Jayson GM Jayson Gonzales.

One-on-one with GM Jayson Gonzales

November 4, 2022 Ed Andaya 1128 views

THE Philippines could produce more outstanding female players in the mold of WGM Janelle Mae Frayna in the next few years.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) official GM Jayson Gonzales believes the time is right to discover the next most important star in this sport closest to the Filipinos’ heart.

“This is an exciting time for women’s chess. The support of both the government and private sector are there. We just have to make the right moves now,” said Gonzales during the 43rd “Sports on Air” via Zoom.

“We have a lot of young and talented female players. Personally, naniniwala ako na hindi lang naman si Janelle ang magaling na chess player sa Pilipinas, kahit sabihin pa na ako ang nagtuturo sa kanya. Kaya I always try to encourage everyone lalo na yung mga young female players. I want to have more WGMs dito sa atin. Hindi naman pwedeng iisa lang,” explained Gonzales

“In fact, we started our training for the Olympiad in India last August nung patapos na ang pandemic last March. They played against our veteran male players, like IM Ricky de Guzman. Maganda ang result ng mga babae dahil tumaas ang kanilang antas at kumpiyansa. Pati ratings nila nag-improve.Tuloy-tuloy na ang pagtaas dyan. Nag-bente dos then ngayon 2265 . And hopefully by end of the year,lumapit pa sa bente tres.”

Added Gonzales: “Si Janelle naman kailangan tumaas pa sa bente-kwarto to become the first Filipina International Master. Wala pang nakakagawa nyan. Yun ang target niya ngayon. Yun pag-break ng record na first ever female IM sa bansa.”

Gonzales said the support of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), headed by Chairman Noli Eala, and the private sector, are crucial in achieving their goals.

“Si Chairman Eala full support naman talaga.He told us nun nagpunta kam ni Janelle sa kanya na a WGM is considered to be an elite athlete sa chess. He said he is trying na magkaroon ng funding ang PSC para sa kanyang training sa Europe,” recalled Gonzales.

“Alam naman natin na dun ka sa Europe kakain ng maraming rating o points. Mas magandang ang kalaban niya mas mataas sa kanya. She has to play and train against the best minds. Saka mas makapag-focus dun. Dito kasi maraming distractions, maraming pwedeng gawin.”

Gonzales also the head coach of UAAP champion Far Eastern University, is confident that Frayna can more than hold her own against the world’s best.

“Si Janelle naman kayang-kaya na makipag-sabayan yan. Yun mga bente-singko, tinatalo na nya mga yan. Sa totoo lang, ang daming players sa Olympiad, tinalo na niya sa World Juniors before.

Pero mas tumataas yung rating nila kasi pag nabawasan man madali makabawi dahil maraming tournaments. DIto sa atin kapag may isa kang masamang laro isa hanggang tatlong buwan bago ka makabawi.:

But Gonzales insisted all the other top female players should get a shot at playing — and competing — in Europe.

“I proposed that we send the core of the Philippine women’s team to Europe kasi nga kapag lumaban ka sa mga Olympiads, hindi puwede na 1 or 2 players lang ang magaling. Dapat silang lahat lima sila. Tapos ang mga ratings puro IM or WGM. Psychology din ang chess. Kapag walang title yan, kahit winning na, ang hirap manalo. Kapag makita ng kalaban yung title at rating ng players natin mag-resign na kaagad. Kung nakakapagpahinga ang player, next time maganda pa din ang laro. Pero ang nangyayari, hanggang dulo pagod.”

“Yan naman ang gusto ko ma-attain.

Yun lahat ng players natin sa national team ay WGM. I always tell them na hindi pwedeng isa lang kundi dapat madami. Mind-setting talaga.”

Gonzales said another priority of the NCFP under Chairman/President Prospero “Butch” Pichay is the staging of the Philippine National Children’s Chess Championship Under 12 category.

“Ginawa ng NCFP ito para matugunan natin pati mga bata na 12 years old and below. Sasanayin na natin from 6 hanggang 12 para pagdating ng 14 years old, nakahanda na talaga. Sa age 14 talaga malalaman kung may future ka talaga sa chess. Nandun na yun maturity ng bata at ito yung best time to give them systematic and structured training. Hindi yun bara-bara,” explained Gonzales, who teaches chess for almost 30 years now.

“If you notice, tinatalo ng mga batang players natin ang mga kalaban sa 8-10 age categories. Kukuha tayo ng mga medalya. Pero pagdating ng 14, sila na magagaling, sila na mag GM. Yung 14 years old na galing sa India, dito naglaro sa Pilipinas. That’s because of proper training. Kaya lagi ko sinasabi sa mga coaches natin, kailangang tamang education, tamang training, tamang disiplina at tamang outlook sa buhay.”

“Kailangan yung may philosophy at principle na lalaban hanggang dulo at hindi naaawa sa kalaban. Sabi nga ni Fischer, Kasparov at iba pang world champions, you must develop the heart of a fighter. Yung pagdating ng age 14-18, sanay ka na lumaban at hindi pinanghinaan ng loob. Chess is about fighting spirit.”

Asked about what advise he usually gives to aspiring young players, Gonzales said he tells them to focus on improving their ganes.

“Minsan kasi merong mga magagaling tayong players, na nauuna mag-isip ng reward. I read a book of Jon Speelman na sa chess daw, kailangan yung laro muna ang isipin at kung paano ma- improve yun tirada mo. The rewards will follow. Kagaya sa ibang sports, lalo na kay Manny Pacquiao, hindi muna niya iniisip kung magkano mapapanalunan niya. Iniisip muna niya kung paano manalo. Sabi nga, financial rewards darating yun kapag naging successful ka na sa iyong field,” said Gonzales.

“Another problem sa Philippine setting ngayon, kapag nag-training at lumaban abroad, kailangan kasama pamilya. Ang hirap gastusan nun. Ano ba dapat unahin natin — yun magpa-galing tayo ng player or yun sama-sama tayo buong pamilya na pupunta sa abroad Kay WGM, hindi ito masyado mahirap kasi ang mama niya, naiiwan dito sa Pilipinas. Sa ibang bansa nga, pinababayaan lang sa mga coaches ”

“Talent-wise, isa talaga tayo na pinakamagaling sa chess sa mundo. Kahit saan tayo makarating, palagi may nananalo. Nakapag- produce na tayo ng madaming world-class players, like GM Eugene (Torre).and GM Wesley (So). Even sina GM Mark Paragua at GM Ino Sadorra Ang problema lang kung papaano ma-sustain dahil hinidi naman kaya gawin ito lahat ng federation.”

Gonzales claimed face-to-face or over-the-board tournaments remain the barometer of determining the player’s real strength.

“I have nothing against online chess, pero iba talaga yun feeling na tinalo mo yun kalaban mo na face-to-face.Alam naman natin na may mga players talaga na gumagamit ng technology. Yung iba marunong talaga sa IT at sa mga gadgets, na parang feeling mo nagagamit ka pag natalo ka dahil hindi mo masyadong makikita ang environment ng kalaban dahil online,” stressed Ginzales.

“During the pandemic, wala talagang binibigay na title kahit panalo ka. Kahit mag-champion ka, title will not be awarded. Sa OTB, ina-award ang title pag nag-champion. Ang position ng FIDE is ang online tournament ay hindi masasabi na fool-proof, lalo may mga lumalabas pa din na issues of cheating.” with reports from Gab Ferreras

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