Monday, January 17, 2011

THE Kidapawan Chess Club formally announced on Sunday the staging of the 3rd Kidapawan Chess Open Championship on Feb. 12 to 13, with International Master Oliver Barbosa expected to defend the crown he won last year but will be competing this time against some of the country’s top guns in the sport.

Club president Dr. Ted P. Calica said they have invited IMs Richard Bitoon and Oliver Dimakiling to participate in the two-day tournament to be held at the Kidapawan Convention Center in Kidapawan City.

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Calica said the event is being staged in cooperation with the with the city government of Kidapawan and Batch 85-Notre Dame of Kidapawan Boys and Girls HS Alumni Association Inc.

“Mayor Rodolfo Gantuagco has expressed his full support to the tournament which has become a much-awaited event during the city’s founding anniversary,” Calica said.

National Master Edgar Reggie Olay, the pride of Kidapawan who won the inaugural staging of the tournament in 2009, will also contend for the championship. Olay garnered his second IM norm last year and is gunning for his third and final IM norm this year.

Calica said top players from various cities and municipalities in Mindanao are expected to join the event, as in the past two tournaments. Last year, almost 80 NMs and woodpushers from Davao City, Digos City and Malita City in Davao del Sur, Panabo City and Tagum City in Davao del Norte, General Santos City and Koronadal City in South Cotabato, Mati, Davao Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao, and the home city participated in the seven-round Swiss System tourney.

James Infiesto, regional director for Region 11 of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), conveyed his full support to the Kidapawan Open Chess Championship. He said the tourney has provided a venue for Mindanaoan chess players to hone their skills at the top level, especially with the participation of numerous rated players from all over the country.

Dr. Calica said the club is glad to host the Kidapawan Open for the third time. He said they will ensure that the Kidapawan Open will become a yearly tradition for Mindanaoan chess players as well as players from Visayas and Luzon to give woodpushers from “our island an opportunity to compete at the top level.”

He was particularly elated that even top rated IMs based in Metro Manila have taken interest in the Kidapawan Open and he hopes to invite Grandmasters in future stagings of the tournament. In fact, Calica intimated that they may be organizing another major tournament this coming August.

Trophies, medals and cash prizes will be awarded to the winners of the Kidapawan Open. The champion will receive a trophy and cash prize of P15,000.

Calica, meanwhile, expressed gratitude to the city government led by Mayor Gantuangco and its city sports coordinator Ramil Deldo for their continuing support to the tournament. (CRAM)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 18, 2011.