08 November 2015

Subic to host 2 big int’l chess tilts

BARELY two weeks after holding its national championship, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines this time goes international, as it hosts two international chess tournaments in the next two weeks at the Subic Bay Freeport.

First up is the Philippine International Chess Championship (Open and Challenger Divisions) which will be held starting Nov. 9 and will end Nov. 14.

This will be immediately followed by the Philippine Sports Commission-Puregold Chess Challenge (Open and Challenger Divisions) to be held Nov. 16 to 21.

Both tournaments will be held at the Subic Peninsular Hotel located inside the Freeport.

NCFP executive director GM Jayson Gonzales said he expects at least 15 full-pledged grandmasters from Europe and Asia to join the tournament who will pit wits against local talents led by newly-minted national champion GM Richard Bitoon.

Based on the tentative list in the NCFP website, the foreign contingent will be bannered by GMs Ivan Popov Ivan of Russia (Elo 2661), Alexander Zubov of Ukraine (2630), Abhijeet Gupta of India (2629), Pavel Smirnov of Russia (2617) Lu Shanglei of China, Anton Demchenko of Russia, Mikhail Mozharov, Boris Savchenko, Vladimir Belous and Antoni Shomoev, all Russia, Chen Lin of China and Tigran Kotanjian of Armenia.

“This tournament will give our young players a chance to improve their game and their ratings as well. This will also give our national and international masters, both men and women, to achieve their goals of making it to the next level,” Gonzales said.

Aside from Bitoon, also expected to see action in the twin tournaments are National Chess Championship runner-up GM Joey Antonio, third placer IM Haridas Pascua, last year's champion and Asia's first GM Eugene Torre and fellow GMs Oliver Barbosa, Mark Paragua and John Paul Gomez and several up-and-coming players led by Fide Master Joseph Mari Turqueza and Jerad Docena, IM Paulo Bersamina, among others.

The women's side will be bannered by WIM Janelle Mae Frayna, newly-crowned women's champion WFM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego. (Peopleś Tonight)