Saturday, January 29, 2005

Comparing world champions

By Frank "Boy" Pestaño

COMPARING world champions of different eras is speculative, risky and controversial. For example, who is the better boxer, Muhammad Ali or Rocky Marciano? Or is Tiger Woods really better than Jack Nicklaus? In the same vein, how would Manny Pacquiao fare against the master boxer Salvador Sanchez or the great Alexis Arguello?

The only basis for comparison is to look at the statistics of the different personalities involved. Even then, with all the facts factored in, the conclusions are still subject to criticism.

There have been 14 world champions in chess in the modern era. Who is the most and least aggressive? Who has the greatest fighting spirit? Which world champion is content with draws?

Here are some surprising answers from a statistical analysis by Johannes Fischer in an article in Chessbase.

In the table “gms” is the total number of games; “ave. len.” is the average length of these games; “ave.draws” is the average length of the drawn games; “<20” is the number of games drawn in less than 20 moves; and “quo” is the total number of games divided by the short draws (so a larger number is better).

As shown on the table, Steinitz, Lasker, Fischer and Alekhine are the world champions with the greatest fighting spirits. They have a higher ratio of won games than the rest, their draws have a higher number of moves and their short draws are lower. It is rather remarkable that the classical masters appear to be the most aggressive, foremost Steinitz, who has the lowest drawing ratio of them all, though he also has the highest losing ratio. Steinitz played almost no short draws at all and the chance to encounter a draw when watching a Steinitz game is only one percent.

Smyslov, Petrosian, Spassky, Karpov and Kramnik have the higher percentage of draws. Spassky has the highest drawing ratio of 59 percent, followed by Petrosian and Kramnik with 57 percent each.

The average number of drawn moves is shorter than that of Steinitz, Lasker, Alekhine or Fischer and shows that they were the least aggressive of the group. The draws of Spassky and Petrosian last only 29 moves while that of Kramnik are a little higher at 31 moves.

Overall, the chessplayer with the most fighting quota is Lasker, followed by Fischer, Alekhine, Euwe, Capablanca, Botvinnik, Kasparov, Karpov, Smyslov, Tal, Kramnik, Spassky and Petrosian, respectively. Stenitz is not included as his data distorts the whole group.

The statistics do not show as to who is the greatest player of all time. However, it is generally regarded by experts and the chessplaying community that it narrows down to Bobby Fischer or Garry Kasparov. What is your opinion?

KASPAROV AND FIDE. Fide has reacted to Kasparov’s earlier decision to withdraw from his world championship with Rustam Kasimdzhanov, scheduled on April 25 to May 14 this year.

Kasparov claimed that Fide has destroyed his life for claiming that the match will be held in Dubai in January this year when there was no clear financial guarantee. Much earlier, the same thing happened to him when his match with Ponomariov was cancelled in 2002. Kasparov said that he missed the opportunity to play at the ongoing Wijk aan Zee tournament and that for two and a half years, Fide has not meet its commitment as regards the Prague Agreement.

Fide claimed that Kasparov all along knew that demanding excessive financial guarantees will take sometime and that the demand will be in place by Jan. 25, as promised by the organizer of the championship, the Turkish Chess Federation.

CEPCA JANUARY TOURNAMENT. Our first tournament this year, exclusive for members, will be held on Jan. 30 at 3 p.m. at the Handuraw Café in Mabolo.

It will be a five-round Swiss rapid chess event, which will classify members into Class A, B and C, with time controls set at 10, 15 and 20 minutes, respectively.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Manila execs win

By Frank "Boy" Pestaño

THE triangular match between Manila, Misamis and host Cebu at the Handuraw Learning and Leisure Café in Mabolo turned out to be a rout, as Manila was clearly the dominant team. After a double round-robin active format, Manila scored a massive 42 points, Misamis had 26 and Cebu was the tail-ender with only 22.

Cagayan de Oro’s Arnel Aton, who reinforced the Manila team, scored a perfect six points on board 8. Another perfect scorer was Dr. Jenny Mayor of the Manila Executives on board 2. Manila was balanced as its lower boards were just as strong as the upper boards. They were also at ease with the time control of 25 minutes. I noticed throughout the tournament that Misamis and Cebu were always in time trouble.

Misamis and Cebu were equally competitive with each other as the score was a close, 15.5-14.5, in favor of Misamis. Playing equally well for Misamis were Quirino Sagario and Leonides Fernandez. Jobannie Tabada, Dante Arguelles, Mandy Baria and Joe Atillo of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca), on the other hand, held their ground.

The atmosphere was friendly and cordial throughout the tournament. The Misamis and Manila delegation headed by chess-playing doctors Reynaldo Feliciano and Jenny Mayor were perfect gentlemen. We had no problems with all the players.

Despite the lopsided result, the tournament was clearly a success. Rey Urbiztondo and Jenny Mayor as well as Cepca president Jun Olis and I agreed to make this tournament a yearly affair during the Sinulog and participated by other cities such as Davao, Tagbilaran, Bacolod, Iloilo among others.

Sponsors of the match were Boojie Lim of Rose Pharmacy, all participating Cepca players especially Bombi Aznar, Felix Balbona, Mandy Baria and Rene Casia, Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Salve, Noel and Marites Fernandez, Purefoods Hormel and the Cebu City Government thru City Councilor Gabby Leyson and Mayor Tommy Osmeña.

SIDE EVENTS. The side events brought in more chess and a magical performance by James Infiesto of Davao.

An open rapid-chess event was held on Friday afternoon with minor appliances as prizes. The champion was National Master Ernesto Fernandez of Pagadian followed by Dante Zuniga of Manila, Leonardo Deza, NM Elwin Retanal of Cebu, Francis Cabe of Manila and Joel Fernan of Bohol, respectively.

Another side event was the Rose Pharmacy Blitz Chess Open on Monday also held at Handuraw, dangling a total prize money of P18,000. Chris Castellano of Manila blasted the competition, while Glenn Pardillo of Bohol was second. The rest of the top 10 were Tabada, Leonardo Deza and Ernesto Fernandez, Mayor, Irwin Ababat, William Retanal, Jimson Bitoon and Boy Abugho, in that order.

Still another side event was also held. This time the Misamis and Cebu players were the clear winners over Manila in the karaoke contest.

The tournament arbiter for the triangular match and the side events was NM Lincoln Yap assisted by Marvin Ruelan.

MAGIC. Truly a shining moment and a complete surprise was the performance by magician James Infiesto, who regaled the participants with first-class magic.

James is the creative director of Bonjee Entertainment Services, a Davao-based value oriented company, which performs in kids and adult parties, family days, Christmas parties and special events such as product launchings and corporate events.

He is a member of International Brotherhood of Magicians and has performed all over the country.

For details, he may be contacted at (082) 297-6776 or 0917-704-2198.

EAT BOBBY FISCHER. Since his arrest at the Narita Airport due to an invalid passport, Bobby has now been in detention for six months. His crime? For playing chess!

To recall, Bobby played a chess match with Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia, which was then under sanctions by the United Nations due to its war in Bosnia. Violating the sanction even in the form of a chess match carried a penalty of 10 years in prison or a fine of $250,000 or both.

It has also been a month since he was granted a residence visa by Iceland and still both the Japanese and US governments have not responded. He is now reportedly suffering dizzy spells and is physically exhausted. How much more can the 61-year-old greatest chess player of all time take?

When a Fischer associate asked a high-ranking Japanese official how long they intend to hold him, he replied, “We can keep him for as long as we like. We can eat him if we choose to.”

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Executives tournament starts today

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE biggest executives chess tournament in the country starts today at the Handuraw Learning and Leisure Café in Mabolo (beside Kahayag Restaurant) as professionals and executives from Manila, Misamis Occidental together with host Cebu cross swords in team play as well as individual match-ups.

The Misamis contingent, led by Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, who is also the team manager, is composed of the following players: Alex Siao – assistant team manager, Allen Yap, Quirino Sagario, Rey Feleciano, Leonides Fernandez, Eduardo Sanchez, Vic Ardiente, Rocky Rocamora, Fabian Lagura, Edwin Balbutin, Melchon Lapina, Antonio Hernand, Francis Joseph Kaamino, Oliver Damosong, Atillano Tabamo Sr., Stephen Ty, Rey Urbiztondo.

Alternates are Lorson Lapasaran, Rommel Moreno, Alfredo Garrido, Noel Palanas and Philip Ocang.

Players to watch are Sagario, Urbiztondo, Fernandez and Feliciano.

MANILA. The Mega Manila Execs Chess Circle line-up is headed by five-time Grand Prix champion Jenny Mayor and Efren Bagamasbad and backed by a powerhouse cast of seasoned players honed in national tournaments in the capital. The rest of Team Manila are: Willy Abalos, Chris Castellano, James Infiesto, Dante Zuniga, Arnel Aton, Ariel Aton, Noel Garcia, Rosulo Cabusora Jr., Francis Cabe, Louie Ramos, Ramon Pangilinan, Nofre Reyes, Domingo Cordero and Leonardo Deza.

Players with extensive playing experience and rated candidate master strength are Mayor, Bagamasbad, Abalos, Zuniga and Cordero. Judging from its line-up, Team Manila is favored to prevail.

CEBU. Host Cebu will have two teams led by chess patron Boojie Lim in Team A and National Master Bombi Aznar in Team B. Expected to carry the host teams to victory are former junior champion Ben Dimaano, Cepca Grand Prix winner, Sun.Star Cebu sports editor Jobannie Tabada and combination artist Dante Arguelles.

The other Cebuano execs and professionals are Felix Balbona, Jun Olis, Boy Pestano, Danny Pestano, Jon Catayas, Norway Lara, Renato Casia, Mandy Baria, Alex Tolentino, Gonzalo Tumulak, Felix Salve, Maggi Dionson, Loy Miñoza, Jojo Muralla, Joe Atillo, Gerry Rallos, Fred Sandalo, Gerry Tomakin, Jonard Labadan, Percival Fiel, Andy Aquino, Serg Borres, Vic Sepulveda, Manny Manzanares, El Labunog, Bong San Pascual, Mer Fernandez, Nic-nic Climaco, Tony Cornejo, Fabio Abucejo, Pastor Henry Cariat, Nikki Estenor, Arnold Cadiz, William Retanal, Ogie Reyes, Bal Ynclino.

The Cebu contingent will be balanced as the good players are equally divided among the two teams. All Cepca members will be playing, as aside from team play we will also have individual competition.

Our neighbors from Bohol have been sending feelers to join this unique tournament, but as of press time, they had still to decide if they could form a decent team.

In the event that Tagbilaran can’t participate, here is the schedule of the two-day chessfest: registration – 9-9:30 a.m., Manila vs. Cebu (1st game) – 9:30-11 a.m., lunch – 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Manila vs. Cebu (2nd game) – 12:30-2:00 p.m., blitz tournament (for Cebu and Manila players) – 2:30-6:30 p.m.

Saturday (Jan. 15): registration – 9-9:30 a.m. 9;30-10:30, Cepca A vs. Manila, Cepca B vs. Misamis ; 10:45-11:45, Cepca A vs Cepca B, Misamis vs Manila ; 11:45-12:45, lunch and break ;12:45-1:45 Cepca A vs. Misamis Cepca B vs. Manila ; 2-3 p.m. Cepca A vs. Manila. Cepca B vs Misamis ;3:-3:30 snacks 3:30-4;30 Cepca A vs. Cepca B, Misamis vs Manila; 4:45-5:45 Cepca A vs. Misamis, Cepca B vs. Manila.

After the tournament Cepca will host a dinner and party.

Sponsors of this event is Boojie Lim of Rose Pharmacy , Mr & Mrs. Antonio Salve of Salve Townhouses , Bombi Aznar, Victor Manalac of Purefoods-Hormel, all Cepca members, and especially the City of Cebu through Councilor Gabby Leyson and Mayor Tommy Osmeña.

To all participants welcome to Cebu ! Pit Señor !

Saturday, January 8, 2005

January 2005 Fide ratings, Misamis and Manila execs

By Frank “Boy" Pestaño

VISHY Anand is just 18 points behind Garry Kasparov, while Veselin Topalov dislodged Vladimir Kramnik at third place in the latest Fide ratings. Anand had a good performance in the last chess Olympiad in Calvia, Spain, while Kasparov played poorly in the European Club Cup, although he recovered by winning the Russian Super-final. One good performance by Anand (i.e. the Wijk aan zee tournament at the end of this month) and he may just replace Kasparov at the No.1 position.

Kramnik lost six points in his World Championship match against Peter Leko, who went up to fifth replacing Mozorevich. Also, Etienne Bacrot became the first Frenchman to enter the world’s top 10 players.

Zsuzsa Polgar replaced his inactive sister Judit at the top of the Women’s ratings due to her excellent performance in the Calvia Olympiad. Volokitin is tops among Juniors, ahead by 18 points over Radjabov. In the Girls section, India’s star Koneru Humpy leads, replacing Alexandra Kosteniuk.

Top Men: 1. Garry Kasparov-Russia, 2804 2. Anand Viswanathan-India, 2786 3. Veselin Topalov-Bulgaria, 2757 4.Vladimir Kramnik-Russia, 2754 5. Peter Leko-Hungary, 2749 6. Alexander Morozevich-Russia, 2741 7. Michael Adams-England, 2741 8. Peter Svidler-Russia, 2735 9. Etienne Bacrot-France, 2715 10. Alexei Shirov-Spain, 2713.

Top Women 1. Zsuzsa Polgar-USA, 2577 2. Jun Xie-China, 2573 3. Humpy Koneru-India, 2512 4. Maia Chiburdanidze-Georgia, 2509 5. Xue Zhao-China, 2502 6. Chen Zhu-China, 2494 7. Antoaneta Stefanova-Bulgaria, 2491 8. Alexandra Kosteniuk- Russia, 2490 9. Yuhua Xu-China, 2487 10. Pia Cramling-Sweden, 2481

Top Juniors 1. Andrei Volokotin-Ukraine, 2685 2. Teimour Radjabov-Azerbaijan, 2667 3. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov-Azerbaijan, 2657 4. David Navara-Czechoslovakia, 2644 5. Pentala Harikrishna-India, 2632 6. Arkadij Naiditsch-Germany, 2623 7. Artyom Timofeev-Russia, 2619 8. Hikaru Nakamura-USA, 2613 9. Ferenc Berkes-Hungary, 2610 10. Xiangzhi Bu-China, 2607.

Top Girls 1. Humpy Koneru-India, 2512 2. Xue Zhao-China, 2502 3. Nana Dzagnidze-Georgia, 2477 4. Tatiana Kosintseva-Russia, 2475 5. Nadezhda Kosintseva-Russia, 2460 6. Kateryna Lahno-Ukraine, 2454 7. Marie Sebag-France, 2421 8. Ekaterina Korbut-Russia, 2417 9. Elizabeth Paehtz-Germany, 2407 10. Dronavalli Harika-India, 2396.

Top Filipinos 1. Mark Paraqua, 2586 2. Rogelio Antonio Jr., 2539 3. Eugenio Torre, 2530 4. Rogelio Barcenilla, 2507 5. Nelson Mariano, 2468 6.

Buenaventura Villamayor, 2463 7. Jayson Gonzales, 2459 8. Idelfonso Datu, 2457 9. Yves Rañola, 2455 10. Enrique Paciencia, 2449
MISAMIS EXECUTIVES LINE-UP. As part of the Sinulog celebration, we are pleased to have executive chess players from Manila and Misamis as our guests, who will play against members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) in a triangular match.
Additionally, we are also receiving feelers from the Bohol execs that they might also join the contest.

Here is the tentative line-up of the Misamis Executives and Professionals Chess Association: 1. Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos-team manager 2. Quirino Sagario 3. Reynaldo Feliciano 4. Leonidez Fernandez 5. Rey Urbiztondo 6. Fabian Lagura 7. Stephen Ty 8. Engr. Vic Ardiente 9. Francis Joseph Kaamiño 10. Melcon la Piña 11. Engr. Edwin Balbutin 12. Engr. Rocky Rocamora 13.

Atillano Tabamo 14. Nelson Padilla 15. Fr. Eugene Rudinas 16. Eduardo Sanchez 17. Judge Felipe Zapatos 18. Lorson Lapasaran 19. Rommel Moreno.

MANILA EXECUTIVES LINE-UP. The crack team from Manila will be headed by Jenny Mayor and composed of the following players 1. Noel Garcia 2. Erven Perlas 3. Jun Rivera 4. Loren Tabilog 5.Antero Pobre 6.Tyrone Guya 7. Chris Castellano 8.James Infiesto 9. Ryan Ruiz 10. Steve Matutino 11. Glenn Pardillo 12. Rey Marras 13. Ramon Pangilinan 14. Leo Ricana 15. Tomawis Bongarsa 16. Nim Arabani 17. Maj. JohnnyTorralba

Schedule of activities on Jan. 14 is as follows: 9-9:30 a.m. – Registration, 9:30-11:30 a.m. – Cebu vs. Manila (first game), 11:30-12 p.m. – Lunch, 12:30-2:30 p.m. – Cebu vs. Manila (2nd game), 2:45-7 p.m. – Five rounds Swiss (all players).

On Jan. 15, the tournament will start at 9 a.m. and will feature the Misamis and Manila executives against two Cepca teams, playing in a double-round active competition. In the evening, we will host a dinner for our visitors.

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Child grandmasters

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

ALMOST all grandmasters play chess at an early age. Seldom does one become a grandmaster after learning the game later in life, although, there are some rare exceptions.

Additionally there are a select group of chess players who became grandmasters while literally still children.

The first one is of course Bobby Fischer. Born on March 9, 1943, he became a GM at 15 years, six months and one day and became world champion on Sept. 1, 1972. He is considered to be the most gifted chess player ever and also the most eccentric and the most outspoken.

It took a long time for the next child GM to come along and was exceptionally rare because she was a girl. Judit Polgar, born on July 23, 1976 became a GM at age 15 years, four months, and 28 days. She is from Hungary and is the youngest of three playing sisters: Susan and middle sister, Sofia.

Another girl GM that came much later is India’s star Koneru Humpey. Born on March 31, 1987, she became a GM at age 15 years, four months and 28 days, the same as Judit Polgar. She is a former World Junior Champion and was a semifinalist in the last World Women Championship.

The newest member on this list is Ngoc Truongson Nguyen of Vitnam, who was born on Feb. 23, 1990 and became a GM at age 14 years, 10 months and 28 days. He achieved his third and final norm at the First Saturday tournament in Budapest, which concluded this Dec. 15. Watch out for this lad.

This boy acquired his third and final norm on the same tournament that Mark Paragua also became GM. Yuriy Kuzubov was born on Jan. 26, 1990 and became a GM at the Alushta tournament this year at the age of 14 years, seven months and 12 days.

Next on line is Peter Leko of Hungary, who was born on Sept. 8, 1979. He became a GM at age 14 years, four months and 22 days. He predicted that he would become world champion and almost became one this year over Classical World Champion Vladimir Kramnik after they were tied, 7-7. According to the rules, Kramnik retained his crown. Peter is ranked No.6 in the world today.

The next youngest is Etienne Bacrot of France, born on Jan. 22, 1983 and became a GM at age 14 years and two months. He started playing at age four and when he defeated former world champion Vassily Smyslov at age 12, the latter said, “I thought I was playing a child but I am certain I was playing a grandmaster.” Etienne is currently No.11 in the latest Fide rankings.

Former Fide world champion Ruslan Ponomariov was born on Oct. 11, 1983 and became a GM at age 14 years and 17 days. He became the youngest world champion in Jan. 22, 2002 at the age of 18. He was the U-12 world champion in 1994 and 1995 and U-18 world champion in 1997. He is some sort of a maverick and presently is at odds with Fide and its president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. His current ranking is No.13 as a result of inactivity.

Azerbaijan’s pride is Teimour Radjabov, who was born on March 12, 1987 and became GM at age 14 years and 14 days. He reached the semifinals in the last World Championship in Tripoli, Libya and is considered a potential world champion. He is currently ranked No.40 in the world today.

Bu Xiangzhi is China’s contribution to this list and was born on Dec. 10, 1985.

He became a GM at age 13 years, 10 months and 13 days, and is ranked No. 90 in the latest Fide rankings.

From Norway comes Magnus Carlsen who was born on Nov. 1990 and became GM at age 13 years, three months and 27 days. He is being referred to as the Mozart of chess and was the youngest participant in the last World Championship in Libya.

Finally, at a frightening 12 years and seven months, Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine is the youngest ever to become GM. He was born on Jan. 12, 1990 and his parents never played chess, which means that he is a self-propelled dynamo. He also played in Libya.

VISITORS FROM MANILA AND OROQUIETA. It looks like Cepca will start next year’s chess activities with a bang as we are expecting our counterparts from Manila and Oroquieta to play with us and watch the Sinulog. We don’t have the format yet but as hosts we should roll out the red carpet, as they will be spending time and money to come here.

Fond of trivia? Visit and play everyday.