Saturday, November 26, 2005

Final countdown to the SEA Games

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

The chess competition in the Southeast Asian Games will start this Sunday at the Tagaytay Convention Center. Eight gold medals are up for grabs: Standard Team, Standard Singles, Rapid Team, Rapid Singles and Blitz for Men and Standard Team, Standard Singles and Blitz for Women.

GM Rogelio Antonio spearheads the RP team and will be in contention for five gold medals: Standard Team and Singles, Rapid Team and Singles and Blitz.

The other players of the Standard Team and Singles are Eugene Torre, Oliver Dimakiling, Oliver Barbosa, and Ronald Dableo. Comprising the Rapid Team are Nelson Mariano II, Barlo Nadera and Petronio Roca. Jayson Gonzales will compete in the Blitz Singles category.

The members of the powerhouse Vietnamese team are Nguyen Ahn Dung, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Le Quong Liem, Ly Hong Nguyen, Dinh Duc Trong, Tu Hoang Thong, Duong The Anh, Nguyen Thi Thanh An.

Not to be underestimated is Singapore, the fast-rising star in the Asean region. Its members are Wu Shaobin, Wong Meng Kong, Goh Wei Ming, Goh Koon Jong Jason.

Myanmar, whose average Elo (Top 10 players) is higher than the Philippines might be the surprise of the tournament. Their players are U Wynn Zaw Htun, U Myo Naing, Zaw Oo, Phyo Chit, Kyaw Lin Naing,

Counting on their experience are the veteran stars of Indonesia namely Susanto Megaranto, Edhi Handoko, Nathanael Situru, Tirto, Taufik Halay, Danny Juswanto Graha, Tirla Chandra Purnamo.

Trying their best not to be underdogs are the Malaysian woodpushers Mas Hafizulhilmi Agus, Nicholas Chan, Wong Zi-Jing, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng,Lim Chuin Hoong, Marcus Chan, Anas Nazreen Bakil,

Also the Top 3 players in the region, Vietnam’s Dao Thein Hai, Indonesia’s Utut Adianto and the Philippines’ Mark Paragua, are not competing as they will be playing in the World Cup in Moscow.

CEPCA INDUCTION. The Induction of the new set of officers of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association and Dinner Show scheduled on Nov.27 has been postponed to Dec. 11 to coincide with the Grand Finals and Christmas party of the club. For more info contact Jun Olis at 341-3661.

CHESS PUZZLE solution to last week‘s puzzle: Ke2. Only four entries got the correct answer and they are Richard Ching, Ronald Hamac, Alexis Pilario and Eugenio Rocha. Claim your prize of Globe P100 prepaid card each from Handuraw Cafe in Mabolo anytime in the afternoon up to 11 p.m. My sponsor, the Corporate and Regulatory Group of Globe Telecom through Jerome Yntig will award a P100 prepaid card each to the five correct answers. Be reminded that only Globe Subscribers can participate in this contest. Text your name and the keymove to 0915-507-0286. The key to the solution is finding the surprising second move. This puzzle by Samuel Lloyd has been declared as “one of the world`s most famous puzzle”

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Chess-playing accountants in Cebu

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

In previous articles, I featured chess-playing lawyers and engineers, and this time, it’s the turn of the accountants.

First on the list is one of the founders of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess association (Cepca), Gerry Tomakin, who is one of my closest friends and constant sparring partner in chess. He was previously connected with the Philippine Steam Navigation and later with Aboitiz Shipping, which is a hint that he is now in the eighties. He was a Philippine scout during the war and is now an American citizen.

OLD HAND. A former top honcho of Aboitiz Shipping and my classmate in grade school is Kiting Moro, who plays at Deep Blue Cafe in SM City. I still have to play Kiting, although the last time we met, during the Colegio del Santo Niño alumni homecoming, he said he wants to play with me.

It seems there are a lot of accountant-chessplayers in the Aboitiz Group of Companies, among them Alvin Arco, vice president of the Power Group, Jimmy Bacalso, assistant vice president of the Construction Group, and Cepca member Fred Sandalo, who has retired and is one of the top players of Cepca.

Chessplaying brothers are Conceso “Boy” Balbona of Pepsi-Cola, and the incoming treasurer of Cepca for 2005-06 Felix Balbona, father of the famous Balbona chess-playing kids who are dominant in the kiddies division in the local scene.

A long time Cepca member is Jun Ortiz, who is the auditor of Gaisano Main and Countrymall. Another good player is Alexander Obenza.

Private practitioners are Celeste “Dodong” Llenos, Rafael Perez and Ruel Senorin. Good players are Hersey Bastian of Pamocor and Manuel Anore, who is with Virginia Farms.

A new member of Cepca is Ivan Quijano, Felix Balbona’s colleague at the BIR. Another accountant, Filtro Galan, plays for San Miguel.

Formerly very active in the local chess scene but now based in the United States is Woman National Master Susan Itaas, who sponsors local tournaments from time to time. Another one is Art Cortes, also US-based.

Two very good players are Rodrigo Ababat, who plays master strength, and NM Ben Macapaz, my classmate in high school, who acquired his title in the famous Philippine Open tournament in 1972, where Bombi Aznar and Loloy Ruelan also became masters. Ben is connected with the Sacred Heart-Jesuit. Among those who participated in that tournament was Art Ynclino, a Cepca original.

I am sure this is only a partial list of chess-playing accountants and just like lawyers and engineers, their training makes them good players.

The monthly tournament of the club will be this Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Stella Maris Seafarer‘s Center in Pier 4 at 1 p.m.

Since this is the last tournament prior to the Grand Finals in December, members are urged to attend since we will also have a short meeting to discuss the coming induction of the new officers and members of the board of trustees on Nov. 27.

INDUCTION. To fund the induction as well as the Grand Finals tournament in December, we will also have a dinner show on Nov. 27 at the Handuraw Learning and Leisure Cafe in Mabolo. There will be two live bands. More details will be discussed during the meeting.

Solution to last week’s puzzle: Qd6. There were 43 correct entries and after a raffle. Here are the five winners; Paul Ceral, James Bermas, John Francis Balbona, Arlene Lao and Roger Tano.

Claim your P100 Globe prepaid card from Handuraw Cafe in Mabolo in the afternoon up to 11 p.m. The chess puzzle will resume next week.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

‘Crabby opening’ vs. a ‘hippo’s defense’

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

There are literally hundreds of openings and variations in chess, some quite popular like the Ruy Lopez, Sicilian, English and the French, but there are also the unsound, ridiculous and not necessarily bad openings that are named after animals.

Barnes defense - Fried Fox variation: 1.a4 e5 2.h4Crab Opening: 1.a4 e5 2.h4 Elephant Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 Hippopotamus Defense: 1.e4 Nh6 2.d4 g6 3.c4 English Orangutan: 1.c4 Nf6 2.b4Rat: 1.d4 d6 Take note of these openings so you can improve your chess IQ.

CHESSMATES. Fellow columnist Manny Oyson wrote about the newest magazine in town, Chessmates, that featured new Grandmaster Mark Paragua on the cover, and had an article about chess patron Bombi Aznar written by Oyson and the 64 Golden men of chess.

Bombi gave me a copy incidentally, and I was impressed by the layout and contents. This is certainly a brave venture by Dr. Jenny Mayor, who contacted Jun Olis and me prior to its publication.

Jun told me that I was nominated to be one of the “golden men” but I, of course, refused because I believe that I don’t belong to the same category as Bombi, Boojie Lim or Florencio Campomanes. Jun was also nominated, being the president of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca), but he also declined.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to future issues of Chessmates.

DINNER SHOW. Cepca will sponsor a dinner show at the Handuraw Cafe this month as part of its fund-raising campaign and to improve the camaraderie among its members. All chess makes Jack a dull boy.

We will have three live bands courtesy of Handuraw, a five-course meal excluding lechon, which is donated by treasurer Ed Cabantug, and lots of beer -- all for only P500. Each member will be required to bring a companion and will be assessed P1000 - not bad, as we guarantee you will get your money’s worth.

Cepca president Jun Olis, will contact each member, and the proceeds will be used for our grand finals in December.

CHESS PUZZLE. Solution to last week’s puzzle:Bc6. There were 35 correct entries and after a raffle, here are the five winners: Henry Prajes, Ramon Rojas, Tisha Twinkle Sanchez, Sai Yue Wan and Evan Ybañez.

Claim your P100 prepaid card each at Handuraw Cafe in Mabolo anytime in the afternoon up to 11 p.m.

Solve the following puzzle and win a prepaid card from my sponsor, the Corporate and Regulatory Group of Globe Telecom through Jerome Yntig, Vismin head. There will be five winners of P100 card.

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