Two players seek GM norms in P4.2-M Pacquiao Open Chess tourney

International Masters Daniel Quizon and Michael Concio Jr. seek grandmaster norms as they wage war against a strong field composed of local and foreign GMs in the PHP4.2-million Maharlika Pilipinas Chess League’s Manny Pacquiao International Open Chess Festival unfolding today, Dec 13, 2022 in General Santos.

Both owning one of the three results to become a GM, Quizon, 18, and Concio 17, would be gunning for their second norm in the field headed by six GMs, 13 IMs and four FIDE Masters.

And that is apart from taking a crack at the top purse worth a whopping PHP1.14 million, the biggest individual prize in the country since Filipino GM Joey Antonio bagged PHP1 million for topping an event by the Philippine National Bank in the late 90s.

“We’ll do our best to achieve our goal and make the country proud,” said Quizon, who along with Concio is representing Dasmariñas.

But it will be easier said than done as the event will be spearheaded by GMs Hovhannes Gabuzyan of Armenia, Lucas Van Foreest of the Netherlands, Vitaly Sivuk of Sweden and Pier Luigi Basso of Italy and local GMs John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo.

Also entered are Konstantin Sek of Russia and IMs John Daniel Bryant of the United States and Dragos Ceres of Moldova and a slew of local IMs and FMs that included Joel Pimentel, David Elorta, Alekhine Nouri, Rolando Nolte, Ronald Bancod, Chito Garma, Ricky de Guzman and newly minted IM Eric Labog, Jr.

Other notable non-titled entrants are Emmanuel Emparado, Allan Cantonjos, former national juniors champion Edgar Reggie Olay, Atty. Cliburn Orbe, Christian Gian Karlo Arca, and Teh Wee Zhun of Malaysia.

The tournament, organized by MPCL top officials IM Hamed Nouri and Alex Dinoy, and which coincides with the 44th birthday celebration of Pacquiao, will also have a team side event staking a cash pot of PHP800,000 including PHP300,000 to the winner.

The meet is also being backed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Philippine Sports Commission chair Noli Eala and National Chess Federation of the Philippines chair and president Butch Pichay.

Apart from the champion, the top 20 finishers will also get a prize along with the best category winners for kiddies (Under-14), ladies, juniors (U20), seniors (60 and above) and top local General Santos Players.