Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pestaño: Kasparov retires from chess

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

GARRY Kasparov, arguably the greatest chess player in the history of the game, has announced his retirement from professional play. His career has spanned three decades – two of it at the top of the world.

Over the past several months he has been at odds with Fide over his reunification match with Fide champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov, which he has cancelled.

“When that happened I knew I was no longer a part of the chess world. I am a man of big goals. I have to achieve something. I no longer see any real goal in the world of chess,” Kasparov said.

Kasparov says he will devote more time to Russian politics. He is an outspoken critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin and an advocate of democracy, free press and human rights.

“As a chess player, I did everything I could, even more. Now I want to use my intellect and strategic thinking in politics. I will do everything in my power to resist Putin’s dictatorship. My opinion now is that the country (Russia) is headed down the wrong path now,” Kasparov said.

Garry Kimovich Kasparov was born Gary Weinstein in Baku, Azerbaijan USSR in 1963. He learned chess from his father who died in a road accident when Garry was seven. He changed his name to Kasparov, a Russian version of his mother’s maiden name, Kasparyan.

CHILD PRODIGY. He was a child chess prodigy, winning the USSR Junior Championship when he was 12 and the World Junior Championship at 16.

In 1984, he challenged Anatoly Karpov for the World Championship that was controversial. The match was a hard-fought battle that lasted four long months. Finally Fide president Florencio Campomanes cancelled the match citing health reasons as Karpov reportedly lost 22 pounds.

Kasparov was critical of the cancellation although he was behind in the match, 3-5. This started his feud with Campomanes that would eventually come to a head in 1993 with Kasparov‘s complete breakaway from Fide.

In the rematch in Moscow, Kasparov became the youngest world champion at the age of 22. He defended his crown several times, thrice against Karpov in London/Leningrad 1986, Seville 1987, which was tied and New York/Lyon 1990. He also won over Nigel Short in 1993 and Anand in 1995 under the aegis of the Professionals Chess Association but lost to Kramnik in 2000.

Kasparov is also famous for his matches against chess computers. He defeated Deep Blue in 1996, 4-2, but lost a year later to a newer, stronger version Deeper Blue, 2.5-3.5. That was highly publicized as Man versus Machine. Much later, he drew his games against Deep Junior and X3D Fritz.

He has written several books notably “His great predecessors series” about the life and games of the great players of the past: Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian Spassky, Reshevsky, Najdorf, Larsen and most importantly his views about Bobby Fischer.

Beyond his interest in chess, Kasparov is an accomplished mathematician and computer expert who speaks 15 languages. When asked who his successors would be, Kasparov ruled out the current generation of players naming instead and without conviction two teenagers, Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine and Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

MARCELO RUELAN MEMORIAL. Tomorrow is the start of the Marcelo “Loloy” Ruelan Memorial Chess tournament. Format is seven rounds Swiss with a time control of 20 minutes for each player and 10 seconds increment. Venue is at the Family Youth Chess Center along Jakosalem St. It will start at 1 p.m.

The final four rounds will be played the following day.

Loloy is a Hall of Famer whose devotion to chess was legendary and so was his sense of humor.

CEPCA MARCH TOURNAMENT. Our monthly tournament will be on March 26 as this is the only suitable date. The next day is Easter Sunday and this weekend is the Ruelan Memorial. Time and venue will be relayed to you personally by our president Jun Olis.

PUZZLE. The puzzle “The chess tournament” was really difficult. Although I received several answers, only two were able to get it correctly. I already mentioned the first one, Dr. Arthur Padilla of Iowa, USA. The second is Imelda Padilla Roberson and she is the elder sister of Arthur. She is a mother of two girls and works as a financial controller in Anniston, Alabama. She graduated from the University of San Carlos with a degree in accounting, summa cum laude. No wonder, intelligence runs in the family

I’ll have another puzzle in the first or second week of April.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Bobby Fischer in grave peril

By Frank "Boy" Pestaño

THE latest news about Bobby is that he has been in solitary confinement last week due to an argument over a hardboiled egg! It seem that Bobby was asking for an extra egg and there was an argument and a scuffle after which Fischer was hurled alone into a cell lit and monitored 24 hours for five days last week. The more than seven months in detention has made Bobby irritable and angry at the Japanese authorities.

Anyway, Bobby’s supporters in Tokyo have been celebrating this week as his passport from Iceland has just arrived. Last Wednesday, March 9, was Bobby’s 62nd birthday and his supporters presented him a birthday gift, a plane ticket to Iceland. They say that Bobby will eventually beat the extradition rap against him and finally settle in Iceland where he will live happily ever after.

Right? Wrong. The problem is a three-letter word: IRS or the Internal Revenue Service.

They say that you can probably get away if you are in trouble with any government office like the police, the immigration department, the FBI or even the President of the United States if you have smart lawyers. But getting away from the IRS? The proverbial camel has a better chance to pass thru the eye of the needle than fool the Internal Revenue Service. It is feared by all lawless Americans everywhere. Even if Bobby will be in Iceland, he will still be tried in absentia.

In an article in Chesscafe Rene Chun, a New York-based journalist has outlined the peril of Bobby’s status now, which even is he is not aware of. And if anybody will tell him, it will probably destroy his fighting spirit.

Right now the IRS Criminal Investigation Division is hard at work preparing the case against Bobby. The paperwork is being completed, a grand jury has been selected, and interviews are being made while subpoenas have already been issued.

According to Rene Chun, “The first court date for the Fischer-IRS case is slated on April 5, 2005 in room 6101 of the Nix Federal courthouse in Philadelphia.” Why Philadelphia? This is where expatriates are directed to file their 2555s. A 2555 is for a US citizen who earns income abroad but who does not reside in the USA. In short, a person just like Bobby.

Bobby has been very open on his financial status. In an interview over Philippine radio, he says he has over $3.5 million in a Swiss bank – the United Bank of Switzerland. In his own words “plus, plus of course a lot of it is tied up in stocks, bonds, gold, metals. I’ve got platinum, the whole bit. I’ve got about $900,000 in the money market, available 24 hours.”

CRIMINAL. What makes it more perilous for Bobby is that the case is being tried as “criminal” rather than civil. If found guilty he would lose both money and freedom – five years for each criminal count, which means a long time indeed in a federal penitentiary. This will kill Bobby, his spirit, his will and his physical well- being.

Of course, there is a statute of limitation on “an attempt to evade or defeat tax” in six years, which might be inferred that Bobby is in the clear. However, as he has said, he has investments which are generating income, taxable income, which he has not paid. It is estimated that he earned about $3.65 million in his rematch against Boris Spassky in 1972, paid for by Jezdimir Vasiljevic.
According to Chun, “an IRS agent may, at this moment, be pouring over a voluminous computer printout documenting Fischer’s entire banking history, including the interest yield on various accounts, high tech versus blue chip, ATM withdrawals and whether he has free checking.”

High-priced lawyers have utmost respect for these sleuths whom they call “accountants with convictions” or “ accountants with a mission.”

As my hero and idol of countless millions of chess players all over the world, let us hope that Bobby will be left to live his remaining years in peace in Iceland, where he will be treated as a hero and not in the ignominy of a prison cell like a common felon.

LINARES 2005. Kasparov has been on a rampage in the second half of the tournament with an incredible performance rating of 2915 after five wins and six draws. But the surprise of the tournament is Topalov, and if he beats Kasparov today, the last round, he will win the tournament.

Kasimdzhanov amd Vallejo Pons have both collapsed in the second half of the tournament while Anand and Leko have held their ground.

PUZZLE. There were several persons who submitted their answers on the puzzle “the chess tournament,” but only one was able to get the correct answer – Dr. Arthur Padilla of Iowa, USA. As I’ve said this was a really difficult one.

Saturday, March 5, 2005

5 Stars Puzzle: The Chess Tournament

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

LOGIC problems are entertaining opportunities to practice thinking clearly and to enjoy the fruits of such activity. Here is an excellent puzzle, composed by William Pelletier, which will surely test your solving skills. If you get stuck and you still persist on answering this puzzle, then tips for solving logic problems may be helpful. I can e-mail this to you or, if you prefer, I can send you the correct answers.

I will be surprised if someone out there will be able to get the correct solutions. This is definitely a killer and only those with high enough IQ should attempt to solve this puzzle.

During the final round of Georgia’s All-State Chess Tournament, the eventual top four finishers in the tournament played their final game against four different opponents. The tournament boards were numbered 1-50 to facilitate location and identification of games. Each of the top four played a different opening in this last game. Use the clues below to determine the first and last names of the first through fourth place winners of the tournament, the chess opening each used in his last game, and the number of the chess board on which he played his final game.

1. Mr. Hart played the King’s Indian Defense.

2. Steve placed ahead of the one who used the Ruy Lopez opening.

3. The top four players were Larry, Mr. Korn, the contestant who opened with Queen’s Gambit, and a player who played on an even-numbered board.

4. Mr. Rose finished exactly two places ahead of the player on board 31.

5. The number of the third place winner’s board is at least 10 higher or at least 10 lower than that of Mr. Baird.

6. The number of the board of the contestant who placed immediately after Bert is exactly

15 higher than the number of the board played by the one who placed immediately before Tom.

7. The lowest board number of the top four finishers was exactly half the number of the board played by the one who placed immediately after the one who played the Giuoco Piano opening.

8. The highest board number was exactly eight higher than the board number of the man, who finished exactly two places after Bert.

UNIFICATION TOURNAMENT. In a surprise move, Fide president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has announced that a special championship tournament will be played in October this year to determine once and for all the undisputed champion of the world.

Under the latest plan, Fide champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan, his runner-up Michael Adams of England, Peter Leko of Hungary, Vishwanathan Anand of India, Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and Russians Vladimir Kramnick, Garry Kasparov and Alexander Mozorevich will play two round-robin rounds to decide the world title.

This will supersede the Prague Agreement and the projected Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov match, which Kasparov cancelled last month.

“A historical decision was made, that will ease the nervousness of the chess world,” Ilyumzhinov said after the federation presidential council meeting in Tbisili, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

The venue will likely be in Elista, Kalmykia but several other options are being considered. Prize money for the event will be $500,000 or even higher. All the participants will have to sign up by March 15 or risk being replaced.

Given the current situation and considering the mood of some of the players and money involved, I believe this proposal will be rejected.

LINARES 2005. As expected, Garry Kasparov leads this unofficial world championship with two wins and four draws after seven rounds. He defeated Michael Adams and Vallejo Pons and drew with Peter Leko, Anand, Topalov and Kasimdzhanov, who has been labeled “The Great Wall of Tashkent” after drawing all his games.

Anand and Topalov are half a point behind. The whipping boy of this tournament has been the Spaniard Vallejo Pons with three losses and three draws.

CEPCA FEBRUARY TOURNAMENT. We again had another surprise winner in our monthly tournament for February. An invited lady varsity player from University of San Jose-Recoletos, Therese Gonzales, busted the egos of the members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) by scoring five straight wins after an initial loss to garner five points in a tie with Jerry Rallos. However, Therese was the winner with a superior tiebreak score. Third place went to new member Jongjong Melendez.

There were 30 participants including new members Luis Sabar, Jason Ginobiagon and Jade Garson. Another lady player was high school senior Jenny Rose Palomo. The children of Felix Balbona – Marc and Jessa – also played and won a few games among themselves. Also a new member is Jun Quidlat, who joined our tournament for January but did not play this time.