Grandmaster (GM) Darwin Laylo will be leading the country’s campaign in the 2016 Hong Kong International Open scheduled on December 26 to 30 at the Kung Lee College in Tai Hang Drive, Hong Kong.
Joining Laylo in the five-man team are International Masters Oliver Dimakiling and Haridas Pascua, FIDE Master Deniel Causo, and untitled Richard Dela Cruz, who will be battling big guns from powerhouse China, Russia and Egypt.
GMs Zeng Chongsheng of China, Alexander Fominyh of Russia and Samy Shoker of Egypt have already confirmed their attendance as well as IMs Li Bo of China and Mok Tze-Meng of Malaysia, and Hong Kong’s top players Brian Wong, Pang Yui Kuen and Peng Shunkai.
Laylo will be seeded third behind top picks Zeng and Shoker while Dimakiling is No. 5, Pascua No. 6 and Causo No. 9.
The first and second rounds will be played on December 26 while the third and fourth on December 27, fifth and sixth on December 28, seventh and eight on December 29 and final round on December 30.
The event will be using a Swiss System, nine-round format under the latest rules and regulations of FIDE (world chess federation) with title norms may be possible depending of the number of titled players.
In case of a tie, the organizers will use tiebreaks – median buchholz cut 1, median buchholz cut 2, greater number of wins using black pieces and performance rating.
The champion gets HK $10,000 while the second placer takes HK $6,000, third placer pockets HK $5,000, fourth placer earns HK $4,000 and fifth placer claims HK $3,000.
The other participating countries in the tournament organized by the Hong Kong Chess Federation are Canada, Japan, Macau, Lithuania, Nepal, Singapore, Taiawan, Wales and Thailand.
The Filipino woodpushers are aiming to finish the season with a bang after a so-so performance in the 42nd World Chess Olympiad held in Baku, Azerbaijan in September where the Philippines finished 58th overall.
EMIL C. NOGUERA