Friday, February 24, 2006

Balbona kids - masters in the making

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Looking at Jessa Balbona, you would think that she can’t harm a fly .She speaks only when spoken to, is very respectful and doesn’t complain. But make no mistake about it. She is a tigress over the chessboard.

Many a members’ pride have been wounded over the almost two years the she and her brothers have been playing in the monthly tournaments of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca). I sincerely believe that in a year or two, Jessa will be able to snag a monthly tournament. Jessa is only 13 years old while Jhon Francis is eight, Felix Shaun nine and Marq Gabriel 10.

FEATS. Jessa’s and her brothers’ chess achievements looks like the resume of a college president. They have practically won all the kiddies tournaments in Cebu, including the Milo and City Olympics. Here are the incredible wins of these gifted children.

Jessa Marie — Over-all top female player in the 2005 Shell National Youth active — Mindanao leg; Board 1 gold medalist secondary division Cebu City Olympics; over-all top female player 2005 Shell National Youth active — Visayas leg; champion 12-under 2005 Filway/Time Life Visayas leg active; bronze medalist Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (CVIRAA); champion Girls Division Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines — Cebu Elementary Principals Association Sports fest 2005; Board 1 gold medalist elementary division 2004 Cebu City Olympics; champion 2004 Macapaz Chess Event; champion 2004 Macapaz Summer chess event; board 1 champion Colegio de la Immaculada Conception sportsfest 2003 and 2004.

Jhon Francis “Atit” - Third-runner-up 2nd Godwin Kiddies Open and chosen as the youngest participant in the Shell National Youth active tournament 2003.

Felix Shaun “Tatan” — Champion 1st Godwin Kiddies Open 2005; board 2 silver medalist elementary (boys) division 2005 Cebu City Olympics; gold medalist board 2 Elementary (boys) Division Unit Meet.

Marq Gabriel “Boboy” -first-runner-up 2nd Godwin Kiddies Open, board 1 gold medalist elementary (boys) Division 2005 Cebu City Olympics; board 1 gold medalist Elementary (boys) Division Unit Meet. Marq will also be participating in the Cviraa tentatively set this April.

Just last week the Balbona whiz kids swept the top four places in the 3rd Godwin Open Kiddies tournament.

Chess playing families is nothing new in chess. All of my brothers — Jimmy, Pepe, Bob and Danny play the game. So does my late father naturally. Almost all chess players learn to play chess from their parents, usually the father.

The proud parents of the Balbona kids are Felix, the current Cepca treasurer , and Juliet, and their trainer is National Master Ben Macapaz.

Chess playing Families in Cebu are the Ruelan family (three generations), the Raniles, Ynclinos, Unchuans, Dianos, Macapazes, Aznars, Fiels, Retanals and many more. But as I see it, the most unique are the Balbona siblings.

CEPCA. Mandy Baria, the energetic new president of the Cepca, recently issued a circular that there will be a general assembly meeting this Feb. 26 at the Stella Maris Seamen Center starting at 1 p.m. to discuss the forthcoming activities of the club, as well as the new guidelines approved by the board in its two previous meetings.

After the meeting, the February monthly tourney will be held at the same venue. All the members will be required to pay the annual dues of P200 plus the P100 registration fee. Attendance is compulsory.

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