MANILA, Philippines - The 2011 National Inter-Cities and Municipalities Chess Team Championship kicks off Friday at the Pavilion Event Center in Tanauan City, Batangas.
The first round will commence right after the opening ceremony beginning 8:30 am, with National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) President Prospero Pichay Jr. leading the traditional ceremonial moves along with Tanauan Economic Council executive director, Atty. Ruel Canobas and NCFP executive director Grand Master (GM) Jayson Gonzales.
Tagaytay City is favored to go all the with GM Wesley So and National Master (NM) Edmundo Gatus at the helm.
The other fancied teams in the event are GM Rogelio Antonio's Mandaluyong City, GM Darwin Laylo's Misamis Oriental, GM John Paul Gomez' Tagbilaran City, GM-elect Oliver Barbosa's Tanauan City, GM-elect Richard Bitoon's Tandag City and International Master-elect Richelieu Salcedo's FEU-Manila.
The event will coincide with grand final of the Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence (PACE) - National Chess Academy (NAC) and NCFP 2011 Age-Group Chess Championships.
"The inter-cities and municipalities is one of the most anticipated events in our calendar," said Pichay. "It's a great wrap-up event for our top players before they compete in the Southeast Asian Games."
A total of 277 grand finalists are expected to see action in four age brackets - 17-under, 14-under, 11-under and 8-under.
The grand final will be the basis for selection of the Philippine national youth team that will compete in the Singapore Youth Festival Chess Championships on December 26-31.
"We are very excited to host a couple of big events in chess at the same time," said Tanauan's Atty. Canobas. "This event gives the future of Philippine chess a chance to see our best players in action."
NCFP executive director GM Jayson Gonzales and chief arbiter Gene Poliarco will supervise the event. -- By Marlon Bernardino.