Fil-Australian chess player Arianne Caoili dies
MANILA, Philippines – Arianne Caoili, one of the strongest Filipina chess players, died on Tuesday, March 31, after sustaining injuries in a vehicular crash that happened two weeks ago in Armenia.
Her husband, Armenian chess hero Levon Aronian, confirmed Caoili's death.
"I have no words to express the grievance over my wife's Arianne's death. She was intelligent, hardworking, and joyous person that lived a beautiful life. I love you, honeybun, sleep tight," he said on Twitter.
I have no words to express the grievance over my wife Arianne's death. She was intelligent , hard working and joyous person that lived a beautiful life...— Levon Aronian (@LevAronian) March 30, 2020
I love you honeybun, sleep tight....
Caolli died at the age of 33, as reported by Armenian media, which stirred Filipinas who only saw her games on databases after Caoili transferred from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) to Australia in 2004.
"She was one of the greatest Filipina chess players our country has ever had. The news was truly heartbreaking," wrote the United Queens Chess Club in its Facebook post on Tuesday.
La Salle head coach Susan Neri, the daughter of NCFP official Wilfredo Neri, recalled that Caolli was her first Filipina chess idol.
"This is the grief of the 8-year-old kid in me who has so much respect and admiration to you and the kid who always dreamed of seeing you in person," said Susan Neri in a Facebook post.
"Her attacks were powerful. I admire her confidence," added Neri.
There was much to admire in Caoili's play – sharp and incisive and tough in bad positions. One of her trainers, Rolando Yutuc, said she wanted to learn a lot.
"She was around 8 years old and after dinner, she and I would set up the board. The sessions [lasted] up to 10 pm and about 4 times a week and lasted for a year," Yutuc recounted to Rappler.
Caoili matured quickly. When she was 14, she won the Women's Cup staged by the Philippine Chess Society in 2000 ahead of the country's top players. In the Olympiad that year in Turkey, Caoili's manning board 1 had 4 wins, 2, draws and 5 losses.
But her victories over Women International Masters Atila Grosa of Slovakia, Monika Tsoganova of Estonia, and Petra Mazakova of the Czech Republic, plus the untitled Mexican Marta Mateus, whose Elo was much higher than Caoili's 2113, boosted the Filipina's performance.
The following year, Caoili got the International Woman Master (WIM) title and her rating climbed to its peak at 2309 – the highest by a Filipina until Janelle Mae Frayna topped it in February 2017 with 2325.
Much was expected from her in the 2002 Bled Olympiad but Caoili, facing tougher foes this time, scored 7.5 out of 13 rounds.
In the 2003 Asian Zonal tournament, Caoili fell out contention behind the powerful Vietnamese.
Although she played in 5 Olympiads for Australia, her Elo rating never reached its Philippine level as she immersed herself in academic work. She won the 2009 Oceania championship, but did not show up for the 2010 World Women's Championship.
Caoili married Aronian in 2017 after being in a relationship with him since 2008. Caoili would sometimes return to the Philippines for holidays – visiting her father's hometown in Ilocos and Boracay with Aronian in 2013. – Rappler.com