Friday, January 27, 2006

Tate, Reagan and a religious hypocrite

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Going over my files, I came across a list of celebrity chess players categorized according to lifestyle and profession. Some are categorized as musicians such as Philidor, scientists such as Albert Einstein and entertainers such as Humprey Bogart and Sting.What caught my attention was the group of so-called “sinners.” Here they are.

1) Charles Manson – The most infamous serial killer in the United States. The first five murders are known as the “Tate” murders that occurred in a house in Los Angeles. Steven Parent, Abigael Folger and Voytek Fryskowski were found stabbed and shot to death. Abigael was stabbed 28 times and Voytek 51 times.

The bodies of actress Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring were found hanging by their neck. Tate, who was eight months pregnant at that time, was stabbed 16 times.

The next two murders are known as the “LaBianca” murders. Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were found stabbed to death in their home; Leno with a knife found protruding from his body, while Rosemary was stabbed 41 times.

Charles Manson has been denied parole 10 times. His last denial was in April 2002. His next parole hearing is scheduled for next year.

2) John Hinckley Jr. – He nearly killed President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Acquitted of the crime as he was judged mentally ill, he is now being permitted unsupervised visits within the Washington metropolitan area away from his mental facility.

What is not well known is that his father, a Texas oilman, is a very close friend of George H. W. Bush. The two families were frequent dinner companions. He lobbied very hard to get fellow oilman George H. W. Bush the Republican nomination for president in 1980. Although they both failed, they got the next best thing: a “heartbeat away from the presidency,” the vice-presidency of the United States.

George H. W. Bush would later be elected president of the United States and so would his son George W., the current US president.

3) Claude Bloodgood – A weird chapter in the history of chess ended when Bloodgood died in 2001while serving a life sentence in prison. In the 1970s to the ’90s, he was one of America’s top chess players and played thousands of games by mail from his maximum security jail. Here is a report on how he killed his mother in 1969.

“Bloodgood jumped her, beat her head with a screwdriver, strangled her with his hands, smothered her with a pillow, rolled her body in a porch rug, then drove 70 miles and gently laid her corpse along a wooded road, placing a pillow under her battered head.”

Incredibly, thanks to his chess prowess, guards let him out to play in chess tournaments. His escape in 1974 led to the resignation of Virginia’s director of prisons.

4) Rev. Harold Davidson – Had he been alive today and a Filipino, he would be like some of our politicians. He was sneaky, self important, humorless, religious, and utterly incapable of anybody else’s opinion. His own son called him “mad, quite mad.”

In the evenings, he would pester teenage girls and was banned from backstage theaters for leering at the dressing rooms of half-naked actresses. He was also banned from most of London’s tea shops for his practice of sniffing at waitresses.

In 1932, he was defrocked in a trial that was highly publicized but surprisingly got a sympathetic view from the public. He was a religious hypocrite like no other.

CEPCA. The January tournament of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association will be held this Sunday at Stella Maris Center starting at 2 p.m.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Super Grandmasters in Corus

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

The first mega tournament this year is being staged at the North Sea resort of Wijk Aan Zee,Holland, from Jan.13 - 29. It is now known as the Corus Chess tournament after its sponsor, which is a major steel manufacturing company in Holland accounting for 10 percent of EU production.

It is divided into three groups. The first group is mostly 2700s players and also features the most promising players. The second group are super grandmasters or those over 2600 and the third section is dominated by Dutch players.

Defending 2005 champion is Peter Leko of Holland in Group A while Group B was won by Boy Wonder, Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine, who was only 15-years-old that time. Now he is playing in Group A, the youngest to play in that group.

After four rounds, Anand and Veselin Topalov are leading with three points each. Ivanchuk and Gelfand are joint second with 2.5 points, Michael Adams, Levon Aronian, Peter Leko,Karjakin and Mamedyarov are all tied at two points each .Sokolov, Tiviakov, Bacrot and Van Wely have 1.5 points and the tailender is Gata Kamsky,who is playing after a long lay-off.

Significant results so far are Adams‘ win over World champion Veselin Topalov, Aronian’s loss to Ivanchuk, Karjakin’s win over Kamsky and the no-loss records of Mamedyarov, Leko and Anand.

I would not be surprised if either Anand or Topalov will win the tournament although Leko is always dangerous and Ivanchuk if “on” can compete with the very best.

Prior to the tournament, a survey was conducted by the website ,Chessbase, as to who would be the probable winner of Wijk Aan Zee. Here are the results from more than 2,500 respondents.

It is a tribute to Karjakin that there are some chess enthusiasts who pick him as a probable winner and no one expects Adams to win.

In Group B, Dortmund winner Arkadi Naiditsch is leading with 3.5 points after four rounds, followed by Vescovi ,Navara and Carlsen with 3 points each.

Motylev ,Kuneru and Almasi are at 2.5 and Jobava solo at two points.

Tailenders are European Women champion Katyrena Lahnowith with only a single draw, Smeets and Stellwagen.

I would not be surprised if 15-year-old Magnus Carlsen will win this group and cement his position as the heir apparent of Garry Kasparov. Kuneru Humpy is also in top form and is special as she is a girl from India and only 16.

It is apparent that the players are getting younger through the years and they are already competing with the best of them.

CEPCA. The Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association will hold its first “members only” tournament this year at the Stella Maris Seaman Center on Sunday, at 2 p.m.

Format for this year’s monthly tournaments have been revised. Instead of being barred from future tournaments, monthly winners can continue participating in subsequent monthly tournaments. As usual all the monthly winners will compete in the Grand Finals in December.

In the event that a member will win two or more monthly tournaments the second placers will qualify for the Grand Finals.

Also, a scoring system will be in place and the top 15 players will receive special prizes at year end. The scores will be based on their monthly results.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The top child chess prodigies of all time

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Last year, we came out with a list of the youngest grandmasters in history and we are revising this list due to the entry of new names. Child prodigies are a well-known phenomenon in the game and the latest is from India, who got his first GM norm last Jan.6 with a performance rating of 2568 finishing 16th in a field of 106 players in the traditional Hastings tournament. Parimarjan Negi is only 12 years old, born Feb.

9 1993, and became the youngest International master in July last year.

The chess world always looked with great expectations on these gifted children. Some of them have become world champions, while a great number failed to achieve what was expected of them in adulthood.

We are, of course, familiar with our Wesley So, who is the current co-champion of the world in the 12 and under category. Also, Vietnam’s gold medalist in the last Southeast Asian games in Tagaytay City was Nguyen Ngoc Troung Son, who is only 15 years old.

CAPABLANCA. Famous child prodigies are Jose Raul Capablanca of Cuba and Samuel Reshevsky of the US, who were already good players at the age of 4.

Other well known child prodigies are Gary Kasparov, perhaps the strongest player ever in chess, Nigel Short, a challenger to Gary Kasparov in 1992, Gata Kamsky, who had an elo rating of 2650 at age 16; Michael Adams, who became a GM at 17; Luke Mcshane, who won the World under 10 at age 8; Josh Waitzkin, whose life was filmed in the movie “In search of Bobby Fischer’ and the girls Kateryna Lahno, who became the youngest WGM in history at 12 years and 4 months and Alexandra Kosteniuk, reputedly as beautiful as the young Elizabeth Taylor.

The rest of the list includes Francisco Vallejo Pons, who became a GM at age 16; Viswanathan Anand who is currently rated number 2 and a former world champion ;Mark Bluvstein who became an IM at 13 and GM at 16, Pentala Hrikrishna GM at 16; Anatoly Karpov who became GM at 18 and went on to become a great world champion; Joel Lautier of France, Gaston Needleman who competed in the last World Cup; Anton Taminshay who won World under 8 at age 7, Murugan Thiruchelvam the youngest English chess player with a rating at age 9 and who gained the respect of Garry Kasparov in a simultaneous exhibition.

MORPHY. The great Boris Spassky, whom Bobby Fischer beat in 1972 in the match of the century, was a true child prodigy and so was Paul Morphy, 1837-1884, who won 3-0 over Johann Lowenthal at age 12.

Peter Winston, born March 18,1958, was an American player and former US Junior champion who, after a poor performance in 1977, disappeared mysteriously and is presumed to have committed suicide.

The reasons why there have been younger titled players is because the number of grandmasters have increased tremendously over the years and the children have competed in a wide variety of national and international chess events.

In an article in Chessbase, Frederic Friedel have compiled the youngest ever grandmasters in chess and the year they became GM.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Chess jokes to greet The Year of the Dog

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

It's good luck to start the New Year with some sense of humor. Here are some collected jokes from the Internet that will tickle your funny bone.

A group of chess enthusiasts had checked into a hotel, and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse.

“But why?” they asked, as they moved off.

“Because,” he said, “I can’t stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

APPOINTMENT. A chess master died - after a few days, a friend of his heard a voice; it was him!

“What’s it like, where you are now,” he asked.

“What do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news.”

“Tell me the good news first.”

“Well, it’s really heaven here. There are tournaments and blitz sessions going on all the time and Morphy, Alekhine, Lasker, Tal, Capablanca, Botvinnik, they’re all here, and you can play them.”

“Fantastic!” the friend said, “and what is the bad news?”

“You have Black against Capablanca on Saturday.”

In a park people come across a man playing chess against a dog. They are astonished and say:

“What a clever dog!”

But the man protests:

“No, no, he isn’t that clever. I’m leading by three games to one!”

The next joke is contributed by Atty. Ed Mayol

Question: Sino ang first chess grandmaster sa Asia? Clue: Ang apelyedo niya ay kapangalan nga isang piyesa sa chess set.
A - Carol King?

Hindi. Mas mababa pa sa King

A. - Al Quinn?

Hindi. Mas mababa pa sa Queen

A - Bishop Bacani.

Hindi pa rin. Mas mababa pa sa Bishop

A - Johnny Midnight (Knight).

Hindi. Mas mababa pa sa Knight.

A- Ahhhh si Anthony Pons

Hay naku, nabangit mo na ang lahat nang piyesa sa chess, maliban sa isa...... Isa nalang ang natira..

A - Ahhhhhh alam ko na.......... Si Sylvia de la Torre!!!!!

Q. Why can’t Episcopalians play Chess?

A. They don’t know the difference between a Bishop and a Queen

CHESS BAN. The Berkeley Board of Education voted last night to ban the game of Chess from all of its elementary, junior
high and high schools. The board claims that Chess has a negative influence on students because of the backwards and outdated thinking that was responsible for creating the game.

One board member compiled a list of seven grievances against Chess.

1. Chess is irrelevant to our society because it was created by dead white guys.

2. Chess encourages racism by having a ‘war’ between a white army and a black army.

3. Chess reinforces current racist tendencies in our society by always having the white army move first.

4. Chess glorifies war.

5. Chess oppressively reinforces heterosexual stereotypes. It does this by forcing each army to have a king and a queen and by not allowing the game to be played with either two kings or two queens.

6. Chess is guilty of breaking the separation of church and state by allowing a bishop to be a belligerent in war.

7. Chess destroys self-esteem. When children play the game, one always loses. Losing causes a child to feel dumb and inadequate.

“There is no place in our society for a monstrous game like Chess. Chess is dangerous. Chess is destructive. Chess teaches racial and sexual oppression. Chess has got to go!

Happy New Year!