MANILA,  October 28, 2004 (STAR) Needing a strong finish in the closing rounds of the 36th World Chess Olympiad, the Philippines instead got side-tracked by being held to a 2-all draw by IPCA, a team of paraplegic players, in the 11th round in Calvia, Majorca, Spain.

Grandmaster Joey Antonio and International Master Jayson Gonzales won with the white pieces at board one and three, respectively, but IM Mark Paragua and Emmanuel Senador bowed to separate opponents on the lower groups.

As a result, the Filipinos remained mired in 42nd place with 23.5 points in the company of Scotland, Norway, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Croatia, Turkey, Singapore, IPCA, Tajikistan and Austria.

With three rounds left, the Filipinos’ bid to duplicate their seventh place finish in 1988 in Thessaloniki, Greece appears dim, considering that they trail seventh-running Poland by 3.5 points.

But a Top 20 finish is still within reach, depending on how the Filipinos perform against neighboring Singapore Wednesday in the 12th round.

Team captain Sammy Estimo, visibly shaken by their inability to put away the 74th-ranked IPCA, is expected to field the regular board players against a team they beat handily in Bled, Slovenia two years ago.

"We cannot afford to be complacent. It´s make-or-break for us. We have to win big," said Estimo in a press statement yesterday.

Grandmaster Eugene Torre, fresh from a two-day break, will be back to man the first board.

Antonio, the only undefeated player in the team, mans the second board while Paragua gets a chance to recover when he plays white at board three.

FG donates P1M for world youth chess The Philippine Star 10/28/2004

A select group of young Filipino prodigies will realize their dream of donning the national colors after First Gentleman Mike Arroyo recently donated P1 million for their participation in the 2004 World Youth Chess Championships in Crete, Greece from Nov. 3-14.

Arroyo handed over the donation to the National Chess Federation of the Philippines through the Philippine Sports Commission’s Alay at Suporta sa Atletang Pilipino project in cooperation with the "Medalyang Ginto, May Laban Tayo" program under the First Gentleman Foundation.

"The Foundation believes that chess will be one of the potential gold mines for the country when it hosts next year’s Southeast Asian Games," said Tessa Mangahas, executive director for sports of the FG Foundation.

"As the First Gentleman previously stressed, it is important that the training of our young talents start at an early stage and while we do not expect these kids to excel overnight, the foundation believes that they can surely benefit from exposure to world-class international competitions," she added.

The annual World Youth Chess Championships is regarded as one of the most important events in the FIDE calendar wherein future chess stars are molded and since last year, the FG Foundation has supported Filipino whiz kids, donating a significant amount for their participation in a world-class event in Halkidiki, Greece.

The FG Foundation has also been instrumental in the international campaign of chess sensation IM Mark Paragua, who is expected to be proclaimed as the country’s youngest grandmaster, as well as in the campaign of chess wonders Wesley So and Marc Christian Nazario in the age-group chess championships held in Vietnam last August.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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