PH top woodpushers clash in Balinas-Antonio tilt

Five Filipino Grandmasters and other top local woodpushers will battle it out in the P50,000 Balinas-Antonio Chess Cup slated to be held through the Lichess online platform on March 1. 

GMs Mark Paragua, Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla Jr., Darwin Laylo, Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr. and Roland Salvador banner the cast of chessers in the one-day event organized by Bayanihan Chess Club founding chairman Antonio "Uncle Paps" Balinas and US-based frontliner Dr. Joe Balinas in close cooperation with Fernan Donguines of Hybreed Apparel Collections and National Chess Federation of the Philippines chairman Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr. 

"I hope to do well in the upcoming Balinas-Antonio Chess Cup. I will pour all that I know in the mind-boggling sport of chess," said Paragua, the country's No. 2 player behind Julio Catalino Sadorra. 

Paragua, the top woodpusher of the Camarines Soaring Eagles backed by Jojo Buenaventura's Buena Viel Construction & Project Management, is coming off a victorious campaign in the 3rd Marinduque Online Chess Tournament held last February 19. 

Besides his fellow GMs, the 36-year-old Paragua will also have his hands full against International Masters (IM) Jan Emmanuel Garcia, Paulo Bersamina, Ricardo de Guzman, Angelo Young, Chito Garma, Petronio Roca, Barlo Nadera, Joel Pimentel, Daniel Quizon, Emmanuel Senador and John Marvin Miciano. 

An open event with free registration, the Balinas-Antonio tourney will be held as part of the celebration of late Rosendo Padilla Balinas Sr.'s 108th birthday and the 13-time Philippine Open champion Antonio Jr.'s 59th birthday.