Saturday, May 29, 2004

May activities

By Frank Pestaño

THE Mandaue Active Open Tournament last May 3-5 was the centerpiece of this month’s chess activities in attendance and prize money. There were 95 participants. The nine-round Swiss System clash was held at the Mandaue City Health Center backed by the Mandaue City Government to celebrate the City’s fiesta.

Merben Roque was the winner after taking the solo lead with a score of 7.5 points. I believe this young man has the potential to compete with the best in the Philippines. He reminds me of Cebuano Richard Bitoon, who is now playing successfully in Manila.

Trailing with seven points each were NM Elwin Retanal, Anthony Makiniano, Jimson Bitoon, Francisco Abugho and Allan Salientes. Completing the top 10 with 6.5 points each were Joel Pacuribot, Eden Diano, Ramsy Pedroza, and Richard Natividad.

Special prizes were given to the highest scorer of Class B: Jimson Bitoon, Class C: Carlito Flores, kiddies: Yves Fiel and women’s: Sofia Balite.

The Vic Maambong Inter-High School Chess Team Tournament, on the other hand, is still ongoing. The format is three chessers per team and divided to schools in Lapu-Lapu/Cordova, Mandaue and Consolacion areas.

Seventeen schools participated in this unique tournament. The finalists were St. Joseph High School in the Lapu-Lapu/Cordova division, Cabancalan National High School in Mandaue and Jugan National High School in the Consolacion division. The finals will be played later.

Meantime, the winner of this month’s Rose Pharmacy Class B tournament at SM City-Cebu last May 5-6 was Edwel Alesna, and finishing second and third, respectively, were Rosendo Yamyamin and Cepca’s Dante Arguelles.

Bogie Lim’s Rose Pharmacy chess tournaments are played on a monthly basis clustered into the Class A and Class B categories. The Class A players have a rating (National Chess Federation of the Philippines) above 1,950.

Last May 8-9, the Oaminal Invitational Executives Tournament was held at the Colonade Chess Center along Colon St. Ariel Potot, current Lapu-Lapu Chess Club president, dominated the 16-man field made up mostly of members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association.

Israel Gantiongo, meanwhile, bagged the Transco Inter-District Chessfest (formerly National Power Corp.) held last May 18-19. Lloyd Fellidoa, Raul Torregoza, Nick del Monte, Luis dela Rosa and Jun Jorolan were second to sixth. These winners will represent the region in the national finals to be held later this year. District 3, on the other hand, won the team category.

These tournaments were overseen by National Master (NM) Lincoln Yap backed by arbiter Marvin Ruelan.

OPENING TIPS: Here are some opening tips by noted author, Bruce Pandolfini: Play for the center, guard it, occupy it, influence it.

Develop your pieces quickly, preferably toward the center (especially Knights, which often are “grim on the rim”).

Develop purposely, and not just for development’s sake.

Don’t waste time or moves. Try to develop a new piece on each turn. Don’t
move a piece twice in the opening without a good reason.

Develop minor pieces early. Kingside pieces should usually be developed sooner than queenside ones, and knights before bishops.

After castling, don’t move the pawns in front of your king without a specific reason. Choose a plan and stay with it. Change it only if you should or must.

CHESS TRIVIA: Answer the following question and you will receive a tournament-size chess set from Gerry Tomakin of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca). Claim your prize at the Big Apple Convenience Store along Mabolo St. beside Kahayag Restaurant Café.

Who is he? He had the lamest excuse in history for losing a world championship match. After losing to Lasker, he blamed his loss on the influence of sea air. The match began at Dusseldorf, 100 miles from the coast. In 1918 he won a chess match in which the prize was a kilogram of butter.

The winner of last week’s trivia was Anthony Guinto of T. Padilla.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Chess and the child

By Frank "Boy" Pestaño

THERE are more than 30 countries in the world today who have included chess in some of their school curricula. In the United States where actual and comprehensive case studies have been made on the effect of chess on children, legislation was passed in 1992 promoting and
encouraging the incorporation of chess into schools.

Chinese and European research all find significant correrational values between mental knowledge and playing chess.

Upon conclusion of the four-year New York City schools chess program, Christine Palm wrote in
1991 that:

Chess instills in young players a sense of self-confidence and self-worth; Chess dramatically improves a child’s ability to think rationally; chess builds a sense of team spirit while emphasizing the ability of the individual; chess teaches the value of the hard work, concentration and commitment; chess makes a child realize he or she is responsible for his or her own actions and must accept their consequences;

‘NON-THREATENING.’ Chess teaches children to try their best to win while accepting defeat with grace; chess allows girls to compare with boys on a non-threatening socially- acceptable plane; chess allows students and teachers to view each other in a more sympathetic way; chess, through competition, gives kids a palpable sign of their accomplishment; chess provides children with a concrete, inexpensive and compelling way to rise above the deprivation and self-doubt which are so much a part of their lives.

Dr. Peter Dauvergne of the University of Sydney (1990), upon surveys of the various case studies on the psychological and educational effect of chess on children, said that chess as a learning tool can:

Raise intelligence quotient (IQ) scores; enhance reading, memory, language, and mathematical abilities; foster critical, creative, and original thinking; provide practice at making accurate and fast decisions under time pressure, a skill that can help improve exam scores; challenge gifted children while potentially helping underachieving gifted students learn how to study and strive for excellence; teach how to think logically and efficiently, learning to select the “best” choice from a large number of options; demonstrate the importance of flexible planning, concentration, and the consequences of decisions.

Schools, especially privately-owned ones, should consider including chess in their curricula. School is about to open and this is an opportunity to improve the capabilities of the child through a proven method. Be unique.

We are willing to help. The Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association is committed to promote chess through its “push pawn not drugs” program.

There is an adequate supply of capable instructors who will teach the children the basics of the opening, middle-game and end game theories and techniques..

Chess is also inexpensive. Unlike other tools such as the computer and Internet, it only needs a dozen chess sets, chess clocks and materials to start a full-blown chess program in your school. As shown in actual and comprehensive case studies in several countries, the child will improve in various ways and your school will profit from it.

So, all you parents out there who want their children to be smarter…teach them chess!

CHESS TRIVIA: Answer the following question and you will receive a tournament-size chess set from Gerry Tomakin of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca). Claim your prize at the Big Apple Convenience Store in Mabolo beside Kahayag Restaurant.

Who is he? In 1939, he wrote a book on how to play and win. After publication, he played a tournament in Dallas and lost all his games as white and won all his games as black! He is a US open champion.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Where to play

By Frank 'boy" Pestaño

IF you are a tourist or one who ould like to play serious and competitive chess, there are five places to go.

First is the Bibo Chess Club located along Jakosalem St., in front of the Veco office. Here most of the strong players in Cebu congregate. Club regulars are Dodong Santos, Boy Abugho, Bob Tojong, Marvin Ruelan and the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association’s (Cepca) strongest player, Dante Arguelles. Rate is P10 per hour and there is a cafeteria nearby.

If you prefer an atmosphere with class and excellent surroundings, go to SM City Cebu’s second floor where Deep Blue Woodpushers Café is located. It is the favorite place of chessplaying businessmen, executives and government employees. Here, one can partake of a good merienda (puto/sekwate, manga/torta), play chess and watch the girls go by. Players seen here are Kiting Moro, Maggi Dionson, former Fide president Florencio Campomanes and Cepca members Jojo Paredes, Dongdong Almario, and the mighty Bombi Aznar and his son Andrew. The place is owned by the late Payling Alegado, a Cepca member and rate is P25/hour.

If you want to play serious games with no distractions, peaceful surroundings and two beautiful ladies, Mylene and Che-che, go to 28 Visitacion St., right across the Cebu Community Hospital. This place is primarily a study center for students (the place is aptly called Tun-anan Study and Chess Center) and is air-conditioned. The proprietor is Antonio “Nicnic” Climaco, one of the founders of Cepca. Nicnic is an excellent host and will gladly oblige you to a game or two. Club regulars here are Cepca members Pastor Henry Cariat and Frank Najaro. This is the only chess club where an Internet connection is available. The rate is P10/hour over the board and P20 for Internet use. Food is student price.

However, the hottest chess action in the city is the Colonnade Chess Center along Colon St., beside Oriente Theatre. The center is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. There is never a dull moment and most tables are occupied. Young and old, masters and experts, beginners, professionals and students, even women, play here. This is also the place where most members of Cepca play like Gerry Tomakin, Art Ynclino, Tony Cornejo, Fabio Abucejo, Fred Espinosa and more. Other regulars here are Aller Somosot, Bonjoe Lanorias, Abner Solis.

The center is alternately managed by Joeboy Villarante and Lito Pielago, and open seven days a week. The place is owned by CEPCA original Danny Pestaño. The rate is P14/hour and the whole place is air-conditioned. If you feel tired, you can have a massage with blind masseurs or if you wish to gamble a little, play bingo.

The chess club in Mactan is located along Punta Rizal St. beside City Appliance. Club founder is Cepca original member Jun Olis and current president of the chess club is Ariel Potot. The club is funded by the Lapu-lapu Sports Commission thru the initiative of Marvin Imbong. Playing time is free.

Chess Club regulars are Arnel Abellana, Totong Sapa, Boy Dagat, Romeo Resquera, Ramsy Pedrosa, Jojo Moralla, Kristopher Querubin.

Here is a little caution though. One of the common denominators of chess clubs here and elsewhere in the world are the hustlers, or in chess parlance the buayas. They are commonly of national master caliber, have good public relations and manners, speak softly and slowly but surely empty your wallet.

They will let you win a few games, give odds, teach you tricks on the opening and “swindle” techniques in the endgame. There is one factor if you play them though: They make you a better chess player.

CHESS TRIVIA. The first one to answer the following question will receive a tournament-size chess set from Atty. Alex Tolentino of the Cepca. Claim your prize at the Big Apple store in Mabolo beside Kahayag Restaurant.

Who am I? I won an international tournament in Odessa USSR in 1976 and became a grandmaster. It was only the second time that a foreigner won an international event in the USSR. The only other foreigner who won was the Cuban former world champion Raul Capablanca.

(The writer is the founding president of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association)