While Aussie chessers are selected for Olympiad duties, their Philippine counterparts, on the other hand, have to go through the rigors of a qualifying tournament. Reports from RP earlier this week indicate that local legends, grandmasters Torre and Antonio, have opted out of that tournament, thus ruling them out of Dresden.
For Torre, missing the Olympiad this year will also mean breaking his 19 straight appearances in the competition. He told The Star paper, "I am not feeling well lately and it would be very difficult for me to still go through such kind of a grueling qualifying...I also think that it wouldn’t look good at my age to still play for RP team berths against our young players."
Not feeling well, eh? What about Antonio? When we last saw him here in Sydney a couple of months ago, he certainly looked as healthy as ever! Then again, heaven knows, what affliction can befall a man in just a few short weeks.
RP's Journal Online has another take: "[H]ighly-reliable sources said Torre and Antonio both wanted to be seeded to the national team to the Olympiad outright, a request turned down by NCFP president Prospero “Butch” Pichay and the members of the NCFP board."
Even without the two long-time legends, RP's potential lineup could still turn out to be very impressive, with 5 grandmasters and strong IMs entered in the qualification tournament. I predict these guys to finish way, way above their Aussie counterparts.