Pichay: Chess needs gov’t support

IT would not be easy but National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero Pichay wants the country to be ranked among the top 20 chess playing countries in the world in five years.

To achieve this, however, Pichay said the players must receive support from government.

Pichay admitted in yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Ave. that it’s difficult to compete against countries that get full financial support from their governments.

“If we only have funds, I think we’ll be in the Top 10 right now,” said Pichay, a former congressman from the first district of Surigao del Sur.

“We have a lot of young players right now who can be future grandmasters, but for them to earn their norms they need to continuously compete in different tournaments that cost a lot.”

Under Pichay’s watch, the Philippines has produced five GMs in Darwin Laylo, Jayson Gonzales, John Paul Gomez, Joseph Sanchez and the brilliant Wesley So.

Pichay, accompanied in the public service program backed by Outlast Battery, Pagcor and Shakey’s by Asian Chess Federation official Casto ‘Toti’ Abundo and NCFP directors Willie Abalos and Red Dumuk, cited Iran and Vietnam, which he said has been receiving at least $1 million yearly in financial support from their governments.

As a result, Vietnam has climbed to No. 37 in world rankings, just behind the Philippines, while Iran is also fast gaining ground at 46th spot.

In his own little way, Pichay is helping local chess players by hosting major internationals tournaments in the country—the Prospero Pichay Cup international chess championship and the 1st FIDE president Florencio Campomanes Memorial chess tournament that will be played at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The 6th edition of the Pichay Cup is slated on Aug. 21-26 and offers a top prize of $6,000 out of the total cash pot of $30,000.

Two days after comes the Campomanes Cup, an event honoring the late Filipino chess player and organizer who reigned as FIDE president from 1982-1995.

“This is the biggest chess tournament for 2010 since it offers the biggest cash prize this year of $10,000 to the winner,” Abundo noted.

FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has put up the $100,000 prize money up for grabs in the eight-day tournament.

Source: http://www.malaya.com.ph

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