PH chessers off to Norway amid terror threat | Inquirer Sports

PH chessers off to Norway amid terror threat

By: - Editor / @RLuarcaINQ
/ 05:49 AM July 29, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Team Philippines will leave early Tuesday to compete in the 41st Chess Olympiad slated Aug. 1 to 14 in Tromso, Norway, amid a terrorist threat on the tournament.

The warning of an attack, supposedly to be staged by ISIS jihadists from Syria, has forced United States-based Grandmaster Rogelio Barcenilla Jr. to withdraw as coach of the Filipinos in the Open division.

In an e-mail to National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director GM Jayson Gonzales last Saturday, Barcenilla said the US government had issued an advisory warning its citizens against going to Norway.

Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, who will be playing in the biennial meet a record 22 times, will be joined by GM John Paul Gomez and International Master Paulo Bersamina in the 36-hour trip that will take them to Doha (Qatar), Arlanda (Stockholm) and then Tromso.

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The women’s team mentored by Gonzales is composed of Woman IMs Chardine Cheradee Camacho, Janelle Mae Frayna and Catherine Pereña, Woman Fide Master Jan Jodilyn Fronda and Christy Lamiel Bernales.

US-based GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, who will man board one for Team PH in the absence of Super GM Wesley So, and GM Oliver Barbosa, who joined several tournaments in the US, will join the team in Tromso, largest city in northern Norway.

“It’s a blessing that we were able to leave early,” said Torre. “We’ll have time to rest, recover and prepare.”

The Filipinos will arrive in Tromso on July 30, ahead of the Olympiad’s opening ceremonies on Aug. 1. Action in the 11-round competition that lured players from a record 180 countries, starts Aug. 2.

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The Philippines will try to improve on its 21st-place finish in the Open division topped by Armenia  and 43rd-place effort in the Women’s side  won by Russia  in the 2012 Olympiad held in Istanbul, Turkey.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., who will be seeking the presidency of the Asian Chess Federation under the banner of Team Garry Kasparov, will leave on Aug. 6.

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NCFP secretary general and Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who is running for Fide (World Chess Federation) secretary general with the team of incumbent president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, will fly to Tromso either on Aug. 8 or 9.

The Fide elections are slated Aug. 11.

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Treating the terrorist threat seriously, the Norwegian police have tightened security in airports, ports, train stations and transportation hubs, according to Aftenposten Norway.

TAGS: National Chess Federation, Norway, PH, US

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