THE 9th Asian Seniors Chess Championship gets underway today (Nov. 4) at the Tagaytay International Convention Center with defending champion GM Eugene Torre hoping to become the second back-to-back winner in nine years.
Torre, who swept the nine-round tournament held in Auckland, New Zealand last year, is the overwhelming favorite to rule the competition being organized by Asian Chess Federation in cooperstion with the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and the Tagaytay City government.
“I am looking forward to another successful tournament and defend the title infront of our countrymen," said Torre, who will also turn 67 today.
"Madami din malalakas na kalaban, pati mga foreigners, " added Torre, referring to the four players from the former Russian Republic of Kazakhstan and three from Southeast Asian rival Indonesia.
Cavite 7th District Cong. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Tagaytay Mayor Agnes Tolentino have been invited to grace the opening ceremony at 9 a.m. today.
Tournament director Mike Lapitan said the first round is scheduled at 10 a.m.
Aming the notable foreign participants are Oleg Rinas, Kuanishbek Jumadullayev, Aitkazy Baimurzin and Timur Kazzymuv, all of Kazakhstan; Muhammad Novian Siregar, Syarif Mahmud and Hendry Jamal of Indonesia; Than Khin of Myanmar, Ahmad Ismail amd Kian Hwa Lim of Malaysia, Tony Davis of Australia, Mahmood Dodean of Palestine and three-time female winner Helen Milligan of New Zealand.
The local challenge will also be bannered by IM Chito Garma, Cesar Caturla, Rosendo Bandal, Casto “Toti” Abundo, Efren Bagamasbad, Adrian Pacis, Stewart Manaog, Rolzon Roullo and Olympian Mila Emperado.
Last year, Torre completed a rare sweep of the nine-round tournament held in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Filipino champion finished a clear 2.5 points ahead of Ewen Green of New Zealand and compatriot Edmundo Legaspi.
Wazeer Ahmad Khan of India was the first back-to-back winner when he topped the 2015 edition in Larestan County, Iran, and 2016 edition in Mandalay, Myanmar.
The other previous champions of the Asian Seniors are Khosro Harandi of Iran ( 2010, Beirut, Lebanon); Massoud Amir Sawadkuhi of Iran (2011, Bentota, Sri Lanka); Anthonie Pieter Luchtmeijer of Australia (2012, Parramatta, Australia); Bakr Hafez of Jordan (2013, Amman, Jordan); Massoud Amir Sawadkuhi of Iran (2014, Kalutara, Sri Lanka); Wazeer Ahmad Khan of India (2015, Larestan, Iran); Wazeer Ahmad Khan of India (2016, Mandalay, Myanmar); and Torre (2017, Auckland, New Zealand).
Supervising arbiter is Pat Lee.