Wednesday, December 7, 2016


               Palau Chess Team members were welcomed by Azerbaijani lady volunteers at the airport upon their arrival on Sept. 01, 2016. From left are Sitara, Roberto Hernandez, Allan Alcid, Sabrina, Joselito Marcos, Eric Ksau Surangel Whipps and Dennis Gonzales. The bulky tummies of Palau participants are even more noticeable after the 2-week Olympiad.         (Photo by Jeff Balbalosa)


WITH the way things are going now at the 2016 Palau National Chess Championship’s Top 10 Division, my teammate in 2016 World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan Allan Alcid is showing how that experience in Baku made him a better player. As he said in his conversation with Palau Head of Delegation and Team Captain Joselito Marcos, his broad and extensive experience that he learned includes patience and as what Lito said the so-so moves that he’s not doing anymore in this event, esp. the discipline. Allan will try to bag the 2016 PNCC title to qualify to 2018 Batumi, Georgia WCO.
                Lito added, “Go for it, Allan. Don’t waste the opportunity. Your every move must have a purpose according to plan. Now, if your present plan is not going to work, by all means change it. Adapt to the new situation. If before you are attacking and it’s not working, defend if you must. A draw is better than a loss.” The last sentence, A DRAW IS BETTER THAN A LOSS, was not applied by me in the 3rd and 6th round of Palau vs. Hong Kong/Congo matches where I should have drawn my matches with a CM player and a Congo player that gained a FIDE Master title (FM). I took the risk of gaining whole point instead of settling down with half point and could have averted the eventual shut out of Palau against Hong Kong.
                Aside from “Experience is the Best Teacher”, it is also best to listen to the teacher/coach, in which Lito is the best that Palau ever had. During his short tenure as Team Captain, he knows the position of all 4 Palau players right from move 1, until their weak moves, unnecessary double move by a piece, missing the winning combination, exchange sacrifice, waiting moves and all other tactical scope of our games. I discovered Lito’s vast experiences since 1978 as player, coach, theoretician and puzzle composer when he gave me his soon to be released book “Memoirs of a Chess Amateur-- My Memorable Games and Compositions” during the Baku Olympiad (Sept. 01-14, 2016).
                He’s got a retentive memory that is second only to former world chess champion Bobby Fischer. He remembers a game by Stuart Fancy vs. Dawit Wondimu from the 7th round of 2002 World Chess Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia on Nov. 01, 2002. He told Stuart, “You will lose after the exchange of queens!” Stuart said, “I don’t believe you.” But that’s what happened because he didn’t see the passed pawn of Dawit that force him to give back the exchange. Lito’s calculation is above Stuart’s capability. He remembers games of other players better than those players.
                He also remembers my game against Qatar GM Mohamad Al-Modiahki in the 1st round of 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey in which the pawn breakthrough of my GM opponent cramped my position. And he’s doing it at home—online! Because of sickness, he didn’t make it to Turkey to play for Papua New Guinea team. ONLY ME AND LITO KNEW THAT BERNARD GARCIA IS BEING COACH ONLINE BY LITO DURING THAT OLYMPIAD, WHERE GARCIA GAINED A CM TITLE, PALAU’S FIRST.
                During the 2012 PNCC, Bernard asked again for Lito’s help to coach him online but Lito refused because it would be unfair to other participants especially to me. ALSO NOBODY KNOWS IT BUT US.
                When we are watching the 8th round of Baku Olympiad between USA and Russia, he whispered to me while looking at the giant chess boards, “Wesley So’s (Black) opponent will resign after he moved 50. …b4.” I go to that table where So (2782 FIDE rating, No. 7 in the world) is playing Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi (White) (2740-currently 2767 No. 12 in the world) and he is congratulating Wesley after he made the 50. …b4! I went back to him and said, “You’re right! Ian resigned after Wesley’s 50. ..b4. Look at the giant board. It’s 0-1. LITO SEES WHAT TOP GMs IN THE WORLD CAN SEE!
                Who said that “cheating” does not happen in the Olympiad’s lowest board assignments? During our middle round encounter with an African nation, its team captain is ‘coaching’ one of his players but he is positioning 2 tables apart. Lito, who’s seeing everything around him, ‘covered’ the cheater’s view by standing where the player can’t see the captain’s gestures. NOBODY KNOWS THIS BUT US.
                In one of Allan Alcid’s game against another African nation, Lito whispered to me that if Allan will move his pawn to b4, he will win that game. I and Allan’s idea is Bishop to d3 and Allan’s opponent escaped with a draw. In the hotel, we analyzed it and proved that b4 is the winning move.
                This is only a small part of high school valedictorian Joselito Marcos’ chess experiences with the thought of “EVEN THE BEST COACH WILL NOT SUCCEED IF HIS PLAYERS ARE NOT LISTENING TO HIM”.

                Results of special games played before the start of 1st round on Nov. 13:
Nov. 9 at PRR, Alcid defeated Rustum Cabuso in 36 moves of French Defence (Advance Variation); Manuel Mahor, Jr., vs. Paquito Suringa, Jr. (Draw in 48 moves of Albin Counter Gambit) and Jeff Balbalosa prevailed vs. Gonzalo Escapatoria, Jr. in 51 moves.

                Solution to last week’s puzzle No. 7 by CM Joselito Marcos: (It is mate in 2 moves, not 3) Published in Philippine Star- Jan. 29, 1994: 1. Nc6 – 1. …exd5 2. Bf5# 1. …Kxd5 2. Qxf3# 1. … c4 2. Rd4#

                This week’s puzzle No. 8: White to move and mates in 3 (Solution next issue)

Sources: Chess Mate by Roberto Hernandez
              Tia Belau Newspaper
              Pages 9 & 11
              Volume 25
              Issue 91
              November 14, 2016

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

             Memoirs of a Chess Amateur --
             My Most Memorable Games and Compositions
             By CM Joselito Marcos
             Page 429

             Music and Me by Roberto Hernandez
             Tia Belau Newspaper
             March 15, 2012 -- April 18, 2013
             April 25, 2013 --November 14, 2016

             The History of Chess in Palau
             By Roberto Hernandez

             June 09, 2002 -- November 14, 2016


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