Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pestaño: My kid brother Danny—a chess player

Thursday, March 21, 2013

MY BROTHER passed away last Saturday evening. He would have been 61 next month on April 11.
He was the eighth child of the late Tomas Pestaño and Narcisa Yap and the youngest among five boys. He graduated high school from the Colegio del Santo Niño and had a degree of Mechanical Engineering from the University of San Carlos. He married his childhood sweetheart and our neighbor, Farrah Silva.
Aside from Farrah, he is survived by four children--Khristina, Maria Luisa, Lorenzo Sr. and Rafael. Daughter-in-laws are Venus and Mae and three grandchildren—Lorenzo Jr, Rhob Maverick and Lucas Andrew, who was born last January only .
His brothers are Jimmy, Pepe, myself and Bob. Sisters are Linda, Becky, Nena Debbie and Lourdes. We are a big family and all professionals and he was the first to pass away.
When I founded the Cebu Executives and Professional Chess Association (Cepca) with Arturo Ynclino, Danny was our first recruit. Of the original eight members, four have retired permanently –Danny, Sonny Sollano, Loy Minoza and Gerry Tomakin. Only Alex Tolentino, Nicnic Climaco and I are still active as Art Ynclino is semi-retired.
All of us brothers played basketball and were very competitive. Danny was forbidden by my father to play as he was born with a “heart murmur” and was probably the cause of his early demise. So he turned to chess and was some sort of a prodigy.
By the time he was eight, he was already better than me. My father had many colleagues who played chess and when they come to the house, they enjoyed playing with Danny.
When our club had its first tournament in 1990 Danny was the first champion.
Also, back in 1990, the Inter-zonals was held in Manila with more than 100 grandmasters playing. Our group, Cepca, wanted to come out with a big bang and decided to invite four GMs to visit Cebu to play simultaneous exhibitions.
Since it required some financial muscle and we were just starting, we turned to Cebu Lakandula Lions Club for help and its president at that time was Danny. The endeavor was a big success with four GMs paying simuls at Baseline, the first and only time that it happened in Cebu. The GMs were Eugene Torre, Jaime Sunye-Neto of Brazil, Walter Arencibia of Cuba and Carlos Juarez of Guatemala.
Another big event where Danny played a key role was our participation in Sinulog 1992.
Up to now, no organization has equaled our effort. We participated in three categories--Free interpretation, where our boys danced to the beat of the Budapest Gambit, Float with the late Bombi Aznar as King and eighth beautiful ladies as pawns, and two Higantes as grandmasters Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky . We were given a special award by the organizers.
Danny was also a former president of Cepca for the period 1995-96.
The most active chess club in Cebu is at the Colonnade Mall and it is owned by Danny.
It has been running for more than 15 years now with its 10 tables and there is hardly any vacancy at its peak times from 6 p.m to 8 p.m. It is known even by those players who are from out of town and are just visiting Cebu. Even foreigners who are chess players play there.
Aside from chess, he was active business wise and he was the founder and guiding light of Cebu Kawayan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (founded 1986) with its many projects and close to 100 members.
Perhaps, the most active alumni organization locally is the Colegio del Sto Niño Alumni Association. Danny was one of its most active members( all of us brothers are alumni) and was its president in the 100th centennial celebration in 2004.
He was cremated yesterday at St,Peter Chapels along Imus road and his ashes interned at Cebu Memorial Park.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pestaño: The top lady players in Cebu


Thursday, March 14, 2013

THE month of March is International Women’s Month and is celebrated all over the world. Our article for today is all about women chess.
Fide estimates that there are 700 million chess players worldwide but less than six percent are women. There are an estimated 1,300 grandmasters today but only 28 are women.
In the March 2013 Elo list, there is only one lady player (Judit Polgar) in the top 100 and only three in the top 300
Why the big discrepancy? In a previous article, I wrote “A stereotype exists in chess that women are no match for men. It is based on statistical data. That’s why many female chess players are taught from early childhood that they’ll never make it to men’s level. Parents deem chess as a strange pastime for a girl. The answer seems to be psychological and the upbringing of girls compared to boys.”
However, women’s chess in the Philippines is very active and more so in Cebu as there are a lot of tournaments here where they can participate.
Top local players. Here are the top local ladies. This list was prepared by KC Morala who knows the playing strength of each and every one of them. I also consulted Fide arbiter Marvin Ruelan, who is also knowledgeable as he presides over local tournaments.
1.) Jessa Marie Balbona (20 years old). USJ-R Chess team tertiary level; former Palarong Pambansa player and Philippine Team player; former Prisaa player.
2.) Cecillee Lumapac (18 years old). USJR Chess team tertiary level; former Palarong Pambansa player.
3. ) Airene Robillos (17 years old). USJR Chess team Tertiary level and former Prisaa player.
4.) Jazzelle Villarin (17 years old). USC Chess Team Secondary level; former Palarong Pambansa player, board 1 silver medalist and team gold medalist in Milo Nationals 2012, former Batang Pinoy Visayas Leg champion.
5.) KC Morala (16 years old). USC Chess Team Secondary level; former Palarong Pambansa player, Most Outstanding Player, board 2 gold medalist and team gold medalist in Milo Nationals 2012, Batang Pinoy Visayas leg 2012 champion.
6. ) Sharon Princess Lee Pacres (16 years old). USC chess Team Secondary level; board 3 silver medalist and team gold medalist in Milo Nationals 2012; Batang Pinoy Visayas
LEG 2012 silver medalist.
7.) Laila Camel Nadera (14 years old). USC Chess Team Secondary level; former Palarong Pambansa player, alternate gold medalist and team gold medalist in Milo Nationals
2012, Batang Pinoy Visayas LEG 2012 champion.
8.) Vic Glysen Derotas (11 years old). USC Chess Team Elementary level; former
Palarong Pambansa player; Philippine Team; Batang Pinoy Visayas leg 2012 champion.
9.) Shaira Monsalud (16 years old). UC Chess Team Secondary level; current player for Palarong Pambansa.
10.) Queenelyn Torres (16 years old). ANS Chess Team Secondary level, former Milo Visayas LEG team gold medalist.
Top players nationwide. I contacted Cebuano GM Richard Bitoon, who is now based in Manila for his opinion on who are the top ladies nationwide. Here are the top 5.
1.) Catherine Perena. She is the rating favorite ( top-rated women’s player of the Philippines) and a mainstay of the National team.
2.) Ralp Ylem Jose. She twice won the prestigious national women’s championship.
3.) Jedara Docena. A mainstay of the women national team and a serious rival for every women’s championship.
4.) Bernadette Galas. A new and young talent who performed very well in the recently concluded Asean women chess championship that was held in Tagaytay early this year, besting several WGMs from neighboring countries.
5.) Cheradie Camacho. She used to be the Board 1 player in the Philippine women’s team to the Olympiad but after grabbing the opportunity to study in the USA, she’s been quiet lately.