Olympiad slots in ‘Battle of GMs’

Olympiad slots in ‘Battle of GMs’

THE COUNTRY’S chess cream of the crop headed by Grandmasters (GMs) John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Joey Antonio and Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna shoot for Olympiad slots in the Philippine National Open Championships that unfolded on Wednesday at the Marikina Community Convention Center.

Dubbed the “Battle of Grandmasters” in an event presented by Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro and Congresswoman Maan Teodoro, the top three of the 14-field, 13-round tournament will claim spots to the World Chess Olympiad set Sept. 10 to 23 in Budapest, Hungary next year apart from the top purse worth a cool P120,000.

Also entered were International Masters (IMs) Jem Garcia, Pau Bersamina, Daniel Quizon and Barlo Nadera, FIDE Masters Mark Jay Bacojo and Christian Gian Karlo Arca and Woman IM Marie Antoinette San Diego are also seeing action along with Vince Angelo Medina, John Jerish Velarde and Samson Cjiu Chin Lim.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) chief executive officer GM Jayson Gonzales yesterday said the champion would also represent the country in the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games in Bangkok, Thailand next year assuming it pushes through.

The opening round was being played at press time with two games each slated today and tomorrow before the meet backed by NCFP Chairman President Prospero Pichay, Jr., POC President Abraham Tolentino, Philippine Sports Commission Chair Richard Bachmann, the Eugene Torre Chess Foundation, Pande and Amerikana’s Jundio Salvador takes a five-day New Year respite.

Play will continue with two games on Jan. 3 next year, two also the next day, round Jan. 5, back to two Jan. 6 and the 13th and final round on Jan. 7. — Joey Villar