Group congratulates historic feat of PHL Chess team in olympiad

BAYAN MUNA Representative and National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) Vice-President Neri Colmenares expressed elation over the victories of the Philippine Chess team currently playing in the World Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey and calls for more government support for chess.

“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.

“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 who, as the Chess Champion of Western Visayas, placed second in the 1976 Palarong Pambansa.

“Our women’s chess team should also be commended.  Although they lost four matches so far, they have won all their other games and also achieved the highest board ranking ever by a Philippine women’s team.  Many countries find it difficult to barge into the top twenty of the Olympiad after the USSR broke up into many chess playing countries in the 80’s.  Now, our men’s team is ranked 2nd to 6th place in the current standings. ” said Colmenares who was recently elected to the NCFP National Board.  “Whatever happens after these matches, both our teams has done exceedingly well and we should be proud of them.  We do however wish they will continue to win their next matches and maintain their top ten standings until the finals.”

Colmenares, who started playing chess at the age of six and as  Palarong Pambansa player strongly advocates for grassroots sports development, asked for more support from government for 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 federation 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.

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