MANILA, Philippines – Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares is elated over the victories of the Philippine Chess team in the World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey as he called for more government support for Philippine chess.
Colmenares, who also serves as National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) vice-president, commended the Philippine men’s and women’s chess teams for their ongoing exploits in turkey.
“We congratulate our chess team for its outstanding performance. Being thrust into the main attraction in the Olympiad by playing on the top three main tables for the first time since we joined the Olympiad, specifically the Third Main Board in an Olympiad where 158 countries play on 79 Boards, is a historic feat indeed—the highest board ranking we have ever achieved” said Colmenares in a statement.
Colmenares himself is a chess champion from Western Visayas, having placed second in the 1976 Palarong Pambansa.
“Defeating world chess powers like Bulgaria with their super GMs is another historic milestone for our men’s chess team, never before achieved. The team of Grandmasters So, Paragua, Barbosa, Torre and even International Master Dimakiling headed by NCFP President Butch Pichay have been to a place where no Filipino chess teams have ever been. Their victories are exhilaratingly ecstatic for the Filipino people” said Colmenares.
As a former Palarong Pambansa player, he strongly advocates grassroots sports development.
Colmenares said it is high time that the government throw in more support for Philippines chess.
“Bayan Muna has been supportive of age group tournaments for players below 14 years old. But government has to step in. The dismal funding not just for the national chess federation but also the local federations is not encouraging. Pres. Noynoy Aquino, through the Philippine Sports Commission, should also budget much needed funds for chess and sports in general,” he said. - By Marlon Bernardino