MANILA, Philippines –  Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Roland “Kulot” Salvador leads the list of chess players who are vying to top the 1st HD Bank Cup Open Chess Tournament to be held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The event will start on Tuesday and will end on January 9.

“I hope to do well in this event,” said Salvador, whose Elo Fide rating is 2533 and is ranked third nationwide.

“My aim to get an Elo Fide rating points here in Vietnam,” he added.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president and chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., who keeps Salvador in his dog pound of players, sent his regards to the former Rizal Technological University standout.

“Sana sa pagbubukas ng taong 2011, maganda sana ang ipamalas ng mga Filipino woodpushers natin sa Vietnam meet,” he said

According to the Vietnam Chess Federation, “the tournament shall be conducted as a Swiss System competition of 9 rounds and will be played according to FIDE regulations. The time control is 90 minutes for the whole game with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. Draw offers below 30 moves shall not be allowed. Pairings will be made by Swiss Manager.”

The other Filipino players included in the list of contenders are GMs Darwin Laylo and John Paul Gomez; IMs Richard Bitoon, Oliver Barbosa, Kim Steven Yap, and Oliver Dimakiling; FM Haridas Pascua; and NMs Emmanuel Senador and Egdar Reggie Olay, Rodolfo Panopio Jr. and Merben Roque.

Among the internationally renowned players vying for the top prize of US $6,000 are GMs Le Quang Liem (2689), Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (2628) and Cao Sang (2547) of Vietnam, GMs Yu Yangyi (2606), Zhao Jun (2606) and Zhou Weiqi (2595) of China. – Report from Marlon Bernardino