Pestaño: Jose Rizal: gifted player, lover

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Thursday, February 13, 2014


JOSE RIZAL was an ophthalmologist, poet, philosopher, novelist, sculptor among others and spoke 22 languages.

Rizal was also a chess player. He played chess with local and foreign players in all his travels including the Guardia Civil. He is considered the Philippines first chess master.

Incidentally The Philippines issued a stamp in 1962 showing Rizal playing chess.

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There were at least nine women in his life: Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, Consuelo Ortiga, O-Sei San, Gertrude Beckette, Nelly Boustead, Suzanne Jacoby and Josephine Bracken. These women might have been beguiled by his intelligence, charm and wit although Rizal was a very short man, only 4 feet 11 inches!

Segunda Katigbak was his first love but was engaged to be married to a town mate, Manuel Luz. This was followed by Leonor Valenzuela whom Rizal sent love notes written in invisible ink and can be read only exposing the note to a candle.

Leonor Rivera was his greatest love. Unfortunately, Leonor’s mother disapproved of their relationship. She hid from Leonor all letters sent by Rizal. Believing that Rizal had already forgotten her, Leonor sadly consented to marry the Englishman Henry Kipping, her mother’s choice.

While Rizal was in Madrid, the pretty Consuelo Ortiga fell in love with him and he wrote a poem for her. Rizal backed out since he was seriously in love with Leonor Rivera.

O-San Sei taught him Japanese painting.

In 1890, Rizal moved to Brussels and lived in the boarding house of the two Jacoby sisters. Suzanne cried when Rizal left Brussels .

Gertrude Beckett also fell in love with Rizal but Rizal hastily left London for Paris to avoid Gertrude.

Rizal challenged Juan Luna to a duel for insulting Nelly Bousted in Biarritz, France.

Fortunately Luna apologized. It would have been catastrophic if the duel (fencing) had pushed through.

Rizal was married to Josephine Bracken, who later give birth prematurely to a stillborn baby.

Marvyne Guardiana. Cebu is fortunate to have a new chess patron. Marvyne Guardiana is the latest to promote chess here and the just concluded VMA Power Open was the second major event that he supported in as many years.

VMA Power group of companies include VMW Studio at Labangon and Banilad, VMA Print Shoppe at Minglanilla, VMA Powerdent Clinic at Naga and Minglanilla, VMA Trading (primera products) managed by his wife Dr. Nanette Guardiana, who is also the dentist of the municipality of Minglanilla.

Marvyne is only 37 years old and a civil engineer. At the age of 27, he was project manager of their half- billion Cebu port project. Currently, he is the sales and plant manager of the biggest precast pre-stressed concrete piles/product in the Philippines- Techno Stress Systems Corp. with main office at Cagayan de Oro, and branches at Cebu, Davao, Butuan, Iloilo and Manila. They are the pioneer provider of pile driving services using static pile driver (no noise, vibration and pollution).

Their children are Vynne Mharton Alexii, Vynne Mharie Ant and Vynne Mharian Avea.

Like almost all Cepca members (Marvyne is currently vice-president external) he was also a varsity chess player in college, playing Board 1 for Misamis University up to 1997.

NM Merben Roque won the Cepca-organized 2nd VMA Power Open sponsored Chess Tournament last Sunday at the Colonnade Mall with 8.5 points and earned P6,000.

Those who finished second to fifth were Rogelio Enriquez , Edsel Montoya, Richard Natividad and Bonn Tibod. Kyle Sevillano and Andrew Balbona were the top kiddie players . Jimmy Ty and Romulo Pialan were the best performing Cepca members, while Shaira Monsalud won the ladies category.

The total prizes was P25,000.

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

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 13, 2014.

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