Living a thousand miles away from her homeland, Cristine Rose Mariano-Wagman still finds time to make her country proud.
Recognized as one of the Philippines’ top women chess players before migrating to Umea, Sweden, Cristine Rose now juggles her time as wife to husband Jorgen Wagman and as hotel employee and mother of two kids, while also actively pursuing her passion as a chess player, the game where she and her equally famous sibling, Grandmaster Nelson Mariano II, had excelled for years.
The passage of years and the daily challenges of family life may have sidelined Cristine Rose for some time, but she has since rediscovered her innate gift as a chess player.
After all, she will always be remembered as the youngest female chess player to become a national women’s champion at age 14, a record that stands to this day.
She later won four more national championships as a teenager and in her prime and was a many-time member of the national team to the Chess Olympiad.
An active member of the Rockaden Umea Schack Klubb, a chess club based in Sweden, Cristine Rose recently earned an Arena Grandmaster (AGM) title from the FIDE, the world chess federation, an honor given to players who excel in tournaments played online. She later became the first Filipina FIDE instructor.
Only last September, Cristine Rose finished a joint second in the Pia Cramling’s Ladies Open, a-30 minute rapid chess tournament held at the Scandic Foresta Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden.
She took the second spot after emerging with the best quotient in a triple-tie with Swedish WIMs Jessica Bengtsson, Viktoria Johansson and Irina Tetenkina at 5.5 points each.
By finishing second, Cristine Rose won 3,000 Swedish kronor (about P18,000) and a finely crafted glass trophy and souvenir unique set of jewelry personally designed by Grandmaster Cramling, Sweden’s strongest woman player.
But more importantly, it gave Cristine Rose the confidence to join tougher tournaments.
On Nov. 1 to 4, she will see action in the Festival Juan Martinez Sola 2018 Liga International Chess Championships, an invitational, round-robin event in Almeria, Spain, a FIDE closed tournament.
Cristine Rose, whose Fide rating stood at 1906, will be going up against the likes of WFM Liudmila Kolotilina (2226) of Spain, WIM Aleksandra Lach (2205) of Poland, WIM Manuela Mader (2200) of Spain, WFM Ana Redondo Benavente (2055) of Spain, WFM Beatriz Garcia Porlan (2076) of Spain, Rebeca Jimenez Fernandez (1917) of Spain, Zofia Frej (1964) of Poland and WFM Mireya Represa Perez (2151), also of Spain.
The star-studded roster initially intimidated Cristine Rose, but she is determined to prove that she still has the talent and the will to succeed.
“When I saw the line-up, sabi ko my God, ako ang may pinakamababang rating and I think I am the most senior so parang atras-abante ako if I will join,” she said.
But she vowed to give it her best shot, if only for the trust given to her by Spanish GM Juan Bellon, GM Cramling’s husband, who had endorsed her to the event organizers, and her sponsor ASSU (Akademiska Schack Spellare Umeå ), Scandic Syd Hotel Umea courtesy of Cathryn and Camilia, her family and her supporters back home.
“I just feel so fortunate that I was able to get advice from my father, brothers, my husband and true chess friends like Kuya Alex Dinoy (a chess organizer and arbiter), if I am doing the right decision. Given these pieces of advice, motivation and encouragement, oo nga naman, because opportunity only knocks one. At ang alam ko, wala pang Pinay na nai-invite sa isang FIDE closed tournament,” she said.
Cristine Rose-Wagman is grabbing the opportunity and as chess followers and fellow Filipinos, we can only hope and pray that she’ll make the country proud again.
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