A TOTAL cash pot of $40,000 (P2 million) is at stake when the country hosts the 15th World Xiangqi (Chinese chess) Championship set Nov. 14 to 20 at the Manila Hotel.
Philippine Xiangqi Federation president Wilson Tan said four Filipinos, led by Engr. Asi Ching, the country’s first Xiangqi Grandmaster, will battle over 100 players from 26 countries in the tournament sanctioned by World Xiangqi Federation and supported by the Filipino Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation, founded by philanthropist Jimmy Chan Cuan and headed by President William Gosiaco and Philippine Sports Commission, led by chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez.
“Xiangqi is a 2,500-year-old ancient Chinese game popular all over east Asia. The tournament will boost our efforts to introduce the sports in the elite level,” said Tan during the media launch yesterday at the Pandesal Forum at the Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon City.
“The game of Xiangqi is already popular in Chinese schools all over the country. Right now, we are in the process of coordinating with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education so that we can introduce the sport in public schools,” said Cuan.
Tan added that hosting the world edition in the Philippines will help the country’s efforts in boosting tourism and create a positive global image among sports-loving people worldwide. He added that Xiangqi and other sports activities should be promoted nationwide for the youth and people of all ages because sports is beneficial for improving mental and physical health.
Aside from host Philippines, already confirmed to take part are Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, US, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea and Japan.
Chan Cuan said that the four Filipino Xiangqi masters played in the last edition of the biennial meet in Munich, Germany in 2015.
“They are ready. Engr. Asi Ching is one of the most decorated players in Asian stage,” said Tan.
He claimed that the tournament is also part of the country’s preparations to form a formidable team as Xiangqi will be included in the regular sports in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
“The PXF is now coordinating with the National Olympic Committee to assure that our players will be given the proper support they needed for training, nutrition and exposure. We have a good chance to win an Asiad gold in Xiangqi,” Tan added.
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