The country's top wood pushers headed by defending champion International Master Daniel Quizon and Grandmasters John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Joey Antonio battle it out for glory in the Philippine National Chess Championship beginning today, February 1, at the Malolos City Auditorium.

Mayor Atty. Christian Natividad of the host city will usher in the nine-round tournament along with Asia's first GM Eugene Torre, National Chess Federation of the Philippines chairman/president Butch Pichay and tournament director GM Jayson Gonzales and chief arbiter Reden Cruz.

The 19-year-old Quizon will battle Dasmarinas teammate Mark Jay Bacojo in the opening round as the former hopes to retain the crown he won in the last staging two years ago in Lapu Lapu, Cebu.

Gomez and Laylo, who were part of the national team that saw action in the Chennai World Chess Olympiad last year, will take on IM Michael Concio, Jr. and Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna, respectively.

Antonio, a many-time national champion, will face Olympiad regular Paulo Bersamina in the first round.

Also seeing action in this event backed by Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard Bachmann and Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino are reigning women's champion WIM Antoinette Mae San Diego, IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia.

At stake is a total cash purse of P322,000 including P100,000 to the champion.

After today's opening round, two rounds will be played on Thursday and Friday. The tournament will take a break on Saturday and will resume with two games each on Sunday and Monday.

Also being staked are P80,000 for the second placer and P50,000, P30,000 and P20,000 for the third to fifth placers.

2023-02-01T05:10:11Z dg43tfdfdgfd