ASIAN CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS.  International Master Assel Serikbay of Kazkhstan (left), and Cavite Vice Governor Athena Bryana Tolentino shake hands before making the ceremonial first moves during the opening of the Asian Juniors and Girls Chess Championships at the Knights Templar Hotel in Tagaytay City on Friday (Nov. 18, 2022). Looking on are Philippine Olympic Committee president and Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham Tolentino (third from left), Asian Chess Federation Executive Board member Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, and the Appeals Committee members from India, Guam, Iran, Malaysia and Kazakhstan. (Contributed photo) 

MANILA – Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino welcomed the participants of the Asian Juniors and Girls Chess Championships which kicked off on Friday at the Knights Templar Hotel in Tagaytay City.

A total of 58 players from 11 countries are taking part in the nine-day tournament for 20 years old and under.

“We are expecting great matches from these young Asian masters in the championships that give opportunity for our Filipino players to get grandmaster norm and international master [IM] norms,” said Tolentino in a statement.

Tolentino was former secretary general of the International Chess Federation (FIDE). He also served as head of FIDE’s Southeast Asian Zone during his term as National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) secretary-general.

Cavite Vice Governor Athene Bryana Tolentino, the NCFP vice president, made the ceremonial first moves with girls’ top seed, Woman IM Assel Serikbay of Kazakhstan.

Defending national juniors champion, FIDE Master Alekhine Nouri, girls titlist Mhage Sebastian, IMs Daniel Quizon, Michael Concio, Alkalaine Bhuto, Andrew James Toledo, Gabriel Ryan Paradero, Ronell Co and Marlon James Piel are representing the country in the nine-round Swiss system tournament sponsored by the Asian Chess Federation (ACF), Philippine Sports Commission and the City of Tagaytay.

ACF Executive Board member Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh of Iran and the Appeals Committee members from India, Guam, Iran, Malaysia and Kazakhstan also attended the opening ceremony. (PNA)