Saturday, September 22, 2012


It's a way to unwind. Tito feeds pigeons (or doves) with watermelon seeds. Tito sometimes prefers to stroll and do internet than watching chess games by the world's top chess players.
(Photo by Tito Cabunagan)


THE 2 representatives of Palau to the 2010 World Chess Olympiad were not allowed to play because they are short of one player.

When former world chess champion Gary Kasparov visited the venue (Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia), he was interviewed, did some signing of autographs and promoted fellow Russian and also former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov, who is running as president of FIDE against incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Leonid Sandler, the team captain of Australia’s women’s team, told Gary that Palau team needs one player. Kasparov’s response is, “OKAY, PUT ME TO PALAU TEAM!”

He knows that Palau will vote for Karpov. This response is mind-boggling, although it sounds like a joke.

Imagine, if he will be allowed to play, he will be Board 1, Roberto Hernandez will be Board 2 and Tito Cabunagan at Board 3!

If you’re aiming for something, aim high!

Kasparov also knows that it will take some time before a player (especially GM) can change federation and there’s a fee for it according to your rating.

Somebody said that if Kasparov will change federation, the fee to FIDE is something like 50,000 euros!


Most of the time during their stay in Twin Olympic Hotel, teammates Roberto and Tito eat together during breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Even at breakfast, they serve big slices of sweet watermelons. Roberto noticed that Tito is always collecting the seeds of the watermelon. He asked him what he will do to those.

He said he will bring those to Philippines and will plant it there. Only after 2 weeks that Roberto realized he is lying – while he is copying from his digital camera some photos around Khanty-Mansiysk, he saw at least 3 photos that he took a shot at himself feeding pigeons at the park with watermelon seeds!


During the last 4 days of 2010 WCO, Roberto got ready to buy some chocolates for presents. He wore a black t-shirt, denim pants, long sleeve shirt, a jacket with hood put around his face and hand gloves. He walked fast to activate his blood and to fight the coldness.

International Master George Xie of Australia overtook him in walking but he is wearing fewer clothes than Roberto. A few yards later, he comes back because he can’t take the coldness.

Roberto resumed his quick walking when he felt the snow falling. He touched it and it’s not wet. It’s his first time to experience snow.

When he reached downtown, he can’t find the supermarket where he will buy some chocolates. He saw 2police officers across the underpass and asked them, intentionally showing his WCO I. D, “Where can I buy chocolates?” He acted like he is eating something and emphasizing the word “Chocolate, chocolate!”

They thought the he wants to eat in a restaurant and they pointed to him a pyramid-type glass building. He found at the second floor of the building a toy store that sells only a few chocolates. He bought only a few.

While on the escalator, he saw a real supermarket and bought more than 40 pieces of chocolates there (different sizes and brands but all Russian made).

In Australia in 2009, Roberto remembers buying less than 40 pieces of chocolates. The male cashier said to him, “You really loves chocolates, hah, mate!” Roberto replied, “Actually, I’m diabetic. I’m buying these as presents to my family and friends.”

Source: Chessmate by Roberto Hernandez
Tia Belau Newspaper
Pages 10-11
Volume 21
Issue 61
September 03, 2012

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