By Frank ‘Boy’ PestaÃ±o
Thursday, December 2, 2010
ALTHOUGH we lost to powerhouse China in the battle for gold, our chess players surprised the experts, including Chessmoso, by snaring the silver in the men’s team competition in the Asian Games in China.
The Chinese placed fifth in the 2010 Chess Olympiad held in Russia and were the overwhelming favorites.
China won, 3.5-0.5, as Wesley So drew with Wang Yue in the top board, while John Paul Gomez bowed to Wang Hao. Darwin Laylo and Eugene Torre lost to Zhou Jianchao and Ni Hua, respectively.
The format was seven rounds Swiss with the top four teams advancing to the semifinals–China, Philippines, India and Iran.
Torre and Rogelio Antonio Jr. relied on their vast experience as the Philippines prevailed over defending champion India, 2.5-1.5, in the semi-finals .
Gomez sealed the Filipinos’ triumph when he drew with Surya Shekhar Ganguly in Board 3, negating the loss of Wesley So to Pentala Harikrishna in Board 1.
The 48-year-old Antonio trounced fellow Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran in Board 2, while Asia’s first GM Torre, still sharp at 59, bested GM GN Gopal in Board 4.
The Filipinos, with So and Torre hurdling their rivals, also downed the Indians, 2.5-1.5, in the fifth round. Antonio drew his match while Gomez bowed to his rival that time.
We had a long losing streak against India, dating back to the 1988 Olympiad.
We were not expected to advance to the semifinal round as Vietnam, and most of the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union were rated higher than us.
ARRESTED FOR PLAYING CHESS. Everyone has the right to use a public park, and that right must be defended.
In northern Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park, police ticketed seven chess for playing chess in a children’s play area.
The Inwood neighborhood is home to a multinational working-class community and wealthier residents along with the police are aiming to push poor people out of parks and other public areas
Forty-nine-year -old Y. A. Harrison, one of those who received a summons, said he and the other players regularly showed kids how to play the game on Saturdays when â€œthe police rolled up on us like we were drug dealers.â€
â€œIf we were teaching them to pitch pennies and gamble, that’s one thing,â€ Harrison said. â€œBut this is chess. We weren’t trying to add to the problem.â€
A police spokesperson claimed that officers were following New York City Parks Department rules, which bar adults from the playground if they are not accompanying minors.
They must appear in a Manhattan Criminal Court on Dec. 28.
News of the tickets and upcoming court date were met by outrage at police actions by many community members who sympathized with the chess players.
In the wake of the uproar, the parks department installed new chess tables outside the restricted park area for the players Zaida Grunes, a mother of twins said, â€œWhen my toddler twins are old enough, I will be sending them to Inwood Hill Park, alone, and hope that there is a caring, attentive individual sitting at a chess table, willing to give my kids their time and patience to teach them not only a game, but a skill.â€
Inwood parent Jackie Rodriguez-Jones said she was incensed over the situation and planned to do what she could to support the players. â€œThis is about people. People who did nothing wrong.”
CEPCA. Members please note that the induction of the newly elected officers and trustees and our Christmas party will be at our residence in Mabolo on Dec. 9.
For details, get in touch with the newly elected president Manny Manzanares at 09058386310.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 03, 2010.