Friday, March 24, 2006

A busy week and good times ahead

By Frank "Boy” Pestaño

STARTING last Saturday when we went to Balamban to play a goodwill match with Tsuneishi-Cipdi (Cebu Industrial Park Development Inc.) employees, members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) had their hands full playing the game they love.

The following day, Sunday, we had our monthly tournament at Stella Maris and last Tuesday we started our weekly playing day at Handuraw in Mabolo. There was also a Kiddies side event at Stella Maris.

On the international scene, there is the ongoing Fide Women World Championship and the unique Melody Amber, which is considered a major tournament, as to be included, is like an invitation to the White House.

On the national scene, there was a changing of the guards at the National Chess Federation of the Philippines when Rep. Prospero Pichay was elected president replacing super sportsman Go Teng Kok, who remains one of the members of the board of trustees.

This is certainly good news as Pichay is a known go-getter and close to the powers that be and in fact will be sworn by no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“We want to bring back the supremacy of Filipinos in the field of chess as we did before,” said Pichay.

The other members of the board are lawyers Samuel Estimo, Edmundo Legaspi, Romero Seratubias and former Benguet governor Raul Molintas, Tagaytay Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Jr., RP six-time executive champion Jenny Mayor, Willie Abalos, Casto “Toti” Abundo Jr., Ed Madrid, Red Dumuk and Jess Torre. Mat Defensor was re-elected chairman.

Tsuneishi Cepca member Emmanuele Matuco, the general manager of Cipdi, and Alaric Cejudo of Tsuneishi, were our gracious hosts in Balamban and although they lost the match rather badly, they won a lot of goodwill with their fine hospitality.

After the match, we were given a tour of Tsuneishi Heavy Industries and I was awed with the statistics that Matuco gave us.

Tsuneishi is the biggest shipbuilding company in Southeast Asia and the third biggest container-ship manufacturing facility in the world after Japan and South Korea. It has over 6,000 employees and the Filipinos, mostly Cebuanos, are second to none in their efficiency and working habits.

In fact, the Japanese partners of this Aboitiz-owned company are so impressed with their workers that they will double the capacity of the yard in the next two years.

Dante Arguelles won the March edition tournament of Cepca with a fine win over Fred Sandalo in the last round to score a perfect five points. Shell Kiddies qualifier Yves Christian Fiel, as expected, topped the Kiddies side event sponsored by the club.

In the World Women Championship held in Ekaterinburg, Russia Alisa Galliamova defeated Viktorija Cmilyte of Lithuania in the semifinal round to arrange a final showdown with China’s Xu Yuhua, who won against Svetlana Matveeva in the other semifinal match. The four-game final will be played today and tomorrow.

Melody Amber is an unusual tournament in that both players play two mini matches, one rapid and the other blindfold. It is held on March 18-30 in the fabulous splendor of Monte Carlo, Monaco by Dutch billionaire J.J. Van Oosterom in honor of his daughter, Melody Amber. This is the 15th edition and the prize fund is about $300,000.

The 12-player field includes Veselin Topalov, Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian and Peter Leko. Most of the players have an Elo rating over 2700.

No comments: