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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rodolfo Tan Cardoso

     Cardoso (25 December 1937 – 21 August 2013) was a Filipino International Master. He was born in Anda, Pangasinan. In 1956, he won Philippine Junior Championship. This victory carried with it a four-year scholarship and also entitled him to represent the country in the 1957 Toronto World Junior Championship where he finished in fifth place. The tournament was won by William Lombardy with 11 wins, no losses, no draws. 
     In those days nobody had ever heard of Asians playing chess, and so his success created a bit of a sensation. As a result, in 1957 the Pepsi-Cola company sponsored an eight-game match in New York City between Cardoso, the 19-year-old Philippine Junior Champion, and Bobby Fischer, the 14-year-old U.S. Junior Champion. Fischer won the match and $325 by scoring +5 –1 =2. Cardoso’s win made him the only Filipino player to ever defeat Fischer.
     He was awarded the International Master title in 1957, making him the first Asian IM. In 1957/58, Cardoso won the Baguio City Zonal which qualified him for the 1958 Portorož Interzonal, in which he finished 19th. He was Philippine Champion in 1958 and 1963. He took second place at Christchurch 1967 (New Zealand championship; Yuri Averbakh won). In 1974, he tied for first through fourth place in Casablanca. In 1974, he took 14th in Manila (Evgeni Vasiukov won). In 1975, he tied for 13-14th in Orense. In 1975, he took 10th in Las Palmas (Ruy Lopez Memorial; Ljubomir Ljubojević won). Cardoso played for Philippines in four Olympiads and compiled a +40 -16 =16 record.
     One confusing point was the similarity between his name and that of Ruth Cardoso of Brazil. As a result, when games played by “R. Cardoso” against grandmasters began being published in the 1970s, it was widely assumed that these were games played by Rodolfo, but they were actually played by Ruth. He passed away in Manila on August 21, 2013 after suffering a heart attack. 

Here is Cardoso's exciting win over Fischer.

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