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PCAP stories: Buenaventuras of Naga make chess comeback
Engineer Jojo (L), Johnylyn, and Joel Buenaventura Sr.
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PCAP stories: Buenaventuras of Naga make chess comeback

Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - February 17, 2021 - 1:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — Some things are better late than never.

For the Buenaventura family of Naga City — Joel Sr. — the patriarch, Johnlyn who is the eldest daughter, and Engineer Jojo who is the third of four children – the timing of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines is just right.

As a youngster, Joel Sr. was dubbed “the Wonderboy of Naga City” for beating older and ranked players as a 19-year-old prodigy.

However, due to the lack of financial capability to study chess and compete in bigger tourneys, Wonderboy’s exploits as an unranked master were confined to the Naga area where he became a local legend. 

“Dati pag-chess, kapag mabait kalaban ko, hindi ko siya kukuhanan ng pusta.” recalled the father. “Pero kung mayabang ka ay gustong gusto sila talunin. Saka ko kukuhanan yung mga mayayabang ng pusta.”

Sadly though, a strong typhoon back in the 1990s destroyed newspaper clippings of their father’s exploits as well as his trophies. So PCAP is his way of reintroducing himself to the game. And that makes Engineer Jojo proud and happy that there is an opportunity for his father and his sister to reclaim a part of themselves.

“Si papa yung nagturo sa amin mag-chess,” related Johnlyn. “Grade Four ako nung natuto. Tuloy tuloy na. Umabot sa Palarong Pambansa tapos varsity sa college.”

“Papa’s training was all about discipline."

“Hey was strict,” confirmed Engineer Jojo, “He would always tell us to concentrate and think before making a move. If we made a mistake, he would rap our hands with the chess piece that he ate.

“Mahirap magturo ng bata,” appealed Joel Sr. during a zoom interview with this author. “Iniisip nila boring. Pero gusto ko maintindihan nila ay yung chess ay paraan magka-edukasyon at magkatrabaho.”

And true enough, the game allowed his children to receive scholarships. It was Johnyln who went on to make a bit of a name for herself winner several Palarong Pambansa tournaments.

And now, Johnlyn and her father on the Iriga Oragons in the Southern Conference of PCAP, while Engineer Jojo is with the Camarines Soaring Eagles.

“Sila papa at ate, kulang lang sa ensayo,” related Engineer Jojo. “Kapag nakakuha na ulit yan ng buwelo ay aarangkada na mga yan. Yang ang kagandahan ng PCAP —  nabigyan ng pagkakataon ang marami na hindi lang makalaro pero makapag-earn ng pera sa sport na love nila.”

“Chance ulit ni papa at ni ate na magpakilila sila.”

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