Friday, May 5, 2006

Topalov Oscar winner; fide elections

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Some 361 chess journalists from 68 countries, including this writer, voted world champion Veselin Topaov as the 2005 Oscar winner with a total of 4,376 points with Vishy Anand of India a close second at 3,495 .We nominated the top 10 players awarding 13 points for the first nominee, 11 for second, nine for third, seven for fourth, six for fifth, until one for 10th.

Veselin was voted first 219 times. The other nominees in descending order were Levon Aronian, Peter Svidler, Peter leko, Alexander Morozevich, Garry Kasparov, Vassily Ivanchuk, Ruslan Ponomariov and 15-year-old Magnus Carlsen.

Mark Paragua, the first Filipino super-grandmaster and included in the latest Fide ratings in the top 100, was in 32nd position.

Topalov was born on March 15, 1975, in Ruse, Bulgaria. He won the World Under-14 Championship in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico and in 1990 won the silver medal in the World Under-16 Championship in Singapore.

He began 2005 with a so-so performance at the Corus Mega-tournament at Wijk Aan Zee and another at Dortmund but won the Super tournament at Linares. Then two months later he won the inaugural mega-tournament M-TEL Masters at Sofia ahead by a full point over Anand.

In San Luis, Argentina which was the venue of the 2005 World Championship, he put on an incredible performance with 10.5 pts in 14 rounds. The other players were Vishy Anand, Alexander Morozevich, Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Peter Svidler, Michael Adams, Judit Polgar and Peter leko,

Veselin currently lives in Spain although he still plays for Bulgaria.

FIDE ELECTIONS. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov will be running for reelection against worthy rival Bessel Kok of Holland in the Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy in June this year. The latest count is that 60 federations will vote for Kirsan while 30, mostly European, will go to Bessel. Undecided nations are mostly African and South European federations. The Philippines is listed as favoring Kirsan.

In a surprise move the vice-president of the French Federation Leo Battesti will also run for president although he will not be a significant factor except perhaps get some votes originally intended for Bessel.

There have been some comments regarding the format of the elections in Fide, which is one vote for each federation. This is like the United Nations with a significant difference in that the latter has the Security Council.

Micro federations like Madagascar, Malawi, Belize and Malawi have no listed Fide tournament players but have the same vote as the super-federations like Russia, Germany, England and Asian giants India and China. Most will consider this unfair and should be revised and patterned after the electoral system in the United States. My proposal is to give electoral votes to the federations based on the number of tournament players in the federation even if not fide-listed. The difference, say, between the USA and Bermuda will then be clearer and true to form.

CEPCA VS. MEPZA. Here is the final line-up of the Mepza players who will play a 12-board match with selected members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association tomorrow at Fairchild Semi-Conductors Philippines in Mactan.

Board 1 William Retanal, 2 Emmanuel Matuco, 3 Jonathan Cangue, 4 Romeo Resuera, 5 Eleuterio Godinez, 6 Neil Amores, 7 Totong Sapa, 8 Mandy Baria, 9 Jade Garzon, 10 Roger Pesole, 11 Bernabe Sanchez, 12 Jeffrey Solis.

I am still finalizing Cepca’s players as the original plan was for 20 boards. Format will be two games each handling black and white pieces and 30 minutes with a 10-second increment time control.

Sponsor of the match is Timex Phils. Inc. and the contest will start at 2 p.m.

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