Saturday, September 26, 2015

(1081) WILL IT BE ALIPOON, OMEGA, OR MONTEL, JR.? (Manuel Bags 4th Blitz Title) TBN-Sept. 23-30, 2005)

IT'S DOWN to the wire finish between 3 contenders of 2005 Open chess championship after the penultimate round held on Sunday, September 18 at Privilege Family Store in Malakal and sponsored by Bendix N. Lakobong, Leo Lacambra, Jr. and Roswell C. Macapagal of T-Shirt Printing Atbp.

Fourth seed Bong Alipoon, with a 9-1-3 win-loss-draw record, dealt Jose Omega (11-2-1) his 2nd loss of the tournament and could bag his first-ever title if he would win his last 2 remaining games against top seed Roberto Hernandez and Ivan II Chess Computer. 

Rapid chess format was used to give Omega a chance to go to work on time. His adjourned game against 2nd seed Cyril Montel, Jr. was not resumed as the latter came in late and Omega has gone to work.

With 3 games remaining against latecomer James dela Cruz, Ivan II Chess Computer and Omega, Montel, Jr. is planning to play dela Cruz at his residence at Airai View Hotel Annex in the late afternoon of any day that they are available.

If time permits, he will play against the machine also. If Montel, Jr. would win all of his remaining games, we will clinch his first-ever title in 9 tournaments. He already won 4 runner-up trophies.

Omega will get his first-ever title if Alipoon would lose both of his last games and if he would win his adjourned game against Montel, Jr. while Hernandez (8-4-1) is assured of the 5th place finish even if he would lose his last 2 games.

There will be another tie for the Most Improved Player award between Gene Pastrana (again!) and Palauan bet Morton Sawaichi if the 2 would win their last games.

Sawaichi (7-7-0) needs to beat Jimmy Valenzuela (7-7-0) while Pastrana (6-5-0) has a task of beating 3rd placer Manuel Nedic (11-3-0) and dela Cruz (6-5-0).

In the 2005 Regular Chess Tournament, Pastrana lost to Dennis Gonzales (1-8-6) in the tiebreak for MIP honor.

Other non-bearing final game features Joel Azana (5-6-3) and dela Cruz. The rest of the players have already completed their games' results through defaults: Tutii Joe Chilton (0-8-6), Mario Ramos (3-8-4) Eric Espartero (4-7-4) and Marcial Rodriguez (2-11-2).

Ivan II Chess Computer (2-7-4) is in 4th place. Had they arrive on the final day, they could have replayed their default losses or draws.

Two-time champ Menandro Manuel bag his 4th blitz chess title of the year by a thinnest of margin (half point) over Nedic. Omega was able to play 10 out of 12 games and still in the running for the title when he left for work. His last 2 un-played games were declared draws.

1. Manuel (7-2-3) 2. Nedic (8-4-0) 3. Omega (7-3-2) 4. Hernandez (6-6-0) 5. Pastrana (4-6-2) 6. Valenzuela (4-8-0) and Lin de Guzman (2-9-1).

Manuel donated $10.00 of his cash prize for the fundraising to pay $476.00 to the World Chess Federation (FIDE) so that Palau chess players can participate in the 2006 World Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy. He also pledged another $40.00

Palauan taxi driver Dennis Salii also pledged cash to support the fundraising while other players are waiting for their salary to start contributing. Pastrana also pledged $50.00 for the campaign.

Solution to last week's puzzle: 1. Kd4 f5 2. Qc1 mate.  




Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
               Tia Belau Newspaper
               Pages 9-10
              Volume XIV
              Issue 38
              September 23-30, 2005


                 MR. BELECHEL 

Although he's just an average student in terms of potential in keyboard playing, but his love for music is very intense. I have to choose the right key and songs to teach him whether it's American or Palauan songs.

I have taught him in 2 different places -- in his office at the same place of his Belechel Store just across the Koror Elementary School and at his house about 3 kilometers away.

  I taught Mr. Belechel Ngirngebedangel keyboard in January 26, 28, 1999; February 01, 03, 11, 17, 23, 25, 1999; May 04, 09, 12, 1999; June 13, 15, 25, 1999 and the last time on May 08, 2002.

I also taught his son Reagan Belechel Ngirngebedangel keyboard in June 27, 29, 1999;  January 13, 20, 27, February 03, 10, 11, 18, 25, June 13, 15, 25, 27, 29, July 04, 07, 11, 13, 18, 25, 27, August 01, 08, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24 and 29, 2000. After he resumed his studies in USA, I didn't teach him for more than a year and resumed my teaching to him on September 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 2001. 

Mr. Belechel sells the most cheapest gas in Palau so I always put gas in his gas station where you can see him personally pump gas to your car. Although his gasoline station's site is farther than many other stations, it's worth it if you are just a few meters away. At that time, I'm teaching piano to Jasmine Yano in her house, where his gas station is just across the road.

Although he passed away in July 2013, his gas station still sells the most cheapest gas in Palau.

Some of the songs that I taught Mr. Belechel are Spanish Eyes, Beautiful Sunday, Ngesuas, Odesangel, Green, Green Grass of Home, Let Me Be There, Release Me and many others that I can't recall anymore.  

Sources: Music and Me
             By Roberto Hernandez
             Tia Belau Newspaper
             March 2012 -- April 2013
             April 2013 --September 25, 2015

            Chess and Music (Perfect Combination)
            The Beginning of Chess in Palau
            By Roberto Hernandez
            To be published as a book in the future


(1079) NZ BENNETT IS PICC CHAMPION (TBN-Sept. 08-15, 2006)

Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
             Tia Belau Newspaper
             Page 9
             Volume 13
             September 08-15, 2006

Thursday, September 24, 2015


     Daniel Lapitan, left, won the under 12 years Australian Junior Chess Championship this year and will now represent Australia in the World Youth Chess Championship in Brazil on November 14-24, 2011. At right is Alex Stahnke, another strong candidate to be one of Australia's best junior players.        (Photo by Raymond-Nancy Lapitan)

LETTERS of invitation to join in the 3rd Palau Invitational Chess Championship has been sent by organizer Roberto Hernandez to 7 invited participants -- FIDE Master Christopher Castellano; USA and Philippines Master Almario Marlon Bernardino, Jr.; FIDE Arbiter Dr. Alfredo Paez and his wife; International Arbiter (IA) Erwin Carag; Papua New Guinea's Joselito Marcos, his wife and daughter; Jamie Kenmure of Australia and another one (male or female) from Australia.

Dr. Alfredo Paez was the first one to confirm his participation by email that says: "Dear Mr. Hernandez, Greetings! It is my pleasure to join in the Palau Invitational Chess Championship. I'm now preparing for the event. Pls. include me in the list of participants. Thank you for the invitation. Kind regards, Dr. Paez".

invited and local players were asked to give their comments and suggestions about the 3rd PICC and erstwhile top player of Palau Menandro 'Boy' Manuel suggested the following: 
(1). The entry fee must be a requirement before any player can play his first game. This is an international event and prizes will be very important for the players to aim for. Maybe some amount in the club can be added to the prize. The tournament venue is quite important here. The site should be convenient and should have amenities standard for an event like this.
(2). The tournament will be a single round-robin event with 2 games to be played every playing day. The foreign participants will have no problem with this schedule but Palau-based players will definitely have. Almost all players here work from 7am-5pm and can be available only during weekends and maybe 6pm onward on weekdays. Maybe you adjust the locals playing time accordingly. Also locals should play full time during Sat. and Sunday as these are their day offs. If necessary, 2-3 games can be played in these days.
(3). I suggest Angie be included among the participants since she has confirmed her participation in the Istanbul Olympiad. If we will send a women's team and if she will be there 100%, we should give her all the exposures she needs to improve her game. She can take the place of Mohammad Manik Hossain and he will just be a reserve in case other participants back out.

Joselito Marcos also gives comments regarding these: "Please be advised that Palau players should make "sacrifice" if needed by asking their employers for day offs during the competition. The foreign participants are making lots of sacrifices themselves--do you think it was only a holiday for them (us)? If so, you are completely mistaken. Why not ask the assistance from the OCC for prizes? OCC should extend its hands to PCF even if there are no other Oceania participants except for me and Jamie Kenmure.
The invitational is an international tournament and should not be treated like the way games are scheduled in the Palau National Championships. It should remain as a closed tournament and as such the Palau local participants should be finalized at the soonest. No apologies for being blunt here."

Hernandez wrote an email to the president of Oceania Zonal Chess Confederation (OCC) Brian Jones. He responded with the following: "Dear Roberto and Gary Bekker, OCC is happy to provide support to contribute towards Oceania travel expenses provided that: (1). The host federation is not in arrears with FIDE and OCC. (2). The event is FIDE rated. (3). The The player is a member of an Oceania Federation. (4). Receipts from the Oceania travel expenses incurred are provided. For the Palau tournament, we would be happy to consider making a contribution to the travel expenses of any player from Australia, Guam or PNG. But I am not sure about Marlon Bernardino? Also, what is the $2,000? Maybe you need a proper budget? What is the target to be raised for Istanbul? Good luck! Brian Jones, President, FIDE Zone 3.6 (Oceania).

Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
            Tia Belau Newspaper
            Pages 9-10
            Volume 20
            Issue 47
            November 14, 2011



THE 2nd Palau Invitational Chess Championship, now known as the Ambassador Marino Cup, fired off on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Jean's Boutique and Store with the father and son tandem of Allan Diez and his 18-year-old son Boris as the only invited foreign players to make it.

USA and Philippine Chess Master Almario Marlon Bernardino, National Master and International Arbiter Erwin Carag and James Infiesto didn't make it for some reasons.

Boris has a FIDE rating of 2180 and number 73 in the Philippines' top list while the elder Allan has a national rating of 1964.

The Palau top 6 players, Menandro Manuel (1945), Cyril Montel, Jr. (1870), Gene Pastrana (1870), Jose Omega (1870), Roberto Hernandez (1830) and Manuel Nedic (1830) will try to improve their ratings while unrated Tony Villa and Koror State Legal Counsel Craig Dittrich will try to gain international ranking if they score at least 3 points in 9 games. Morton Sawaichi didn't make it due to schedule conflict.

In the early first round of the event, players who are off on Saturday played as many games as they can with Dittrich playing 4 games. He lost to Manuel in 42 moves of Slav Defence, drew with Pastrana in 45 moves of Queen's Gambit Declined; lost to Allan in 18 moves of another Slav Defence and drew with Montel, Jr. in 50 moves of yet another Slav!

Manuel played 3 games winning all of them. He clobbered Omega in 41 moves of Sicilian Defence (Dragon Variation) and outwitted Villa in 37 moves of King's Gambit Accepted. Villa suffered another setback to the elder Diez in 33 moves of Slav Defence, now gaining popularity in this event.

Boris nipped Montel, Jr. in 45 moves of Modern Defence and out-dueled Hernandez in the resumption of their adjourned game at Philippine Embassy on Monday in 37 moves of Dutch Defence. 

Boris kept his perfect start with a masterful conquest of Omega in 45 moves of another Modern Defence.

After losing his first 2 games, Villa scored 4 straight to automatically gain international ranking. He touted Hernandez in 59 moves of King's Gambit Declined, drubbed Omega in just 14 moves of King's Pawn Opening and subdued Dittrich in 46 moves of Giocco Piano.

Nedic played just 2 games so far, winning all of them over Allan of Queen's Gambit Declined and dealt Dittrich his 4th loss...

BUT.. Dittrich scored the biggest upset of the event, when he defeated the top seed Boris in another Queen's Gambit Declined game!

Hernandez adjourned his game against Allan to attend the Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch) service. In the resumption of their game, Allan lost for the 2nd time in 36 moves of Modern Defence. He bounced back from defeat and scored 2 straight over Omega in 24 moves of Sicilian Defence (Dragon Variation) and dealt Manuel his first loss of the tourney of Queen's Gambit Accepted.

Manuel also got his first draw with Pastrana in their Caro-Kahn Defence encounter, and Pastrana missed the very neat smothered mate in his game against Omega and drew the game instead via 3-move repetition.

Resumption of games will continue on Friday and the duo from Davao will leave Palau on Saturday as they will try to make Palau their 2nd home and be an honorary members of Palau Chess Federation and might have a chance to represent Palau in the next Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany in 2008 if they can afford the high cost of airfare and accommodations.

With the ongoing PICC, the Palau Royal Resort rating chess tournament was put to a one-week break and will resume play on Thursday with Arnold Rivera to play his first ever tournament game. 

Reminder to Paquito Suringa, Jr., Randy Sioson, Zaldy Ranopa, Tony Penas and Zuenie Mirabueno -- to pay their registration fee as it's already 3 paydays (3 months) to pay a mere amount of $5.00. Manny Dulay paid his due on Monday.   

Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
            Tia Belau Newspaper
            Pages 13-14
            Volume 17
            September 14-20, 2007



(1076) MUSIC AND ME (Sept. 03, 2015) MR. KURATA IS BACK! Performed w/ Roberto at The Taj and PMCC

     The multi-talented musician, Mr. Yoshiharu Kurata, right, is the music partner of Roberto Hernandez for almost 2 years. Having performed at Palau Pacific Resort, Palau Royal Resort, Airai View Hotel, Rip Tide, Tototo (Mingles), Rose Garden Resort, Palm Bay Bistro, Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch) Palau Locale, and Kramer's Cafe. Mr. Kurata stayed in Palau for 4 days only but they were able to performed at The Taj on Sat., August 29, 2015 from 8:30-10:00 pm and at the 10th Anniversary of PMCC on the next day, Aug. 30, 2015.                           (Photo by Yoshiharu Kurata)

              MR. KURATA IS BACK!
          Performed with Roberto at
                             The Taj 
       Pentecostal Missionary Church of 
       Christ (4th Watch) Palau Locale's
                  10th Anniversary and

MR. YOSHIHARU Kurata was introduced to me by Mr. Tadaharu Namoto, in late 2012 at Palau Royal Resort. When he talked to me at that time, I thought he wants me to teach him how to play piano. I didn't know that he is a very multi-talented musician that can play saxophone, ocarina, guitar, quena, keyboard and flute. He can sing also Spanish and Venezuelan songs.

Before my music partnership with Mr. Kurata, I featured the Namota family in my Music and Me column.

    From left, Roberto Hernandez, resident musician of Palau Royal Resort, Mr. Tadaharu Namoto, his daughter Chihiro and his wife Chiyoko. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE BOTTLE OF SHOCHU.
                                                         (Photo by Roberto Hernandez)

           OKAMA BIN LADEN

IN EARLY 2005, I and my wife Flor are always assigned at Café Olei at the departure area of Palau International Airport. It is only operating when there are departing flights to Manila, Taipei and Japan.

                One night when there is a chartered flight of Japan Airlines going to Narita airport, there are Japanese sitting at the bar of Café Olei. I’m talking to them in English and they answered me in Japanese. I know a little Nihongo so sometimes I answered them in ‘broken’ Japanese.

                I noticed that one of them is gay or okama in Japanese language. When the conversation was focused on him/her, I suggested or teased him with these words: “Tabon kare no namae wa “Okama Bin Laden” which means maybe we call his name as “Okama Bin Laden”. A loud laughter ensued. They thought that I can really speak Japanese.


                The guy who is sitting next to a middle-aged, skinny woman talk for about a minute all in deep Japanese language that I understand only 3% of it. As he is talking, I’m prepared to say what I would respond –“wakaranai”. It means “I don’t know”.

                When he finished talking, he asked me a question which I don’t understand also so I just replied “wakaranai”. THE MIDDLE-AGED, SKINNY LADY IS VERY FURIOUS WITH MY ANSWER.

                A few hours after they left, I realized why she is “furious” because of the way I said “wakaranai”. The guy is asking me, “If you are sure that Okama Bin Laden is gay, what do you think of this lady beside me?”

                The way I said “wakaranai” is indicating that I’m not sure if she is really a woman! What I want to say is that “I don’t understand what you have said”. There is loud laughter after I said that from all of them but not from that skinny woman, although ‘furious’ but smiling.  GOMEN NASAI. (I’M SORRY).

                At Café Olei also that I was able to ask a young Japanese couple the Romaji title of “Oribia Okikinagara”, a very popular song among middle-aged Japanese.

                One day I’m operating karaoke at Image Restaurant in 2005, a lone, Japanese lady is singing Japanese songs with a few laser discs of Japanese songs that we had at that time. Alternating with her, I also sang some songs like “Itoshino Elly” which she thought I can speak and read Japanese alphabet. Those Japanese songs laser discs are all written in Katakana, Hirakana and Kanji. Because I’ve memorized the Japanese lyrics of “Itoshino Elly”, she thought that when I'm looking at TV, I’m reading the Japanese characters.

                Those laser discs Japanese titles were ‘marked’ by me so that I know where to look for titles written in Japanese. Like when Papa san and Mama san or Mr. and Mrs. Kubota of Sushi Bar Mito when they are singing Japanese songs, I will mark the songs that they are singing with “P” for Papa san and “M” for Mama san.

                When Mama san is singing, I will look at all songs with “M” mark and “P” when Papa san is singing. They also thought that I know how to read Japanese character because when they come back to sing again, I know what to play already. Mama san likes “Kawa No Nagareno Yo Ni’, “Midare Gami” and some songs that I don’t know the Romaji translation, mostly they said “Okinawan songs”.

                In February 11, 12, 13, 14, 2007, I played for 4 nights at Palau Royal Resort during their Valentine’s Special. I’m still working at Dragon Tei at that time. Mama san and Papa san were guests then on Feb. 11, 2007. She knows me by face and as a musician but she can’t remember where I used to work before. She asked a waitress (Josephine Amutan) and she said, “That’s Robert, the former pianist of Image Restaurant.” That’s the time that she remembered me and when she heard me played her 2 favorite Japanese songs, she gave me $20.00 tip.

                Since then, every time they come at PRR on Tuesday evening, they always give me $10.00 tip. Sushi Bar Mito is closed on Tuesday. One time, Mama san noticed that I’m playing with my reading glass on. She said, “You’re wearing eye glass now?” I said, “Yes, I’m old already.” She said, “Me also.” We’re both diabetic with me taking a 5 mg medicine while she is having insulin already.

                Last month on a Saturday evening at Waves Restaurant, Mr. Tadaharu Namoto, a teacher at Maris Stella School, asked me to play the song “Tsuki” or moon. He brought the musical notes of that easy song and I was able to play it right away. He said he will come back on Monday at 9 pm to record my playing so that he can teach the dance steps to his students using my live performance the he will record with his cellphone/camera.

                We recorded it with me using a piano at Waves Restaurant and a keyboard at Breeze Bar. He came with his wife Chiyoko. They gave me a glass of red wine and a whole bottle of shochu. 

Source: Music and Me by Roberto Hernandez
              Tia Belau Newspaper
              Pages 8-9
              Volume 22
              Issue 11
              February 07, 2013


Mr. Kurata is a Senior Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Volunteer in Palau. An architect by profession, he's retired but can participate in Palau marathon and even in Iron Man competition or Triathlon at the age of 63! 

When we started our 'lessons', I have to charge him extra $3.00/hour for gas because he's staying about 15 kilometers from Palau Royal Resort where I'm staying at Dormitory 1.

Our lessons is from 11:30am-12:30pm (his lunch break from Airai State Government's Office) every Monday and Thursday. He's paying me every Thursday $30.00 for 2 hours of 'lessons', which I can say 'jamming' because he already knows how to play those instruments. I'm doing the background or accompanying music with a keyboard or guitar defending on the songs that we are playing.

One of the most important factor in our partnership is his timing which I have to be strict to follow. I would also suggest if the song needs to be sung and if only instrumental. Mostly, the ad libs and intros of the songs were done by me.

Those 2 hours a week of practice are bearing fruits as we have found our rhythm. We will sing "Besame Mucho" with me in intro, 2 of us in singing (me at 2nd voice) and him at the last half of the song.

In the song "Take Me Home, Country Roads", he will play the guitar. In "Let It Be", he will play the keyboard or grand piano at Airai View Hotel and I will be singing it.

In the song "My Way", he'll play the keyboard again and I'll play the guitar. I will sing it in English, he will sing it in Spanish and we will end with me singing it in Japanese! That's how versatile we are!  

I like it very much when we sing our finale song, the Venezuelan song "Moliendo Cafe". The tempo is fast, the chords are challenging. He starts with flute, in the middle of the song, he will shift to guitar and sing it in Venezuelan language. Since I have the lyrics in front of me, I learned to sing it with him in harmony (2nd voice). The song is 6 minutes long and the ending is swift and with emphasis.

We have to divide our songs according to the instruments. If he will be playing the sax, we will follow it up with ocarina as a sort of resting. He's catching his breath sometimes because sax is not easy to play especially the alto or tenor sax.

When I suggest to him before, to make the last part of "Speak Softly Love" (The Godfather's Theme), half step higher, he tried it but when we performed it live at Airai View Hotel, one of his Japanese guy friend criticized some inaccuracy in the part where it is play half step higher. Since then, we never do it again.

When we have some performance coming, he always asked me to come at least 4 times a week as preparation and we will make a list of our songs from stage 1 to stage 3 or 4.
I must admit that I envy his talents in so many musical instruments especially the sax. In my early part of being hooked to music, I wished that I could play the sax.

It becomes a 'reality' when I worked in Bahrain for 2 years and 3 months at Khayam Taverna (Greek Restaurant). The Yamaha keyboard that I am using then had a sax instrument that produces a sound like original sax. Now, my wish has somehow fulfilled because of modern technology.       

Before performing at The Taj on Aug. 29 (8:30pm-10pm), we practice for more than an hour after lunch at Mr. Kurata's room in VIP Hotel, the same hotel where he spent his last 2 weeks before going back to Japan after finishing 2-year volunteer work at JICA. Just like the old days, he still insist on paying me for the lesson/practice.

One hour before the performance of Mr. Kurata at the 10th Anniversary and Thanksgiving of Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch) Palau Locale, I made a music score for the song "Amazing Grace" which is appropriate for the occasion. Because Mr. Kurata doesn't have the music score for it, we are planning to play "Love Me Tender" instead. During the choir practice on the eve of the occasion, I made that music score. The same sequence of performance like we did 2 years ago --he will play the flute (in key of C) in the first part of the song, I will do the instrumental of Amazing Grace while he is setting up the saxophone for the 3rd and 4th part of the song. We will transpose to key of Eb when he is playing the sax.
                                                         (Photo by Roberto Hernandez -- Taken by Darwin Cal)

Bro. Rolly Adducul played with his electric guitar midway in the first stanza of Amazing Grace, knowing that there are only 3 chords in that song. He didn't know that we will transpose it to Eb when Mr. Kurata will use the sax. Bro. Rolly struggles with the chords in Eb so I made a gesture for him to stop playing so that the song/performance will not be ruined by his inaccurate chords. Four days later, I apologize to Bro. Rolly about that while I'm dropping him off to his staff house after we both attended the Morning Devotion on Sept. 03, 2015 from 4:30am-6:00am.            (Photo by Roberto Hernandez -- Taken by Darwin Cal)

Sources: Music and Me
              By Roberto Hernandez
              Tia Belau Newspaper
              March 15, 2012 -- April 2013
              April 2013 -- September 2015

              Chess and Music (Perfect Combination)
              The Beginning of Chess in Palau
              By Roberto Hernandez
              To be published as a book in the future