FORMER Davao City standout Arena grand master (AGM) Henry Roger Lopez is upbeat about his debut in the first Chess Olympiad 2020 Competition for Disabled slated July 28 to August 5 in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.
The 39-year-old 2018 Jakarta Asian Para Games double team gold medalist and individual silver medalist Lopez, who hails from Panabo City, will join Fide master (FM) Sander Severino of Silay City, Negros Oriental; Jakarta-based Jasper Rom of Danao City, Cebu; Darry Bernardo of Pampanga; and Cheyzer Mendoza of Camarines Sur.
"Of course, we are very happy and excited for the event because it will be our first time to represent the country in the world stage," the Holy Crosss of Davao College alumnus told SunStar Davao via Facebook Monday, March 2.
Philippines paralympiad team head coach James Infiesto said countries that will compete in Russia were based in the top highest Fide rated para chessers per country per continent regardless of disability.
Severino currently has a Fide rating of 2364, Rom 2202, Lopez 2107, Bernardo 2106 and Mendoza 1639.
Lopez said, "We'll just do our very best but of course we believe we can beat the number 1 team Russia in this event."
Infiesto, in a separate Facebook Messenger interview, said the team has been in "deep training" at Philsports Complex for the Asean Para Games 2020. Although the team is currently on break, they will resume training next week.
According to the Fide website, a total of 30 federations are entitled to participate in the Olympiad 2020 Competition for Disabled after the selection process based on rating system concluded recently.
Host Russia along with Europe's Poland, Israel, Hungary, Croatia, Germany, Czech Republic, Belarus, Romania and Montenegro; Asia's Kazakhstan, India, Philippines, Iran, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan; America's Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, USA and Panama; Africa's Egypt, Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya.