Saturday, November 27, 2004

Unusual chess terms

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

EVERY chess player knows what a double check means or for that matter the definition of a bad bishop or a backward pawn. But do you know what a buried piece is or a capped pawn? We will define unusual chess terms in this article that even avid chess players don’t know about.

Buried piece – a piece hemmed in by friendly pieces and pawns. Such a piece will have difficult time actively participating, and may also interfere with the development of other pieces.

Capped pawn – a marked pawn which a player engages to deliver checkmate, in giving extreme odds to a weaker opponent.

Echoes – two functionally identical positions on the same board, one the mirror image of the order, due to the arrangement of the defender’s pieces being effectively symmetrical. This allows the same attack to be made down either side of the board.

Focal point – a weak square near the enemy king. This is targeted by the attacker, and the defender may find it difficult to protect. More than one focal point makes an attack stronger.

Ghost – threats created in the mind of inexperienced players due to lack of confidence of fear of their opponent.

Romantic – A romantic player is one who enjoys attacking and sacrificing.
Sansvoir – French for “without seeing.” Playing chess blindfold.

Interpose – placement of a piece between an attacking enemy queen, rook or bishop, and the pieces being attacked.

Luft – German for “air.” Moving a pawn so the king has an escape square to prevent back-rank mates.

Zietnot – German for “time trouble.”

Decoy – 1) The offering of material in order to get an enemy piece to move. 2) The lure of an opponent’s piece to a square that is particularly vulnerable.

Deflection – A tactic which forces an opponent piece from a square where it had to be, either because it was defending a piece or square or because it was blocking a threat.

Destructive sacrifice – sacrificing material to destroy the pawn cover or other protection around the enemy king. Usually a point of no return.

Hole – a square that is undependable by pawns. Such a square serves as an excellent home for enemy pieces, especially the knight.

Petite combination – a combination involving only a few moves and often only one tactical theme.

Poisoned pawn – a pawn that, if captured, would cause serious disadvantage to the capturing side.

MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL OPEN. International Master Ronald Bancod was the clear winner in this rich tournament held in Oroquieta City last Nov. 20-21 with 8.5 pts in nine rounds to win P30,000. At No.2 was National Master Alex Milagrosa and No.3 was Manila-based Cebuano, IM Richard Bitoon. Other cebuanos who were in the money circle were NM Cyril Ortega and Voltaire Sevillano.

Meanwhile, Joyce Lagrosas won the Lapu-Lapu Fiesta Chess Tournament last Saturday follwed by Carlito Santos and Cepcan Jojo Muralla at second and third, resectively.

YOUNG MASTER. One of the most promising chess player in the Philippines today is 11-year-old Wesley So, who has won 12 kiddies tournaments, including the grand finals of the Shell National Active Chess Championship. He also won the gold medal in the 12-Under Asean Chess Tournament and made a respectable showing in the eliminations to the Chess Olympiad.

Although he did not qualify, he defeated five NMs, including IM Chito Garma in the last round. “He has talent. He is a positional player, who can be tactical if the situation demands it. He is forming his own style, and character will play a big part,” says Eugene Torre, Asia’s first GM.

CEPCA NOVEMBER TOURNAMENT. Our tournament for this month will be held at the Handuraw Learning and Leisure Café along M. J. Cuenco Ave. in Mabolo (beside Kahayag Café) on Sunday at 2 p.m. This will be the last elimination tournament prior to the grand finals in December.

We are inviting the following lady chessers to participate: Therese Gonzales, Sunshine Lacorte, Jenny Rose Palomo and Jessa Balbona.

Those who have already qualified for the grand finals are Dante Arguelles, Santiago Peque, Jonard Labadan, Loy Minoza, Joe Atillo, Maggi Dionson, Fred Sandalo, Mandy Baria, Jojo Muralla and Gerry Rallos.

I maybe a little bit biased but the pizza in Handuraw is out of this world! You should try it.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Misamis Occidental Open

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

CHESS players from all over the country are now gathering in Oroquieta City for the Misamis Occidental National Open Tournament scheduled Nov. 20-21, which features P70,000 in prize money. The champion will win P30,000.

About 20 masters will be coming from Manila led by Grandmaster Eugene Torre and International Masters Chito Garma, Barlo Nadera and Richard Bitoon.

A crack selection of Cebuanos left yesterday composed of National Masters Leonardo Alidani, Voltaire Sevillano, Carlos Cabuenos and Cyril Ortega. Other members of the group are Harold Diano, William Retanal, Eden Diano, Adonis Buenaventura, Francisco Abugho, Irwin Ababat, Carlito Flores, Richard Natividad, Ceferino Vizco and Jobannie Tabada.

Dropping by our house last Monday on their way to Oroquieta were NM Eduardo Agagon and Jenny Mayor, a five-time RP Executive Grand Prix champion and executive director for Countryside Chess Development of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

Jenny and I together with Cepca president Jun Olis discussed the possibility of a match and tournament between Cepca members and our Metro Manila counterparts early next year preferably during the Sinulog.

PHILIPPINE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE. The rejection by the POC of the chess federation’s application towards becoming a full-time member is ill-advised and is a reflection of their wrong priorities.

Chess is one sport that Filipinos can excel as shown by our performance in the last Olympiad, where we placed ahead of our Asian rivals China and Vietnam. We even performed better than powerhouse England and several other European countries.

Also, this year we had two new grandmasters, Nelson Mariano II and soon to be Super-GM Mark Paragua. What have the other sports accomplished?

They probably don’t realize that chess will be included for the first time in the 2006 Qatar Asian Games.

PEPSI CHESS TEAM TOURNAMENT. Pepsi Cola Products Phils. Inc held a chess team tournament among its employees at the Alta Vista club house in Pardo last Sunday.

Four teams participated in the tournament; namely Green Team composed of members Eric Gonzales, Bob Inocian, Harold Torregosa, Roldan Balansag; Orange Team with members Teddy Pardillo, Oliver Go, Edward Francisco, Julius Codilla; Blue Team with members Prix Fernandez, Welza Loga, Bobby Ylaya, Joseph Zamora; and White Team made up of Wenceslao Wenceslao, Quitos Ruiz, Jason Andrade and Edwin Balcita.

The champion was Green Team with 11 points followed by White with 7.5 points and third was Blue with four points.

CEPCA VS LADIES SELECTION. The much-awaited clash between selected lady varsity chess players and members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association took place last Sunday at the Handuraw Leisure and Reading Café in Mabolo, with the older counterparts prevailing, 29-11.

The guest of honor was our Hon. Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who gave an inspirational talk. Mike himself is a good chess player although he lost a drawish game to high school standout Jenny Rose Palomo. Jenny was the Most Outstanding Athlete in the chess event in the recent Milo Little Olympics, so our Vice- Mayor has nothing to be dismayed about.

Here are the complete results: Bombi Aznar-Therese Gonzales (USJ-R), 1.5-0.5; Norway Lara-Sunshine Lacorte (USJ-R), 1-1; John Catayas-Jellyn Villarin (USJ-R), 2-0; Mer Fernandez-Sofia Balite (CNU), 2-0; Fred Sandalo-Sherllina Gumapon (UC), 1.5-0.5; Michael Rama-Jenny Rose Palomo (USJ-R), 0-1; Maggi Dionson-Jenny Rose Palomo (2nd game), 1-0; Rene Casia-Sarah Jane Letigio (USJ-R), 2-0; Gerry Tomakin-Angelie Giangan (ANS), 0.5-1.5.

Felix Balbona-Maricor Loyola (USC), 2-0; Jojo Paredes-Glaiza Garcia (USC), 2-0; Serg Borres-Ma. Theresa Letigio (ANS), 1-1; Luis Minoza-Jessa Balbona (CIC), 2-0; Fabio Abucejo-Marete Serentas (ANS), 1-1; Felix Salve-Ryldonna de los Santos (ANS), 2-0; Tony Cornejo-Bernadette Villamor (ANS), 1-1; Gian Carlo Baria-Lyndace Mentupa (UC), 0.5-1.5; Jonard Labadan-Lorie Mae Seno (UC), 2-0; Andy Aquino-Margrace Gacang (UC), 1-1; Mandy Baria-Cherille Brocoy (CIT), 2-0; Vic Nator-Jennyfer Lyn Abejan (UC), 1-1.

The event’s major sponsor was Jose Ng, former president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while the rest of the sponsors were International Pharmaceutical Industries, Bombie Aznar and Gerry Tomakin.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Elo ratings

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

ELO is not an abbreviation like Fide or RP, but is actually the name of a person, Arpad Elo (1903-1992), a Hungarian-born American physics professor, who developed a rating system for calculating the relative skill levels of players in two-player games such as chess.

In short, it is your chess IQ. A player rated 2500 and above is likely to have a grandmaster title and a player rated above 2400, an international master title.

Fide Masters normally have a rating of 2300, National masters 2200, experts around 2000 and strong club players between 1800-2000. An average club player has a rating of 1400-1700, while beginners start at 900.

As of the latest Fide ranking, all of the top 100 players in the world have ratings over 2600 with 15 players over 2700 and one, Garry Kasparov, at 2813.

Prior to the Elo rating system, the United States Chess Federation (USCF) used a numerical ratings system, developed by Kenneth Harness, in terms other than wins and losses. It was quite fair but in some circumstances gave rise to ratings, which some observers consider inaccurate.

Elo’s central assumption was that the performance of each player in each game is a normally distributed random variable.

Although a player might perform significantly better or worse from one game to the next, Elo assumed that the mean value of any given player changes slowly over time. Elo thought of the mean of a player’s random variable as that player’s true skill.

Elo’s system was adopted by the USCF in 1960 and by Fide in 1970.

Furthermore, subsequent statistical tests have shown that chess performance is almost certainly not uniformly distributed and weaker players have greater chances of winning. Therefore, the system as used by both USCF and Fide is based on logistic distribution, an improvement over that originally proposed by Professor Elo, although in deference to him, it is still called the Elo system.

The formula to calculate a player’s new rating is based on his/her previous rating and takes into consideration the skill of the opponent. The formula is R’ = R + C (S - E), where R’ is the new rating, R is the old rating, C is a constant, S is the score (1 for win , 0.5 for draw and 0 for loss) and E is the expected score of the player.

The constant is the maximum allowed adjustment per game and is placed at 16 points for masters and 32 for weaker players.

E is a little more complicated as it is the core of the Elo system. One can’t conclude that after a series of moves that his/her performance is 2350. Performance can only be inferred from wins, draws and losses and the playing strength of the opponent should be considered.

If player A has true strength RA and player B has true strength RB, the exact formula (using the logistic curve) for the expected score of player A is

Similarly, the expected score for player B is

Please note that EA + EB = 1

An example will help clarify. Suppose player A has a rating of 1613. He plays a five-round Swiss format and loses to a player rated 1609, draws with a player rated 1477, wins over a player rated 1388, wins again over a player rated 1586, and loses to a player rated 1720.

His actual score is (0+0.5+1+1+0)= 2.5. His expected score, using the formula above, is (0.506+0.686+0.785+0.539+0.351) =2.867.

Therefore his new rating is 1613+32 (2.5-2.867) = 1601

CEPCA VS. LADIES SELECTION. It’s all systems go for this once in a lifetime match on Sunday 1:30 p.m. at the Handuraw Café in Mabolo between selected lady varsity chess players and members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association Inc.

The members of the ladies selection are: Therese Gonzales, Angelie Giangan, Ma. Theresa Letegio, Marefe Serentas, Cherille Brocoy, Jenny Rose Chiong Palomo, Sarah Jane Letegio, Shiela Marie Alvarado, Mary Llenos, Lorie Mie Seno, Marygrace Jane Gacang.

Completing the ladies’ line-up are Jennyfer Lynn Abejan, Sherlina Gumapon, Jellyn Villarin, Maria Dyan Sofia Balite, Sunshine Lacorte, Maricor Loyola, Lyndace Mae Mentupa, Jessa Marie Balbona and Jocelyn Arnejo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

World’s top-rated players

By Frank "Boy" Pestaño

THE World Chess Federation has just released its top players as of October 2005. Still retaining his No.1 spot is Garry Kasparov followed by Vishy Anand and current Classical World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. Fide champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov is surprisingly ranked only 47th.

The top woman player is still Judit Polgar while top junior is Teimour Radjabov, and top among girls is the beautiful Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia.

The world’s top 10 are: 1) Garry Kasparov, Russia-2813, 2) Anand Viswanathan, India-2781, 3) Vladimir Kramnik, Russia-2760, 4) Alexander Morozevich, Russia-2758, 5) Veselin Topalov, Bulgaria- 2757, 6) Peter Leko, Hungary-2743, 7) Michael Adams, England-2740, 8) Peter Svidler, Russia-2753, 9) Judit Polgar, Hungary-2728 10) Alexei Shirov, Spain-2726.

Top women: 1) Judit Polgar, Hungary-2728, 2) Xie-Jun, China-2569, 3) Antoaneta Stefanova, Bulgaria-2523, 4) Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russia-2508, 5) Maia Chiburdanidze, Georgia-2503, 6) Humpy Koneru, India-2503, 7) Chen Zhu, China-2494, 8) Tatiana Kosintseva, Russia-2493, 9) Xu Yuhua, China-2487, 10) Zhao Xue, China-2487.

Top juniors 1) Teimour Radjabov, Azerbaijan-2663, 2) Shakhiyar Mamedyarov, Azerbaijan-2660, 3) Andrei Volokitin, Ukraine-2652, 4) Ferenc Berkes, Hungary-2630, 5) Luke J. McShane, England-2629, 6) Hikaru Nakamura, USA- 2620, 7) David Navara, Czech Republic-2620, 8) Bu Xiangzhi, China-2615, 9) P. Harikrishna, India-2612, 10) Arkadij Naiditsch, Germany-2611.

Top girls 1) Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russia-2508, 2) Humpy Koneru, India-2503, 3) Tatiana Kosintseva, Russia-2493, 4) Zhao Xue, China-2487, 5) Nana Dzagnidze, Georgia-2484, 6) Nadezhda Kosintseva, Russia-2446, 7) Kateryna Lahno, Ukraine-2435, 8) Marie Sebag, France-2428, 9) Lela Javakhishvilil, Georgia-2423, 10) Ekaterina Korbut, Russia-2400.

Top Filipinos 1) Mark Paragua-2534, 2) Rogelio Antonio Jr.-2524, 3) Eugenio Torre-2518, 4) Rogelio Barcenilla-2507, 5) Nelson Mariano II-2464, 6) Buenaventura Villamayor-2463, 7) Idelfonso Datu-2457, 8) Enrique Paciencia-2449, 9) Yves Rañola-2449, 10) Ronald Dableo-2440.

With his extraordinary performance in his last three tournaments, Mark Paragua is now a full-pledged Grandmaster with an elo rating of just over 2600, the first Filipino to do so.

MIGHTY UC. The Cebu School Athletic Foundation Inc. chess tournament just concluded recently and sweeping both in the college and high school divisions was the University of Cebu. The other participants were University of San Jose-Recoletos, University of San Carlos, Cebu Institute of Technology and Don Bosco in the high school division.

Members of UC’s champion collegiate Men’s team were Rex Androe Cabungcal, Brian Patalingjug, John Nicole Cuyag and James Angelo Uy.

On the other hand, the winning Women’s team is made up of Lorie May Seno, Sherlina Gumapon, Jennyfer Abejan and Mar Grace Gacang.

The top Boys team is composed of Jimson Bitoon, Denver Ruaya, Jose Vano and Melchor Ottara while in the Girls squad are Jacel Bucog, Janina Ebrado, Michele Sagario and Rea Famat.

National Master Linky Yap was the director and arbiter of the tournament.

CEPCA VS. CEBU SELECTION. National Master Bombi Aznar, William Retanal, Ben Dimaano and Sun.Star Cebu sports editor Jobannie Tabada will lead the members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association against the Cebu Selection this Sunday at the Handuraw Leisure and Learning Café in Mabolo, located at the old Coaco Bldg., beside Kahayag Restaurant.

Heading the Cebu Selection are Anthony Makinano, Boy Abugho, Boy Alejandre, Irwin Ababat, Steven Yap, Carlito Santos, Gene Montesclaros, Therese Gonzales, Jenny Rose Palomo, Jun Sanchez, Bonjoe Lanorias, Bob Tojong and others.

Also playing for Cepca are Jojo Muralla, Gerry Tomakin, Alex Tolentino, Mer Fernandez, Felix Balbona, Norway Lara, Joe Atillo, Santiago Peque, Maggi Dionson, Dante Arguelles, Mandy Baria, Ely Berciles, Tony Cornejo, Gerry Rallos, Fred Sandalo, Fabio Abucejo, Bob Inocian, Loy Miñoza, Junard Labadan, Jun Olis and Danny Pestano.

Time control is one hour for each play to finish and each player will play two games handling both white and black pieces. Games will start at 1:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Free Bobby Fischer

By Frank "Boy” Pestaño

I AM reprinting an appeal by World Chess Federation (Fide) president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov addressed to US President George W. Bush, now that he has just been re-elected, to pardon Bobby Fischer who has been in detention in Japan since July 13.

To recall, Bobby’s passport was cancelled by the US Government last year for reasons that are both unfair and ridiculous. After all these years why now? And why has he been in detention for over three months?. “He is under much stress and angry at the Japanese Government,” says his fiancée Miyoko Watai.

The first hearing was completed last Wednesday with both sides submitting evidence. The next hearing will be in January, which means more detention time for Bobby.

Bobby’s appeal for bail has been denied twice and a third is still pending.

If you want Bobby to be freed, log on to and affix your name and country. If you don’t have an Internet connection, call me at 233-8678 in the afternoon and I will place your name there.

“On behalf of the millions of chess players all over the world and on behalf of 164 National Chess Federations united under the flag, we write to seek your personal intervention, Mr. President, through the show of tolerance and leniency in dealing with the matter of the 11th World Chess champion, Mr. Robert James Fischer, now awaiting deportation orders to the United States from Japan.

“We all know that on August 1992, when Mr. Fischer agreed lo play a chess match against Boris Spassky in a privately organized and sponsored event outside the auspices of Fide in Yugoslavia, he violated US law and the international boycott of that country. The former world champion obviously thought that chess had no other limitations than the game itself and now more than 10 years later, he faces serious charges for his action.

“Like most geniuses, Mr. Fischer is not always easy to communicate with.

Furthermore, some of his actions and statements are not necessarily in accordance with established norms and traditions. However, we would like to remind you, Mr. President, that the former world champion successfully represented the United States on many occasions during his chess playing career and that in 1972, he single-handedly took upon himself the fight of the free world when he brilliantly captured the world chess championship crown from the Soviet world champion Boris Spassky in Reykjavik.

“Mr. President, I have been privileged to discuss the impact of Fischer’s achievement with the then secretary of state of the United States, an avid chess player, Dr. Henry Kissinger, who personally took charge of negotiations surrounding the Reykjavik match.

“From Fischer’s actions since Reykjavik, when he turned himself into a virtual recluse, it is possible to postulate that he is not very well and as he is now seeking sanctuary far from his motherland. We kindly urge you, Mr. President, to let the matter lie. At the same time we would like to point out that in today’s world, eccentricity and challenge to established norms as well as behavior which is different from the majority of the people, should be subject to benign moral and social judgments rather than criminal prosecution.

“We thank you for your understanding in this delicate matter.

“Yours sincerely, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.”

The latest development on this unusual case is that Bobby‘s lawyer may file a lawsuit in the US.

“There are some grotesque abuses of government power, violations of due process and human nights and I would say an utter waste of US taxpayers’ money in prosecuting Bobby Fischer,” Fischer’s US lawyer, Richard Vattuone, told a news conference in Tokyo.

A lawsuit could be filed challenging the constitutionality of the order to arrest Fischer.

Ladies’ selection vs Cepca. The Cebuana woodpushers selection made up of varsity chess players from various schools will play with the members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) on Nov.14 at the Handuraw Leisure and Learning Cafe in Mabolo at 1:30 p.m.