Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Down memory lane: Fischer's visit to the Philippines

My subscription to weekly newsletters prove to be not an annoying one. This time a video provided by would add as another source to national pride and to its long tradition of history with chess. Surely, past events like this would help the Philippines in its desire to host future chess events like the possible hosting of the Olympiad for the second time, among others.

I would want to copy paste the excellent comment and enlightenment provided by an anonymous commenter (I think I know him, writer's instinct ) from Susan Polgar's blog who proved to me more educated than anyone about these historic event, the Boby Fischer's visit to the Philippines in 1967 and 1973.

If there's good, there's bad consequence as well. The bad thing? Fischer's visit greatly helps former Philippine dictator, Ferdinand Marcos for re-election, though. Don't get me wrong but humorous photos are abound in this video. One is at 3:27.

The MERALCO sponsored "Beat Bobby Fischer Series" was held during the month of April, 1967.

It showcased Fischer playing the 10 best Philippine players during the period, headed by the then reigning Philippine Open Chess Champion NM Rosendo Balinas. The rest were NMs Ruben Rodriguez, Roumel Reyes, Renato Naranja, Glicerio Badilles, Ramon Lontoc, the Bandal brothers Ricardo and Rosendo. Am not sure if Rodolfo Tan Cardoso played, and others.

Only Rosendo Balinas, Jr. gave Fischer a good fight, with a 7th rank dual rook mating attack against Bobby's Sicilian. You can actually see the position at the end of their game. They agreed to draw going into the time control.

You can see Bobby's squirming body posture and Balinas' dominating posture, smiling at the end of their game.

The Filipino audience, held back by security, were swarming over Fischer and Balinas' table in disbelief and delight, as the two players were signing their score sheets.

Bobby of course beat the rest of the top Filipino players.

Towards the end of the film, in the dinner table, you can see Rosendo Balinas, to the right of Manolo Lopez, the CEO of Meralco who bankrolled the series, and Bobby Fischer to the left eating.

Priceless pictures that Bobby Fischer held on for over 40 years. He so loved the Filipinos, as they him, and the Philippines. Bobby had some of his best happy years of his life there.

We still miss the young lonely Bobby then, and cherish seeing his pictures again.

RIP Bobby Fischer and Rosendo Balinas.

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