CHESS PIECE: GM DARWIN LAYLOIndochess
...CHESS PIECE: GM DARWIN LAYLO
is 27 years of age.He was born to a poor family from San Roque, Marikina.His
father was a tricycle driver and hardly played chess, but one day his
uncle brought a chess set and taught him the moves.Before long Darwin
was beating the uncle, the uncle's friends and in fact everybody in sight.His
prowess in this game of kings was to become the hope of his
family for a better life.Darwin
became a college star for the multi-NCAA champion San Sebastian College Stags.In 1999 he
won the National Junior (Under-20) Championship with a terrific score of 10.5/11, and represented the Philippines in the Asian Juniors which took place in Vung Tau, Vietnam.Despite the fact that he
was unrated and a total unknown, Laylo
started beating everybody else in sight, including the top seed Chinese zonal champion Liang Chong.He
however lost a bit of steam towards the middle of the tournament and 4 straight victories towards the end could only get him second place, half a point behind the champion, soon-to-be Indian superstar Krishnan Sasikiran.
After the tournament Darwin
chess growth, and won the Philippine national championship in 2004 and 2006.Since both times were in were Olympiad years, he
represented the Philippines in the 2004 Calvia Olympiad and also in 2006 Turin.
Also in 2006 he
picked up two GM norms, the first from the 2006 Malaysian Open, and the second at the 2006 Bad Wiesse tournament in Germany.
The fact is rather than sit around at home moping Darwin
buckled down to some serious work and waited for his
chance came in the recently-concluded Asian Individual Chess Championship, where the top players in Asia took part to get a chance at the US$6,000 first prize as well as the 10 qualifying slots for the Khanty-Mansiysk World cup to take place in November 22 this year.Darwin
poured all his
mental energy into the event.Over 11 rounds he
faced 8 grandmasters, defeating Sandipan Chanda (India 2563), Dao Thien Hai (Vietnam 2537) and Le Quang Liem (Vietnam 2542), drawing with Zhou Jianchao (China 2572), Zhao Jun (China 2558) and tournament winner Zhang Pengxiang (China 2649) and losing twice, to Susanto Megaranto (Indonesia 2554) from a very favorable position, and to Indian whiz kid Parimarjan Negi (2529) from a winning game.
So now the wheel has turned full circle, and prospects are once again very bright.Darwin Laylo
has graduated to a full-fledged International Grandmaster, the 7th in the Philippines after Eugenio Torre (1974), the late Rosendo Balinas Jr. (1976), Rogelio Antonio Jr. (1993), Bong Villamayor (2004), Nelson Mariano II (2004) and Mark Paragua (2006).
A few years ago during a training session I noted to Darwin
Black openings were not impressive, and suggested a switch to more open positions with the Scandinavian.I then handed him my "secret weapon", a CD containing secret analyses prepared over several years on the Scandinavian including a complete repertoire against White's possible replies.This also included every known/existing game on the Scandinavian in chess history with all games catalogued per variation.Darwin took this up quite seriously and is now probably the country's greatest expert on the Scandinavian.
It has become traditional that I end a write-up on Darwin
latest exploits in the Scandinavian.The following game could not be more crucial - Laylo
had to score 1.5 out of his
last two games to enter the magic 10.Here is the win he
needed so much.
confessed that he
took 30 minutes thinking whether to stick to his
guns or to play the Sicilian.
told me that for a while he
thought Le Quang would play 17.Qd6!?
on the other hand had 90 seconds and thought that the text would surprise his
opponent, as it in fact did.
...After this win Darwin agreed a short draw with GM Zhang Pengxiang to get his GM title.
I am very proud of Darwin Laylo
.May I say that this happy ending could not have happened to a nicer guy.
Reader comments/suggestions are urgently solicited.