Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pestaño: The first female national master of Cebu

Thursday, July 31, 2014

SUSAN Itaas is the first and only Woman National Master of Cebu. She achieved the title at the age of 17 in 1980. She was a member of the Philippine team in three Olympiads---Manila 1992, Moscow 1994 and Yerevan 1996.
She presently resides in New York but works in Bergenfield, New Jersey as an accountant in a law firm and an RN staffing company based in Las Vegas.
Susan had great promise as a chess player while still young and Cebu patrons who helped and trained her were Bojie Lim, Kelly Uy, Darcy Tabotabo and National Masters Ben Macapaz, Roger Abella and Lingky Yap.
When I arrived in Cebu in 1990, I sponsored an Inter-Professionals team tournament with the late NM Ben Macapaz, who was my classmate in high school, as tournament director and arbiter.
There were two lawyer teams, headed by Alex Tolentino and Babes Andales (presently councilor of Cebu City), a CPA team led by Susan Itaas, two mechanical engineers team of Loy Minoza and my brother Danny, chemical engineers (myself) and three other teams.
This was the first and only such tournament in the Philippines composed entirely of members of the same professions.
She played together with Lulu Sevillano (younger sis of GM “Econg”) and Lace Puno in the 1991 Women National Chess tournament in Indang, Cavite. She thought she got the Woman National Master then but unknown to her, she got the title much earlier in 1980.
This is according to coach Mariano of UE, who is the uncle of perennial women champion WIM Christine Rose Mariano and GM Nelson Mariano II.
The PCF Guys did Susan a great disservice as they did not inform her and gave the slot of the Malta Chess Olympiad to somebody else.
I remembered that in preparation to the Manila Olympiad, the chosen players, including Susan, trained for quite some time in Baguio complete with a dietician and a physical fitness trainer (Raffy Uytiepo?).
She performed well in the Moscow Olympiad with a score of 8.5 points and the players were aptly rewarded with a bonus of $100 for a win and $50 for draw by PSC chairman Cecil Hechanova . They say that Susan should have been awarded a WFM title but it was overlooked.
She also trained WNM Rachelle Pascua, her roommate who won the bronze medal in the Yerevan Olympiad, so she is also a good coach and teacher.
Susan is sponsoring two tournaments this month--the Cepca August Monthly tournament and WNM Susan Itaas online chess challenge.
The format of the online tournament is seven rounds Swiss, with two minutes “bullet” time control.
Rounds 1 to 4 start at the latest at 5 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 16 and Rounds 5 to 7 will be on Aug. 17 6 p.m. to 8 pm. Venue is Pinoy Chess Club Online, main hall.
There will be three more online tournaments after this and players should play a minimum of three rounds so they will not be banned in the next tournaments. The facilitator/arbiter is Noel Morales.
Prizes are P2,000 and P1,000 for the top two and P800, P700, and P600 for the third to fifth players. The top lady, junior, kiddie and senior get P500 each and the top unrated player also gets P500.
Our August Cepca tournament will be played early on Aug. 10 at the second floor of Handuraw Gorordo to celebrate the birthday of Susan, which is on Aug. 11. She is also now a member of Cepca.
The prizes are now double our usual rate at P7,000. The top three players will get P2,000, P1,500 and P1,000.
This tournament will also be unique as we are inviting the top six lady varsity players of Cebu. In addition to the main prizes, the top three lady players will get P500, P300 and P200. They will also not be required to pay the usual P200 registration

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