Sunday, January 6, 2008

POM April '08

SDCC Player of the Month - April 2008

Alejandrino "Ed" Baluran, The Chess Balladeer


By Rick Aeria

This is probably the most controversial selection for Player of the Month but Alejandrino "Ed" Baluran certainly deserved this honor considering the type of month he had!

Ed began the month stormily as a "A"-player when he stunned IM Cy Lakdawala in the April Super Gambito.  The first "lettered" player to do so in more than a decade when the Great One blundered.

Ed then participated in the Ron Bruno Simul and held our rising star champion to a draw.  One club member disdainfully sniffed and said. "Simul?  That's an achievement?"  Well, consider this: young Mikhail Botvinnik first gained recognition when he beat the incomparable J. R. Capablanca in a simul!  Yes, simul's do count for chess achievement - if not for rating purposes.

Granted that Ed is not the "spring chicken" that Botvinnik was but Ed followed up with a stunning showing in the SCCF Senior Open.  Ed finished 4-1 to tied for second behind eventual winner NM Romeo Ignacio.

But we are not done yet!  Ed then participated in another simul conducted by grandmaster Darwin Laylo and earned another draw!

Ed capped off a stormy and controversial month with a draw against top-rated NM Todd Smith at the Bob Samuel Open.  His exploits earned Ed a return to the ranks of the experts - quite a month for any player!

While not the most "politically-correct" denizen we have on our website, Ed's message posting almost always evoke strong responses from our otherwise laid back San Diego chess community.  You can't miss Ed at the chess club.  He's the one with more "bling" that would make Queen Latifah blush!  And speaking of blushing, you should check out Ed's extensive and colorful chess wardrobe.  This is one chess player who believes in wearing his chess achievements - Figuratively!

In sheer chess activity, Ed has been prolific and we could not ask more from any member. Congratulations, Ed! April was quite a month for you - may you see many more!

Postscript:  I do not remember how Ed got his monniker "Chess Balladeer"  but Ed hails from a culture that is fond of music, especially karaoke.  In fact, we were jokingly told that IM Enrico Sevillano is quite a performer (at karaoke) and one will have to forcefully wrestle the mike from Enrico's hands to give others  their turn.


This is a good time to discuss the "Player of the Month" format.As many of you may have noticed that the "Player of the Month" is not named consistently on a month by month basis.  Why?  The answer is that there is no one that stands out to be thus honored or that a player like Ron Bruno has such a stellar stretch that lasts for months!  However, I would like to see more community participation in selecting the "Player of the Month" so if you want to nominate someone just drop me a note at my email with the subject header "POM Nomination" and a small write-up on your candidate. 

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