We are sad to report that Willy Abalos, Executive Director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, passed away in Manila Sunday, 8 May 2011, of cancer. He was 49. We send condolences to his family and friends.
By Casto Abundo with photos by Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, friends of Willy
Willy was diagnosed after his return from the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in November last year, where he captained the Philippine team to a Silver Medal finish. With chemotherapy he was in remission and was back at work this year, travelling far to Subic and Tagaytay City in preparation for the Asian Youth Championship, Zone 3.3 Zonal and Pichay Cup International Open.
After he helped raise funds for the travel of the Tagaytay City team to the Asian Cities in Jakarta last month, Willy worked for the tickets of Filipino Grandmasters to the ongoing Asian Championship in Iran. He called me to make arrangements for the Philippine delegations. Though we were in different countries, we spoke with each other regularly by phone. Ignatius Leong also had spoken recently with Willy and asked about his health. Willy replied "Okay" and Ignatius commented he could tell by Willy's strong voice that he was getting better.
After I arrived in Iran, his wife called me and said that she had to rush Willy to the hospital. I was expecting Willy to bounce back as he usually did but his chess clock had run out of time.
Willy was Tournament Director of many big events in the Philippines in the last decade. Under the presidency of Congressman, now Chairman, Prospero A. Pichay, Jr., the National Chess Federation of the Philippines hosted a string of Pichay Cup International Opens, Presidential Cup International Open tournaments, Asian Individual Championships in 2007, 2009 and 2010, ASEAN Age Group Championships, Campomanes Memorial and many National Championships for age groups and masters.
An accomplished IA, Willy was Arbiter in a number of Olympiads and Asian tournaments. He loved to sing karaoke and performed at the ASEAN Age Group Championship closing ceremony in Thailand and Subic.
Here at the Asian Championship in Iran, players from around Asia remembered Willy since many of them have been to Manila or Subic several times and all stood for a minute in silence when I informed them of his demise.
We dedicate the coming tournaments this month in the Philippines to the memory of Willy Abalos. We shall miss him dearly.
Players in the Asian Championship in Mashad, Iran rise for a minute of silence in memory of Willy.
Willy, right, with the Silver Medalist Philippine team to the 16th Asian Games, Guangzhou 2010.
Willy standing behind the Philippine team before the match with India in the Asian Games.
Willy, standing right, at the opening of the Asian Championship in Subic last year.
Wilfredo Abalos, 1962-2011