The 4th Prospero Pichay Jr Cup begins today - following a well deserved rest day after the 3rd President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) Cup - now with just 18 international grandmasters but a total of 34 titled players and participants representing 10 countries competing for the USD 30,000 prize fund.
Of the 3 co-winners of the PGMA, local hero GM Eugene Torre and GM Li Chao of China has opted out (together with country woman WGM Gu Xiaobing) and so the top seeds and new favourites are co-winner GM Zhang Zhong (SIN), Asian Indoor Games Champion GM Murtas Kazgaleyev (KAZ), GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili (GEO), GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (IRI), and GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (VIE).
But after veteran Eugene Torre's surprise effort championship in the PGMA, everyone must now believe they too can win!
Philippine No. 1 , Wesley So, who is now almost 15 years of age, and playing in his 5th major tournament in succession, will again lead the local challenge, ably supported by standout national team mates GM Jayson Gonzales, GM Mark Paragua, GM Bong Villamayor, IM John Paul Gomez, and ASEAN Grand Prix overall winner IM Julio Sadorra
At the opening ceremony, NCFP President Prospero Pichay Jr, the driving force behind the revival of Philippine chess in recent years, and who is also the sponsor, reiterated his life term commitment to the Cup that bears his name and also confirmed that the Philippines would look to be anchoring the APAC Pro Tour 2008/9 with 5 if not 6 GM tournaments!
Pichay also took the opportunity to also officially launch the new NCFP web site.
The Pichay Cup will be held from 13 to 20 September 2008 at the Duty Free Fiestamall, Paranague City, Metro Manila, Philippines, and as always, up to date information can be found at the official tournament website www.chessasia.net and will also be a live game broadcast of the top boards at the NCFP website www.ncfphilippine.org.