Chess in Granma and its referees

Chess in Granma and its referees . Considerations of the beginning of chess in the eastern region Bayamo – Manzanillo and some of its referees.


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  • 1 Carlos Manuel de Céspedes in chess
  • 2 Capablanca in Manzanillo
  • 3 Main Chess referees in the province
  • 4 National referees
  • 5 Sources

Carlos Manuel de Céspedes in chess

It is impossible to talk about the history of chess in Cuba without mentioning Carlos Manuel de Céspedes , it is considered that chess is known since the arrival in Manzanillo de Céspedes between 1849 – 1852 , for those who are not Cuban, however ask yourself: Who was Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and what links did he have with chess?

This illustrious Cuban patrician, born in Bayamo on 18 of April of 1819 and died on 27 February of the 1874 , in San Lorenzo , at the hands of the Spanish forces.

For Cuban children it is known that on his farm sugar Demajagua the October of October of 1868 , gave the first cry of freedom, making free his slaves and declared war on Spain . However, very few know that Céspedes was an active chess fan and that he was one of the first to promote intellectual sport in Cuba. The military genius of Céspedes was not dissatisfied, but is highly articulated with a deep cultural conception, his action is accompanied by a transcendent vision and an exaltation of the role of education and culture in the transformation of man.

President of two sections Philharmonic was named Céspedes in March of 1851 , the declamation and chess. Who later became El Padre de la Patria was the first Cuban to translate (from French, written by Labourdonnais) the laws of the game of chess, which he published in the newspaper El Redactor, in Santiago de Cuba , on October 4 , 1855. That newspaper called him a “fearsome player.” The aim was for the public to enjoy a series of theoretical considerations on the attractiveness of the game. The newspaper ad in the Folletin Section extolled Céspedes: (… ​​In order to enter us and so that nothing is lacking in fashion, we publish in this place the articles that have been sent about this game. The author of them is a well-known player and the subject it is treated in them with the interest and judgment that chess needs. Its publication will contribute more than anything to awaken the enthusiasm that is noticeable for it and to generalize it as we would like).

In this way Céspedes was the initiator of the publication of chess topics in the Cuban press. It is a crass error to say that this merit corresponded to the Spanish Juan Martínez, because his chess section in the Havana newspaper El Moro Musa was from 1860 .

Céspedes’s main contender in the bush was his assistant, Fernando Figueredo Socarras, who was also Maceo’s assistant in the 1995 war. It is testimony of Figueredo Socarras, that Céspedes sometimes played against two opponents at the same time and rarely lost, as well as sometimes he played “from behind” that is, without looking at the board; When Céspedes was assassinated in San Lorenzo, minutes before he was playing a game of chess with Pedro Maceo Osorio. That game was taken over by the Spanish. They had previously captured another in the bush, which they did not return on the grounds that it was used to draw up military tactics and strategies. One of the two is in the Museum of Arms and Artillery in Madrid.

Céspedes was the most fervent chess player among the patriots of our independence struggles, during the time in which he lived, he contributed to the learning and dissemination of chess among the inhabitants of these lands, at this stage there were no qualified referees since only a part of society they were the ones who practiced this sport . Therefore, we assume that Céspedes was the first referee, (although not officially), recognized in the territory, given his knowledge and activity developed in our town, until the beginning of the war of 1868 .

During the period of liberation at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, chess activity is very scarce in our territory, this sport was only practiced by a few people, mainly from high society and the occasional associate. It was in the early years of the 1920s, when the official history of chess begins.

At this stage we can assume that Emiliano Méndez Feo was one of the first referees, given his responsibility to organize meetings and activities, such as matches and simultaneous, both municipal and regional.

Capablanca in Manzanillo

In the first months of 1920 , the visit of the great José Raúl Capablanca ( 1888 – 1942 ) to Manzanillo was undoubtedly the most important event for this town. According to the press of the time: «[…] In“ El Liceo ”the members have a lot of fun with billiards and chess. Games of real interest are organized, which among the organizers constitute a powerful attraction. When our world chess champion, the glorious Raúl Capablanca, passed through Manzanillo, it was in El Liceo, where two matches of six boards each section were organized, in the event that Capablanca killed the one who resisted the most [… ] ‘.

It is important to point out that with the emergence of the young Juan Antonio Quesada, a figure of notable relevance in Cuban chess during the first half of the 20th century, Manzanillo chess gains new vigor. Quesada is almost unknown to the new generations. Despite the limited financial resources of his family, it is known that he had a good education since he was a child and that from an early age he developed skills in science play. Not only was he among the founders, but he also offered free chess classes since the opening of the club, and years later, in the other venue, he played matches that achieved transcendence against Modesto “Lelo” Guerra, Miguel Ángel Tornes and Armando Cabrera, getting the win in all. These gave way to a more important duel, against Carlos Santos, for the Eastern championship of1929 , won by Quesada with a score of 5 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses.

In 1921 , the Liceo de Manzanillo invited Rosendo Romero from Camaguey, a very beloved and admired figure in this city, to celebrate a match in its rooms with Manzanillo Ángel D. Villalvilla, a strong chess player who had just won the municipal championship and was also , considered the Champion of the East, the result of the match was favorable to Rosendo, who triumphed in three games, lost two and made two draws and was declared Champion of Manzanillo and Camagüey. This match was arbitrated by Doctor José V. Ramírez, which these data constitute one more testimony of characters and players that can be classified as founders of the arbitration in Manzanillo, these data appear published in the Bohemia Magazine , Number 36 dated 9 of Septemberfrom 1951 .

From the revolutionary triumph and with the distinctive feature that identifies the purest humanism of the values ​​of our revolutionary leaders, new transformations arise in the entire social and cultural sphere of our country and Manzanillo is not alien to these changes, our cultural roots are eager for learning and chess remains a bulwark of our identity, it continues to be practiced in public places, barbershops, salons, societies and other places in order, for such activity. The first chess teachers that our city has in the years of the 60s, are Vitalio Gamboa Díaz (currently National Referee) and Carlos Ramil Regalón, who remain working until 1972.

Main Chess referees in the province

Joaquin Llopiz Polanco

Born in Manzanillo 5 of December of 1952 in a family of workers, reaches the current category, international referee in 1992 , at that time was the first international referee of the East.

Main tournaments and competitions in which he has participated :

  • Central Americans Manzanillo, 1981 at the “Juan A. Quesada” Academy.
  • International Tournaments “Carlos M. de Céspedes in memorian” in Granma (in all), based in Bayamo and Manzanillo.
  • Appointed by the national commission as the main referee of the first International Tournament “Tomás Jiménez” in memories in Ciego de Ávila.
  • I Tournament ” José Raúl Capablanca ” in memorian, 1999 in Havana .
  • Caburé international tournament, 2008 in Venezuela .
  • National tournaments: “Francisco de Miranda” in Falcón, 2008 in Venezuela; “Hermanos Saiz”, Pinar del Río ; ” Guillermo García González “, Villa Clara ; “Migoya”, Camagüey ; “Basársete”, Havana; “Adelkis Remón”, Holguín ; “Sariego invites”, Manzanillo, participated GM Walter Arencibia ; “Ismaelillo”, Cienfuegos; “December 2”, Niquero , also with the participation of René Llopiz as referee; “III Frente”, Santiago de Cuba with AI Rolando Oliva; “Dos Ríos”, Cuban Sport Chess Olympiad, Bayamo (Best referee).
  • Inter Camilito national event, Manzanillo (Best referee)
  • National tournament for the visually impaired won by world champion Larduet from Santiago de Cuba, in Manzanillo.
  • Inter ETECSA national tournament, Bayamo.
  • National School Games (4)
  • Provincial 1st Category Tournaments in Bayamo, Manzanillo, Yara, Niquero, Pilón, Campechuela.

Bárbara López-Chávez Mariño (FIDE Referee)

Bárbara, first Cuban woman titled FIDE (French acronym for the International Federation).

In the National Championship Women ‘s Chess Cuba 2011 , he acted as arbitrator, as Barbara has exclusive interview, – (… a chess came a little late, studying in the former USSR , in 1984. Years later, working at INDER. Within the library’s translation department, GM Silvino García offers to work for the project that was being created at that time, the Instituto Superior Latinoamericano de Ajedrez (ISLA).

Events in which he has participated: All ISLA International Tournaments until 2002 ; Seven AJEDUNI University tournaments, Capablanca in Memoriam Tournaments , Women’s Pan-American Championship in El Salvador , Guillermo García González In Memoriam Tournament, Men’s National Semifinal Tournaments, Women’s National Tournaments, National School and Pioneer Tournaments, Cups that have been held in Havana City, also participated in the National Sports Games in Venezuela, among others. He participated as a prosecutor in the Simultaneous Giant that was held in the Plaza de la Revolución José Martí in 2002 , with more than 11,320 boards. In 2006 he was awarded the title of FIDE Referee.

National referees

  • Vitalio Gamboa Díaz (Manzanillo)
  • Rafael Torres Ravelo (Bayamo)
  • Ángel Guevara Fontaine (Ox Top)
  • Juan Martínez Ungara (Bayamo)
  • Ramón Fonseca Cintra (Bayamo), Professor of Physical Education .
  • Rafael Rodríguez (Bayamo)


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