Top chess players will test skills
2:00 PM, Jan. 13, 2013
While most sports rely on the physical prowess of their players, none can hold a candle to the world of chess in which determination and mental skill mean everything.
No one knows this better than the members of the Guam Echecs, the island's local chapter of chess players, which became an affiliate of the Federation Internationale des Échecs (World Chess Federation) in 2010.
From Feb. 15 to 20 at the Bayview Hotel, chess prodigies will be able to put their skills to the test during the 2013 Guam International Open Chess Tournament. Through this tournament, Guam Echecs president Leon Ryan hopes to expand the market for chess and bring more awareness to the sport.
"The objective of the tournament is to develop the tourism market through international chess," he said via email. "By holding this competition, it will foster and promote the mental sport of chess in the community.
"Our chess club intends to obtain a grant to provide an opportunity for children and adults alike who are interested in playing chess -- not only for personal enjoyment, but to take the game to (the) highest level in world competition."
Guam Echecs is hoping to capitalize on its success from last year; during the 2012 tournament, local player Efren Manjuel tied for first place alongside Australian player Leon Kempen.
"The main objective was to give our local players the esteemed FIDE rating recognized all over the world," said Guam Echecs secretary Jun Moguel, who added that four players received the rating at last year's tournament alone, bringing their total of FIDE-rated players to 12.
"The goal was to get rated internationally. Definitely, our improvement has been great," he added.
Though the sport of chess does not rely on physical advantage, Ryan and Moguel agree that its intellectual aspect earns it more than enough merit.
"For anyone who wants to become a chess grand master, it takes focus, dedication, (and) many years of study and discipline, just like any other sport or profession," Ryan said.
"Chess is a mental sport that builds the mental strength of the players (and) keeps the mind healthy for the young and old."
"It has so many beneficial aspects," added Moguel. "Surveys have shown that playing chess is good for the individual. It improves the disposition ... (and) makes the individual more confident (and) more careful in making decisions (and) realizing the manifestations of his actions."
The Guam International Open Chess Tournament will provide free entry for international and grand masters and will charge a $200 fee for all other interested participants. The arrival and opening ceremony will begin 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at Bayview Hotel.