THE emergence of Indonesia as the top Southeast Asian country in the FIDE Online Olympiad 2020 should not be taken lightly by the Philippines.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) executive director Atty. Cliburn Orbe admitted Indonesia played better than the Philippines in the unique online competition serving as FIDE’s answer to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Orbe said Indonesia’s funding for its chess program for the past 10 years was the big difference.
“An insider told me that GM Utut Adianto is a powerful senator in Indonesia. That’s why funding for their chess program in the past 10 years was very high,” wrote Orbe in a Facebook post.
“We will not ask our government to increase funding for chess. Indeed, when you look at things, between chess and poverty alleviation in the Philippines, for example, I think our tax money is better spent elsewhere,” explained Orbe.
“But what we can do is to make more prudent use of the money allocated for chess, and to encourage private support and sponsorship for chess. The goal is to raise more grandmasters, and to make our national team more competitive in the world stage. Kaya natin ito,” he added.
Chess patron Antonio Balinas said Sen. Manny Pacquiao could be the answer to the needs of the Filipino chess players..
"I believe Sen.Pacquiao could help NCFP president Prospero Pichay and Atty.Orbe in the NCFP, "added Balinas, brother of the late GM Rosendo Balinas.
...A long-time rival of Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, Adianto became Indonesia’s first chess grandmaster in 1986.
At that time, Adianto was Indonesia’s youngest player to earn a GM title.
In 1999, Adianto participated in the FIDE world championship in Las Vegas, held with the knockout format, losing to Daniel Fridman in the first round.
It was his popularity as a chess champion that enabled Adianto to be elected to the People's Representative Council, the lower house of Indonesia's bicameral parliament.
He later became deputy speaker of the body in March 2018.
The 55-year-old Adianto is currently chairman of the Indonesian Chess Federation.
Actually, the GM Mark Paragua-led Filipinos defeated the Indonesians, 3.5-2.5, in their direct encounter in Division 2, Group A.
But a surprise 2.5-3.5 setback to lower-rated Belgium in the fifth round and a 2-4 defeat to Australia the following round sent the Filipinos packing.
The Indonesians, on the other hand, rode on their decisive 5-1 win over the Australians in the seventh round to earn one of three Group A spots to the Top Division.
Bannered by GM Susanto Megaranto and IM Irine Kharisma Sukandar, Indonesia also surpassed expectations by finishing in a three-way tie for fifth place with Georgia and Mongolia with three wins, two draws and four losses in Top Division Group A.
Indonesia even finished ahea of another SEA Games super power Vietnam, which wound up ninth in the same group with three wins and six losses.
“It all boiled down toonematch. Had we won against Belgium, we would have tied Indoesia for third place and we culd have beaten them on tiebreak,” Orbe said in his post in the official NCFP group page.
“It was a mistake not to field our board 1 player (Paragua) and strong scorers against Belgium n the hope that they will be fresh in the match against Australia. As it turned out, we lost to both Belgium and Australia and in the end, that’s how we narrowly failed to advance to the Top Division,” he added.
The Online Olympiad is now on its knockout stage with eight countries batting for the remaining four quarterfinals berths.
Already in the quarterfinals are India, Azerbaija, Russia and the United States.
The complete playoff schedule:
Playoffs (Aug. 27)
Duel 1 - A2 China vs. B3 Ukraine
Duel 2 - B2 Hungary v.s A3 Germany
Duel 3 - C2 Bulgaria vs. D3 Poland
Duel 4 - D2 Greece vs. C3 Armenia
Duel 5 - A1 India vs. Greece/Armenia
Duel 6 - B1 Azerbaijan vs. Bulgaria/Poland
Duel 7 - C1 Russia vs. Hungary/Germany
Duel 8 - D1 USA vs. China/Ukraine
Semis (Aug. 29)
Dual 9 - Duel 5 vs 6 winners India vs Greece/Armenia vs Azerbaijan vs Greece/Poland
Dual 10 - Dual 7 vs Dual 8 Russia vs Hungary/Germany vs USA vs China/Ukraine
Final (Aug. 30)
Winners of Duel 9 and 10.