Friday, February 13, 2009

Sinulog Open team tournament starts today

EXCITEMENT is at fever pitch as chess players troop to SM City today as the 2009 Open Team tournament starts at 1 p.m. with a brief opening ceremony.

This tournament is the first major team tournament in a long time in Cebu and its realization is sponsored by the City Goverment primarily due to the help extended by City Councilor Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem, who heads the committee on sports, games and amusement and is a well known supporter of chess.

To recall, Team Cebu City has been participating in important national events, especially the recent Handuraw National Team tournament where we garnered second place and the previous Inter-Cities and Municipalities where we were the champion.

We are expecting about 26 to 30 teams to play in this seven-round Swiss using the Olympiad formula for scoring— a win is worth two points, a draw, one point and a loss, zero. This is better than the previous method of scoring as it gives equal chances to more teams. Playing time is one hour per player, play to finish.

Some of the participants are worthy of mention. The Balbona Kids of Felix and Juliet will give the adult players a lot of headache. The all-women team of Handuraw Pizza is not to be counted out easily, although they will probably not figure among the top winners.

The varsity teams of University of Cebu, which I understand will field two teams (men and women), University of San Jose Recoletos, University of the Visayas and Southwestern University will have more chances this time as the organizers have made sure that most of the teams are balanced and highly-rated players cannot play together.

Fide arbiters Marvin Ruelan and Roger Abella have done an admirable job thus far. The Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association Inc. (Cepca) is the organizer of this tournament and key members have formed their own teams.

Chessmoso has fielded two teams (Handuraw Pizza of Marissa Pestaño-Basilad and Prime Parts of Joe Bernas). Club president Renato Casia, past presidents Jun Olis, Nicnic Climaco combined with Paquito Unchuan, Ben Dimaano, Danny Pestaño, Mandy Baria and Manny Manzanares have their own teams.

Other Cepca members who formed teams are Kelly Uy and Edmund Suralta, Boy Tumulak, Fabio Abucejo and Felix Balbona.

Cepca was established in 1990 and is one of the longest running in the country where chess clubs come and go.

My co-founders are Art Ynclino, Alex Tolentino, Babes Andales, Nicnic Climaco, Loy Minoza, Danny Pestaño and both the late Sonny Sollano and Gerry Tomakin. We have more than 100 members although some are already inactive, have left for abroad, including a lot of foreigners and expats, or have passed away.

Honorary members are Bombi Aznar, Boojie Lim, Kelly Uy, Darcy Tabotabo, former mayor Alvin Garcia and the current acting mayor Michael Rama.

Total prizes for this event is P63,000 and P25,000 will be awarded to the champion, plus a designer trophy. P15,000, P10,000, P5,000, P3,000 and P1,000 will be given to the rest of the top five, while board winners will win P1,000 each.

On-site registration will be allowed as we expect some out-of-town teams to enter.

However, the organizers reserve the right to approve their lineup to ensure that no team will dominate the competition. You have to come early though, preferably before 12 noon.

We expect all teams to come in proper attire and we urged all team managers to supply their players with proper uniforms. Put-off your cell phone as ringing during tournament play will mean outright disqualification.

Players are also required to come on time and to shake hands before play. Recording of games will be implemented.

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