After months of frenzied preparations, the Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) under chairman Edward Hayco finally realized a dream that once looked too daunting to fulfill.
Yesterday, around 3,200 chess players who are the final qualifiers from the original 43,157 participants, competed in a massive chess tournament at the Cebu City Sports Center grounds that organizers hope will put Cebu City in the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest chess tournament.
The city is hoping the break the current record held by Krosnyark, Russia.
“It’s extremely successful, I though at first that it’s impossible but with the help of everyone from students to teachers and to all the CCSC staff, CEPCA and the hard working volunteers, we did it,” said an obviously elated Hayco during yesterday’s opening of the final tournament.
Hayco credited the help of some 600 teachers mostly Physical Education (PE) mentors for the successful activity.
Meanwhile, the record attempt impressed Cebu City South District Representative who took time out to witness history unfold.
“I commend the movers of this world record attempt. The whole idea of this is to have maximum participation, the Guinness record is just a bonus,” said Osmena who added that the main aim of the activity is to establish a strong grassroots program for chess in Cebu.
With thousands of youngsters now interested in chess, Osmena hopes that the Philippines will be able put a strong performance in international chess tournaments like the World Chess Olympiad which will be held this year in Istanbul, Turkey.
Among those who also witnessed the event were local rated chess personalities like FIDE Master Anthony Makinano, International Master (IM) Kim Steven Yap, Cebu Executive and Professionals Chess Association (CEPCA) president Benjamin Lim Jr., Romualdo Muralla Jr., and chess columnist Boy Pestano.
“It’s very spectacular to see history unfold,” said Pestano. “This is a dream come true for Philippine chess especially for Cebuano chess enthusiasts and players,” Lim added.
According to them, the event will improve the quality of chess players and encourage chess patrons to organize more tournaments.
Abellana National School (ANS) P.E teacher Susan Anfone was beyond words to express her happiness. “I am very thankful for Edward Hayco’s program, our chess club members have increased when this tournament was announced,” said Anfone.
The tournament will conclude today.