Pinoy chess players dealing with cheaters after going online
Joey Villar ( - March 30, 2020 - 2:16pm

MANILA, Philippines – Woodpushers have flocked to online chess amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Little did they know that they would face another adversary there — cheats.

Several cheaters using assistance from computer engines were unmasked in several online tournaments, including the second leg of the First Philippine National Bullet Championship over the weekend.

Jerome Angelo Aragones, a veteran 16-year-old campaigner in the international age group circuit, came out of nowhere to reign supreme in the 20-round tournament that drew 200 participants.

But not after an individual using an account named “mildred1970” took everyone by surprise by beating highly touted rivals, including US-based Grandmaster Mark Paragua and International Master Joel Banawa and zooming to the solo lead with 10.5 points after 12 rounds despite carrying a low rating in the 1400-1500 level.

When asked by organizer of his true identity, the account did not respond and, after realizing he or she was caught red-handed, the person quit and forfeited the rest of the remaining games.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director Cliburn Orbe said they had already banned the offender from participating in all NCFP-sanctioned tourneys in the future.

Another cheat was caught in the online event organized by Chesstropilis IQ Chess Club but the identity wasn’t revealed because the offender, who eventually won the meet, is a minor.

While some are cheating their ways to win, Aragones accomplished his feat fair and square and won it by scoring 15.5 points he capped with a smashing win over FIDE Master Alekhine Nouri in the final round.

IM Daniel Quizon, 15, ended up second while Paragua with 15 points, who is based from New York, finished third with 14.5.

First leg champion GM Banjo Barcenilla was not able to participate.

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