Pestaño: Butch, please release Wesley So

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


I CAN'T understand the reasons. The National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) has nothing to gain but ridicule and scorn from the Philippine chess community if it does not release Wesley So to the USCF.

In Tromso, Norway, where the Chess Olympiad was just held, Wesley accompanied by Paul Troung and Susan Polgar, his manager and trainer respectively, said a meeting--more like a confrontation--with NCFP Butch Pichay Jr. did not lead to any amicable settlement.

Pichay allegedly said that releasing So would jeopardize the government funding to the chess body, which is provided by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). Pichay repeated several times that releasing Wesley means the NCFP will lose around $500,000 from the PSC each year.

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Wesley was “in total shock and physically shaken as he was not expecting this bullying session in front of others in the Olympiad VIP Lounge.”

Under Fide rules, a player may transfer to a new federation immediately provided the old federation does not object. Otherwise, the transfer becomes complicated, including payment of fees and sitting out as long as two years. In that period, a player is prohibited from participating in any competition. Since Wesley has a 2700 plus Elo, the transfer fee amounts to 50,000 Euros or around P3 million pesos. So hoped to avoid all the complications by getting a simple release from the NCFP.

Ritchie Garcia ,the Chairman of the PSC, reacted strongly against the claim by Pichay.

He said the government sports agency will not withhold financial assistance to the NCFP if it allowed GM Wesley So to transfer to the United States Chess Federation (USCF).

“Personally, I wish him well in his dream to become a world chess champion because I know, no matter what happens, he will always be a Filipino,” said Garcia in an interview with the Journal Group of Publications.

“There’s no truth to reports that the PSC is telling the NCFP to prevent Wesley So from transferring to the USCF by refusing to sign an agreement releasing him. As a government sports agency, we all know we cannot meddle in the affairs of the NCFP or any other national sports association.

That will already be government intervention in sports,” said Garcia.

The situation has become viral and the comments online by netizens are vicious and nasty against Pichay. It seems that Pichay has been caught with his hands on the cookie jar.

Wesley is not exactly blameless though .He could have played in the Olympiad but he did not--a big disappointment.

Robinson. The 1st Robinson tournament for kiddies 14 and under and 21 and under was held last weekend in Fuente organized by couple Eduard and Therese dela Torre of Cebu Chess Masters. More than 100 kiddies participated and here are the top six placers in each category. The format was 7 rounds Swiss with a time control of 25 minutes plus 5 seconds increment.

Top 14- Under-1. James Andrew Balbona (6.5 ), 2. Adrian Basilgo (6), 3. James Paraon Jr. (6), 4. Jermey Pepito (5.5), 5. Chris Pondoyo (5.5), 6. Laila Nadera (5).

Top 21)Under 1. Yves Fiel (6), 2. Vincent Balena (6), 3.Allan Pason (5.5), 4. C.

Podoyo (5) 5.) Felix Shaun Balbona (5) 6.) Marc Balbona (5).

BBRC. Cepca is now in the process of sponsoring a chess tournament for men and women to put some sunshine in the lives of inmates of BBRC. Cash prizes will be given to the winners.

It will use the active format and the number of rounds will depend on the total participants.

This tournament is again sponsored by our energetic vice-president Engr. Marvyne Guardiana of VMA Power.

(boypestano@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 22, 2014.

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