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List of Articles by Winchell Campos



World Chess Brotherhood Wakes, Eats, Thinks at Same Time

By Winchell Campos
PhilBoxing.com
04 Sep 2012



LOS ANGELES--I can only imagine the sound of a thousand chess clocks all getting pounded at the same time to signal the start of the seventh round of the 40th Chess Olympiad. It is balmy at three o'clock on Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey while it is now getting chilly at five AM, Sept. 5, in Los Angeles.

As I try to start my Tuesday right, I could see that many of my friends in Manila are anticipating a brewing war in Europe. It is already 8 PM, also of the same Tuesday, in the Philippines.

Welcome to the 21st century, where information like these can be accessed from search engines and dedicated websites. Today, we all converge in historic Istanbul where the Philippines is about to face traditional powerhouse Hungary. We used to cover these events back in the day, live and in full color. Today, we can sit back, sip a coffee and still watch the games unfold right in front of our eyes. Yes, in real time.

Filipino wonder boy Wesley So is solid at top board. He faces another former wunderkind, Peter Leko, turning 33 this week. Both became grandmasters at 14 years old and have consistently led their respective countries in top tier competition elsewhere in the world. Other match-ups include steely-nerved Oliver Barbosa facing Zoltan Almasi, easily 159 Elo points behind in the ratings list but never unbowed or unperturbed. Ageless warrior Eugene Torre, now on his record-setting 21st Olympiad appearance, tackles Ferenc Berkes, who is also 216 Elo points ahead of Asia's first GM. Mark Paragua, resurrected and back in his former super-GM form but still with a lowly 2508 rating, locks horns with Csaba Balogh, 2668.

The Filipinos are experiencing a renaissance of sorts, having found the right combination of youth and talent mixed with respect and cooperation.

Torre is the father and spiritual figure, grandfather if you may. Barbosa and Paragua are roommates and they help each other out in opening preparations. They sometimes consult with So in terms of staying solid and united, while they watch each other's games, supporting each other as a team.

"We're all good friends except for Sir Eugene, who's a father figure to us. This team is for real. Everyone is ready to fight. We are also humbled by the support being shown by our fellow chess enthusiasts. It gives us more motivation to play our best and give honor to our country," said Oliver Dimakiling, who is taking a breather after winning three straight and losing one.

"We respect their decision kung sino man po palaruin, maganda rin po sa team namin iyong gustong maglaro at ayaw talaga magpahinga kaya ganado rin po kami dito," said Barbosa, the hero in the Philippines' lone and decisive Hail Mary of a win against Bulgaria in the sixth round.

For Paragua, who used to man Board One for the Philippines, it is a joy for him to compete. "Okay po ang chemistry namin at walang problema kung black or white ang lalaruin namin."

This Facebook generation of communication has bridged time zones into one focal unit. Fellow journalist Iggy Dee would be burning the midnight oil into the wee hours of Wednesday morning again today while we kibitz, intelligently analyze and agree on certain points and positions. Our friends from the eastern seaboard of America and Canada would by then be having their lunches when today's round will be ending.

It is a happy reunion of sorts for old friends as we meet in chess websites, teeming with "noisy" patzers who pound away on their keyboards as they try to compare notes culled from analyses gotten from Houdini, Hydra or other chess engines. These engines liven up chess-viewing pleasures by giving the unwashed a clearer understanding of the game.

Years back, before the advent of the internet, it was the typewriter, telex, fax machine and even phone dictations, just to beat deadlines. Today, we watch, analyze and see the moves instantly, with probably a few seconds of delay. We laughed and cheered inside the confines of our rooms simultaneously when Barbosa made that great escape against Kiril Georgiev under time pressure and in an inferior position. We raised our glasses together to celebrate that first ever victory over the Bulgarians while we continue to keep the faith in the Filipino.

Despite our debacles in the London Olympics of strength, speed and power, we have started to reiterate that the Filipino mind is as young, robust and healthy as anyone in the world. As we move halfway into the Chess Olympiad, we continue to pray and hope for victory for the global Filipino, wherever he may be.





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