Friday, July 31, 2015


     After a very hectic 3rd Palau Invitational Chess Championship, organizer/arbiter/player of the event Roberto Hernandez joined the Marcos family (Joselito, Nanette and daughter Jamie) on a trip to the world famous Rock Islands of Palau. Being in Palau for 20 years, Hernandez hasn't been yet to other places that they have visited through snorkeling, swimming, picture taking, bonding and enjoying the nature.                                    
(Photo by: Manasseh, our Palauan boat operator and tour guide)

     Dozens of giant clams is one of the attractions in our trip. Dozens of tourists also enjoyed the sight of seeing these creatures. Some of them dived about 20-30 feet and touched the shell of the giant clam. It will close slowly and no danger of getting pinned by its shell.


     During the rest day of Oceania Zonal Chess Championship, a meeting was held at the tournament site where FIDE General Secretary Ignatius Leong of Singapore, (4th from right, front row), attended for the first time. Seated are Roberto Hernandez, Palau representative and Rupert Jones, (FIDE-CACDEC Official). Standing from left, front row, are Fernando Aguilar (Solomon Islands), Paul Spiller (NZ), Joselito Marcos (PNG), Shaun Press (PNG Secretary), Mr. Leong, Brian Jones, Gloria Sukhu (Fiji) and Garvin Gray. At the back row, from left are Hilton Bennett (NZ), Paul Spiller (NZ), Jamie Kenmure (Australian journalist), Gary Bekker, Mr. Canfell and Graeme Gardiner, the event's organizer.
                                                                                                                                                             (Photo by: Roberto Hernandez)

                      GOLD COAST OPEN

THE RECENTLY concluded Oceania Zonal Chess Championship and Gold Coast Open chess tournaments were dominated by Australia's latest Grandmaster (GM) David Smirdon and British GM Gawain Jones respectively during the event that started on June 20-26 (Oceania) and June 27-28 (GC Open).

With his results in the Oceania, Smirdon completed the FIDE rating requirement of obtaining 2500 rating to become a GM. Thus, he will become the 4th Australian GM: 1. Daryl Johansen 2. Zong-Yuan Zhao and 3. Ian Rogers, who retired from active competition due to illness but helped in analyzing the top 4 boards of the Zonal live throughout the tournament.

The Oceania Zonal Chess Championship was held in the Queensland and New South Wales border at the Outrigger Twin Towns Resort where some of the seeded players have stayed including Palau lone representative Roberto Hernandez and first time participant Solomon Islands, whose entree is a Filipino, Fernando Aguilar, a 20-year resident there and holder of Solomon Islands passport.

Their chess federation had been admitted in the Solomon Islands National Olympic Committee in just one week of applying. And they've got a corporate sponsorship of $150,000.00 from Phoenix International because their chess program is focus on out of school youth.

Australia, being a host country can field as many players as they can. They fielded in 56 players in the men's (Open) division and 10 players in the women's side, where former Philippine member of women's team in many Chess Olympiad Arianne Caoili, a WIM, won the title over top seed Irina Berezina, an IM, by just a mere half point. They drew their middle round encounter and finished both undefeated.

During the game's rest day, GM Jones held a simultaneous game against 16 players including Hernandez. All 16 players lost their game with the player on Hernandez' left side almost winning or drawing his game but blundered away his queen by a knight fork.

In the same night, a blitz chess competition was held and Hernandez' roommate GM Zhong-Yuan Zhao won the title.

       From left, Roberto Hernandez, GM Zhong-Yuan Zhao, CM Manoj Kumar and Graeme Gardiner.
                                                         (Photo by Roberto Hernandez)

A 10-year old boy, Daniel Lapitan, joined the blitz chess and had beaten Candidate Master (CM) Manoj Kumar, from Fiji and another roommate of Hernandez. 

Daniel had beaten another player from Fiji (a 6'4" guy Mr. Raicar) in just 12 moves a day earlier to record the shortest game so far in the Oceania Zonal.

GM Ian Rogers was impressed by the talent of the boy and gave him a free 2-hour teaching lesson on the morning of the event's rest day. It will cost AU$800.00 to have lessons for 2 hours with GM Rogers.

                           From right to left, Bernard Saavedra, GM Ian Rogers, his wife Cathy...
                                                            (Photo by Roberto Hernandez)

Lapitan is a Junior Chess Champion and Player of the Year in Guardian Angel School, Gold Coast Australia in 2006. In the last round of this Zonal, he outwitted Fiji's top player Damian Norris, who has a FIDE rating of 2142.

More about this child prodigy in the next issue of Chess Mate.

Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
           Tia Belau Newspaper
           Pages 9-10
           June 29-July 05, 2009



1.    The event will be held from June 26-Sept. 25, 2011 at Beken’s Store and General Merchandise premises or at Palau Royal Resort Dormitory 1. Playing days are mostly Saturdays and Sundays depending on the available time of participants.

2.    It will be a single round robin event limited to 18 players. The names have been drawn as follows: 1. Eugenio Pastrana (1754) 2. Karen Lee 3. Menandro Manuel (1910) 4. Jeff Balbalosa 5. Roberto Hernandez (1846) 6. Cyril Tomas Montel, Jr. (1941) 7. Paquito Suringa, Jr. (1602) 8. Jeffrey Negrillo 9. Dennis Gonzales 10. Elizalde Madrinan 11. Jose Celiz 12. Mohammad Manik Hossain 13. Gonzalo Escapatoria, Jr.  14. Angie Parrado 15. Tito Cabunagan 16. Elpidio Manaligod (1540) 17. Rudel Roxas 18. Edwin Acuyan

3.    The number of participants can increase to 21 if Manuel Mahor, Jr.  will join and up to 24 if Bernard Garcia will also join.

4.    The time control is 90 minutes to make 40 moves and 30 minutes more to finish the game +30 seconds increment starting from move 1.

5.    Registration fee is $10.00. Half of it will be for cash prize of the top 5 finishers and the other half is for the Palau Chess Team Fund to 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey.

6.    When playing at Palau Royal Resort, players are asked to get a visitor ID before entering the venue. The third venue is the Bethlehem Park near Palau National Gymnasium. Players are asked to set a date and time so that chess materials can be supplied.

7.    This is a FIDE rated event. The players without international ratings yet must finish at least 9 games and should have played at least 3 FIDE rated players to get an international ranking.

8.    The FIDE Laws of Chess will be displayed at the tournament sites for referral in case of a protest or dispute. The official arbiters of the events are Roberto Hernandez and Gene Pastrana, who are both participating. If they are playing while a protest is made, their time clock will be temporarily stopped and will only be resumed after the dispute is settled.

9.    Score sheets will be provided and players are required to write in Algebraic chess notations. Aside from small cash prizes, the top 5 finishers will receive trophies in the shape of King for the champion, Queen for the 1st runner-up, Rook for the 2nd runner-up, Bishop for the 3rd runner-up and Knight for the 4th runner-up courtesy of Roberto Hernandez.

10. The 2 woman contestants are eligible to be members of Palau Women’s Team to 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey. They have more than a year to save for buying their own airfare.

11. The basis of the composition of Palau Chess Team to the 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey was the final standings of 2010-2011 Palau National Chess Championship. If Bernard Garcia is joining this year's PNCC and he finished in the top 5 AND he commits first than Cyril and Dennis Gonzales, then he can qualify as long as he is willing to buy his own airfare like the 4 who committed to the men's team (Manuel, Hernandez, Cabunagan and Mohammad Manik Hossain) and 2 to the women's team (Menandro's wife Elizabeth and Angie Parrado).

12. The Palau Chess Team Fund that were collected from registration fees and donations will be added to last year's fund to buy a laptop for Palau Chess Federation or to pay for the yearly due of PCF to FIDE (480 euros) for 2011 to be allowed to play in 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. Countries with 2-year arrears in their payment are not allowed to participate in an Olympiad.

Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
              Tia Belau Newspaper
               Pages 9-10
              Volume 20
              Issue 23
              June 06, 2011 

(1006) GARCIA SCALPS 2 FIDE RATED OPPONENTS (TBN-Dec. 28, 2009-Jan. 03, 2010)

British no. 4 Grandmaster (GM) Gawain Jones played an exhibition of simultaneous chess games against 16 opponents during the rest day of Oceania Zonal Chess Championship in Australia June 23, 2009. GM Jones defeated all including Palau's lone representative Roberto Hernandez, 2nd from right. GM Jones also won the Gold Coast Open that followed after the Oceania Zonal.                                                                                                 (Photo by: Joselito Marcos)

              GARCIA SCALPS 2

PALAU PACIFIC Resort's 2 best players are ruling the ongoing 2009 Palau National Chess Championship with its I. T. Manager Bernard Garcia scalping 2 FIDE rated players in succession on Sunday, December 20 at D. J. Cruz Gen. Merchandise premises.

In his Sicilian Defence (Alapin Variation) game vs. 4th seed Roberto Hernandez (FIDE rating 1830), he showed his mastery of the middle game after forcing Hernandez to give up his bishop to avoid being checkmated. As Hernandez is about to equalize on the 23rd move, he forced the exchange of queens and prevailed in 34 moves.

More than an hour later, Garcia clobbered 3rd seed and venue host Gene Pastrana (1870) in 59 moves of Ruy Lopez. Their game became possible because Hernandez assured to do the driving if Gene's wife or son will have to go somewhere while Gene is playing.

Garcia now totes a 6-1-0 win-loss-draw slate and instantly became a contender to the title along with idle and undefeated Cyril Montel, Jr. (6-0-0), who just practiced blitz chess with Elpidio Manaligod as no other available player showed up.

On Wednesday, Dec. 23, Paquito 'Pax' Suringa, Jr. and Hernandez are having the same day off and they played their game at 6:30 pm at Palau Royal Resort Dormitory 1.

In their French Defence clash, Pax gave away a pawn early but employed a stingy defense and recovered the pawn on the 28th move. Eleven moves later, Pax lost his queen and resigned on the 50th move.

The Edgar Cayanan Cup rapid chess tournament will start after Christmas. Edgar already surveyed the prize of the Cup trophy. Although it will reach $30.00, he will still add $10.00 for the cash prizes.

With the addition of dart board at PRR Dorm 1 Lounge, another alternative sport was added for employees to spend their leisure time.

The 2009 PNCC is sponsored by Bhoey Gopez of Island Logistics, Lucio Bandibas of WCTC and Ed Martinez of Print Zone (5 trophies) and Bobby Pineda, Jun dela Cruz and Ogie Pineda of PALIBHASA ($60.00 for cash prize).

Here are some more news from Joselito Marcos' The Chess Connoisseur:

Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who turned 19 on 30th November, won the London Chess Classic held at the Olympia Conference Center from 8-16 December. The Category 18 event, with an average rating of 2696, is a single round-robin contest using the Bilbao scoring system of 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss. 

During the 7th and final round, all 3 of the winless Englishmen attempted to score their first win but only two succeeded. Michael Adams prevailed over compatriot Luke McShane while David Howell defeated China's Ni Hua to share 3rd-4th places with Adams.

Current number one English player Nigel Short tried all his might to score a win against Carlsen but the latter also has the determination. The two finally halved the point when Short was about to pluck the remaining pawn in the queen ending.

Earlier, former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia halved the point with Hikaru Nakamura of the USA to wind up with 12 points, one  point behind the winner Carlsen.

Nakamura and Short were unable to win a game, with the former losing one game while the latter suffered two losses.

In addition to the tournament victory, Carlsen is now absolutely certain to top the next FIDE rating list which will come out on 1st January 2010.

He is now the youngest player ever to achieve that feat and also the first player from a western nation to reach the top since Bobby Fischer in the 1970s.

He aims to become the world chess champion and shows his determination by engaging the services of Gary Kasparov, the former world champion (1985-2000) and number one player for 20 years (1985-2005).

That he would become the world chess champion is never doubted. The only question that remains to be answered is "When?" (Read the full story here)

Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez 
           Tia Belau Newspaper
           Pages 13-14 
           Volume 18   
           Issue 52   
           Dec. 28, 2009 - Jan. 03, 2010


     James dela Cruz, 2nd from right, is back in Palau. Here, he's participating in the Awarding Ceremony of 2005 Open Chess Tourney sponsored by Leo Lacambra, 3rd from right, who has recently won the presidency of The Filipino Community in Palau (TFCP). The others in the photo are Palau no. 1 Cyril Tomas Montel, Jr., 3rd from left, Jose Omega, right, co-sponsor Roswell Macapagal, left, and PCF Secretary/Treasurer Roberto Hernandez, 2nd from left.
                                                                                                                                                (Photo by: Ma. Florida M. Hernandez)

                 IS BACK IN PALAU 

JAIME DELA CRUZ, popularly known as James, has participated in the later rounds of 2005 Open Chess Tournament held from May 22-Sept. 25 at Privilege Store premises in Malakal. He finished a respectable 9th place with a 7-8-0 win-loss-draw record among 16 contestants.

In 2005-2006 Rapid Chess Tournament held at Jean’s Boutique and Store from Oct. 23, 2005-Feb. 12, 2006, he didn’t finish all his games and placed 28th among 29 participants with a 3-48-5 slate in the double round robin tourney that has been the most hectic chess tournament in Palau. The top 10 finishers of that event were Menandro Manuel, Edwin Eti, Manny Nedic, Cyril Montel, Jr., Bong Alipoon, Jimmy Valenzuela, Roberto Hernandez, Jose Omega, Jose Misael de Jesus and Felix Lapitan.

James donated a big tent cover for the parking area of Jean’s Boutique so that players will have bigger space to play their games. He also donated the trophies for that tourney—beautifully carved big wooden chess pieces which he made.

That’s one of his numerous talents aside from engineering, interior designing, landscaping (he designed the Palau Royal Resort landscaping), auto mechanic, electrician, basketball player/coach/referee, musician, dental braces maker and everything more that you can think of.

In January 2012, he became the first Filipino basketball referee that officiated in a locally held basketball tournament twice a week. He’s got an amateur basketball referee license from Philippines.

He’s now working with Melwert Tmetuchl and currently designing the building where the first vegetarian restaurant in Palau with perfect view, will be built. There's a fruit farm and a botanical garden next to it.

James and Roberto Hernandez, the Secretary/Treasurer of Palau Chess Federation, became friends in 2005 when Hernandez and his wife Flor stayed for a few months in Airai View Hotel Annex where James worked part-time with Lazar, Melwert’s wife.

Being with a Jack of All Trade guy is a golden opportunity for Hernandez to expand his knowledge about the things that James knew. In return, Hernandez taught James keyboard lessons where the latter was the best student Hernandez ever had. When James is playing “Imagine” by himself and Hernandez is passing by, he thought that it’s him (Hernandez) playing the keyboard!

When James went back home in Philippines in late November 2005, Hernandez gave him a keyboard that he will get in Hernandez’ house in Hagonoy, Bulacan. James even asked Hernandez for some chess materials so that he can organize chess tournaments while staying in Philippines.

After more than six years staying with his wife in Philippines, Melwert finally convinced James to come back to Palau for his big project that will include also some 20 cottages for high-end tourists to stay. While staying in his house alone, Hernandez usually visits him for more bonding, learning more about chess participation in the coming tournaments and sharing their knowledge.   WELCOME BACK TO PALAU, MR. JACK OF ALL TRADE!    Or maybe MR. JAMES OF ALL TRADE!!!

Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
             Tia Belau Newspaper
             Pages 9-10
             Volume 21
             Issue 06
             February 06, 2012