Mendoza: Bye Cardoso, PHL’s first chess legend-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
RODOLFO Tan Cardoso was a living legend when I met him in the Seventies. He was balding, I was long-haired.
I was a sportswriter then for the Bulletin Today, the Martial Law name of Manila Bulletin where I worked 14 years before I moved to the Inquirer in 1986.
It was at the lobby of the Manila Hotel, that I first saw Cardoso, the idol of my youth, chatting with world chess greats like Tahl, Korchnoi, Polugaevsky, Larsen, Gligoric, Kasparov, Keene and virtually all the chess geniuses of all time, including Fischer.
Manila then was the chess hub of the world, thanks mainly to Florencio “Campo” Campomanes, who staged many of the world’s greatest chess championships and who would rise as the first Asian to head the Fide (World Chess Federation).
Humbly, I had virtually rubbed elbows with all the greats then, and I even had a rare one-on-one interview with Tigran Petrosyan, one of the greatest world champions of chess.
While Cardoso and Eugene Torre lifted the Philippines to the world chess map, it was Campo who brought the game to the farthest nooks of the universe.
Further, with all humility, I have covered World Chess Olympiads in Switzerland, Dubai and Russia, among other world chess championships that I had worked on – thanks again to Campo, Des and Auring Bautista’s dear buddy.
In a text-message sent to me after Cardoso had died on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at age 75, national master and lawyer Sammy Estimo said “Do you know that Cardoso, Campo, Asing Badilles and Carling Benitez, bless their souls, composed our first Chess Olympic Team to Moscow in 1956?”
The following year, Sammy said, Cardoso, then only 20, became the first International Master from Asia – and that was after scoring a stunning Olympic victory over the esteemed Russian GM David Bronstein, a former World Chess Championship challenger.
With the passing of Cardoso, who was from Anda/Alaminos Pangasinan, he has now reunited with his fellow Moscow Olympians Campo from Atimonan, Quezon, Badilles from Cebu and Benitez from Cavite.
Up There, may their blitz games be as joyous and as happily rambunctious as ever.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2013.