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How to produce better athletes

Could Daniel Quizon be the next, youngest Filipino chess Grand Master?

With chess legend Eugene Torre slowly fading away and Wesley So, who would have been the next chess Filipino superstar before his shift of allegiance to an American national sports association, Philippine chess needs a new face, a new hope.

This 15-year-old International Master in Quizon is silently making his way up. He has been sweeping his counterparts and reaping honors in international competitions. Obviously, he has advanced so much that he doesn’t belong to his age category anymore.

To further hone his skills, his coach Roel Abelgas from Dasmarinas City, began choosing tougher competitions abroad. In Vietnam last March, Quizon ended up in Top 20 at the HD Bank Chess Open, where he almost attained the 2nd of the three GM norms required to earn the full GM status.

Back on the local shores, Quizon tested his mettle against two of the best chess Grandmasters chess fans had known for many years—Joey Antonio and Torre.

A few weeks ago, Quizon defeated Antonio in a dual blitz match, 6.5 to .5, before upending reigning junior titlist Jeth Romy Morado.

In the ongoing Asian Continental Championships in China, Quizon took the scalp of Torre after 62 moves of a Ruy Lopez opening to stay in contention in the tourney that offer slots to the World Cup in Russia this year.

The Dasmarinas team, where Quizon belongs has become perennially dominant in local age-group competitions in Palaro, Batang Pinoy in recent years.

What seems to be the secret of Quizon and his Dasma teammates?

It’s the chess center.

Abelgas says that the air-conditioned center put up and maintained by the city government is open to students and chess players, who can use the facilities, including the computers, library, tables and chess sets for free.

Chess coaches are also around for those who want to take chess seriously.

To excel in a sport, there’s really no secret. The formula has been the same. First, we need to have a better venue.

The reason the Philippines has so much talent in basketball is because basketball courts are everywhere. Even city streets are closed to traffic during barangay tournaments.

Why don’t we have track racers in the national cycling team? Because we don’t even have a cycling velodrome anymore.

No need for a scientific study here. Just put up good venues for the sport and we’ll produce better athletes.

Topics: Chess , Daniel Quizon , Ruy Lopez , Eugene Torre , Joey Antonio , Asian Continental Championships
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