Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Chess, scrabble community mourns passing of icon

FIDE Arbiter and chess National Master Roger Abella died of liver cancer at the age of 61 last April 17.

His remains now lie in state at the St. Peter’s Memorial Chapel – Bethlehem Room.

The funeral mass is scheduled at 2 p.m. at the Carmelite Church in Mabolo and the interment will follow at the Queen City Gardens on Saturday, April 27 Abella, was the founder of the Cebu Scrabble Association Inc. (CSAI), and served as its president since 1996. In 1998 he and Leo Fabular, a former education committee staff of Cebu City Hall, moved for the inclusion of scrabble in the Milo Little Olympics.

Through his influence in chess, Abella was able to bring the Cebuano team to the First National Scrabble tournament in Manila in 1997.

He was also a member of the Knight of Columbus and a songwriter and active with church song ministry in Mabolo Parish Church.

“He is a great loss to chess and Cebu scrabble. We (at CSAI) are planning to hold a tournament in honor of Sir Roger,” said National scrabble team member Teodoro Martus Jr.

Abella was inducted into the Cebu Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 for being a Prisaa Standout while playing with the Cebu Institute of Technology chess varsity team.

He then went to play for the Philippine chess team that played against the Team of the People’s Republic of China during the historic Tri-City Matches held in China.

He was also a member of the national team that won the 1st Asian Chess Team Competition held in Malaysia in 1979.

Among his biggest contributions to chess was his part in the historic Cebu City Sports Commission’s Guinness World Record breaking achievement for the Largest Chess tournament in 2012, where he was one of the lead organizers on the technical side.

With the backing of chess patron Boojie Lim, Abella, through the Cebu Chess Association was able to hold three Fide Rated chess tournament in 2011.

And in his capability as president of the Cebu Scrabble Association, Abella was able to host a qualifying tournament for the World Youth Scrabble tournament in England last December where three Cebuano players made it to the team.
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