The 3rd President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) Cup - a nine round international swiss open - kicked off today with the strongest entry yet seen in the Philippines in recent years with a field that includes 21 international grandmasters and participants from 10 countries.
Among the top seeds and favourites are GM Murtas Kazgaleyev (KAZ), GM Zhang Zong (SIN) GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili (GEO), GM Li Chao (CHN), GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (IRI), and GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (VIE).
The local challenge is as usual led by young sensation GM Wesley So, still at 14 the world’s young grandmaster and currently on track to a 2650+ rating. He is supported by evergreen veteran GM Eugene Torre, new star International Master John Paul Gomez who topped the Olympiad qualifying tournament, and GMs Jayson Gonzales, Mark Paragua, Bong Villamayor and Darwin Laylo, NCFP (National Chess Federation of the Philippines) has begun a tradition of organising back to back GM Opens, and the USD 40,000 PGMA Cup held from 6-13 September 2008 will be followed by the USD 30,000 Prospero Pichay Jr. Cup from 13-20 September 2008.
Both events also represent the start of the APAC Pro Tour 2008/9, and will be held at the Duty Free Fiestamall, Paranague City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Other major sponsors include the Department of Tourism, PAGCOR, Shell Philippines and Globe, and the Crown Regency Hotel Makati, the official hotel where the GMs and all foreign players have chosen to stay.
GM Li Chao
GM Susanto Megaranto
GM Bong Villamayor
GM Zhang Zhong
GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili
Pinoy GM Eugene Torre
GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Kazakhstan