TORRE,  ANTONIO  ALSO  SEEDED  INTO  RP  CHESS TEAM

MANILA,  September 17, 2004  (STAR) By Gerry Carpio - Underscoring the need to send only the best, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines yesterday announced the seeding of two grandmasters aside from top-ranked Mark Paragua to the national team for next month’s World Chess Olympiad in La Majorca, Spain.

Newly-elected NCFP president Go Teng Kok made the announcement after a board meeting which considered the Olympic track records of GMs Eugene Torre and Joey Antonio, and Paragua’s status as the country’s highest-rated chess player.

"We have to send our best players to the Chess Olympiad and they (Torre and Antonio) have proven their worth countless times. They need to be in the Philippine team to improve our chances," said Go, barely five days into his term as new NCFP president.

GM Bong Villamayor has decided to concede his slot in favor of a job in Singapore while Nelson Mariano II earlier announced he was withdrawing because of the NCFP decision to seed Paragua.

This leaves three slots left to be contested by 18 candidates who will go through a round-robin final starting tomorrow in Tagaytay.

Go said the top 10 finishers in the men’s championships will be recommended for inclusion in the national training pool. The next four players who don’t make it to the Olympic team will be given international exposure such as the Asian inter-cities championships.

At the same time, Go said he will soon form a committee to study the selection process for future Olympics. The committee will have as members grandmasters, international masters and national masters to ensure the ultimate formula satisfies all chess players serves the national interest.

"Our decision to seed the three players is based on our honest intention to send only the best to represent our country in the Olympiad," said Go. "Considering that the Olympiad is only a month away, and we don’t have the time to train these players, we have to rely on the veterans – at least for now – to ensure a decent finish in the Olympiad."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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