By Eddie Alinea
Tue, 19 Mar 2013

MANILA (PNA) – While the debate rages on as to who Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao will fight next and where and when, the only man on earth to win eight world titles in as many divisions has been pre-occupying himself doing things, he, too, loves most – public service and helping sports. 

Only recently, the former World Boxing Organization belt owner agreed with the National Chess Federation of the Philippines to fund the Asian Continental Individual Championship where the top five finishers will qualify to next year’s World Cup of Chess set in Norway.

This, NCFP chair, former Surigao del Norte Congressman Prospero “Butch” Pichay” announced in Friday’s edition of SCOOP weekly session at the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura.

Pichay though did not divulge how much the Sarangani Congressman has pledged except to say that “we will jointly announce the details when the memorandum of agreement shall have been signed.”

Congressman Pacquiao has already agreed in principle his contribution, but I don’t want to preempt him. Hayaan na lang nating siya ang mag-announce. But I’ll tell you, the coming Asian Continental could be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in terms of prizes but of participation as well,” Pichay assured during the session, sponsored by AKTV and FILA.

The championships is scheduled April 27-29 at the historic Midas Hotel in Pasay City, the official residence of boxing great Joe Frazier when he fought the legendary Muhammad Ali in the “Thrilla In Manila” world heavyweight showdown here in 1975.

The top five winners will be joining early WC qualifiers, including Filipino Grandmaster Wesley So and Oliver Barbosa, to the World Cup. So made it earlier this year in the Zone 3.3 eliminaions held in Tagaytay City, while Barbosa qualified in a tournament held last year.

“It could also be the biggest by way of participation because the big prizes involved would draw the best and toughest grandmasters representing the finest chess players from 17 countries in the regions like India, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Iran to mention a few, and, of course, Vietnam will be here to strut their wares on the chess boards,” the NCFP head said rather excitingly.

“I think, too, that we are nearing to regain our status as the chess capital in this part of the world, a reputation we once enjoyed in this thinking game,” Pichay said. “And we have to thank the Congressman for Sarangani for that.”

“Besides helping his wife Jinkee and brother Roel in their campaign for the coming elections to ensure the continuance of his service to his constituents in Sarangani General Santos City, the Pacman still finds ways to assist, too, other sports, like chess,” he said.

Pichay, likewise, revealed that an earlier plan by NCFP to boycott the coming 27th Southeast Asian Games chess tourney has temporarily been shelved until an appeal for reconsideration shall have been decided.

“The Philippines and several other countries have filed an appeal over host Myanmar’s scratching four Olympic events in chess while adding four events totally alien to other member nations,” Pichay bared.

“Our stand is restore the four Olympic events and push through with the 14 Myanmar chess events, but only as exhibition,” Pichay said.

“Kung Myanmar lang kasi ang naglalaro noong 14 non-Olympic events, violation ng SEA games rule yun. To be consider official events, dapat at least three countries ang mag-participate.”


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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