Saturday, August 20, 2005

Eric Gloria and Jun Olis

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

I RECEIVED an interesting e-mail from a good friend, Cebuano National Master Eric Gloria, who has been following this column via the Internet in Singapore. For those who are not familiar with this gentleman, he is a former Olympian and one of the Philippines’ top players in the 1980s and ’90s.

He was a member of the Philippine Team to the 1988 World Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki, Greece, where the country placed seventh overall, our highest achievement ever.

He was also a Team B member in the 1992 Manila Olympiad, where he won the silver medal on board 5, behind Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.

However, I think that Eric’s most significant achievement of which the general public is not aware of, is his participation in the historic 2nd Fischer-Spassky match in Yugoslavia, where he served as researcher to Bobby Fischer in 1992.

He is a licensed Fide instructor. He attended a series of seminars and exams in Singapore and works with a company called Intchess Asia Pte. Ltd. This company provides trainers and instructors to schools, the Singapore Chess Federation and also private lessons.

Its objective and mission is to upgrade the skills of trainers, to provide training to promising junior players of Asia and to promote the interest of the National Chess Federation in the region and its players, trainers, arbiters and organizers.

There are 28 trainers of different nationalities of which seven are Filipinos namely International Master Rico Mascarinas of Cebu (who doesn’t know Rico?), IM Enrique Paciencia of Tacloban, IM Lito Maninang and IM Domingo Ramos of Manila, Fide Master Celestino Cain from Bicol, NM Louie Polistico of Manila and, of course, Eric.

On weekdays, they are assigned to schools (primary, secondary, universities) and private lessons after school hours. Their work is not the usual 9-to-5 routine.

On weekends, they have group classes in their office. They train the national team members and the national junior squads as well as kids 6-13 years-old in the national pool.

Eric believes that in five years time, Singapore will be a force to reckon with in Asia.

Aside from the good pay and free housing (air-conditioned rooms), he is enjoying his stay there as Singapore is renowned for its cleanliness, orderly traffic and green surroundings, though rather expensive on the pocket.

On the private side, he is married and has three daughters aged nine, seven and five, based in Bacolod City. He finished an engineering degree, but once a chess player always a chess player. He is in an enviable position as his passion is also his work.

JUN OLIS. After several close misses, Jun Olis finally got what he was aiming for, a monthly championship that has eluded him since last year. He is the August champion of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca), after winning last Sunday at the Stella Maris Seafarer’s Center. It was also memorable as we had a guest participant, former Fide president Florencio Campomanes.

I think that this tournament was one of the strongest ever despite the absence of previous monthly winners. In the last round, Jun won over Felix Balbona and Joe Atillo defeated erstwhile leader Percival Fiel.

Jun, Percival and Joe were tied at four points after five rounds. In the tiebreak and median count, Jun came out on top followed by Percival and Joe. El Labunog was fourth and Pepe Gador fifth.

I would like to inform all Cepca members that we will be electing a new set of officers for the period 2005-06 next month, Sept. 11. Attendance is compulsory.

Our plan, subject to approval by majority of the members, is to also hold our September monthly tournament on the same date.

In the evening, we will have a dinner show at Handuraw Café in Mabolo to raise funds for our prizes in the Grand Finals in December. We will also have the induction of the new set of officers as well as new members.

Your president, Jun Olis, will contact all members individually regarding this arrangement.

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