The following press release from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines has just been sent out to various media agencies in the country. It is a reaction to yesterday's open letter by grandmasters Paragua, Antonio and Torre that set about clarifiying their decision to avoid the currently running Doha Qualifications tournament.
Some parts of this are in Tagalog. Sadly, my Tagalog is rather poor but I think the literal translations I've provided are sufficient. If any Pinoy readers believe I've mistranslated, please advise me immediately. Thanks and thank you again to Iggy Dee for the tip.
“THE players have no right to dictate on their association.” Thus said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Congressman Prospero “Butch’ Pichay in response to the joint statement made by the country’s top three grandmasters – Eugene Torre, Mark Paragua and Rogelio Antonio Jr. -- yesterday.
Reacting to the open letter by three GMs which was sent to various newspapers yesterday, Pichay said the NCFP has all the right[s] to set the guidelines in the selection of the players it will send to various international competitions abroad.
“As players, they should always follow the rules of the association,” said Pichay, who felt slighted that the three GMs decided to ventilate their grievances directly to the media instead of consulting their officials. Pichay also felt bad that the three GMs decided to boycott the tournament, thus depriving the country’s young players the opportunity to play them in a top-caliber tournament.
“I felt sad for our young players, who missed this opportunity to play against our top-rated players simply because they (GMs) do not agree to the system being used by the NCFP ,” added Pichay. Pichay’s reaction came after Torre, Paragua and Antonio lashed out at the NCFP for choosing the Swiss system of elimination in the selection of the
country’s three representatives to the coming Asian Games in Doha, Qatar scheduled Dec. 1-15.
In their press statement, the three GMs branded the Swiss system as “flawed and demeaning to our stature as the country’s highest-rated GMs.”
The three dramatized their protest [against] the system, adapted by the NCFP, by boycotting the on-going 11-round qualifying tournament to Doha Asiad being held at the SM Mall of Asia.
Also yesterday, GM Nelson Mariano and several international masters came out to defend the NCFP and the system being used to determine the country’s representatives to various international competitions. “Bilang isang player, naniniwala ako na dapat lang na sumunod kami sa mga guidelines na itinalaga ng aming asosasyon, kaya nag-desisyon ako na lumaro na lang sa elims,” (Trans: As a player, I believe that we have to follow the guidelines set out by our association, which is why I decided to play in the eliminations.), said Mariano during a hastily-called press conference at Max’s Restaurant in Quezon Memorial Circle yesterday.
IMs Richard Bitoon, Darwin Laylo, Ronald Dableo, Barlo Nadera, Oliver Dimakiling, John Paul Gomez and Wesley So and veteran NM Mirabeau Maga echoed Mariano’s claim, saying it is only proper that all the players undergo eliminations to prove their worth to the national team. “Kung puro sila na lang na mga GMs, paano naman kaming mga bagong players na mabigyan na pagkakataon,” (Trans: If they are all GMs, then how are we new players to be given a chance?), said Dimakiling, who has already proven his worth by beating Torre in a regular tournament in the past.