Friday, November 17, 2006


By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

Manny Pacquiao taking drugs? Our meeting the other day among members of Cepca turned into an uproar when one of our members Jun Olis, informed us that the Nevada Boxing Commission is investigating reports that the camp of Erik Morales has formally lodged a protest that Manny is taking drugs.

Whether it is anabolic steroids or testosterone is not known. The Nevada Commission is further investigating another report that Manny is also taking another food booster, known in Philippine circles as DP.

Manny has submitted a sample of his urine and the laboratory results have confirmed that indeed Manny is taking ibuprofen and paracetamol known in the Philippines as Alaxan. As for the substance DP, it could only be Datu Puti.

Kidding aside, this column is about boxers who are chess players and vice-versa. In various interviews, Manny has said that among his hobbies, his favorite is playing chess and billiards.

One of the greatest nights in heavyweight history between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis in March 11, 1999 turned out to be a disappointment as the match was called a draw even though Lewis obviously won the fight.

Promoter Don King later criticized Lewis “When you have a man on the ropes you are supposed to finish him not play chess with him...” in obvious reference to the fact that both Lewis and Holyfield play chess.

It has been estimated that Lewis’ playing strength in chess is about Elo 2000, which means that if ever he would become a member of Cepca he can snare a monthly tournament.

Before his fight with Vitali Klitschko, Lewis proposed that there should also be a chess match as Vitali is a known chess buff and is in fact considered a better chess player.

The much awaited Lewis vs. Klitschko fight took place in June 21 2003, with Lewis considered off-form weighing a career-high 256lbs. Klitschko was on the way to a major upset when the referee stopped the fight due to a severe cut above Klitschko‘ s left eye and Lewis was declared a winner by TKO. Vitali and his brother Wladimir, who is also a boxer, are avid chess players.
They are so good that a good number of articles have been written about their chess capability.

According to an article in “In October 2002, the Klitschko brothers Vitaly and Wladimir visited the ChessBase office in Hamburg. The reason they gave on their web site at the time was that, a day before the final round of the $1 million Man vs. Machine event in Bahrain, their friend chess world champion Vladimir Kramnik had enlisted their help to wear down the machine. So they organized a pre-bout sparring with Fritz.

Playing on the Fritz Server against the program in Bahrain, Vitali proved that his “Punching Professor” tag is more than just a stage name! He almost took the machine over the full distance. “It may have been a points decision for Deep Fritz, but the computer at least had its pride dented.” By the way Vitali has a Doctorate degree in Sports Science and Philosophy and was just recently crowned heavyweight champion.

Remember Francisco “Kid” Balug? He was a popular boxer in the 60s and the Philippines-Orient champion in the featherweight division. He plays chess regularly at the Collonade chess club and is a masseur on the side. He is very good especially if you have arthritis like me. He comes to the house regularly and we talk about his boxing years and chess.

Chessboxing. How weird is weird? Does chess and boxing mix? If water and oil mix in an emulsion so does chess and boxing. In fact, there is an organization, the World Chess Boxing Organization, WCBO, which supervises its activities. Its motto is “Fighting is done on the ring and wars are made on the board.”

The first world champion was Lepe Rubingh and the first European champion was Tihomir Tischko of Bulgaria.

Here are the rules as laid down by WCBO: “A match between two opponents consists of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess sessions, starting with a four-minute chess round followed by two minutes of boxing and so on. Between rounds there is a one-minute pause, during which competitors change their gear. The form of chess played is “blitz chess” in which competitors have a total of 12 minutes. Competitors may win by knockout, checkmate, a judge’s decision or if their opponent’s twelve minutes of chess time elapses.”

According to the Chessboxing website: “Recently, about 400 people gathered in Cologne, to see two chessboxing fights.

Zoran ‘The Priest’ Mijatovic played the Queen’s Gambit, but ‘Anti Terror’ Frank Stoldt was very well prepared. In the 7th chess round Mijatovic was three moves away from being checkmated, so he resigned. Stoldt also controlled the boxing rounds.” So there you are. Chessboxing anyone?

Cepca news. Mandy Baria, President of the Cebu Executives and Professional Association, has announced that the November tourney will be this coming Sunday, the 19th, at the Bibo chess club starting at 2 p.m.

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