OLIVER Barbosa and five other Filipino Grandmasters lead the home bets in the Philippine Sports Commission Cup International Chess Championship starting on Monday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Barbosa, who placed fifth in last year’s Asian Continental Individual Chess Championships to take a spot in the World Cup, is the top-rated Filipino in the tournament with an Elo rating of 2574.
GMs Eugene Torre, Rogelio “Joey” Antonio, Mark Paragua, Darwin Laylo and John Paul Gomez are also seeing action in the US$30,000 tournament offering US$6,000 to the winner.
International Masters Oliver Dimakiling, Rolando Nolte and Richard Bitoon are also in the lineup.
Looking to steal the limelight from the home bets in the nine-round Swiss system tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines are GMs Cao Sang of Vietnam, Tejas Bakre of India and Tahir Vakhidov of Uzbekistan and Vietnamese IMs Nguyen Van Huy and Nguyen Doc Hoa and Bayarsaikhan Gundavaa of Mongolia.
NCFP president and chairman Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr., secretary general and Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino Jr., executive director GM Jayson Gonzales, committee chairman on grassroots development and promotions and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares, PSC Chairman Ricardo Garcia and Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco Jr. lead the opening rites at 1 p.m.