—Second of the three international chess competitions winding up the 2014 chess season in the country—unfolds at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City (December 6) at 2 p.m.
Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, a former board 1 player of the Ateneo de Manila University chess team is the guest of honor and speaker during the opening ceremony seen to be graced by Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Ricardo Garcia and Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose Cojuangco, Jr.
Joining them are top officers of the organizing National Chess Federation of the Philippines: President and Chairman Prospero Pichay, Jr; Secretary General, Cong. Abraham Tolentino (also FIDE Secretary General); Vice President for Visayas, Cong. Neri Colmenares; and NCFP Vice President for Luzon, lawyer Ruel Canobas.
Russian Grandmasters Ivan Popov (ELO 2622) and Anton Demchenko (2596) loom as the top 2 seeds in the tough field boasting 15 GMs gunning for the lion's share of the $ 30,000 purse.
US-based Catalino Sadorra, ranked No.3 with ELO rating of 2596, banners the Philippine campaign in this Philippine Sports Commission-sponsored tilt presented by the Celebrity Sports Plaza and also sponsored by Puregold, Microtel by Wyndham, Burlington socks, Asian Union Bank and Harolds hotel with the support of Philippine Olympic Committee.
Rounding out the top 10 in the seedings are GM Levan Pantsulaia (2583) of Georgia, GM Avetik Grigoryan (2580) of Armenia, GM Merab Gagunashvili (2569) of Georgia, GM Mikhail Mozharov (2557) of Russia and Filipino GMs Oliver Barbosa (2533), John Paul Gomez (2510) and Rogelio Antonio, Jr. (2503).,
Other Filipino GMs include Darwin Laylo (2500), Mark Paragua (2484), Rogelio Barcenilla (2455), the ageless Eugene Torre (2448) and Richard Bitoon (2413).
Woman International Masters' Janelle Mae Frayna, Jan Jodilyn Fronda and the newly minted Woman International Master Mikee Suede who just recently won the 2014 girls Asian Juniors are the female players seeing action in the open division.
Pichay said, "I have high hopes our IMs will achieve norm(s) to enable them to clinch the coveted GM title."
"From the start of my watch at the helm of NCFP, the PSC and POC have been very supportive of our hosting of international tournaments with a view to developing not only local but also Asian players into grandmasters. We have been successful."