Friday, May 12, 2006

Chess-playing siblings

By Frank ‘Boy’ Pestaño

A chess-playing parent almost always teaches his children to play the game.

So, it’s not surprising that chess-playing siblings are all over the chess world.

However, it is rare that you encounter siblings who are titled players. Here in the Philippines, the most active are the Garma brothers, International Master Chito and National Master Edgar.

On top of the heap are of course the Polgar sisters: GM Susan, IM Sofia and GM Judit. Every chess player knows them and how they were trained by their father, Laszlo, who determined even before his children were born that he would make them geniuses at chess. In the chess world where the male is dominant, the Polgars are an astounding exception.

The only brothers I know who are both Grandmasters are Jozsef and Csaba Horvath of Hungary. Another would be GM-elect GB Prakash and GM RB Ramesh of India, who incidentally is married to WGM Aarthie Ramaswamy,
Famous brothers during the ’60s and ’70s were Americans Robert and Donald Byrne. Donald is the more famous as the “Game of the Century” was played between him and Bobby Fischer, where the latter made an astounding and unexpected queen sacrifice.

An exceptional example where the sister is the GM and the brother an IM is Pia and Dan Cramling of Sweden.

The only siblings I know who are identical twins are GM Nicholas and IM Richard Pert of England.

Very active nowadays are the Kosintseva sisters Nadezhda and Tatiana of Russia, both international masters, and the Koneru sisters GM Humpy and IM Chandra Hawsa of India. Humpy is the second highest-rated woman player today next to Judit Polgar.

Sisters who are both WGMs are Anita and Ticia Gara of Hungary.

My favorite chess-playing brothers are Lajos and Ferenc Portisch, who were very active during the ’60s and ’70s known as the “Bobby Fischer” years. Lajos, particularly, played in the Interzonals 12 straight times and qualified for the candidates cycle five times. He also participated in 20 Olympiads from 1956 to 2000 more than anyone else. The only person I know who can probably break this record is Eugene Torre, who is going for 17 Olympiads.

CEPCA VS. MEPZA. Last weekend, members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association played a goodwill match against the Mez 1 and 2 Selections at the Fairchild Comp. comprising 16 boards. Cepca won, 24-11, after a close first game which was tied 8-all. Format of the contest was two games each player, playing black and white, and rapid time controls.

Cepca president Mandy Baria of Aboitizland, showed his organizationals skills and the match was completed with no hitches.

Specl mention goes to Mat Matuco of Cipdi, Ed Pebenito of Aboitizland, Peter Pacana of Fairchild and Pat Ninal of Timex.

All of us, chessplayers, are grateful to Timex for being the primary sponsor of the match.

More tournaments: The 1st Mayor Antonio L. Canoy Inter-Cities and Municipalities Chess Team Tournament will be held tomorrow and Sunday at the San Fernando Sports Complex.

The tournament is open to all cities and municipalities and will be composed of four regular members and two alternates. Only one titled player per team is allowed.

Prizes are P10,000 (champion), P7,000 (first runner-up); P5,000 (second runner-up); fourth (P3,000). Trophies will be awarded to the first three places.

Board winners will receive P1,000 each. Registration fee is P900.The tournament director is Bob Tojong and chief arbiter is Marvin Ruelan.

Meanwhile, all Cepca members are reminded that our May tournament is scheduled on the 28th at the Stella Maris Seamen Center.

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