Friday, January 26, 2007

Senador, Le Quang Liem win; Topalov leads

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

A LOT of people were surprised when IM Manny Senador won the just concluded Sinulog Open chess tournament sponsored by Rep. Prospero Pichay of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and Bogie Lim of Rose Pharmacy. I was not though, as I am familiar with his chess playing ability.

Manny is a three-time Olympian having played for the country in 1992, 1996 and 2004. He won the La Union Open in 2002 and was a member of the National Inter-cities team champion in 2006 and was the top scorer in the 2005 Bangkok Blitz International tournament. He is a pure bisaya , born in Jaro, Iloilo and a Philippine Air Force chess team member.

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He is also a regular guy, as after the tournament he treated close friends to a generous supply of beer and pulutan at Bibo`s and Handuraw Café in Mabolo.

In the tournament, Manny scored 7.5 points with 6 wins and 3 draws. Six players tied for second with 7 points each namely Chito Garma (43.2 tiebreaks points),Efren Bagasmabad (42.7),Barlo Nadera (42.4), Rhobel Legaspi (41.9), Richard Bitoon (40.8) and Anyhony Makiniano (40.7).

Senador won P50,000, a significant amount by local standards. Total prize money awarded in this tournament was a whooping P200,000. Since Rep. Pichay took over as president of the NCFP, great things have been happening to chess.

Vietnam. It is now official—Vietnam is superior to the Philippines in the Asean region as far as chess is concerned and I may add in economic and political stability.

The Fide sanctioned Asian Zone 3.3 championship just finished in Vietnam last week and the two qualifiers to the world knockout championship are Le Quang Liem and Nguyen Ngoc Truongson ,both of Vitnam.

GM Nelson Mariano almost made it but was held to a draw by FM Cegmed Batchuluun of Mongolia in the final round.

There was actually a four-man tie after the regular games but Mariano lost to GM Troungson in the play-offs after drawing both his games to GMs Dao Thien Hai and Nguyen Anh Dung, Le, 15, won the tournament with 6 wins and 3 draws. The other qualifier Truongson is also only 16 yrs old. Vietnam’s leading players have a long way to go.

The other Filipinos who played in this important tournament were Eugene Torre (4.5), Mark Paragua (5), Oliver Dimakiling (5), Darwin Laylo (5), Ronald Dableo (5).

Three other pinoys namely Wesley So, Rogelio Antonio and Hamed Nouri all settled for draws in their final game and missed the play-offs by half a point. All 3 scored 5.5 pts each.

Wijk Aan Zee. As expected, Topalov and Kramnik are slowly showing their class in the biggest tournament of the year, Corus 2007, after being dominated in the early rounds by the young lion, Teimour Radjabov. Anand has been a disappointment though, having lost to both Topalov and Kramnik.

Topalov, Kramnik and Aronian are still unbeaten while Shirov and Carlsen will surely lose a lot of ELO points here due to their dismal performance so far.

Standing after 9 rounds: 1. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2783 6.5; 2. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2729 6.0; 3. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2744 5.5; 4. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2766 5.5; 5. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2728 5.5; 6. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2779 5.0; 7. Karjakin, Sergey g UKR 2678 5.0; 8. Ponomariov, Ruslan g UKR 2723 4.5; 9. Navara, David g CZE 2719 4.0; 10. Motylev, Alexander g RUS 2647 3.5; 11. Tiviakov, Sergei g NED 2667 3.5; 12. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2690 3.0; 13. Van Wely, Loek g NED 2683 3.0; 14. Shirov, Alexei g ESP 2715 2.5.
There are still 4 rounds left to play.

Cepca news. The January tournament of the club will be this coming Tuesday, the 30th, at the Bibo Chess club starting at 6 p.m.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Bobby Fischer’s love life

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

AT the tender age of 5, Bobby fischer, considered the greatest and most gifted chess player of all time, received as his birthday gift a $5 chess set from his sister Joan. The game completely enamored him that he never had a normal life ever and he never “grew up.

“He never developed the social skills necessary to deal with society in general and lived a life of his own.

It is said that Bobby wouldn’t go out with women who knew who he was but was too shy to ask the ones who didn’t.

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During grade school in Brooklyn, he had an equally famous classmate, Barbra Streisand, who some people believed was a sort of puppy love as they were constantly exchanging gifts especially “Mad” comics. Later in life, he referred to her as his “mousy looking classmate” when interviewed over Philippine radio.

As far as what is known, Bobby had a relationship with four women—Justine Ong, Miyoko Watai, Petra Dautov and Zita Raiczany.

Zita was a 17-year-old Hungarian junior master when she had a relationship with Bobby. It is said that she was primarily responsible for Bobby`s decision to play chess again in 1992 after an absence of 20 years. The 2nd Fischer-Spassky match took place in Montenegro, a part of Yugoslavia, despite United Nations sanctions against that country over its civil war in Bosnia. Bobby was guaranteed $5million plus TV revenues, which has since then made his life tolerable. However, he is wanted in the States for tax evasion and other charges.

Incidentally, his second adviser on this match was Eugene Torre and research was done by a Cebuano friend, Eric Gloria.

Prior to Zita, Petra Dautov, a German, claims that she had a relationship with Bobby in the eighties and has a written a memoir of her life with him. I haven’t read this memoir but Bobby has denied some parts of it.

In May 2000 Bobby, then 57 years old, arrived in the Philippines and enlisted a few close friends, as he had one purpose in mind – he wanted to have a child. He had a long-felt wish to “perpetuate his genes.’

According to reports posted on the Internet, a Filipino friend of Bobby set him up in a cottage in Baguio City, and presented him with a “series of willing gene-carriers, from whom Bobby chose” a 22 year old woman. A contract was signed, “and the woman received the genes, and nine months later she gave birth to a girl, who now grows up in Davao City.”

Whether this is true or not, as the woman has never come out in public as the mother of Fischer’s child, only time will tell. By now, the child should be six years old. There is even a picture of the woman on the Internet and she is very pretty and described as a model.

It is said that when Bobby was arrested in Tokyo (his passport was cancelled by the US government), he was on his way to the Philippines to visit his child whom he gives regular financial report.

When Bobby was arrested in Japan, one of his strategies was to claim that he was married to a Japanese, Miyoko Watai, to escape extradition to the USA over unspecified charges. Miyoko Watai admitted “that he might be using her as "a pawn" in an effort to counter the Japanese authorities' opening move.”

"I could be a sacrifice pawn," conceded Ms. Watai, 59, the acting president of the Japan Chess Association. "But in chess there is such a thing as pawn promotion, where a pawn can become a queen," said Ms. Watai, four times women's chess champion in Japan. Breaking into a smile, she vowed: "Bobby-san is my king, and I will become his queen. We want to win the game by joining hands."

Bobby is now living in Iceland after he was given full citizenship.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Corus 2007

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE Corus tournament is one of the oldest in the chess calendar and takes place every January in the town of Wijk Aan Zee in the Netherlands.

Formerly known as Hoogovens tournament, it started in 1938 and changed its name in 1999 after the Dutch steel and aluminium producer Koninklijke Hoogovens merged with British Steel to form the Corus Group in 0ctober 1999. It is now one of the biggest producers of steel in the World.

The tournament will start Jan. 13-28. There are three main sections and all are invitational and composed of 14 players each. The organizers have done a terrific job in inviting the players in group A. They are (country, rating and world ranking as of October 2006) : Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, 2813, 1)Viswanathan Anand (India, 2779, 2) Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2750, 4) Peter Svidler (Russia, 2750, 5) Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2741, 6) Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan, 2729 11 7) David Navara (Czech Republic, 2725, 13) Alexey Shirov (Spain, 2720, 14) Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2703, 20 ) Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2698, 21) Serg Tiviakov (The Netherlands, 2680, 27) Loek van Wely (The Netherlands, 2676, 29) Sergey Karjakin (Ukraine, 2672, 35) and Alexander Motylev (Russia, 2662, 44).

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It’s been a while since we have seen Kramnik, Topalov and Anand competing head to head in the same event. Add to it the three brightest young talents Radjabov, Carlsen and Karjakin and you have the potential for a perfect and exceptional tournament.

World champion Kramnik is very good in one-on-one matches, as shown in his previous wins against Topalov, Kasparov and Leko but is inferior to Anand and Topalov in round robin matches because of his tendency to go for draws.

The problem with Topalov has been losing the unification match against Kramnik. That was a blow to his pride as he honestly believes that he is the better player and accused Kramnik of cheating in the match. Now, he is eager to prove that he is the best tournament player in the world.

Viswanathan Anand has won five titles of the Hoogovens/Corus chess tournament in its long history, while Max Euwe, Lajos Portisch and Viktor Korchnoi won Corus four times each

The problem with Anand is that he has not played a tournament under classical control for over half a year so this lack of practice could affect his play. In rapid control, he is the undisputed master.

Cepca news. The Cebu Executives and Professionals Association (Cepca) Inc. held its first tournament of the year featuring kiddies (13 below) and juniors (14-16) last Sunday, Jan. 7 at the Bibo chess club.

In the kiddies section the winner was Kyle Sevillano, 2nd place Marq Balbona, 3rd Felix Shaun Balbona, 4th John Francis Balbona and 5th placer was Argie Lumapac.

The Juniors section winner was Christian Lumapac, 2nd Yves Fiel and 3rd Jessa Balbona.

Membership in Cepca is now open to anybody either as regular or associate member. Tournaments now have four sections namely class A, B and C, Juniors and Kiddies. Visit us at Handuraw Café in Mabolo as we play every Tuesdays in the evening.

Welcome Asean delegates and foreign media. An Asean-accredited location, Kahayag Café (located along MJ Cuenco, Cebu City) offers an alternative form of soulful entertaintment with delectable comfort-Cebuano cuisine in a casual dining and homey-artsy atmosphere. Handuraw Café beside it gives you the best thin crust pizzas in town amid live performances of Cebuano local music bands (café only branch at 460 Gorordo Ave. Lahug).

Friday, January 5, 2007

Topalov retains world No. 1 ranking

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE World Chess Federation has released the world’s top players and surprisingly the No.1 player is still Veselin Topalov despite losing 30 points in his unification match against Vladimir Kramnik and a low performance in the Essent Tournament.

Viswanathan Anand is now only four points behind, while Kramnik is just 17 points behind Topalov.

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Mamedyarov gained a massive 26 points to move to fourth, while Svidler lost 22 points to drop out of the Top 10. Judit Polgar is, as usual, the top female player and is No 13 in the world, increasing by 17 points. She is followed by Koneru Humpy of India, the Asian Games gold medal winner.

MEN’S Top 10. 1.) Veselin Topalov, 31, Bulgaria (2783) 2. Viswanathan Anand, 37, India (2779) 3. Vladimir Kramnik, 31, Russia (2766) 4. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, 21, Azerbaijan (2754) 5. Vassily Ivanchuk, 37 (2750) 6. Peter Leko, 27, Hungary 27 (2749) 7. Levon Aronian, 24, Armenia (2744) 8. Alexander Morozevich, 29 (Russia) 2741 9. Michael Adams, 35, England (2735) 10. Boris Gelfand, 38, Israel (2733).

Outside the Top 10, Ruslan Ponomariov, a former Fide Champion, rose to No. 14 from No. 20, having gained 20 points and Krishnan Sasikiran of India improved by 25 points to 2700 with his gold medal performance in the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

WOMEN’S Top 10 1.) Judit Polgar, 30, Hungary (2727) 2.) Humpy Koneru 19, India, (2567) 3.) Pia Cramling, 43, Sweden (2530) 4.) Chen Zhu, 30, Qatar (2518) 5.) Yu Hua Xu, 30 China (2517) 6.) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 22, Russia (2515) 7.) Maia Chiburdanidze, 45, Georgia (2510) 8.) Yifan Hou Chn, 12, 2509 (2509) 9.) Nadezhda Kosintseva, 21, Russia (2496) 10.) Antoaneta Stefanova Bulgaria (2446).

JUNIORS’ Top 10 1.) Teimour Radjabov, 19, Azerbaijan (2729) 2.) Magnus Carlse, 16, Norway (2690) 3.) Sergey Karjakin, 16, (2678) 4.) Hikaru Naskamura, 19, USA (2651) 5.) Yue Wang, 19, China (2644) 6.) Radoslaw Wojttaszek, 19, Poland (2637) 7.) Evgeny Tomashevsky, 19, Russia (2624) 8.) Hao Wang, 17, China (2619) 10.) Csaba Balogh, 19, Hungary (2616).

GIRLS’ Top 10 1.) Humpy Koneru, 19, India (2567) 2.) Yifan Hou, 12, China (2509) 3.) Anna Muzychuk, 16, Slovakia (2475) 4.) Nana Dzagnidze, 19, Georgia (2463) 5.) Katyrena Lahno, 17, Ukraine (2456) 6.) Yang Shen, 17, China (2446) 7.) Elena Tairova, 15, Russia (2427) 8.) Dronavalli Harika, 15, India (2421) 9.) Salome Melia, 19, Georgia (2400) 10.) Bathuyag Mongontuul, 19, Mongolia (2397).

PHILIPPINES’ Top 10 1.) Mark Paragua, 22 (2573) 2.) Rogelio Antonio, 44 (2551) 3.) Eugenio Torre, 55 (2547) 4.) Rogelio Barcenilla, 2503 5.) Joseph Sanchez, 36 (2482) 6.) Oliver Dimakiling, 26, (2481) 7.) Darwin Laylo, 26 (2476) 8.) Jayson Gonzales (2458) 9.) Ildefonso Datu, 34 (2457) 10.) John Paul Gomez (2455).

TOP 10 COUNTRIES. The first number shows the average Elo rating of their top 10 players, the second number indicates their number of grandmasters, the third their total number of IMs and the fourth number shows the total number of titled players, men and women.1.) Russia (2713, 158, 437 1661) 2.) Ukraine (2661, 57, 170, 339) 3.) USA (2627, 60, 102, 463) 4.) Armenia (2627, 19, 21, 58) 5.) Hungary (2623, 37, 102, 345) 6.) Israel (2623, 33, 40, 132) 7.) China (2617, 19, 12, 82) 8.) France (2615, 29, 71, 254) 9.) Georgia (2609, 22, 28, 90) 10.) Poland (2608, 24, 79, 253) The Philippines is at 37th (2498, 5, 24, 43).

According to the newly elected president of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association Inc.(Cepca) Emmanuel “Mat” Matuco, this year is a “make or break” year for the club as there will be some fundamental changes in the membership structure and primary objectives.

The club is now open to everybody and members will be classified as regular or associate. In effect, the club will now be divided into three separate Groups—Class A,B and C and Kiddies and there will be three separate tournaments.

Those who belong in Class A, which will include all the best players, cannot join the B/ C tournaments and the kiddies will now have a separate tournament of their own.