Saturday, November 07, 2009


Loyola survives upset scare to rule Al Ain Mineral Water Active Chess

Winners and tournament officials of Friday's Al Ain
Mineral Water Active Chess Tournament at Reef Mall.

Rolenson Loyola escaped with a miraculous draw in the fifth round and then cruised through the final two rounds with back-to-back wins to rule Friday's (November 6, 2009) Al Ain Mineral Water Active Chess Tournament at Reef Mall in Dubai.

Meanwhile, the tournament welcomed a special visitor from Washington DC, whose presence certainly perked up and stirred the creativity in some on account of the surprise strong performance of a few unheraleded players. More about this prodigious beauty, whose photo you can see below, and her equally jaw-dropping credentials at the latter part of this report.

FCPL players pleasantly surprised

by this Fil-Am visitor from Washington DC.

After carting away Dh 8,000 when he recently ruled the Open division of the 2009 Abu Dhabi International Ramadan Chess Festival, Loyola again hit pay dirt when he topped the Dubai active chess event with six points in seven games, overtaking erstwhile solo leader Rocky Pabalan, who dropped to second place after blowing his title bid with a crushing loss to eventual third-placer Melvin Segismundo.

A final-round win over Erwin Dimarucut sealed Loyola’s title hunt, prevailing in an exciting Queen’s Pawn encounter wherein he converted a slight positional advantage into a decisive queenside offensive. Unable to make solid progress with his kingside forays in the middlegame, Loyola shifted his attack to Dimarucut’s queenside where his powerful battery of major pieces struck deep into enemy territory, ultimately deciding the game’s outcome.

Rolenson Loyola (right) vs. Erwin Dimarucut
in a final-round showdown.

The second-seeded Loyola received a major upset scare when fatal blunders resulted in a completely losing position against ninth-seed Larry Dolor in the fifth round. However, in the thick of a mad time scramble, Dolor failed to anticipate a creative and instructie defensive manoeuvre by Loyola that allowed the eventual champion to force a draw by giving up his last remaining piece – a rook – to achieve a stalemate position.

Dolor - Loyola

(White to move)

The position has hidden drawing possibilities, which is not easily recognisable to the uninitiated. More experienced players and those who have fallen victim to the succeeding defensive resource, however, know better than to follow Larry's actual move in the game, which was 1.h7? This is not a good move mainly because of black's forced reply 1... Kh8! Now the king is in a stalemate position, which makes the game a little more complicated than when the pawns were still all on the sixth rank. It shouldn't be hard to recognise black's defensive plan, which seemed obvious to all watching the game except for Larry, who was, to his defense, under time pressure. 2.Rf7??

Dolor - Loyola
(Black to move)

Larry falls for the trap. The position is now a simple black to play and draw problem, which is impossible to miss for a player like Loyola, who once trained and played alongside GM Darwin Laylo and GM-elect Ronald Dableo, two of RP's top endgame experts, during their dominating run as members of the San Sebastian College dynasty in the NCAA. 2...Re2+! Black happily gives up his rook, which results in a stalemate. After trying to escape the checks for a few moves, Larry eventually conceded the draw. After the game, Larry said he didn't mind bungling the win as he nevertheless achieved his objective: a draw with the formidable Loyola. Rightly so as the result gave him 4.5 points in five games, putting him in the lead with Rocky Pabalan. Unfortunately, it was downhill for Larry from thereon as he succumbed to back-to-back losses.

Meanwhile, Pabalan, who needed only a draw against Segismundo to formalise his claim of the title, found himself on the wrong end of another potent queenside attack, which forced him to give up material and eventually concede the point in a hopeless endgame position. Pabalan had nonetheless built enough cushion over his nearest pursuers to still grab second place with 5.5 points.

Segismundo finished with five points in a tie with Jumar Abo, who was relegated to fourth with an inferior tiebreak score. The rest of the top 10 scorers were Larry Dolor, new FCPL tournament player Napoleon Recososa, Macky Ingcongan, Francis Erwin Dimarucut, Ben Penaranda and Carlos de Guzman.

Indian kiddie campaigner Anusweud received a special prize as the top Under-14 age-group player. Special prizes were also awarded to top scorers in different rating categories: Danny Ambing (1900-below), Richard Perez (1800-below) and new FCPL recruit Raymond Dolor (1700-below/Unrated). All winners received cash prizes and gift items from Al Ain Mineral Water.

The sponsorship from Al Ain Mineral Water was made possible through the efforts of FCPL Adviser Emman Marbella.

Final Standings (click on image to enlarge)

Final round pairings (click on image to enlarge)

Awarding Photos

Champion Rolenson Loyola with tournament arbiter
FA Jobannie C. Tabada
(left) and FCPL Sec-Gen Ronnie G. Balilo

First runner-up Rocky Pabalan

Second runner-up Melvin Segismundo

Third runner-up Jumar Abo

Fourth runner-up Larry Dolor will surely be looking
to redeem himself in the next tournament

Fifth runner-up Napoleon Recososa.
A big start for FCPL rookie player.

Sixth runner-up Macky Ingcongan

Seventh runner-up Francis Erwin Dimarucut.
He played in last month's Dubai Chess Club active chess
tournament where he had the UAE's top player
GM Salem AR Saleh on the ropes. The Al Ain Mineral Water event
was his first appearance in an FCPL-organised tournament.

Eighth runner-up Ben Penaranda pulling
a strong finish after a slow start.

Ninth runner-up Carlos de Guzman

Top Under-1900 Danny Ambing

Top Under 1700/Unrated Raymond Dolor

Top Kiddie Anusweud

Top-seed Marvin Marcos receives his consolation prize
for finishing 12th. Marcos, who was champion in the Chess
For A Cause
Active Chess Tournament last October,
was a major
disappointment, losing back-to-back games
in the third and fourth rounds and then compounded his woes
with a final-round
loss to new player Napoleon Recososa.

Consolation prize for Pucholo Yape

Tato Abdullah receives his consolation prize

Tournament officials (from left) Jobannie C. Tabada,
Ronnie G. Balilo and Willy Laceste preparing
medals, cash prizes and gift items from Al Ain Mineral Water.

The gold, silver and bronze FCPL medals

Special visitor

The surprise guest we had been talking about at the beginning of this report was Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias, a policy analyst from this US-based NGO.

Although we're still not yet sure if drop-dead beauty is indeed a compulsory requirement for one to become a policy analyst -- especially for one who's based in Washington DC, the policy capital of the world -- we're now pretty certain that a degree from UP, an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University -- with honours, of course -- and, for good measure, throwing in a bit of work experience from the World Bank and the United Nations will probably give you a good head start.

Dovelyn is in Dubai to do research work on the recruitment process for OFWs. She dropped by at the tournament with the hope of interviewing a few people who were recruited through an agency. Unfortunately, most of the guys at the tournament got into Dubai through visit visas before eventually landing jobs. However, she did get two or three interviews of people who went through the government-sponsored process. Although Dovelyn couldn't stay long (she had to leave for another group interview with a group of Filipina domestic helpers at Chow King in Satwa) her presence must have energised some players, considering there were a few who performed above their nominal ratings (of course, the tournament top-seed Marvin Marcos would be the perfect antithesis, but that's a completely different story).

Dovelyn will use her findings to file a report and make recommendations to improve Philippine policies that concern OFWs, which she says will then be turned over to the concerned authorities in the Philippines. The FCPL wishes Dovelyn good luck with her mission and we hope that our fears of government inaction on her well-meaning proposals are simply hallucinations of us jaded expats and that her work will indeed make a difference on the lives of Filipino overseas workers.

While Dovelyn does not play chess -- that's according to her, although she somehow seems interested to learn -- there are some things that connect her with chess fanatics (aside from being an "analyst" herself like chess players seem to be, albeit in a more irrational way): She's apparently well versed with the Nordic language, which is a good thing because we now have someone to translate interviews of Norwegian boy wonder Margnus Carlsen that are conducted in Nordic dialect. As her profile suggests, Dovelyn is especially adept with Icelandic, which is again a great thing as she could be the key to helping us figure out the mysteries of the chess world's beloved Bobby Fischer's final days in Iceland.

If you're wondering how come we know quite a lot about her, it's all here, actually. And while we're at it, here's a sampling of her work, which is a report about Filipino migrant workers.

Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias


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