Saturday, October 29, 2005

Halloween gambit

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Gambits, where one side sacrifices material for an advance in development , are the most exciting and popular openings in chess.

Halloween is just around the corner and I’ll show you an opening that will definitely scare your opponents.

It was known in the late 19th century as the Mueller-Schultze gambit, but was “baptized” later as the Halloween gambit by Rainier Schenkler in his magazine, Randspringer, in December 1993. The name was chosen because anyone, including strong players, will be very surprised if it is used against them in tournaments.

Indeed the fourth move of white is shocking and scary. After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6, when black is expecting the normal 4.Bb5, white comes up with a surprising capture of the pawn on e5 (diagram}.

A certain Steffen Jacob read the article, and was deeply moved that he created Brause, a clone of the chess program Crafty , that played more than 3,000 Halloween gambit games in the internet from the 1996-98 and it scored 72 percent.

Brause showed in a lot of short games how deadly this gambit could be. One example: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Nc6 (this is one main line, the other one is 5 ..Ng6), 6.d5 Nb8 7.e5 Ng8 8.d6 c6 9.Bc4 f6 10.Qh5+ g6 11.exf6 Qxf6 12.Qe2+ Kd8 13.Ne4 and Black resigned.

For more examples of games using the Halloween gambit and how exciting it could be, read the article by Paul Keiser in Chessville and be you would be surprised, indeed.

CHESS PUZZLE. Solution to last week‘s puzzle: Nf3.There were 33 correct entries and after a raffle, here are the five winners: Markeno Czar Manzanares, Victor Aguilar Jr, Irene Sia, Paul Ceral and Rey Bitalac.

Claim your P100 prepaid card at Handuraw Cafe in Mabolo anytime in the afternoon up to 11:00pm.

Solve the following puzzle and win a prepaid card from our sponsor Corporate and Regulatory Group of Globe Telecom through Jerome Yntig- Vismin head .There are five winners of P100 card each.

Be reminded that only Globe subscribers can participate in this contest. Text your name and keymove to cell no. 0915-507-0286.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Dangerous moves and IBM’s Deep Blue

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

DANGEROUS Moves, released in 1984, is a movie about two different men competing for the World Chess Championship. One is a 52-year-old Jew, Akiva Liebskind (Michel Piccoli), while the other is a 35-year-old genius, Pavius Fromm (Alexander Arbatt), who defected to the West several years earlier.

Pavious’ obsession since childhood was to defeat Liebskind. Paranoid, he is convinced that his opponent is spying from every corner. In fact the KGB tries to sabotage Fromm, in order to discredit everyone who publicly opposes the Soviet system of government.

This Swiss film won an Oscar in 1984, for best foreign picture.

GAME OVER. Kasparov and the machine is a 2003 documentary of the fascinating match between the reigning world champion Garry Kasparov and IBM‘s Deep Blue Supercomputer, a “scientific experiment” which captured the imagination and attention of millions worldwide.

In the second game, Kasparov laid a trap that most computers fall for. Deep Blue did not fall for it and Kasparov accused IBM of using a human player during the game to increase its strategic strength. With a dramatic victory in Game 6, Deep Blue won its rematch with the champion 3.5-2.5.

Rated by its viewers as a 5-star, it was nominated for a 2003 International Documentary Association Award.

The Chess Players is a 1977 film by the famous director, Satyajit Ray, based on the short story by Munshi Premchand .

The film is set in 1856, and shows the life and customs of 19th century Islamic India, at the eve of the Indian rebellion of 1857.The British Resident of the East India Company (Richard Attenborough) had observed that the monarch of Lucknow seemed to be uninterested in government. He tried to manipulate events so he can annex the province.

Embroiled in a long running chess rivalry, two local noblemen (Sanjeev Kumar and Saaed Jaffrey) cannot be bothered on such minor issues, as to who is governing whom, and continue to play chess. Meanwhile, conditions in the Kingdom go from bad to worse.

CEPCA. Cagayan de Oro-based Manny Manzanares won the October edition of the monthly tournament of the Cebu Executives and Professional Chess Association last Sunday at the Stella Maris Seafarer Center in Pier 4. He was undefeated in five games, conceding only a draw to 13-year-old Jessa Balbona.

Second placer was the hard-luck Joe Atillo, who lost his last game to Manzanares after four straight wins. At third was Pepe Gador and fourth place went to Cy Balbanera. Jun Quidlat placed fifth.

CHESS PUZZLE. Solution to last week‘s puzzle 2: Nf5. There were 10 correct entries and after a raffle, here are the winners; Beth Arrogancia, Francisco Mahusay, Jason Cabahug. Florence Domantay and Gamaliel Vicente Jr.

Claim your prize at Handuraw Café (beside Kahayag) in Mabolo anytime in the afternoon up to 11p.m.

Solve the following puzzle and win a prepaid card from our sponsor, the Corporate and Regulatory Group- Vismin of Globe Telecom. There are five winners of P100 card each.

Be reminded that only Globe subscribers can participate . Text your name and keymove to cell no. 0915-507-0286..

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Chess movies 2; Topalov virtual champ

By Frank "Boy” Pestaño

One of the earliest movies featuring computer chess was 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968 .

In the movie, the computer Hal 9000, plays chess with one of the astronauts and announces a mate in two moves.

The position was based on a real game - -Roesch vs. Schlage -- played in Hamburg in 1910.

Another famous movie featuring chess, is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer‘s Stone. It involved life-size characters with Harry as a bishop, Ron as a knight and Hermione a rook. The final position, designed by IM Jeremy Silman, involved a sacrifice by Ron and a mate by Harry in two.

BRAINWASHED (1961). It is considered as the finest fictional work about chess .

The movie starts with Werner von Basil, (Curt Jergens), being helped on board a ship with people getting out of war-torn Europe. While onboard, he sees a game by a guy named Czentovic, the world champion, against several men.

Watching the game, he sees a blunder and an easy win by Czentovic about to be made. He intrudes and shows the group how to force a draw, impressing everyone and earning a challenge from Czentovic.

As the game starts, a flashback is shown about Basil’s life, and it shows him getting arrested by the Gestapo. A high-ranking officer, who thinks of himself as an intellectual, decides to break Werner without using any violence. Months go with endless questioning, isolation and no reading material allowed. Despite being disoriented, he manages to steal a book from a guard and later realizes it is a chess book.

He teaches himself by deduction and, over time, memorizes every game and its nuances. With no human contact, his only friends were Alekhine, Capablanca, Lasker and others.

We realize by now that he has escaped from a mental asylum. How does he fare against the champion? The answer gives us real food for thought.

World Championship. Viswanathan Anand won with black against Peter Leko in round 12, and is now tied with Peter Svidler, 1.5 points behind Vassily Topalov. Theoretically, there is a chance that one of them will catch up, although it will be very hard, as Topalov has never lost a game in this championship.

CHESS PUZZLE 2. This puzzle is sponsored by Globe Telecom, thru Jerome Yntig. Five winners will receive P100 Globe cards each and in case there are more, the cards will be raffled of.

Key move to last week’s puzzle: 1.Rf3. There were 22 players who answered correctly. After a raffle, in the presence of Cebu Executives and Professional Chess Association treasurer Ed Cabantug and Jun Montes, the following persons will receive the prizes. Jerry Calvo Jr, Arnel Cabanero, Florentino Galan Jr,Bong Ceballo and Elisa Cudal.

Claim your cards from Handuraw Café (beside Kahayag ) at Mabolo anytime after noon until 11 pm. Winners can only win once a month and only Globe users can join. Text your name and the keymove to cell no.0915-507-0286.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

World championships; top players and a puzzle

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

The World Chess Federation (Fide) has released its latest list of the top players in the world. The list includes the top women and top juniors as well as the top 10 federation members. The big story is that Mark Paragua is now officially a Grandmaster after a controversial wait of almost a year.

Top 10 Men. 1. Vishwanathan Anand (India, ELO 2788) 2.Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, 2782) 3.Peter Leko (Hungary, 2751) 4.Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2748) 4.Peter Svidler (Russia, 2740) 5.Vladimir Kramnick (Russia, 2739) 6.Judit Polgar (Hungary, 2735) 7.Etienne Bacrot (France, 2725) 8.Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2724) 9.Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 2720) 10.Michael Adams (England, 2718).

The “young lions” continued their climb to the top as Teimour Radjadov of Azerbaijan makes it above 2700 for the first time. Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov also of Azerbaijan gained 42 points and Pentala Harikrishna of India gained 28 points to place 28th and 31st respectively in the top 100. Another big gainer with 41 points is 21-yr-old Zviad Izoria of Georgia who won the World Open in Minneapolis early this year.

Top Women. 1.Judit Polgar (Hungary, 2735) 2.Zsuzsa Polgar (USA, 2577) 3.Jun Xie (China, 2573) 4.Humpy Koneru (India, 2540) 5.Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia, 2516) 6.Maia Chiburdanidze (Georgia, 2511) 7.Kateryna Lahno (Ukraine, 2509) 8.Yuhua Xu (China, 2502) 9.Antoaneta Stefanova, (Bulgaria, 2494) 10.Pia Cramling (Sweden, 2492)

Top Juniors. 1.Teimur Radjabov, (Azerian, 2704) 2.Shakhiyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2764) 3.P Harikrishna (India, 2673) 4.Andrei Volokitin (Ukraine, 2666) 5.Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2662) 6.Sergey Karjakin (Ukraine, 2658) 7.Artyom Timofeev (Russia, 2658) 8.Alexander Areshchenko (Ukraine, 2653) 9.David Navara, (Czechoslovakia, 2646) 10.Arkadij Naiditsch, (Germany, 2641)

Top Federations. 1.Russia, 2710 156/417 2.Ukraine, 2662 52/168 3.USA, 2622 60/97 4.Hungary, 2620 36/99 5.Armenia, 2619 17/22 6.France, 2619 29/67 7.Israel, 2617 33/40 8.Netherlands, 2606 18/55 9.Germany, 2603 61/186 10.China, 2601 18/22. 39. Philippines , 2489 5/21.

The ELO rating is the average of its top 10 players while the two numbers following that is their number of GMs and IMs. .
Top 10 Philippines. 1.Mark Paraqua 2596 2.Eugenio Torre 2535 3.Rogelio Antonio Jr. 2526 4.Rogelio Barcenilla 2503 5. Nelson Mariano 2466 6. Jayson Gonzales, 2464 7. Idelfonso Datu 2457 8. Yves Ranola 2455 9. Buenaventura Villamayor 2451 10. Enrique Paciencia 2441.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. In what is perhaps his greatest accomplishment ever, Veselin Topalov is on a run never seen in a major tournament in decades. He scored five wins and a draw in six games for a staggering performance rating of 3157. He has wins with the black pieces over Peter Leko, Alexander Morozevich, Peter Svidler and Judit Polgar. He also demolished Michael Adams and was winning over Vishy Anand before Anand escaped with a draw.

He probably needs only to draw his remaining games to become the undisputed champion of the world. Although I picked him at the start to win over the highly favored Anand and the rest, I never expected this kind of performance, really. He is leading his closest pursuers, Anand and Svidler, by two full points.

The World Championship is played in San Luis, Argentina from Sept. 27- Oct. 16.

Chess puzzle. Chess puzzles are fun and helps improve your game It is also rewarding as my sponsor, the Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Group of Globe Telecom, thru its Vis-min Head Jerome M. Yntig, is donating P100 prepaid cards to each correct answer. There will be five winners which will be published next Friday. The cards will be raffled if there are more than five correct answers. Also, as we will be coming out with a new puzzle every week, a winner can only win once a month.

Please take note that only Globe users can participate and win the prize. Text the key move to cell no. 0915-507-0286.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Anand favored to win finals; betting odds and statistics

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Viswanathan Anand has been picked by oddsmakers to win the championship currently ongoing in San Luis, Argentina. The betting site Betsson has given Anand a 35.7 percent probability to win, followed by Topalov at 23.2, Leko at 18.8, Svidler at 6.1, Morozevich at 5.4, Polgar and Adams at 4.9 and Kasimdzhanov at 2.

Translating into actual money, a $100 bet will win $280 if you bet on Anand, $420 for Topalov, $520 for Leko, $1,600 for Svidler, $2,000 for either Polgar or Adams and a hefty $5,000 for Kasimdzhanov.

Furthermore, the expert who should know best, Garry Kasparov, has gone on record that the trio (Anand, Topalov and Leko) has a 95-percent probability that the champion will come from them. This gives the rest only a five percent chance, which is ridiculous considering the past records and the strength of the players.

Remember the last Fide Championship? Kasimdzhanov came out of nowhere to best the favorites. Also, Alexander Khalifman and Ruslan Ponomariov were never considered by “experts” to win, yet they were Fide Champions back in 1999 and 2002, respectively.

In fact, Nigel Short disagrees with Kasparov. Considering that the trio has a 17-1 odds to win, he has publicly wagered a modest $100 to Kasparov to put his money where his mouth is. He relishes the prospect of winning $1,700 should any of the rest prevail.

According to Frederic Friedel of Chessbase, “Betsson – or more precisely the people who are placing wagers there – estimate the odds of one of the trio winning the event at 78.7 percent (with the betting margin).”

You, of course, cannot bet such a wager, but they would give you odds of 1.3 if you could. Conversely, the combined odds of one of the other five winning in the bettors’ opinion is 23.9 percent, and they would give you odds of 4.2. Which means that betting $100 would net you $420 – and that Kasparov would be giving Short unreasonable odds if he would indeed accept the wager that Nigel is offering him.

STATISTICS. There is, however, another set of statistics by mathematician Jeff Sonas. He has thoroughly analyzed the gaming history of the players concerned, the format of the championship (double-round robin) and has produced a different set of numbers.

According to his calculations, the combined chance of any of the five winning is 41 percent. He has considered the tendency of Leko to draw his games, and therefore, his chance to win this tournament is down, as the winner will certainly have a high plus score. In fact, Peter Svidler has a better percentage to win this tournament compared to Leko (12-11 percent) and Judit is right there with them with also with 11.

Sonas calculates that Anand has a 31 percent chance to win followed by Topalov at 17. Morozevich winning chance is at eight, Adams at seven and the lowest-rated player in the tournament, Kasimdzhanov, at three.

Another set of statistics Sonas calculated are the chances of various tiebreaks needed to win the title. He has determined the chance of having a clear winner after 14 rounds is 79 percent. Another result such as shared No.1 spot, which will be resolved without rapids via head-to-head criteria, has a chance of 12.5 percent.

Another possibility on a shared first place, resolved without rapids via number of wins criteria is six percent. Finally there is a 2.5 percent chance that more than two winners will share first place and will be resolved via tiebreaks.

BACKGROUND. For those who do not know the background of this World Championship, let me refresh you with this information.

The participants are 1) Vishy Anand, 35, India (Elo 2788) 2) Veselin Topalov, 30, Bulgaria (2788) 3) Peter Leko, 26, Hungary (2673) 4) Peter Svidler, 29, Russia (2738) 5) Judit Polgar, 29, Hungary (2735) 6) Michael Adams, 34, England (2719) 7) Alexander Morozevich, 28, Russia (2707) 8) Rustam Kasimdzhanov, 26, Uzbekistan (2670).

The Champion will receive $300,000, the second $140,000, third $100,000 and down the line. The tail-ender will get $50,000.

Format of the tournament is double-round robin with time controls of two hours for the first 40 moves, followed by one hour for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes with 30 seconds increment for all moves.

The first game was played last night. Anand won over Polgar in 41 moves of a Caro Khan, while Topalov had a close win over Leko in 40 moves of a Sicilian Najdorf. Svidler and Adams drew in 24 moves of a Petroff, likewise Kasimdzhanov and Morozevich in a Sicilian Najdorf in 54 moves.