Chess clubs fast proliferating in Manila
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 00:00

SMALL-TIME chess clubs are proliferating all over Manila, spawning games in the parks under the trees, bridges and outside doors of residences to accommodate players who battle each other in one of the toughest mind games in history. Chess and mind games patron and supporter Aurelio de Leon said chess is abloom again mainly due to the popularity of young players in the likes of Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So, the highest Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE) or World Chess Federation-rated Filipino with 2653 ELO points.

“The thought of seeing young geniuses like So, and John Paul Gomez being at par with the best in the world excites Filipinos who are adept in chess and the native game dama. Imagine them going home with big prizes as international champions when they are just in their teens,” said De Leon. International Master (IM) Marlon Bernardino, who has accompanied some of the leading national players in local and international sojourns, said chess is big in the Philippines because of the efforts of the current National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and the talents of the young turks. Bigger media exposure and support from the private and public sectors have encouraged the skilled and talented youthful generation to pursue their dreams of making it to the world competition where they pit abilities against the older ones who have one way or the other have become their mentors, opponents or coaches.

“Media support has done so much for the players and the sport. Prizes have increased due to media attention which encourages advertisers to shell out financial or logistics help to athletes. Without media help, chess could have both reached its current popularity,” added Bernardino. Asia’s first GM, Eugene Torre, is happy with the way things have turned around for the sport that catapulted him to fame and fortune early in life. No wonder rapid tournaments in companies, Educational institutions and groups are being staged frequently nowadays, wherever and whenever.

A fine sample is the Frisco Chess Club which will stage a rapid chess tournament on Feb. 11 at the Barangay Damayan multipurpose hall in San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City. The one-day event is exclusively only for players whose ratings are not over 2000. The tourney will employ the knock-out system format with a 25-minute time control being held to coincide with the feast celebration of San Pedro Bautista with prizes ranging from P3,000; P2,000; and P1,000 for the top three finishers.

For Schools, the Rector’s Cup Under-16 Rapid Chess Tournament gets underway on March 3 at the Don Bosco Makati. A seven-round Swiss System format where each participant will have 25 minutes to play offers P150 for registration fee where the champion will go home with a trophy and a purse of P2,500; while the second and third placers will pocket P1,500 and P500, respectively. Medals and P500 will also be awarded to the best six years old and below, eight years old and below and 12 years old and below as well as the top lady players. PNA


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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