Pestaño: A new chess-playing saint

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Thursday, May 1, 2014


WE have a new chess-playing saint with the canonization of Pope John Paul II.

Last Sunday’s event was attended by kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers from 90 countries and close to a million pilgrims. Also canonized was Pope John XXIII, the author of the Second Vatican Council.

Other chess playing saints are Teresa of Avila (1515-82), the Patroness of chess players, Thomas of Canterbury (1118-70), Charles Borromeo (1538-84), Francis Xavier (1506-1552), Francis de Sales (1567-1622 ) and Thomas More (1478-1535).

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During his reign, John Paul II traveled extensively, visiting over 100 countries, including the Philippines. He also visited Cebu .It was estimated that he traveled an equivalent of three round trips to the moon.

Because of his passion for chess, Fide awarded the title “Grand Commander of the Legion of Grandmasters” to him in 1999.

It is on record that the Vatican ordered a chess computer in 1981 and whether it was played by the Pope is not known. Other popes who played chess were Gregory VI, Innocent III, John Paul I, Leo X and Leo XIII.

What is not generally known is that John Paul II was a composer of chess problems. I have known a lot of chess players and those who compose chess problems are the rarest of all. It requires a lot of creativity, which is not surprising, as he was also a poet.

My puzzle for this week, Problem 313, is composed by him.

Cepca. Rosendo Yamyamin won the April tournament of the club. He is branch manager of Gopel Finance Corp. in Ormoc. He was a varsity player of USJ-R in 1998-2002 and qualified for the Shell Grand Finals in 1997 with Richard Natividad and now NM Merben Roque.

We have three new members--couple Eduard and Therese Gonzales dela Torre and Renie Aureo.

Eduard was a varsity chess player in high school in Don Bosco and team captain of USC in college. He has been working for 10 years in the BPO industry and is currently the team manager of Accenture. He and Therese are also entrepreneurs.

Therese is currently book consultant of Author Solutions Inc. and a former USJ-R varsity chess player. She was the strongest female player in Cebu then and was a national qualifier for the SEA Games in 2005. She has been with the BPO industry for seven years.

They have five children--Chessa, Lea Lin, Nina Sara Mae, Leo and Eduard II. The three eldest are now training to become future masters and champions.

Renie is married to Analyn and has two children. He is a licensed BS ECE graduate from CIT and is a pilot of the Philippine Air Force with the rank of Major. He belongs to the class 99B of the PAF Aviation School and is a member of the PAF flying school class of 2004.

Chess Masters School. The Cebu Chess Masters is an accredited NCFP member and duly registered with the Department of Trade and Industry under the name of Therese Gonzales-Dela Torre. Its purpose is to train young talents to become better players.

Aside from Eduard and Therese, another trainer is National Master Merben Roque, who has an extensive 10-year experience in training players for Milo Checkmate in Manila.

“According to research, Test scores improved by 17.3 percent for students regularly engaged in chess classes, compared with only 4.6 percent for children participating in other forms of enriched activities,” said four-time World Champion Susan Polgar.

The beauty of chess as a teaching tool is that it stimulates children’s minds and helps them build these skills while enjoying themselves. As a result, children become more critical thinkers, better problem solvers, and more independent decision makers.

Interested schools can call 366-8966 or visit their address at 372 Royal Crowne Plaza Katipunan St., Labangon Cebu City.

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

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 02, 2014.

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