Monday, June 28, 2010

Matias ‘Bombi’ B. Aznar III

Thursday, June 24, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

FROM what I have observed and gathered, Bombi lived an amazing and full life. He was a man of all seasons for all the right reasons. He was not only a friend to the high and mighty but also to the simplest of people.

He was the kind of friend you can count and rely on.

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He was a loving father. A good husband. A golfer. A real sportsman. An avid fisherman.An educator. A fellow of the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers. A national master in chess. A Cebu Sports Hall of Fame awardee. A valued member of the Auxilliary Coast Guard with the rank of rear admiral.

On the lighter side, he was also a good karaoke singer who liked to belt out Visayan songs, a bridge player who loved ice-cold San Miguel beer.

One of the things we shared in common, aside from chess and beer, was poker.

One of the trademarks of Bombi was that he always wanted to make people happy. I cannot recall him turning down whatever I requested him.

I first became aware of Bombi’s special talent in chess when the National Open was held in 1971 here in Cebu.

He became, along with the late Loloy Ruelan and Ben Macapaz, a national master.

Later, I read that Bombi was elected president of the Philippine Chess Federation.

He was team manager of our Olympiad team which played in Nice, France in 1974. That was an Olympiad to remember as Eugene Torre became Asia’s first grandmaster during that tournament.

Looking back, this stint was one of our best performances ever. We placed 11th in the A group.

Being in to the A group showed our high status in the international chess community back then.

According to NM Roger Abella, the members of that elite team, aside from Bombi, were Florencio Campomanes (team captain), Eugene Torre, Renato Naranja, Rodolfo Cardoso, Glenn Bordonada, Ramon Lontoc and Rosendo Balinas.

When I organized the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) in 1990, our first honorary member was Bombi.

The Manila Interzonals were being held at that time and we decided to start with a big bang by inviting four grandmasters to play a simul tournament, which had never been done at all, in Cebu. Bombi and the Sikatuna Lions Club help our club in a big way.

One of the things that endeared Bombi to Cepca happened during the 1992 Sinulog, when we (Cepca) decided to join the parade and street dancing.

We had a float where Bombi put on a cape and a scepter as “King” and Loy Minoza and Darcy Tabotabo as “bishops.” We had also a beautiful “Queen” and eight lovely maidens as pawns, which were probably the reasons Bombi agreed to being king then!

Cepca received a citation and trophy for that venture from the Sinulog organizers.

Bombi is gone from us now. Cebu chess will never be the same without his patronage. He has been around chess for more than three score years and the void can never be filled and replaced. I suppose you can also say that about golf.

Bombi was special. He was not only a friend to me but also to all my brothers--Jimmy ,Pepe, Bob and Danny.

What will I remember most about Bombi? His sincerity mostly, and his humility. Despite being a man of power, he never threw his weight around.

As they say, “This is not the time for us to grieve his death but it’s our time to celebrate his life. His memory will always be with us and his legacy through his children.”

On behalf of the Cebu Chess Federation, Cepca, the Colonnade chess club and all chess lovers in Cebu, goodbye and rest in peace, dear friend!


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