DUBAI CUP WIN BIG BOOST  TO RP CHESS

MANILA, March 30, 2004
 
(STAR)
Tagaytayís victory in the recent Asian Cities Chess Team Championship, otherwise known as the Dubai Cup, was a big moral boost for Philippine chess and it augured well for the countryís preparations for the Mallorca Chess Olympiad in October and the SEA Games next year.

"My personal congratulations to our GMís Eugene (Torre), Joey (Antonio) and Bong (Villamayor). The gold medal was not a victory of the city alone, itís a triumph for Philippine chess," said FIDE honorary president Florencio Campomanes.

Torre, Antonio and Villamayor powered Tagaytay to the victory with a final round 4-0 thumping of Yemen then nipped Guangzhou of China in the tiebreak to capture the crown.

Campomanes added that as the first major international chess event here since the storied 1992 Chess Olympiad, the Asian Cities staging provided a testing ground for the countryís top players as they battled some of Asiaís best.

Organized in less than a month by Casto Abundo, who was invited to oversee the event by NCFP (National Chess Federation of the Philippines) president Matias Defensor, the event showed that the Filipinos have a stock of 20 chess masters who can play at grandmaster level.

While Tagaytay emerged the winner, Campomanes said that Pasay deserved a special mention. With a long IM (Barlo) Nadera and one FM (Emmanuel) Senador, Pasay proved its mettle as its toppled the top-rated China and defending champion Pavlodar of Kazakhstan to dampen these teamsí chances for the title.

"Itís time to harness this material and energy in well-organized and well-selected tournaments here and abroad. But letís not go abroad to compete in third or fourth level tournaments with little prospects of title results. The NCFP must take the bull by horns, and program Philippine participation," said Campomanes.

Meanwhile, Abundo yesterday apologized to Mandaluyong and Tanauan chess teams for accusing them of game-fixing in the recently-concluded Asian chess meet.

"There was no game-fixing," Abundo told The STAR. "Itís a misunderstanding on my part and I apologized to both the team captains of Mandaluyong and Tanauan."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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