National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero Pichay is confident that the Philippines will retain the overall crown when it hosts the 19th AseanAge Group Chess Championships from June 17 to 27 in Davao City.
Pichay expects around 500 international woodpushers from Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India and China to participate in the annual competition.
“I believe we can defend our title,” said Pichay in a news conference organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Wednesday, adding that the country can deliver despite the martial law in Mindanao.
“We’re going to showcase Mindanao under martial law. We can also show them how peaceful there in Mindanao. This is going to be a very significant event for our country and we expect more participants this year.”
The PSC, represented by Commissioner Charles Maxey, said sports is one way to promote peace in the region and assured the NCFP its full backing.
“Although the NCFP hasn’t forwarded yet its budget request, 100 percent we are going to support them especially it is going to be held in Davao City. This is a very big international event that Davao will be hosting,” said Maxey.
In the last Asean competition last November in Malaysia, the Philippines bagged 83 gold medals, 37 silvers and 29 bronzes to capture the overall title. And Pichay expressed high hopes that the Philippines would defend the crown behind players Michael Concio Jr., Jeff Morado, Jeryl Mae San Diego and Kaye Lalaine Regidor.
The tournament, supported by the PSC, has the following divisions: 8-under, 10-under, 14-under, 16-under, 18-under and 20-under for both Open boys and girls. The last time the country hosted the tournament was in 2010 in Subic.