MANILA, Philippines – The Iloilo Kisela Knights have added Armenian Grandmaster Hovhannes Gabuzyan to their already stellar lineup and with hopes of getting over the hump and bagging the upcoming Wesley So Cup.
To provide a huge lift, Iloilo’s team owner, Leo Sotaridona, turned to Armenia, a country that straddles the boundaries of Europe and Asia.
Chess is considered one of its top sports and Armenians have been playing the game since the Middle Ages.
As for Gabuzyan, one of their brightest stars, is coming off a huge win in the 2021 Armenian Championships.
It isn’t just another title. In annexing a new achievement, Gabuzyan defeated Tigran Petrosian.
A multiple champion on Armenian, European, and World Championship level, Gabuzyan to the calculations of Sotaridona, will deliver a win. “GM Hovhannes will be playing either Board 1 or Board 2 depending on the opponent. Whichever board, I don’t see any issues in him delivering a win.”
Gabuzyan earned his GM title at the age of 17.
“His joining us is a tremendous help as we actually need reinforcement in our top boards,” admitted the US-based Sotaridona. “I’m super happy and excited and so are the rest of the team members in having him on our team. Being the most recent Armenian champion speaks loudly of his strength. We would love for his winning streak to continue with us in the Wesley So Cup.”
Added the Kisela Knights owner, “As with the last conference, the team needed a little more push to get the title.”
The Kisela Knights placed third in the inaugural All-Filipino Conference of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines.
“If you recall, we beat Camarines twice and they were the first runner-up, and we defeated the eventual champion Laguna.”
The roster for the Iloilo Kisela Knights remains unchanged from its All-Filipino campaign. Leading the way are GMs Joey Antonio and Hovhannes Gabuzyan, National Masters Cesar Mariano, John Michael Silvederio, Fritz Bryan Porras, and Giovanni Meija, CFM Cherry Ann Meija, Karl Victor Ochoa, Dennis Bernas, Gil Libutaque, Fiona Guirhem and Mark Jossel Mariano.
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