Filipino GMs tackle foreign bets in rich Pacquiao Cup

THE COUNTRY’S top players, led by super Grandmaster Wesley So, will join the $100,000 Manny Pacquiao Cup Asian Continental Open and Women’s Chess Championships set May 18 to 26 at Midas Hotel in Pasay City.

Other Filipino GMs competing against a crack foreign field are Oliver Barbosa, Mark Paragua, Rogelio Antonio Jr., John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Richard Bitoon.

Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre remains undecided as the nine-round event dangling a record purse coincides with a Fide trainers seminar to be conducted by GM Efstratios Grivas of Greece who needs his assistance from May 20-24.

The top five finishers of the Open division will advance to the World Cup scheduled in August in Tromso, Norway while the women’s champion will advance to the 2014 Women’s World Championship.

So, the first Filipino to break the 2700 Elo barrier, and Barbosa are assured of slots in the 128-player World Cup, but will join the hunt for the juicy  purses, the biggest ever for the event.

Barbosa finished in the top five in last year’s Asian Continental in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, while So qualified by way of the Asian 3.3 Zonal staged by Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino last January in Tagaytay City.

The Manny Pacquiao Cup is organized by the Eugene Torre Chess Foundation under the auspices of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines headed by Prospero A. Pichay Jr., the Asian Chess Federation and the World Chess Federation (Fide)

The Philippines previously hosted the Asian Continental in Cebu City in 2007 and Subic Bay in 2009 and 2010. Asian Chess Federation president Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifah Al Nahyan will be the guest of honor during the opening of the event.

For details, call Pat Lee at  09277209260 or e-mail ncfpsecretariat2012@gmail.com. For seminar inquiries, call Elias Lao at 09262378876. Roy Luarca

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