Filipino journo Ignacio Dee sent me this email about Cordillera Open winner Mirabeau Maga. It gives a brief insight into Maga's career. We especially like the little story about Maga's knight sac against one GM Eugene Torre! Here's hoping that we will at least see the game store to that encounter.
Ignacio Dee is our guest blogger for this week. Enjoy! And thanks Iggy.
By Ignacio Dee
Met Maga Saturday evening at the home of Glenn Bordonanda, the 1978 Buenos Aires Olympiad third board gold medallist, who is now a senior manager for Unilever.
Mirabeau Maga, a former national champion, relived his best years by winning the P40,000 Cordillera Open last Thursday.
The 53-year-old Maga, a national master, scored 7.5 points out of 9 to win the tournament unbeaten ahead of International Master Jayson Gonzales and Philippine chess legend Eugene Torre.
Maga defeated Gonzales, National Master Rolando Nolte and National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director Samuel Estimo, a two-time member of Olympiad teams.
Maga's wins against Gonzales and Nolte with the black pieces were triggered by knight sacrifices, and his draw against Torre was forced by a knight offer.
When Maga showed his games to friends Saturday evening, he smiled when they could not find out the key sacrifice.
It was Maga's draw against Torre that laid open to the possibility that he could win the tournament. Maga sacrificed his knight in the endgame against Torre, and then gave up his b-pawn to force his a-pawn at the fifth rank to advance.
Maga's sacrifice, which tied up Torre's knight, and forced the game into a king and pawn endgame with the lone pawn at the a-file, surprised Torre.
"He was jolted by this move," said Maga.
Maga sacrificed his knight twice against Gonzales, the first to force create threats against the king which Gonzales refused. The second offer, which Gonzales had to accept, gave Maga two extra pawns in a bishop-of-same-color endgame.
Maga sacrificed his knight at h2 to create mating threats against Nolte. Nolte was able to stave off immediate resignation but had to surrender in another endgame.
Maga shared the 1986 national championship with the late IM Ruben Rodriguez and later qualified for that's year's Olympiad in Dubai.
In 1987, Maga's career was set back by a controversial decision from the old Philippine Chess Federation that banned him, now-IM Petronio Roca and master Vince Alaan from competition for a year due to game-fixing.
In 1992 Maga qualified for the Olympiad in Manila. Last May, Maga was in line for a berth for the Turin Olympiad until the penultimate round when Oliver Dimakiling swindled him out of a sure win in time trouble.
Maga recovered by beating prodigy Wesley So in the last round, which other results, created a five-man playoff for the remaining berth. So won the playoff in Tagaytay City, which was held a few days after the Holy Week break.