Pestaño: The patron saint of chess players

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Thursday, August 15, 2013


DO YOU know that chess players have a patron saint? We do and her name is Teresa of Avila. As far as I know, there are six saints who were chess players. The other ones being Charles Borromeo , Thomas of Canterbury, Francis Xavier, Francis de Sales and Thomas More.

St. Teresa is in the limelight now as Boojie Lim is sponsoring a series of tournaments
in her honor to culminate on her feast day.

Also called Saint Teresa of Jesus (March 28, 1515 – Oct. 4, 1582), she was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, writer of the Counter Reformation, and theologian. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be a founder of the Discalced Carmelites (shoe-less) along with John of the Cross.

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She was beatified in 1614 and canonized in 1622. In 1970, Pope Paul VI, named here “Doctor of the Church,” the first woman to be so named--the other one being St Catherine of Sienna.

Well-known institutions in Cebu who are named after her are St Theresa’s College and the Carmelite monastery in Mabolo.

The Discalced Carmelites are men and women who dedicate themselves to a life of prayer. The Carmelite nuns live in cloistered (enclosed) monasteries and follow a completely contemplative life. The Carmelite friars also engage in the promotion of spirituality through their retreat centers and churches.

The Catholic Church assigns one date out of the year for every canonized saint — known as the saint’s feast day. The saints are remembered on their individual feast days with prayers and possibly a party. Teresa died on Oct. 4 but the very next day the Gregorian calendar was used (from the Julian) resulting in her feast day being moved to the 15th.

Why was she chosen as the patron saint and a woman at that? She used chess as a metaphor for seeking God. She wrote that we should play a “spiritual chess” with the Beloved of our hearts and that we should checkmate Him. She adds that He cannot escape from our moves and would not even wish to.” She further wrote that, “In his early stages he did not even know how to set out the chess-board, and thought that, in order to give checkmate, it would be enough to be able to recognize the pieces. But that is impossible, for this King does not allow Himself to be taken except by one who surrenders wholly to Him.”

When she was six years old, she convinced her older brother that they should, as she wrote , “go off to the land of the Moors and beg them, out of love of God, to cut off our heads there.” They got as far as the road from the city before an uncle found them and brought them back. Some people have cited this story as an early manifestation of sanctity, though childish.

Cepca. Here are the final results of the August tournament last Sunday:1-2.) Rey Flores champion and Freddie Casagan co-champion, 3-4.) Manny Manzanares, Peterson Sia, 5.) Antonio Barade.

The tournament committee has decided to declare Freddie Casagan and Rey Flores as double champions for August and both will qualify to the grand finals this December.

Rey Flores is a Nautical Engineer and a retired boat captain. Last year’s grand finals winner, he now teaches the rudiments of chess to young kids.

New member Freddie Casagan is a registered nurse and presently a college instructor at the University of the Visayas.

Another new member is Leonilo Llenes who has worked with Pilipinas Shell for 31 years.

He is with supply and distribution.

The champions qualify to the Grand Finals this December. Already in are Lawyer Jong Melendez (Jan), NM Arnold Cadiz (Feb), Percival Fiel (Mar), Maggi Dionson (April) Manuel Abucay (May), Jun Kidlat (June), and Peterson Sia (July).

(boypestano@gmail.com,www.chessmoso.blogspot.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 16, 2013.

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