INTERNATIONAL Masters (IM) Joel Pimentel and Ricky de Guzman and National Master (NM) Rodolfo Toledo are among the long list of standouts seeing action in the first Congressman Greg Gasataya Inter-Barangay Chess Team Championship and Kiddies Chess Tournament 2nd Leg on May 20 and 21 at the Bacolod City Government Center.
IM Pimentel (2329) saw action in Bacolod last year when he competed for the Negros Open tournament against top bill Grandmaster Rogelio Antonio, GM Darwin Laylo, and eventual champion IM Ronald Dableo.
Others are IM De Guzman (2392), a former Asian junior champion who has ruled several international tournaments in Asia and United States, and former Chess Olympiad NM Toledo (2312).
Other notable names are Bangkok Open campaigners Ernie Abanco, Ellan Asuela, and Eden Agape Tumbos.
First Leg champions Mansilingan-A cannot be disregarded as they could still pull another stunning performance in the tournament with Reginald de la Peña, Doughlas Perez, Joseph Navarra and Clark Ken Pelione.
Last leg’s runners-up Alijis and Bata are still the tournament favorites, but Bacolod City Councilor lawyer Dindo Ramos, chairman of the committee on youth and sports, said anything can still happen in this tournament.
“Rating isn’t an assurance of winning the tournament. There are players who can make surprises and steal the show,” he said. “The presence of these international players will be a great challenge for everyone to play at their best.”
Gasataya said the tournament aims to discover new breed of chess talents.
“Entertainment is just secondary here. We want to serve as an instrument to help these players get free education as well as support their family needs,” he added.
Bacolod City Chess Players Association Inc. president Dominador Bergaño Jr. welcomed the sports program for the development of young chess players.
“Be in chess as a way of life because illegal drugs can ruin your family,” he added.
The champion team gets P10,000 cash prize ; second, P7,000; third, P5,000; fourth, P3,000; fifth, P2,500; sixth, P1,500; seventh, P1,200; eighth, P1,000; ninth, P800; and 10th, P600.
The kiddies’ category will feature 14U boys and 16U girls. Prizes are also at stake for the top winners.