Saturday, May 21, 2005

Judit Polgar in world championship

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

FIDE has announced that the world championship will finally push through in San Luis, Argentina this September with the following selected players: world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan, his runner-up in Libya Michael Adams of England, world No.1 Vishwanathan Anand of India, Nos.2 and 3 Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Peter Leko of Hungary, Alexander Morozevich and Peter Svidler both of Russia, and what a great surprise and achievement, Judit Polgar of Hungary.

This is the first time that a woman will contend for the world championship.

All the players have confirmed their participation in the tournament. The champion will receive $300,000 and the last placer $50,000 out of a total purse of $1 million.

Originally nominated for this championship were Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik but both players have declined. Kasparov has already announced his retirement, while Kramnik has given the flimsiest of reasons.

Kramnik is the current classical champion, however his title is now dubious with the retirement of Kasparov and the cancellation of the Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov match. He was supposed to meet the winner of this match to unify the world title under the terms of the Prague Agreement. He should realize that the Prague Agreement is dead and that the current situation calls for an entirely new ballgame.

NO DRAWS. The reason I admire former world champions Wilhem Steinitz and Bobby Fischer are their fighting spirit and their abhorrence for draws.

The chances of seeing a draw by Steinitz is one percent and the average number of moves in a drawn game by Fischer is over 42 moves, way over the other champions.

The M-Tel Masters tournament is now underway in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is a category 20 with the players having an average Elo of 2744. The players are Kramnik(2753), Anand (2785), Topalov (2778), Adams (2737), Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine (2695) and Polgar (2732).

There is a special rule in place in this tournament – draws are not allowed by mutual agreement between the players. Only technical draws such as a perpetual check or book draws may be given by the arbiter.

In spite of this rule, there were 10 draws out of 12 games after four rounds! The action picked up a bit in round five with two won games out of three and round six turned out to be a slugfest as all the three games were decided.

The surprise leader after round six is Ponomariov with 3.5 points and Anand at the rear with 2.5. This is a double round robin tournament, which means every player plays every other player twice.

NO GAMES. I received an email from Xerxes Anthony S. Calvo ( requesting if I can feature games in my column so they could be played and analyzed by my readers. This is not the first time that I received such requests as ever since the start I have not featured any game whatsoever. The reasons are both personal and practical.

First, although I am a confirmed chess addict (I have played over 15,000 games in the internet not counting club and tournaments) I am just an average club player. I don’t have the capability to annotate games by grandmasters and the average player is not interested in games that are not annotated.

Second, most columns feature a game or two plus maybe a chess puzzle and I want to be different. Third, I want my column to be read not only by chess players but also by those who are just starting to play the game or even by non-players. These people are interested in news and chitchat, not in games.

I believe that a columnist in order to effective should in his own way increase the circulation of the paper by having a wider readership.

Anyway thanks Xerxes for your kind words and more power to you also.

CEPCA MAY TOURNAMENT. Jun Olis would like to inform all members that our monthly tournament is on Sunday at the Stella Maris Seafare’s Center in pier 4 starting at 2 p.m. New members are welcome to join.

I heard that Therese Gonzales, who sometimes plays as guest in Cepca tournaments, has been given a chess scholarship at the Ateneo de Manila University this coming school year. If true, my congratulations as an Ateneo scholarship is very much sought by athletes.

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