Friday, March 17, 2006

Tsuneishi vs. Cepca; World Women finals

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association will play a goodwill match with Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu) Inc. in Balamban tomorrow as part of its program to promote chess in Cebu.

All members will assemble at Handuraw Cafe in Mabolo at 9:30 a.m. and leave for Balamban at exactly 10 a.m. courtesy of a bus supplied by Cepca honorary member and adviser Bombi Aznar. We will have lunch at Balamban hosted by Cepca member Mat Matuco. The games will start at 1 p.m.

The match will consist of 20 boards and the time control is active – meaning each player will have 30 minutes each to finish the game. Each player will play two games handling black and white pieces.

The players of Cepca who have expressed interest in participating are Ben Dimaano, Jobannie Tabada, Dante Arguelles, Richard Abangan, Norway Lara, Bong San Pascual, Mike Banibane, Jonard Labadan, Rene Casia, Jun Olis, Boy Tumulak, Felix Balbona, Percival Feil, Jerry Rallos, Jeffrey Solis, Henry Cariat, Hermes Ibon, Jade Garzon, Manny Manzanares, Jun Kidlat, Danny Pestaño, Boy Pestaño, Felijan Selencio and Mandy Baria.

Going with the group are arbiters Marvin Ruelan and Bob Tojong.

After the match, we will be given a short tour of the facilities and enlightened as to how big ships are made.

WORLD WOMEN CHAMPIONSHIP. The world championship is being held by Fide in Ekaterinburg, Russia on March 10-27 and consists of 64 players led by defending champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria. The games are being played under the knockout two-games format. Two rounds have already been played.

The first round saw some of the top players losing their matches. Almira Skripchenko, winner of the strongest tournament of all time, went down to virtual unknown Jovanka Houska of England; while Elisabeth Pahtz of Germany, the World Youth champion, lost to Peng Zhaoqin of the Netherlands and Kateryna Lahno of Ukraine, the European champion, was defeated by Karen Zapata of Peru.

Advancing to Round 2 are the top favorites: reigning champion Stefanova over Amina Mezioud of Algeria, Koneru Humpy of India over Tuduetso Sabure of Botswana, Russian champion Alexandra Kosteniuk over Natalia Khoudgarian of Canada, former World champion Maia Chiburdanidze over Ingris Rivera of Colombia and China’s Xu Yuhua over Xuan Thanh Khiet Hoang of Vietnam.

Round 2 saw the elimination of the highest-ranked player in the tournament, GM Koneru Humpy, by France’s Marie Sebag. GM Pia Cramling of Sweden also lost to rising star Peng Zhaoqin of the Netherlands.

The most surprising result was the loss by defending champion Stefanova to Iweta Radziewicz of Poland. She lost both the rapid games after both won a game each under the standard control.

Former world-champion Maia Chiburdnidze and glamour girl Alexandra Kosteniuk won their matches as well as China’s Xu Yuhua and 12-year-old Hou Yifan, who scored 3 ½ out of four.

LINARES. The most prestigious tournament and unofficial world championship of the year was won by Armenia’s Levon Aronian with a win over the front-running Peter Leko of Hungary in the last round. It was the second straight loss by the disappointed Leko, having lost to Fide World champion Veselin Topalov in the previous round after leading since Round 1.

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