Capiz chess greats: Every move creates a challenge

By Edward Basilonia

As I sit and stare at my laptop, I thought of the many things I would like to write about Capiz sports.

I thought of resting every weekend at my golden age. But I love this passion to inform, educate and entertain most of our sports enthusiasts in the province of Capiz.

Funny one gets caught up in the rush of everyday routine. One’s sense of time, day, date and yes, sometimes sense of age fails.

I was a 6 year-old kid before in my birthplace, the town of President Roxas, Capiz, which I first learned how to push chess pieces and analyze chess puzzle and games of two Filipino chess grandmasters Eugene Torre (1974) and Rosendo Balinas (1976) published at the sports magazine and then Philippine Daily Express newspaper.

But that was the thing of the past just like the story of Capiz chess greats whose name became a byword in the annals of sports in the province of Capiz.

In 1974, Federick Tumanon of Bgry. Tiza, Roxas City clinched the Philippine National Junior Champion. Tumanon, studied his elementary at Plaridel Elem. School and completed his secondary at then Capiz High School before he was tap to play as varsity player of Manuel Luis Quezon University (MLQU) in Metro Manila. He also played against foreign players from China, Vietnam, Singapore and Russia.

For more than two decades, nobody expected that Capiz would produce its first National Master (NM) in the person of Francis Jocson of Brgy. Tiza, Roxas City, after he made sterling performance by disposing 5 marquee national masters in the 1999 Philippine Inter-Cities and Province Chess Championships in Cagayan de Oro City. It marked the rebirth of hope for Capiceño chess enthusiasts.

The following year, Team Capiz placed 11th in the Philippine Inter-Cities and Provinces Team Championship held in Bacolod City.

In 2000, eight-year-old Capiz chess wonder Argie Nobleza salvaged a silver medal in the National Batang Pinoy Finals held in Metro Manila.

In 2002, Certified Public Accountant Catalino “Baby” Pestaño of Arnaldo Boulevard, Brgy. Baybay, Roxas City became the province’s second National Master after he earned a master title points during the 2002 Philippine Chess Grand Prix.

In 2007, Mary Joy Bernada of Filamer Christian College and Pegah Cam of Marcos Fuentes Integrated School in Dinginan, Roxas City made a remarkable performance as both of them landed 6th and 10th place, respectively in the 2nd Philippine Olympic Chess Festival held in Metro Manila.

Team Capiz placed 8th in the 2010 Philippine Inter-Cities and Province Chess Championships held in Kalibo, Aklan composed of homegrown Capisnon woodpushers led by NM Francis Jocson of Roxas City, Francisco Lamayo Jr. of Mambusao town, Aivan Delgado of the municipality of Sapian, Engr. Anthony Arcangeles and Felixberto Baguyo Jr., both of Roxas City, alongside with Kenneth Dominador Calvez (Coach) and Pericles Chua (Team Manager). This feat is the highest finished of the province of Capiz in the history of the national chess team tournament.

More aspiring young woodpushers dream of becoming another chess wizard. But NM Jocson continuous his sterling performance as he topped the 7th DWP Mixed Masters Invitational Rapid Chess Tournament in 2012 held in Iloilo City.

In 2020, Capiz National Master Francis Jocson ruled via tiebreak the PGCCR (Panay-Guimaras Cyber Chess Realm) online blitz tournament and pocketed the championship trophy.

Recently, Roxas City and Capiz province chess rising star Chester Acuyong slowly made his name in the national chess tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) after he placed first runner-up for the standard category and snatch the championship trophy for the blitz tournament of the 2nd Mayor Seth Frederick ‘Bullet’ Jalosjos Under-15 National Youth and Schools Chess Championships in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, June 3-9, 2023.

The towering achievements of our great thinkers in Roxas City and province of Capiz will surely be included in the annals of Capiz sports.