World Cup fans and Twitter imbroglio  

By Alex P. Vidal

“When you’re part of a World Cup, it’s always now or never.”—Kevin De Bruyne

LET’S hope our regular monitoring of the ongoing The FIFA World Cup Qatar won’t be disrupted or “shortchanged” in the Twitter now that thousands of its employees—including key technical workers—have either stopped working (read: quit) or been laid off these past two weeks.

Sadly, the bloody carnage in this popular social media was bad timing because it occurred even before the start of the world’s greatest sporting event hosted by the peninsular Arab country whose terrain comprises arid desert and a long Persian (Arab) Gulf shoreline of beaches and dunes.

There are soccer fans who find it convenient to check the latest stories and results in the social media, and Twitter is among the leading sources of these stories in a unique platform.

In this age of fast information technology, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, WhatsApp, Reddit, Pinterest, SnapChat, and Linkedin play pivotal roles in the dissemination of accurate facts and data.

Like ordinary news hunters who want to know the stories fresh and as quickly as possible, soccer fans love to know the scores in each match especially in the heart-thumping elimination rounds conveniently from their gadgets and mobile phones.

They are excited to know how England will tame the resurging Germany and how Brazil will tackle the come-backing Spain.

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Twitter can’t afford to make its patrons and users disappointed and neglected in these coming weeks when the world is agog over the Beautiful Game.

While Elon Musk is busy streamlining Twitter’s workforce and tackling both the veiled and open recalcitrance of employees against his rigid management style, soccer fans are pinning their hopes for accurate and crispier coverage of the World Cup primarily in this gigantic social media platform.

The Verge has reported that after purging nearly two-thirds of Twitter’s 7,500-person workforce in three weeks, Musk is hiring again.

During an all-hands meeting with Twitter employees November 21, Musk reportedly said the company was done with layoffs and actively recruiting for roles in engineering and sales and that employees are encouraged to make referrals, according to two people who attended and a partial recording obtained by The Verge.

His comments were made the same day that an unspecified wave of cuts hit Twitter’s sales department, which has lost almost all of its senior leadership since Musk took over.

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US chess master Marlon Bernardino, who dabbles in sports journalism, recently delivered to me a sad news about Filipino GM Regelio “Joey” Antonio’s participation in the 30th FIDE World Senior Individual Chess Championship held at the Hotel Cenacolo in Assisi, Umbria, Italy on Sunday.

“Joey Antonio falters in Italy chess,” Bernardino wrote in the story he sent to this writer as he disclosed the individual standings after Round 6: (Open 50+ division) 5.5 points—GM Darcy Lima (Brazil), GM Frank Holzke (Germany) 5.0 points—GM Ivan Morovic Fernandez (Chile), GM Milos Pavlovic (Serbia) 4.5 points—GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr. (Philippines), GM Maxim Novik (Lithuania), GM Zurab Sturua (Georgia), GM Vladislav Nevednichy (Romania), GM Dejan Antic (Serbia), GM Klaus Bischoff (Germany), GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (Scotland), IM Krizsany Laszlo (Hungrary), IM Fabrizio Bellia (Italy), IM  William Paschall (USA), IM Klaus De Francesco (Germany), FM Stephen Dishman (England), FM Kok Siong Teo (Singapore)

Bernardino reported that Antonio (Elo 2397), the 13-time National Open Champion, lost a crucial battle against GM Darcy Lima of Brazil (Elo 2415) in the sixth round.

“Antonio, a long-time vanguard of Philippine Chess, was using the disadvantageous black pieces while playing against Lima. The game was ended after 45 moves of Bogo Indian Defense,” wrote Bernardino.

The 60-year-old Filipino GM now has 4.5 points to  share 5th to 17th places with GM Maxim Novik (Lithuania), GM Zurab Sturua (Georgia), GM Vladislav Nevednichy (Romania), GM Dejan Antic (Serbia), GM Klaus Bischoff (Germany), GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (Scotland), IM Krizsany Laszlo (Hungrary), IM Fabrizio Bellia (Italy), IM William Paschall (USA), IM Klaus De Francesco (Germany), FM Stephen Dishman (England) and FM Kok Siong Teo (Singapore).

Antonio would be playing against Sturua in the seventh round.

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Bernardino said the 60-year-old Lima, meanwhile, shared the leadership board in the Open 50+ class tournament with a total of 5.5 points, the same output of GM Frank Holzke of Germany (Elo 2476), who brought down Novik after 53 moves of Gruenfeld Defense.

GM Ivan Morovic Fernandez of Chile and GM Milos Pavlovic of Serbia toppled their respective rivals to climb at third to fourth places with 5.0 points apiece.

International Master Angelo Abundo Young (Elo 2309) defeated Ulises Decozar (Elo 2102) of the United States to score 3.5 points and create a twenty seven-way tie for 36th places together with seventh round opponent FM Milan Kolesar of Slovakia (Elo 2136).

In the Open 65+ class, International Master elect and Fide Master Jose Efren Bagamasbad (Elo 2051) beat Eero Patola (Elo 1830) of Finland to raise his total 3.0 points. The 66-year-old Bagamasbad was tied at 84th to 112th places. He would be meeting Olav Thoresen of Norway (Elo 1874) in the next round.

Bernardino said the triumvirate would like to thank NCFP Chairman/President Rep. Prospero “Butch” Arreza Pichay Jr. and NCFP CEO GM Jayson O. Gonzales for supporting their Europe chess campaign as well to POC President Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Jr. for helping to secure their Schengen visa on time.

Bernardino and Roberto M. Racasa serve as the triumvirate coaches, trainers and second.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local papers in Iloilo.—Ed)   

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