Grandmasters Joey Antonio, Darwin Laylo and John Paul Gomez and Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna will spearhead the Filipinos’ campaign when the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championship-2nd Manny Pacquiao Cup gets going Dec. 10 to 20 at the Tiara Hotel in Makati City.
The nine-round Swiss System tournament, which the country will be hosting for only the second time since 2013, serves as the qualifying event for the World Cup slated to be held next year.
This was announced by NCFP, officials led by Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre and GM Jayson Gonzales in yesterday’s forum of the Tabloid Organization on Philippine Sports held at the 4th floor of the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.
Aside from the two grandmasters, also present as guest during the forum was former PSC Commissioner Tisha Abundo, who bared plans to organize a beach volleyball ‘for a cause.’
Gonzales said the tournament will be participated by at least 126 players from 16 Asian countries, including those from traditional chess powers China, India, Vietnam and top chess campaigners from Central Asia.
At stake in the tournament is a total cash prize of $50,000 with the men’s champion getting the lion’s share of $10,000 and the women’s titlist winning $6,000.
Meanwhile, Abundo, the driving force behind the Petron Ladies Beach Volleyball Championship, which spanned 12 years, will be pioneering another first in women’s beach volleyball.
Abundo said she will be joining hands with Bounties of the Ocean, an international foundation, which focuses on preserving the pristine conditions of the world’s oceans and seas with a beach volleyball tournament/sea conservation project.
“The idea is we will hold a beach volleyball tournament and at the same time help clean the beach where we will be playing. The foundation has already agreed in principle and I’m starting to lay the groundwork for the project,” Abundo said.
She added that initially, she’s looking at Olongapo City as venue for the event.
“This is the hardest part. ‘Yung magsimula uli, but I’m doing this not only for our beach volleyball players but also to help conserve and preserve the beauty of our seas,” she added.
Gonzales said that as host country, the Philippines is expected to field a big number of local participants, although China is reportedly sending a huge contingent led by defending champion GM Wang Hao.
“This is one of the biggest tournaments to be held in the country being organized by the NCFP, since this will give Filipino chess players another venue to showcase their skills, and at the same time earn norms for Fide, IM and GM titles since the tournament offers twice the number of norms in but a single tournament,” Gonzales said.
Torre, for his part, expressed his gratitude to Senator Manny Pacquiao, who readily agreed to co-sponsor the event despite the short notice.
“I would like really to thank Senator Pacquiao. When I personally went to him, hindi na ako nagdalawang salita at pumayag kaagad siya na mag-sponsor,” Torre said.
Torre said Pacquiao, who is in the thick of his training for his upcoming fight against Adrian Broner, has agreed to shell out US $50,000 (roughtly P2.5million) as co-sponsor of the event.
Gonzales said the NCFP has a standing request of P3 million for approval from the Philippine Sports Commission.