Filipino Chess Master Can Paint Your House, or Portrait, Too

Pinoy Newsmagazine, News Feature, Mariano “Anong” Santos

Posted: Sep 03, 2009

Chicago, IL–Next time you need a painting job, you may hire Arnold V. Benesa. If the work calls for a fresh coating of paint for your home, that’s fine, he is a house painter and a general maintenance guy. That’s how he earns his living.

But if you want your portrait done, let Arnold do it. He is very good at it.

When he says he can cut your hair too, he’s not kidding. He is a good barber, too. Arnold has many good skills but it is in chess that he excels.

I visited his apartment at North Clark Street a few days after the death of the legendary chess master Bobby Fischer. The walls of his apartment are lined with portraits of world chess masters.

I hit his soft spot when I mentioned Fischer. Arnold recalled that he met the master in Manila when Fischer was a guest of then President Marcos. How he wished now that he had taken time to have his picture taken with the tempestuous genius of the board. He admires his classic moves.

As tribute to his idol, he finished an oil painting of Fischer as he appeared on the cover of LIFE Magazine back in the 1970s.

That, along with the portraits of some 12 other masters that he had finished, will be donated to a chess museum in Florida, Armold said.

Here is the full story.

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