Asia's first GM Eugene Torre, Ozamiz Vice Mayor Bebie Neri and Asenso Misamis Occidental organizer Rey Urbiztondo join participants in the Gov. Oaminal 8-in-1 Chess Festival at the Ozamiz City Auditorium.

Gov. Oaminal Chess Festival in Ozamiz a huge success

BUOYED by the tremendous success of the Misamis Occidental Gov. Henry S. Oaminal 8-in-1 Chess Festival in Ozamiz City last Nov. 10-12, the Asenso Misamis Occidental Chess Association plans to hold not just one or two but three major chess tournaments next year.

AGM Rey Urbiztondo, president of the organizing Asenso Misamis Occidental Chess Association, said Gov.Oaminal and Ozamiz City Mayor Indy Oaminal have assured their support to the staging of more bigger chess competitions in the province  next year.

“It’s almost certain that we will have  another chess tournament in July 2024 for the feast of Ozamiz and another one in November for Misamis Occidental’s anniversary celebration,” said Urbiztondo, who is widely credited for organizing the biggest and cash-rich chess event in Mindanao in recent years.

“In fact, we’re now looking for the third one to make it more pleasurable and memorable for Philippine chess,” added Urbiztondo, also a member of the board of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).

With Gov. Oaminal  and Mayor Oaminal doubling the cash prizes to more than P1-million, hundreds of participants from all over the country took part in various exciting events spread over three days.

Urbiztondo  also said that live streaming alone  for the three-day event had already gained more than 4 million viewers as of Nov. 19 based on  reports by No.1 Filipino chess YouTuber IM Roderick “Kamatyas” Nava and Koronadal-based Biyaherong Arbiter AIM Mark John Centillo.

“It’s really very encouraging. The latest update we received is that we have 3.3 million views. for one livestreamer only, Byaherong Arbiter Mark Centillo of Koronadal. Plus, the ones from Kamatyas,” said Urbiztondo.

“Of course, we owe the success of our 8-in-1 events to the all-out support of Gov. Oaminal, Mayor Oaminal and the people of Ozamiz and Misamis Occidental,” added Urbiztondo.

“The Chess Extravaganza in celebration of the Ozamiz City Fiesta last July and the  94th  Provincial Anniversary of Misamis Occidental  is expected to put  Ozamiz City as the next Mecca of Chess not only in Mindanao but the entire Philippines,” said veteran journalist and chess organizer Joselito Dormitorio.

The unique 8-in-1 Chessfest in Northern Mindanao also produced several outstanding individual performances from both Visayas and Mindanao players.

IM Richelieu Salcedo III of Paglaum Misamis Oriental team ruled the individual blitz championship and towed La Carlota City in the team blitz event, while FM Ellan Asuela topped the rapid competition and powered his Cagayan de Oro-based MindMovers squad to the title and the  P200,000 cash prize.

FM Alekhine Nouri emerged as the undisputed champion in the Armageddon: Battle of Champions that also featured  13-time Philippine Open champion GM Rogelio Antonio Jr and Hangzhou Asian Games campaigner GM Darwin Laylo;

Nouri, Antonio, Laylo also joined Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, IMs Angelo Young, Ronald Bancod, Joel Pimentel and Kim Steven Yap  in a spectacular chess exhibition matches.

Also held as part of the three-day chess extravaganza are the Northern Mindanao versus Rest of Mindanao 20-board challenge, the Visayas  versus Mindanao Showdown and several age-group competitions.

IA James Infiesto served as the supervising arbiter, while FA Michael Joseph Pagaran was the deputy arbiter.

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