Tuesday, June 28, 2016

(1231) Roberto's Decision on Garcia vs. Celiz Game in the 2012 PNCC

     CM Bernardo Garcia, left, Palau's first titled player, had his title being a disrepute to the game of chess in his game against Jose Celiz during the 2012 Palau National Chess Championship. With the increment not working, Garcia tried to win on time alone with his position hopeless. He didn't accept the decision of Chief Arbiter Roberto Hernandez till the end until his withdrawal in the last few rounds.
                                                    (Photo by Roberto Hernandez)

              GARCIA VS. CELIZ
              IN THE 2012 PNCC 

Roberto Hernandez <robert_flor31154@yahoo.com>
11/19/12 at 2:08 AM


Hi Bernard and Jose,

Thank you for the trust you have in me in deciding the result of your exciting game last Saturday.  It is a big responsibility and I am now replying with utmost objectivity.

First, Menandro's game with Tito was already decided without dispute and there are no witnesses, hence that is moot. The result STANDS. Besides it is possible to lose on time even with time increments.

In your game, Bernard was clearly playing to win on time alone since the clock was 'defective' in a sense which all of us who witnessed acknowledged that the increment was not working. That was not fair especially to the party who is in time trouble because the purpose of the increment is to make provisions for such situation. 

A player cannot win on time ALONE if it is not possible to win by NORMAL means. If the game has taken its normal course there is no way for Bernard to win the game. However, he or players in his situation may claim what is the use of the clock if he cannot win on time? This may look complicated but let me give you several relevant situations from my experience either as a player or an arbiter.

In one national tournament in Ninoy Aquino Stadium, I have won a king-and-pawns endgame on time with my opponent queening ahead of me. I was about to promote my pawn to a queen after he got his when I noticed his flag fell. I claimed a win on time and was successful. This game was played WITHOUT any increment, and it was possible for me to win by normal means after promoting my pawn to a queen to reach a queen-and-pawns endgame.

In a rapid tournament game I played in Bulacan, my rival has a rook and pawn against my lone rook and I was very short of time. I managed to encircle his pawn and we ended up with a rook apiece with me down to 5 seconds WITHOUT increment. I stopped the clock and called the arbiter to claim a draw. "On what ground?," the arbiter asked. "The game cannot be won by normal means!", I responded. The arbiter declared, accepted and said "a player cannot win on time alone!" (that applies to all time control including rapid with the exception of blitz games). If the claim is not accepted (in this situation there is no reason the arbiter should not), the arbiter shall add 2 minutes to my opponent and the game shall continue.

Bernard could rightfully and legally claim a win on time had the INCREMENT been working. Because it was not, a decision on the game has to be made and the appropriate result is a DRAW. I repeat, it is only a draw because the increment was not working as proved by witnesses. Otherwise, Jose should lose on time. NO REPLAY IS NECESSARY.

It is a good experience for all of us. I must emphasize to all that in future a player who is short of time (assuming clock is functioning and set correctly) may wish to claim a draw TO THE ARBITER, and BEFORE HIS TIME EXPIRES. The arbiter decides whether or not the game can be won by normal means, not just on time, by the other player. I may deny the 'wrong' claim and add 2 minutes to the opponent (say, in cases there are plenty of possibilities and that the opponent can still win by normal means; bishop of opposite colors are not necessarily drawn, bear that in mind).

Caution: I should not ADJUDICATE the position. If analyses would be resorted to that is only an indication that it was possible to win the game by normal means. 

For sportsmanship sake, Bernard should have not claimed a win on time in a game he cannot win by normal means. He should not raise a howl when I make the decision to declare the game drawn. I want to advise everybody that he could be declared the winner on time had there was no anomaly on the clock. But being a CANDIDATE MASTER the player must act in such a way that it will not bring disrepute to the game of chess, and especially to his title.

However, I understand that not everyone knows, much less understand, the Laws of Chess, that is why Bernard acted the way he did. While it may not be unsporting, still his action was legal. Unfortunately, the claim for a win cannot be granted because of the 'faulty' setting in the clock. If not for 'faulty' clock setting (increment not working), Bernard's claim to win on time may appear unsporting but was legal.

I trust that this would help everybody clarify the situation. I'm handling it in the most diplomatic way--but if that will not fly, then by all means I will ASSERT my authority as the arbiter (and I have NOW the conviction that I am doing the right thing) and that my decision, which is made to the best of my judgment and according to the Laws of Chess, is final and not subject to appeal.

Let's keep the peace and value human relationship more than game results.

Best regards,


Tito Cabunagan Hello Robert, That was an excellent decision for the declaring the game as DRAW. Thanks, Tito From: Roberto Hernandez [mailto:robert_flor31154@yahoo.com] Sent: Monday, November 19, 2012 3:08 AM To: Bernard Garcia Cc: jose@ppuc.com Subject: My decision
11/19/12 at 6:25 AM 

Sources: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
              Tia Belau Newspaper
              December 29, 2002 -- December 2012

              The History of Chess in Palau
              By Roberto Hernandez
              June 09, 2002 -- November 19, 2012


This controversial game between Jose Celiz, left and CM Bernardo Garcia has been the subject of positive disputes that only strengthen the players' knowledge about the FIDE Laws of Chess. A lot of learning experiences, that will be applied to the next tournaments next year.
                                                                                      (Photo by Roberto Hernandez)


IT WILL go down in history as the most controversial Palau National Chess Championship—the 2012. The final day was held on Dec. 16 at Palau Royal Resort’s Conference Room. Its target date of conclusion was in Dec. 02, but due to Typhoon Bopha, it has finally concluded on Dec. 16… NOT QUITE!

                Candidate Master Bernardo Garcia, Palau’s first titled player, emailed Palau’s Rating Officer and Team Captain of 2010 and 2012 World Chess Olympiads Jamie Kenmure about the result of his game against Jose Celiz on Nov. 17 that sparked a lot of controversies.

                During the last dying seconds of that game, Celiz lost by time forfeit but complained about the increment that didn’t work. Menandro Manuel, Roberto Hernandez, Paquito Suringa, Jr., Baby Edna Mission and Jon Manuel Reyes were watching the game and confirmed that the 30 seconds increment of the clock is really not working.

                After a few days of researches of FIDE Laws of Chess, Hernandez, who is also the chief arbiter of the event, declared that game a draw. The tournament goes smoothly with some additions and replacements like—Freddie Gloria replaced Ma. Florida Hernandez; Nilo de Jesus became active again after 7 years of being inactive and off island. He replaced lawyer Scott Hess, who couldn’t play 14 games in 6 weeks.

                Manuel ‘Jun’ Mahor’s confirmation to participate makes the Class B (1650 rating and below) increased its field to 18 players. More players would like to join so Hernandez convinced Ferdinand Gutierrez to join even though he’s leaving Palau for good in just a few weeks.

                This action opens the room for Geoff Martin, Mary Frances Lopez and Baby Edna Mission to complete the 21-player Class B division. Mission replaced Lenge Gibbons and when Gloria withdrew, Miguel Hilario, Jr. is lucky enough to fill the slot in the last 4 weeks of the event.

                The tournament is to be finished in 8 weeks. Celiz played only 4 games in 6 weeks and played 6 games on the 7th week, which is very unfair to players who come every weekend, like Cyril Tomas Montel, Jr., the top seed. When Garcia suffered setbacks after setbacks, his quest for his first national title is on the line and he somehow came up with a proposal to thwart his suspicion of game fixing especially to players of the same company.

                Tito Cabunagan and Celiz both work at PPUC and live at the same place. And they are both in contention for a slot in the top 4 position. Garcia proposed to have a playoff among the top 4 finishers like a semifinal with the top 2 advancing to the finals.

                Garcia’s insistence of having a playoff became more intense when he found a law in FIDE Laws of Chess that players of the same company/federation should play in the first 3 rounds and not in the last 3 rounds.

                When Tito and Jose played their 2 games, the result was a win and a draw for Tito, which Bernard accused as ‘fixed’ as there are no witness when they played it. When Tito and Jose replayed their games on Dec. 02 during the lashing of Typhoon Bopha, the result is the same with Hernandez and Montel, Jr. as witnesses.

                Garcia emailed everybody that he is taking a break from chess for the rest of the year and that he is giving his slot to the next player in case there is a playoff. His un-played game against Gonzalo Escapatoria will be recorded as (+) to Escapatoria and (–) to him. This is being done to all FIDE-rated events.

                Nine players have a meeting after the Pacquiao-Marquez 4 boxing bout on Dec. 09 to tackle the issues of game fixing, playoff and finishing the event as the original format. After 2 hours of meeting, it was decided that the tourney will proceed as its original format. No playoff and last games will be played on Dec. 15 and 16. Absent players will lose by default to present players in the Class B while the un-played games in Class A with be recorded as (+) to the present player and (-) to the absent player.

                The last crucial 4 games of Class A are: Montel vs. Escapatoria (2 games); Suringa vs. Montel; and Celiz vs. Suringa. Montel arrived first on Sat. Dec. 15 but Suringa is very busy cooking the food for PRR Christmas party to be held at Sea Passion Hotel. Montel is also attending the PPR Christmas party at Ngarchmayong.

                On Dec. 16, Montel and Escapatoria drew their 1st game and Montel won the 2nd game. His next game vs. Suringa didn’t happen as well as Celiz vs. Suringa. In the Class B division, only few games were played and the present players all won by default that resulted in the 8th place finish of 8-year-old Destiny Sisior.

                Final standings of Class B: 1. Dennis Gonzales (Champion) 2. Jeff Balbalosa  3. Angie Parrado 4. Miguel Hilario, Jr. 5. Baby Edna Mission 6. Nilo de Jesus 7. Jon Manuel Reyes 8. Destiny Sisior 9. Luciano Sibayan 10. Jaime dela Cruz 11. Mohammad Manik Hossain 12. Ferdinand Gutierrez 13. Angelil Sisior 14. Ksau Anthony Whipps 15. Dan Roldan 16. Zachary Techall Whipps 17. Geoff Martin 18. Elpidio Manaligod 19. Mary Frances Lopez 20. Manuel Mahor, Jr. 21. Paz Ngiratechekii.

                Cabunagan was the champion of Class A and after computing the placing of Hernandez (8 points), Celiz (8 pts.), Montel, Jr. (7.5) and Garcia (7.5), the same order was the result. Hernandez won over Celiz by using the Sonnenborn Berger system and Montel over Garcia in direct encounter or winner over the other tiebreak.

                Cabunagan and Celiz disputed the (+) and (-) computation but when Hernandez explained to them that they experienced this computation during the 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, they are going to abide by this FIDE rule. AND THAT ENDS THE 2012 PNCC… NOT QUITE!

                In his email to Kenmure, Garcia specified that Celiz clock fell down and he didn’t lodge a protest before his time expires. This is a legitimate claim by Garcia according to FIDE rules. It happened also to former world champion Gary Kasparov in his game against Hungarian whiz Judith Polgar in Linares, Spain in 1994.

                But there is a technical problem in the increment that’s why Celiz lost on time. If the increment is working, there’s no way that Garcia will win with Celiz ahead by 2 connected pawns. And besides, Garcia found out about that ruling 3 weeks after the incident which was already been declared a draw by the arbiter.

                That half point is crucial for Garcia to improve his rating as he would be 1st runner-up instead of 5th place. That will make Hernandez 3rd, Montel at 4th and Celiz at 5th.


       Requesting all players who haven't paid their registration fees yet--please pay as soon as possible so that the arrears of Palau Chess Federation will be paid before Dec. 31, 2012 the sum of 387 euros. 1. Jose Celiz ($20.00), 2. Mohammad Manik Hossain ($20), 3. Paquito Suringa, Jr. ($10), 4. Jon Manuel Reyes ($10), 5. Luciano Sibayan ($10), 6. Jaime dela Cruz ($10), 7. Elpidio Manaligod ($10), 8. Mary Frances Lopez ($10), 9. Paz Ngiratechekii ($10), 10. Adele Anzawa ($20), 11. Cyril Tomas Montel, Jr. ($10) and Gene Pastrana ($297.00).
      I'll take your advise for a special 10th year anniversary issue of Chess Mate on December 31. I'll be giving 3 prizes of $10.00 for each person who will solve the puzzle of the 10th anniversary issue of Chess Mate. The first issue was on Dec. 29, 2002.

Source: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
             Tia Belau Newspaper
             Pages 8-9
             Volume 21
             Issue 93
            December 24, 2012

     It's just one game (Garcia vs. Celiz) but the impact to the top 5 finishers is immense. But it makes Palau Chess Federation players to learn more from these experiences.   (Photo by Roberto Hernandez)


I would like to express my opinion about the cause of 2012 Palau National Chess Championship controversy…

It all started on Nov. 17, 2012 between the game of CM Bernardo Garcia and Jose Celiz. Five players are witnesses to the game – me, Menandro Manuel, Paquito Suringa, Jr., Jon Manuel Reyes and Baby Edna Mission.

                During the last dying seconds of that game, I’ve already noticed that the increment is not working BUT… I’m not allowed, being the chief arbiter, to remind Celiz.

                On the last 5 seconds on his clock, when Celiz press his clock, it’s been confirmed that the increment is really not working… and Celiz clock expired.

                The first thing that I said to Celiz is, “You lost by time forfeit.” By rule, arbiter’s decision is final. Then Celiz complain about the increment that didn’t work, in which I tried to give justice to it.

                Garcia and Celiz agreed to play another game and I said to Garcia, “Let’s see if there’s time.” I said that because I don’t think that playing another game to settle this is not possible because of the rate Celiz is playing. He played only 4 games in 6 weeks and it looks like impossible for him to play 11 games, including the replay, in the last 2 weeks. Me, Menandro and Paquito have played 11 games already. Garcia, Tito Cabunagan, Cyril Montel, Jr. and Gonzalo Escapatoria have played 9, 8, 7, 6 games respectively.

                After searching the FIDE Laws of Chess, which is displayed/posted always at the bulletin board, I found a solution to declare that game a draw which Garcia couldn’t accept till now because Celiz COMPLAINED AFTER HIS CLOCK FELL.

                If Celiz stopped the clock when he noticed that the increment is not working, I would have done something right away like adjusting the clock so that it will have increment.


                It happened in 1994 between world champion Gary Kasparov and Judit Polgar in Linares, Spain. Polgar lost that game when she failed to protest a touch move violation by Kasparov.

                Please read the story at http://palau-chess.blogspot.com  “Did Kasparov Cheat Polgar in ’94?”

                THIS IS AN ADVICE TO ALL –(IN THE FUTURE) –We don’t have yet an Appeals Committee which can overturn the arbiter’s decision on point of fact or exercise of discretion, but not on point of law.

 Included in the agenda of our Annual General Meeting on Feb. 10, 2013 is the creation of Appeals Committee to be composed of Palau’s 3 National Arbiters –Roberto Hernandez, CM Bernardo Garcia and Dennis Gonzales.

 It’s late to protest after the game. Stop the clock and protest right away. WE WILL APPLY THIS RULE TO ALL THE PROCEEDING TOURNAMENTS.

                Garcia said that if that half point will have a big impact to the result of the standings, he will continue to protest about it. Things become more complicated when Celiz played 6 games on the 7th week, which is another violation of a FIDE rule – a maximum of 2 games a day is allowed if the time control is standard time.

                Celiz played 3 games on Saturday, Nov. 24 and 3 games on Nov. 25 including his 2nd game against Cyril that lasted until 11:00 pm!

                On the next tournaments, we will specify a minimum number of games played each week or each couple of weeks to assure that a player will not have much game remaining to play.

                Another violation was committed when Celiz played against his co-employee Cabunagan twice NOT in the official venue but in their room with no witnesses. We are lucky to have a very good playing area and we should take advantage of this. Besides, Celiz and Cabunagan are off on Saturday and Sunday AND THE TOURNAMENT SITE IS JUST 300 METERS AWAY FROM THEIR PLACE.

                There is another rule in FIDE that participants of the same federation must NOT play against each other on the last 3 rounds. It is said “federation and not company”, which is not applied in this case. Since our next tournaments are local events, we will apply this rule that players of the same company must play in the first 3 rounds and not in the last 3 rounds.

                Cabunagan also played one game against Suringa in his room and without witnesses also. It was allowed by the arbiter because Cabunagan is going off island for 15 days. But when his trip was cancelled because of Typhoon Bopha, they should replay that game in the official venue.

                The only thing going against the games between Celiz and Cabunagan is the venue. Now that it became an issue, we must include in our local rule the consequence in playing games in non-sanctioned venue.

                It is proper not to accept the results of their games and have them played anew at the official venue. They replayed their 2 games NOT in the official venue but in the presence of Cyril and Roberto. BUT… because Typhoon Bopha is starting to lash Palau at about 6:00 pm that Sunday, Dec. 02, 2012, Cyril and Roberto left the place with their 1st game still in the middle game.

                During that time, all other games are completed and it was possible to affect the final standings with their replayed games.


                Those actions/violations of Celiz trigger the suspicion of Garcia of game fixing. That’s why he suggested having a playoff so that those players who played more games and got some good results after 7 weeks will play in the playoffs on Saturday (semifinal) and finals on Sunday.

                Celiz, being able to play only 10 games will be booted out in favor of Cyril, who played 11 games and always at the tournament site every weekend.

                Where is Celiz during the opening day and the next 10 playing days that he played only 4 games in 6 weeks? And now he wants to play as many games as he can in the last 2 weeks of the event?

                Everybody is adjusting TO HIM instead of HIM adjusting to everybody.

                With chance now for at least a top 4 finish, he is present on the last day hoping to win by default if his last round opponent will not show up.

                This is what GM Eugene Torre is saying – that the absent player loses by default and their game will not be rated.  WHAT ABOUT IF BOTH PLAYERS ARE PRESENT?

                Suringa’s work is finished at 2:00 pm on Sunday, Dec. 16 and he waited for Celiz for 1 hour for their 2nd game. He played 2 practice games with some present players (Class B) while waiting also for the last 2 official games of Cyril and Escapatoria. He still has one game left vs. Cyril.

                Their game on Sat. Nov. 15 was called off because Suringa is very busy cooking food for PRR Christmas party that night. Cyril is also going to their Christmas party.

                When Celiz come, it’s now time for Suringa to go to a place where he has the key to open it. Now it’s Celiz’ turn to wait.


                It’s just right to put + - or  - /- to Celiz’ game vs. Suringa because it’s not default… it is un-played game. GAMES NOT ACTUALLY PLAYED SHOULD NOT BE RATED AND APPROPRIATELY RECORDED AS +/- or -/- (double forfeit).  I’M VERY SURE OF THIS.

They were not able to play it because Suringa and Cyril have waited for him in the 12 playing days of the event. Maybe it’s better to have + - in favor of Suringa.

                In the 2011 Rapid Chess tournament at PRR, Celiz agreed to play vs. Mohammad Manik Hossain at 11:00 am Sunday. Manik arrived at 11:30. He has to go back to Airai, which is 10 kilometers away, for work at 3:00 pm.

                Celiz and Cabunagan arrived at 1:30 pm when Manik is about to leave for work. I declared that game a default loss to Celiz. They agreed to play their 2nd game on next Sunday at 11:00 am again.

                Celiz and Cabunagan came at 1:30 pm again!

                They are staying at a place that is 300 meters from PRR while Manik is 10 kilometers away and had to spent money for gas in going to the tournament site. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, CELIZ?

                I declared that 2nd game another default loss to Celiz.

                Manik is humble enough to offer a replay of their 2 games if Celiz will pay $10.00 for the gas that he spent in going to PRR twice.

                Being a stingy person as he is, (in my opinion), Celiz refused the offer. He hasn’t paid yet his $10.00 registration fee in the 2011 Palau National Chess Championship, the $20.00 registration fee for 2011 Rapid Chess tournament and the recently concluded 2012 Palau National Chess Championship of another $10.00.

                During the meeting on Dec. 9, 2012, he promised to pay for 2011 and 2012 PNCC but until now, it’s still a promise.

                Anyway, the cross-table was submitted already by Jamie Kenmure with the final standings: 1. Tito Cabunagan 2. Roberto Hernandez 3. Jose Celiz 4. Cyril Tomas Montel, Jr. 5. CM Bernardo Garcia 6. Menandro Manuel 7. Paquito Suringa, Jr. 8. Gonzalo Escapatoria.

                Garcia is still unsatisfied with the final standings. That half point really affected this event. In his opinion, if Tito and the rest had played a playoff and Tito still emerges as champion, then he really deserves it. With many irregularities that clouded this PNCC, the final standing is still in doubt.

                There is a good point to Garcia’s suggestion of a playoff. We agreed in the meeting on Dec. 9 that we will proceed and finish the tournament according to its original format, but Garcia’s line of “Why you will continue to cross the wrong path when you are warned that it’s the wrong way?”


                But Bernard’s suggestion of a playoff is not proper regardless of the situation. YOU DON’T CHANGE HORSES AT MIDDLE OF STREAM! If that is to be effected, then we need to cancel all results and start all over again. Had that taken place, even Menandro who had 7 losses would have a chance of winning the championship – and, I believe, if given that new lease of life, he will try with all his might to be the victor.

                With only 8 players in Class A, there’s no logic of trimming it down to half and then have a semi-final and final match. If that is so, we better just draw numbers and start with quarterfinal matches. A double round-robin is already a credible format.


                I hope these incidents will make Palau chess players better and stronger to the next challenges ahead. I also hope that this will also lead us to a closer camaraderie and to enjoy the game of chess the right way!




Best regards,


Source: History of Chess In Palau
              2012 Palau National Chess Championship
              October 13- December 16, 2012
              Conference Room
              Palau Royal Resort
             Koror City, Republic of Palau 96940

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