One of the Philippine chess’s best and brightest players, Woman International Master Arianne Bo Caoili, passed away on 30 March, two weeks following a car accident in Armenia.
Reports said Caoili’s car crashed into a supporting column of a bridge near the intersection of Sebastia Street and Isakov Avenue in Yerevan, Armenia. She was taken to the Astghik Medical Center in serious condition.
Her husband of two years, top-ranked Armenian chess Grandmaster (GM) Levon Aronian, announced Caoili’s death on Twitter.
“I have no words to express the grievance over my wife Arianne’s death. She was an intelligent, hardworking and joyous person that lived a beautiful life. I love you honeybun, sleep tight,” Aronian tweeted.
“RIP Arianne. Our deepest condolences to you Levon. No words can describe our sorrow for your pain,” Filipino GM Joey Antonio posted on his Facebook page.
GM Eugene Torre recalled that Caoili was a very determined and vivacious player. “She was playing in age groups higher than her age group, even if she could have played within her level. She’s brave for her age and considering she was a female (in a male-dominated field). She accomplished a lot more than girls twice her age.”
Describing herself as Dutch-Filipino-Australian, Caoili was born on 22 December 1986 to a Filipino father and a Dutch mother.
She started playing chess at six years old. “I became interested in chess by chance when I stumbled upon some high school guys playing chess in the library. I went to watch every day and gradually learned,” she said in an email interview with NEWS.am Sport, an Armenian news outfit.
She proved her prowess locally among male contemporaries such as future grandmasters Mark Paragua and Julio Catalino Sadorra since young female players of her caliber were rare.
Later on, she competed in national competitions and in the international field, bagging the 2000 Asian Girls Under-16 Chess Championships in Bagac, Bataan on her birthday.
Caoili also played seven times in the Women’s Chess Olympiad, playing for the Philippines in 1998 and 2000, after which she transferred chess federations to represent Australia in the same competition until 2012.
She first met her future husband at the 1996 World Youth Chess Championships in Las Palmas, but they did not become friends until 10 years after when mutual friend International Master Alex Wohl introduced them in Berlin.
A woman of many interests and skills, Caoili was appointed as an adviser to Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapteyan aside from having worked as a consultant to state agencies in Australia. She made Armenia her home in 2013.