In October 2015, five USCCI members went to Zamboanga to participate in chess. It was our first experience to compete outside of our province of Sulu. Of course, our first attempt to play outside of Jolo was to join the tournament in Tawi-Tawi province a month earlier, but we had not arrived on time.
The set-up and format of the 1st Zamboanga City Fiesta Pilar Chess Cup was 5-round Swiss team chess, composed of three fighters each team. We were five players from Sulu, carrying the name of the United Sulu Chess Club Incorporated.
Our first team was composed of Almurad Diman, Asmad Suhaili, and Ramin Gauran. I played Board 3 in our second team with a Siasi player playing Board 1 for us; Ajir Radjani played on Board 2.
In Round 4, I intuitively sacrificed an exchange for active play. With good play however, the game was only a draw according to the chess engines, but psychologically, a player up an exchange would try to press for a win. What I did was put myself in my opponent's shoes and tried to find the probable winning plans for him. Of course, I found a good reputation for it.
In Round 5 and the last round, I faced a younger player, which rattled my nerves. His opening play was fearless, an open game. But I found a winning plan in the endgame: give up some of my pawns to let my King march up the board and duel face-to-face with the White Monarch.
We won three trophies here. The #USCC team (Almurad Diman, Ramin Gauran, and Asmad Suhaili) was declared 1st Runner Up after breaking the tie with the tournament winner at 11.5points each. On board 3, Noenyrie Asiri and Ramin won as champion and first runner up, respectively.
Because of the win, our confidence grew. Our Governor Toto Tan sponsored us to participate in General Santos City twice in a row, in late 2015 and early 2016. In both times, we lost, but we gained experiences and tried to improve on our officiating by attending chess seminars and trainings.
Hopefully, when we can finally organize our next tournament in Sulu, it would be great.
The team receiving its 2nd runner up trophy.
Ramin Gauran and his trophy
And the Board 3 Champion trophy