MANILA, Philippines – The Caloocan LoadManna Knights have loaded up for the upcoming Wesley So Cup of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines, which begins Saturday.
Malaysian International Master Jimmy Chee-Meng Liew, a veteran of multiple chess Olympiads, is reinforcing the LoadManna Knights, who were one of the top teams in the recently concluded All-Filipino Conference but were eliminated in the semifinals of the Northern Division by San Juan.
When Liew was accorded the title of International Master in 1984, it paved the way for chess to make headway into this football-mad country. He has represented Malaysia in eight Chess Olympiads and is a certified Fide trainer and Fide Arbiter. Furthermore, he is the first Malaysian to author two chess books.
In an email letter to Caloocan team manager Arnel Batungbakal, the 62-year old Liew said, “I will be glad to join the team and do my best.”
With Malaysia’s first International Master in their roster, a more confident Batungbakal bared, “I am hoping for a different result this time when we meet the power house teams of Laguna and San Juan. We will, of course, monitor the other teams are most of them beefed up their squads during the off-season.”
The LoadManna Knights recently got a boost when their own IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia was named Best Player of the All-Filipino Conference as well as the Best Player of the first ever PCAP All-Star Game. Flushed with confidence, Garcia along with IM Paulo Bersamina form an already formidable 1-2 punch.
Adding Liew to the mix gives more firepower to Caloocan.
The rest of their roster includes their lady player Arvie Lozano, FM Nelson Villanueva, IM Barlo Nadera, NM Pico Villasenor, Art Villasenor, Juancho Caunte and AGM Glenn Lemen, who is the new addition to the team and will compete on the homegrown boards.