia are expected to vie  for honors and the 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.

“But I expect our players to  do well playing at home,” said  Gonzales, adding China  is reportedly sending a huge  contingent  bannered by  defending champion GM Wang Hao.

Both Torre and Gonzales thanked Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Chairman Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez and National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), headed by President/Chairman  Prospero “Butch” Pichay for  their wholehearted support.

They also lauded Sen. Manny Pacquiao, a long-time supporter of chess, for his help.

“I would like to personally thank Sen. Pacquiao. When I personally went to him, hindi na ako nag-dalawang salita at pumayag kaagad siya na mag-sponsor,” explained Torre.

Torre said Pacquiao  has agreed to shell  out US $50,000 (roughtly P2.5million) as co-sponsor.