ASIA’s first International Master (IM) Rodolfo Tan Cardoso, the only Filipino player in history to have beaten the late great Bobby Fischer, passed away on Wednesday after a heart attack.
He was 75.
Cardoso became Asia’s first IM in 1957 and was part of the first Philippine team to play in the Chess Olympiad in 1956 in Moscow along with the late Florencio Campomanes, and National Masters Carlos Benitez and Glicerio Badilles.
“He’s a big loss to Philippine chess. Malaki ang contribution niya sa sport, kasama na lately ang pagtuturo niya sa mga kabataan,” said Eugene Torre, Asia’s first Grandmaster and founder of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.
“Isa siya sa hinahangaan kong player nung bata ako,” Torre recalled. “Tactician siya at natural talent during the time na `yung positional play ay hindi pa uso.”
Cardoso will also go down in history as the only Filipino player to have beaten a young Fisher in a match.
“They played a six-game series and he won once. Bobby was only 16-years-old then,” said Tempo editor in chief and sports editor Rey Bancod, a veteran chess writer.
“He was a true gentleman on the chessboard being the first International Master of Asia. He played a great part in the country’s interest in chess and put the Philippines on the world chess map,” said two-time Olympian and NM Atty. Samuel Estimo.
Cardoso’s remains lie at La Funeraria Paz at Manila Memorial in Sucat, Paranaque before being transferred in Alaminos, Pangasinan on Saturday.
Interment will be on Monday.