Cebu tries to break world record in chess
CEBU CITY—After making it to the Guinness World Records for the largest dance class in the world in 2009, Cebu is set to break another world record; this time, in a chess tournament.
Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) chairman Edward Hayco said they would attempt to break the record of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, for holding the world’s largest chess game where 1,214 participated.
Hayco said more than 50,000 participants have registered for the “Cebu Chess Festival: World’s Largest Chess Tournament” that started in October 2011 with a series of elimination rounds.
The elimination rounds were being held in various participating schools and were scheduled to end before a two-day grand tournament today and tomorrow at the Cebu City Sports Center where about 4,000 finalists would compete.
“We didn’t realize that the number would balloon up to more than 50,000 after we launched an aggressive grassroots program that took three months of extensive chess workshops in over 150 public schools,” said Hayco, who is also the main force behind the 2009 largest dance class record.
The CCSC partnered with the Department of Education, the Philippine Sports Commission and the Cebu City Government for the chess program, which trained elementary and high school students from public and private schools.
As part of the program, the CCSC conducted chess training for teachers from the participating schools. The teachers were assisted by volunteer trainers in teaching chess to their students.
Hayco said introducing sports, such as chess, to the younger generation was one way of making them productive and keeping them away from illegal drugs and alcohol abuse.
“Chess generates a deeper type of discipline. It involves mental agility and intelligence. It is a great partner for education,” he said.
Hayco expressed confidence that the Philippines would overtake Russia’s record, noting the high turnout of registered participants.
The 95 participating schools, all in Cebu City, include the Apas National High School, which has 1,594 participants, the Barrio Luz Elementary School (1,369), the Don Carlos Gothong Memorial Night High School (2,289) and the Abellana National School (3,432).
He said he expected the number of participating schools to increase.
If successful, this is not the first time for Cebu to bag a world record.
In 2009, the city gathered 7,770 participants who performed a 10-minute routine of boogie, cha-cha and rumba.
They bested Hungary and made it to the 2011 Guinness World Records edition.
For this attempt as the world’s largest chess tournament, Hayco said they only targeted 1,500 participants.
But based on the registration lists and tournament record forms submitted by the participating schools to the CCSC, the registered participants have reached more than 50,000. The deadline of the registration was extended to Jan. 19.
Elementary and secondary students, aged 6 to 16, comprise more than 90 percent or 43,171 of the 50,000 registered participants. The rest are college students and professionals.
The tournaments were held in multipurpose halls and covered courts for easy monitoring.
The top players in the class section tournament will represent the class section in the school-wide competition.
The top 8 to 32 players in the school-wide competition will represent the school in the grand finals.
“Having a Guinness Record is one way of promoting Cebu as a sports hub, a way of promoting sports tourism. It is also a motivation for students, teachers and other parties to participate. It also developed their love chess,” said Hayco.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.