June 20, 2024

A Cordilleran overseas worker and two other Filipinos from Cavite made their presence felt in the FIDE World Amateur Championships 2021 in Greece on Oct. 16 to 26 when they dislodged some of their formidable opponents in the U1700 category.

Besao, Mountain Province native Marlon Tallayo, a dental technologist in Qatar, and his teammates landed in top 16 out of the 74 players that saw action in their category with an accumulated 5.5 points.

Tallayo shared many of the contestants were amazed when they tallied wins in the early days of the prestigious competition, especially upon learning they are Filipinos.

Despite being a small country, the Philippines has been home to some of the notable chess athletes, such as the 28-year-old Grandmaster Wesley So, a three-time and current U.S. Chess champion and the inaugural World Fischer Random Chess champion, while Eugene Torre became the first chess GM in Asia at age 22 in 1974.

Tallayo said he has outsmarted two players from Greece, and one each from Belgium, Kuwait, and Kenya, while he had a draw with an opponent from England throughout the nine-round format via Swiss-system tournament type.

Tallayo said it is rare opportunity for an Igorot chess player to fly to Europe and compete in a prestigious world event.

“They (international players) don’t know that there are Igorot chess players who can compete,” he said.

Tallayo was the champion in the Benguet State University-organized 3rd Highland Online Chess Tournament las July 17. – Augustin Dao-anis