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6:12 pm on 22 November 2022, Tuesday
Romeo Braceros Jr.
Photo: Marlon Bernardino
The Manny Pacquiao International Open Chess Festival will take place from December 13 to December 17 at the Family Country Hotel in General Santos City. It will be led by Russian Super Grandmaster Vitaliy Bernadskiy (Elo 2615).
For this Fide-sanctioned international chess tournament, it will be the first time that foreign players will swarm the City of Gensan, which is already known as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.
Last March 16–20, 2022, in Cattolica, Italy, the 28-year-old Bernadskiy won the Grandiscacchi Festival Primavera Cattolica competition.
Next month, GMs Gaburzyan Hovhannes (Elo 2586), Vitaly Sivuk (Elo 2568), and Tee Wee Zhun (Elo 1908) of Malaysia will also play.
The best Pinoy woodpushers who will fight to uphold Filipino pride are International Master Kim Steven Yap (Elo 2373) and National Master David Elorta (Elo 2265).
The five-day event, organized by the Maharlika Pilipinas Chess League (MPCL), provides a total pot prize of $100,000, or P4.2 million, and is anticipated to attract about 100 players in the Open category and 180 competitors in the side events.
"For five days, General Santos will be the chess center of the world, and we look forward to hosting the tournament of brilliant minds," said boxing icon and former senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, who will celebrate his 44th birthday on the final day of the tournament.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission Noli Eala, and Chairman and President of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. were also honored by Pacquiao for their support of the chessfest.
The open event will wager a prize pool of P3.4 million, of which P1.14 million will go to the winner.
The side event will award a total of P800,000, with the final victor receiving a cool P300,000.
This is the first of several tournaments that the MPCL has planned, according to organizers IM Hamed Nouri and Alex Dinoy. They intend to host at least three more international competitions in 2019.