By now everyone has heard about powerful typhoon that swept across the Philippines just days ago. Winds reached as high as 300 kilometers per hour (190 mph) and devastated the archipelago leaving 600,000 homes destroyed or damaged. Nicknamed “Haiyun” the typhoon cut through a swath of devastation across islands Samar, Leyte, Cebu and Panay. Thousands are feared dead in the nation of 98 million. There have been cries of desperation and looting has already begun to take hold. Relief efforts are underway as agencies are making their way to the country.
In the best of times, the Philippines is a country with passion for many sports with chess being one of most popular. The country is currently rated #29 on the FIDE list and has one of the world’s brightest stars in GM Wesley So. The country also has the legendary Eugenio Torre who hosted his dear friend Bobby Fischer during the former champion’s years away from chess. Passion for chess runs deep and the late FIDE President Florencio Campomanes helped to fuel its growth. He also assisted other developing chess nations. The Philippines finished 21st in the Istanbul Olympiad and was competing on the higher boards before losing to Romania in the last round. The Philippines had become a example of how passion can produce one of the fastest-improving chess nations.
There is no word on the welfare of members of the chess family, but we will report information as it becomes available. The Chess Drum wishes the Philippines and the entire Filipino chess community a strong recovery from this horrible tragedy. May the Philippines overcome this moment of challenge today for a brighter day tomorrow.
Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum
Relief agencies and donations here!