BORACAY isn't just a showcase for beautiful people. It's for the brainy ones, too.
The country's top chess players will match wits in this island paradise beginning Saturday (July 14) with the staging of the 2012 National Open Chess Championships for men and women.
There will be two venues – the Paraw Club in Station 1, Boracay Island from July 14 – 20 and the the Cabagnot Training Center in Old Buswang, Kalibo Aklan from July 21– 26.
The event dubbed as "Battle of the Grandmasters" will determine the members of the Philippine Chess Team competing in the World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, turkey on August 27 to September 10.
Grandmaster Oliver Barbosa (Elo 2554), the country's hottest player this year, will lead fellow GMs and six qualifiers in the race for the three outright slots in the men's team.
Top Filipino player GM Wesley So (Elo 2650) is already assured of a slot while the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) headed by Chairman/President Prospero "Butch" Pichay, Jr. has the option to pick the fifth player of the men's team.
The other GMs in the field are Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr. (Elo 2548), John Paul Gomez (Elo 2539), Julio Catalino Sadorra (Elo 2525), Mark Paragua (Elo 2508), Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla (Elo 2501), Darwin Laylo (Elo 2489), Eugene Torre (Elo 2469), and Richard Bitoon (Elo 2442).
Heading the qualifiers are International Masters Oliver Dimakiling (Elo 2415) and Emmanuel Senador (Elo 2353), FIDE Masters Roderick Nava (Elo 2397), Haridas Pascua (2310) and Randy Segarra (Elo 2283) and 15-year-old Giovanni Mejia.
The event organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) offers P655,000 in prizes with the winner getting P150,000. GM and IM norms are also up for grabs.
Competing for the three outright slots in the women's are Woman International Masters Catherine Perena (Elo 2091) and Beverly Mendoza (Elo 2058), Woman Fide Masters Rulp Ylem Jose (Elo 2061), Jan Jodilyn Fronda (Elo 2022), Cherry Ann Mejia (Elo 1995) and Marie Antoinette San Diego (Elo 1922), Woman National Masters Jedara Docena (Elo 2061), Janelle Me Frayna (Elo 1991), and Shania Mae Mendoza (Elo 1806), Eden Tumbos (1776), Akiko Charmaine (1892) and Mikee Charlene Suede (1948).
NCFP will have the option to pick the other two players in the women's team.
The event is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) in coordination with the Boracay Chess Club, Gov. Carlito S. Marquez of Aklan, Lone District of Aklan Rep. Florencio T. Miraflores and Ang Kasangga Party List Rep. Teodorico T. Haresco, Jr.