THE Olympiad will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan on Sept. 1 to 14. Hosting an important event as the Chess Olympiad is a major accomplishment for any country. We organized this event in 1992 and then it was acclaimed by many as one of the best ever and has become a yardstick against which future events can be compared, thanks to Cory Aquino, Franklin Drilon and Florencio Campomanes.
The Chess Olympiad is one of the major events in the world of sports, eclipsed only by the Summer Olympics, and attract more than 170 countries and around 3,000 athletes and officials.
Fide organized the first Official Olympiad in 1927 in London. The Olympiads were held at irregular intervals until World War II. There was a long break from 1939 until 1950 but since 1950, they have been held regularly every two years. Forty-one Olympiads have been organized since 1927 and the Olympiad in Baku will be the 42nd.
The choice of Baku was and is controversial due to its conflict with neighboring country Armenia. There were two other cities bidding to host the event -- Albena in Bulgaria and Tallinn in Estonia. Both cities did not make presentations before the voting and hence were not approved.
Although it was announced earlier by Fide president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov that Armenia will participate, it has officially declared that it will not play.
Armenia is considered one of the strongest chess nations today. The Armenian men’s chess team has won the Chess Olympiad three times (2006, 2008, 2012). With Armenia out ,the gold medal will be contested by three countries--USA, Russia and China, with the Americans the big favorites. Members of their team include three of the top 10 players today--Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So.
Team Philippines will be bannered by Eugenio Torre, Julio Sadorra, Rogelio Barcenilla, Paolo Bersamina, and Darwin Laylo. Sadorra and Barcenilla are based in the USA.
With this participation, Eugene holds the world record of playing in the Olympiad 23 times (and counting), a recolrd that may not be broken in a thousand years.
Our lady journalist Keith Claire Morala sent in this report. “National Master Rommel Ganzon won the Open Chess Challenge organized by Catalyst Youth Leadership Institute. Dubbed “For a Brighter Future,” it was held at the 2nd Floor of the Robinsons Galleria Cebu over the weekend.
Ganzon outclassed NM Merben Roque in the final round and finished the 8-round Swiss system tournament with 7.5 points. University of San Jose-Recoletos student-varsity Jethro Esplanada and Richard Natividad both racked 7.0 points, but Esplanada took second place courtesy of a superior tie-breaker.
NM Edsel Montoya and Neil Gilig, who hails from the University of Cebu, tied for fourth and fifth with 6.5 points apiece.
The rest of the 13 with 6.0 points were UC’s Diego Caparino, Jayson Salubre, Michael Pagaran, NM Merben Roque, USJR’sYves Fiel, NM Leonardo Alidani and Shell 2016 chess champion Chris Pondoyo of UC.
Hector Villamora and Michael Zabate also made the top 15 with 5.5 points.
Meanwhile, Airene Robillos of USJR won ladies category with 6.0 points over Jasia Dorog of the University of San Carlos, who had 5.5 points.
The best kiddies players were Jerish Velarde of Marie Ernestine School with 6.0 points, John Lester Belano with 5.5 points and John Aaron Resma and Joshua Villarin with 5.0 points.
The tournament, which was organized by IM Kim Steven Yap and Fide Arbiter Marvin Ruelan, had more than 100 players.”