Monday, December 13, 2010

Women’s team loses Asian Games spot

THE surprise of the week was the withdrawal of the women’s chess team from the Asian
Games in Guangzhou, China which is scheduled on Nov. 12 to 27.

I immediately contacted NM Cesar Caturla, the captain of the women’s team in the last Olympiad, who referred me to National Chess Federation President Prospero Pichay.

Pichay said he withdrew the team, made up of women’s Fide Masters Cheradee Camacho, Sherily Cua and Catherine Perena, national champion Rulp Ylem Jose and alternate Jedara Docena, due to lack of competitiveness against the powerhouse teams from China, India, Vietnam and the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union.

The lady chessers placed 44th overall in the recent Chess Olympiad in Russia.

Apparently, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Richie Garcia and the various sports federations have an agreement to send only competitive players to the 45-nations Asian Games.

Meanwhile, Rogelio “Joey” Antonio will join the Philippine chess team to the Guangzhou Asian Games after being reinstated by Pichay.

Antonio was suspended by the NCFP after failing to return from the US to compete in two tournaments here, the Pichay Cup and the Campomanes Memorial.

Antonio will rejoin fellow GMs Wesley So, John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Eugene Torre in the team, replacing Cebuano IM Richard Bitoon.

“Admittedly, Joey is one of our strongest players next to Wesley. But then again, we had to hand out disciplinary action for his failure to comply with the NCFP’s orders, that’s why he got delisted,” NCFP executive director Willie Abalos said.
We had our worst finish at 50th place in the Olympiad without Antonio, although I doubt if we could have done better.

Antonio recently won the Tuguegarao tournament, which included the country’s top players. He finished in a tie with Wesley but had a better tiebreak.

“Joey has proven that he still is one of our best players and he also apologized to our president and promised that he will follow all the rules and regulations set by the NCFP,” said Abalos.

Antonio will retain his Board 2 status. So will be the team’s Board 1 player, John Paul Gomez will play in Board 3 and Darwin Laylo will be in Board 4. Torre will now be an alternate and the team captain.

So has a good chance of winning an individual medal, while Antonio has a chance in the rapid competition.

China, India ,Azerbaijan and Vietnam are solid favorites in the team competition and it will be a tremendous achievement if we snare even a bronze medal.

SPICEY. The Spice Cup 2010 will take place on Oct. 28 to Nov. 7 at the Texas Tech University. This prestigious event is growing bigger every year since it started in 2007.

To make the tournament more exciting, the Spice Cup committee has unanimously voted to adapt the modified Sofia and Bilbao Rules.

This means no draws are allowed prior to move 30 and a win is worth 3 points, a draw 1 point and a loss, zero.

The formats are designed for players to always go for a win.

The contest will be a six-player double round robin event. The average Fide rating of the participants is 2631—a category 16—which is the highest-rated international invitational tournament this year in the USA.

The players are (all GMs): Zoltan Almasi (Hungary, 2707), Alexander Onischuk (US, 2688), Wesley So (Philippines, 2668 ),Georg Meier (Germany, 2659 ) ,Ray Robson (US, 2539), and Eugene Perelshteyn (US, 2528).

Spice is short for Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence. Apparently she is a great fan of Wesley, who was also invited last year.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 22, 2010.

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