TOP seed GM Wesley So and newly-crowned Tuguegarao Open champion GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. continue their build up for the coming Asian Games when they head four other players in a short, round-robin tournament starting today (Oct. 17) at the Fischer Farm Resort in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
So, the country’s highest-rated player with an ELO of 2668, and Antonio will lead the Filipinos’ campaign in the Asian Games scheduled Nov. 12-27 in Guangzhou, China.
The other players seeing action in the five-day, round-robin tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) as part of the training of the Guangzhou-bound national team are GMs John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Eugene Torre and IM Oliver Barbosa.
The tournament was originally scheduled to begin at the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) office in Quezon City last Friday, but was reset for today in a different venue upon the request of the players.
Except for Barbosa, all five players will represent the country in next month’s prestigious competition considered as the ‘Olympics’ of Asia.
Babrosa was added to the tournament by virtue of his strong third-place finish in the 2010 PACE-Tuguegarao Open Chess Festival won by Antonio and So.
“This will be a good opportunity for our players to hone their skills and bolster their chances for gold medals in the coming Asian Games,” said Pichay.
“The Asian Games will be one of the biggest chess competitions in the calendar and our players must be in good shape to be able to hold their own against the top players from Asia, especially host China,” explained Pichay, who also appointed Torre as playing captain.
Pichay said So and Antonio are two of the country’ s brightest hopes for medals in Guangzhou.
So, who turned 17 years old last Oct. 9, is also scheduled to compete in the SPICE (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) Group A tournament set Oct. 28-Nov. 7 at the Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
So will be one of six world-class players seeing action in the SICE tournament, considered as the highest-rated international invitational tournament in U.S. history to date.
Aside from So, the other participants in the category 16 tournament are GM Zoltan Almasi of Hungary, GM Alexander Onischuk of United States, GM Georg Meier of Germany, GM Ray Robson of the United States and Eugene Perelshteyn of the United States.
So, Almasi and Onischuk also saw action for their respective countries in the recent World Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
Torre, the country’s most-experienced player, said Antonio’s addition to the Guangzhou-bound team is a wise decision.