Not a problem for the Philippine chess community as Filipino top players banner the first Philippine National Bullet Chess Championship, which will be played via an online platform.
The first of the 10 qualifying legs will start on Saturday, March 21 at 1 p.m. (Philippine time) to be played on Lichess.org server, according to National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe.
The next qualifers will be played every Saturday thereafter, to be followed by the semifinals and grand finals.
“It will be an 11-round Swiss (2 games, 1 white, 1 black per round) 2-minute, 1-second increment time control,” added Orbe.
Leading the Philippine charge are 13-time Philippine Open champion Grandmaster Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr. and reigning National Open champion Grandmaster Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla Jr.
“It will be a very tough match against fellow Pinoy woodpushers,” said Antonio, the First Filipino World Chess Cup qualifier.
Barcenilla could only agree.
“We are expecting tough matches, but we will try our best,” said Barcenilla, a two-time (1989 and 1990) Asian Junior champion in India and Dubai and a 1991 Bronze medalist in World Juniors’ championship in Romania.
The web-based tournament offers a total pot of P220,000, sponsored by Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur rep. Prospero “Butch” Arreza Pichay Jr., who is also the National Chess Federation of the Philippines chairman/president.
Other registered players are International Master Chito Garma, Fide Master Arden Reyes, Arena Grandmaster Henry Roger Lopez, Arena Grandmaster Datuali Sinsuat, Arena Grandmaster Srihaan Poddar and non-masters Dandel Fernandez, Alberto Dacallos, Jr. , Jace Oliver Fortin, Cyrus James Damiray, Art Noblijas, Ghian Michael Aleria, Chester Neil Reyes, Aurelio Haber and Stewart Manaog, Jr.
The qualifying legs’ top-notcher will receive cash prizes amounting P3,000, the semifinal winner will pocket P6,000, while the champion in the grand finals will win P30,000.
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The government has put the entire Luzon under enhanced Community Quarantine that restricts movements among citizens, through social distancing while prohibiting mass gathering, including the holding of sports tournaments.