Davao City’s James Infiesto formally gained his much-coveted National Master’s title from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.
The 53-year old Infiesto, an active sports leader with the Philspada Davao, received his certificate on September 8 from no less than NCFP President Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr.
The NM title came 34 years after the then promising woodpusher out of AAteneo de Davao University competed in the Grand Finals of the 1987 National Juniors Chess Championship.
“I received a confirmation that made me sentimental and teary-eyed,” said Infiesto.
That 1987 batch of 12 grand finalists produced titled players — three GMs in Jayson Gonzales, Rogelio Barcenilla and Nelson Mariano III; 3 IMs in Idelfonso Datu, Rolando Nolte and Ronald Bancod; 2 FMs in Vince Alaan and Arlan Ferreria Cabe and two NMs in Elmer Carag and now, Infiesto.
“Finally in His time. Thank GOD for this blessing,” Infiesto wrote on social media.
Infiesto sent a message to this writer expressing his happiness over the milestone.
“When I received it, cant explain how I feel…got sentimental. I almost forgot sino ba ang pambato ng Davao nung kabataan ko? Ang dami nang mga players na di manalo sa akin na naunang naging master, kaya sabi kung di ako maging National Master baka pwede na maging national arbiter. That is why I take my career as arbiter seriously. Nakalimutan ko na ung una kong pangarap. Kaya when I finally have it, I cant explain how I feel…maybe GOD realized that it is time to grant my dream,” he said.
Infiesto thanked NCFP President, Deputy Speaker Cong. Prospero Pichay and CEO GM Jayson Gonzales; Philspada President Michael Barredo and SG Walter Wawit Kipping Torres; Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William I. Ramirez and Commissioners Arnold G Agustin and Charles Raymond Maxey; Philippine Para Chess Team; and his friends and family.
Infiesto suffered a stroke on July 20, 2011 that affected his mobility. Instead of sulking for his misfortune, he went on to move to the the para athletes division to stay competitive and became a member of the national Para Chess team.
“Kala ko after that, I can’t be back on my feet. But cant let it break my spirit, I have a family to take care,” said an emotional Infiesto.
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than what you had before,” Infiesto said.