Thursday, July 10, 2008

Philippines Chess News

This is the latest from one of my favorite chess columnists, from the Cebu Sun (Philippines): Friday, July 11, 2008 Pestaño: Controversies hound RP chess By Frank “Boy” Pestaño Chessmoso THE national chess scene is being rocked by controversies and it involves the major players of the land. Grandmasters Eugene Torre and Joey Antonio relinquished their participation in the 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany on Nov. 12 to 25 by not participating in the grand finals to select the members of the team. It is being held in the Kaban ng Hiyas Bldg. in Mandaluyong and started last July 1. GM Eugene Torre issued an official statement that he does not have anything against the National Chess Federation of the Philippines’ (NCFP) regulation not to seed top players for the Olympiad. “It’s only fair, let’s give chance to others, especially the young. But if they still need my services, I would be very much willing to play for the country,” said Torre. “We want all the players, regardless of their titles (GMs, IMs or NMs) to participate in the qualifying tournament and earn their spots in the national team. We will not tolerate the old practice of seeding top players to the team,” said NCFP president Prospero Pichay in a short speech during the opening ceremony. GMs Mark Paragua and Darwin Laylo returned to the country from the United States to be able to compete in the tournament. Also playing are Dubai Open champion GM Wesley So, GM-elect Jayson Gonzales, GM Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor and a host of IMs and NMs. Twelve players, led by top female player Catherine Perena and semifinal round winner Kimberly Jane Cunanan are seeing action in the women’s division. RATINGS. Fide recently released its July, 2008 ratings and the top Filipino player is 14-year-old Wesley So at 2577. Eugene Torre and Jayson Gonzales are tied for second and third with identical 2524. Paragua is rated 2523, Antonio has 2516 and Laylo is at 2504. It is very lamentable that Eugene is not playing. Eugene established a record when he made his 19th consecutive appearance in the 2006 Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy and moves just one short of tying the all-time record for most appearances held by the legendary Lajos Portisch of Hungary. Another controversy involving the top guns is the opinion issued by Honorary Fide president Florencio Campomanes Thursday questioning “the decision of the NCFP to enter into a contract with a Singapore-based group for the holding of at least four RP Opens in the next two years.” During the Asean Chess Confederation board meeting in Vietnam, the NCFP, through president Prospero Pichay, signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Singapore-based Intchess Asia to manage all its international competitions in the next two years, including four RP Opens. “We cannot just give the right to organize such big, national events to a group with no proven expertise in such undertaking,” Campomanes said. . . . . CEPCA. Our monthly tournament will be held this July 13, at the Deep Blue Café in SM starting at 2 p.m. Format is five rounds Swiss and time control will be based on the classification of the member as A,B and C. New members are welcome. I am also requesting all those who will play to bring a 1x1 picture for our new ID. The venue for the Kiddies and Juniors will be on July 12 at the Opascor Bldg. In front of M. Lhuiller Main office at 1 p.m. Format is seven rounds Swiss.

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