MANILA,  April 27, 2004
Florencio Campomanes yesterday lashed back at GM Eugene Torre and strongly denied allegations that he’s behind the move to discredit the National Chess Federation of the Phils. (NCFP) and its leadership.

"Face the issues," Campomanes challenged Torre and NCFP secretary-general Sammy Estimo in a statement released yesterday. "Please don’t give me too much credit in my old age that I can mount a campaign against you without any basis. Where there’s smoke, there must be fire. No campaign will hold water if not based on facts."

Torre the other day blamed Campomanes for the deep division prevailing in Philippine chess, saying the three-term FIDE president "will not stop until he gets what he wants, that is, take full control of the federation."

But Campomanes simply shrugged off the charges.

"After 14 years of FIDE control of world chess, what do I need the NCFP for? I need control of the NCFP like a hole in the head," said Campomanes.

He likewise defended Casto Abundo’s involvement in the NCFP affairs, saying it was NCFP president Mat Defensor who asked the three-time FIDE president to look for a good and competent substitute for Estimo as sec-gen of the chess body as early as last year.

"He (Defensor) asked me if I could convince Abundo to come over here. It was not easy to take him (Abundo) away from a sweet-paying job in Moscow and Elista at the side of the FIDE president. But I convinced him. He was technically overqualified but he accepted," Campomanes said.

"Mr. Defensor gave him a wide latitude to improve the NCFP but Estimo and Torre felt threatened and mounted a media campaign to discredit Abundo," he added.

In fact, Campomanes said, it was Abundo who had brought in the recent Asian Cities Chess Championship, which he claimed to be successful in terms of organization and the biggest RP international chess event since the 1992 World Chess Olympiad.

Torre was forced to speak up after he was criticized by fellow GM Joey Antonio over his (Torre’s) call for an early election.

Antonio described Torre’s move was a mere ploy to divert issues raised against him and Estimo.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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