Pinoy GMs to battle Asia’s best in May 04/25/2009 7:42 PM

Chess prodigy Wesley So and other top Filipino grandmasters are set to face top Asian bets when the Asian Continental Chess Challenge kicks off on May 13-24 at the Subic Freeport Zone in Olongapo City.

Willie Abalos, executive director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, said they expect Filipino chess heroes like So, Eugene Torre, Rogelio Antonio, and Mark Pargua to join the tournament.

“We are expecting at least 30 Filipino chess players with ELO ratings 2300 and above to join,” said Abalos.

The 11-round tournament, also known as the Individual Open and Women’s Championships, will serve as a qualifier to the World Chess Championships in Russia.

“So far, there are 60 foreign chess players from different parts of Asia who have expressed their desire to participate,” said Abalos.

He said they expect the turnout of foreign delegations to reach 70.

At least 14 of them will come from chess powerhouse China, 14 from Vietnam, 10 from Iran and several from Kazakhstan, India, and Indonesia.

Abalos said the count does not yet include the participants competing in the women’s division.

The tournament proper will spread the rounds to 11 days instead of the usual five.

“This is because this competition is a qualifier for a world event. We’re giving the chess players more breathing space between rounds,” he said.

A total of $50,000 worth of prizes will be given away in the tournament with the $6,000 lion’s share going to the over-all champion.

Dennis Gasgonia,


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