Friday, October 26, 2007

Eugene Torre and Bobby Fischer

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

UNKNOWN to many, Bobby Fischer and Eugene Torre are the best of friends.

Here are some anecdotes lifted from the site and updated.

Bobby made Eugene his official second in his 1992 return match with Boris Spassky that took place in war-torn Yugoslavia. It was then sanctioned by the United Nations.

Not a well-known fact is that Cebuano NM Eric Gloria was a part of Fischer’s team in this match. I recall Eric confiding in me some inside information about the match upon their arrival from Montenegro, Yugoslavia.

Bobby also asked the assistance of Eugene in 1996 when the eccentric American genius launched “Fischer Random Chess” in Argentina.

The story goes that during that period, Eugene and Bobby boarded a taxi in Buenos Aires and the driver easily recognized Eugene as a chess player. As they were about to leave the taxi, the driver, not knowing who the other passenger was, asked Eugene, “Whatever happened to that crazy guy Fischer?”

During the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match in Rekjavik, the Russians linked Spassky’s erratic play with Fischer’s chair. The organizers put a 24-hour police guard around the chair while x-ray tests were performed. Nothing unusual was found except two dead flies.

When Fischer was in prison in Japan because of a cancelled passport, Spassky wrote to President Bush, “Bobby and I committed the same crime. Arrest me also. And put me in the same cell with Bobby and give us a chess set.”

To which Fischer quipped, “Not him, I want a chick.” Bobby suggested GM Alexandra Kosteniuk as cellmate, who is as beautiful as the young Elizabeth Taylor.

When Bobby Fischer was detained in Japan, Filipino fans formed a car caravan plastered with signs calling “Free Bobby Fischer, he is an international treasure.”

In Buenos Aires 1960 the young Fischer, then almost 17, lost his virginity to a lady commissioned for the occasion by GM Larry Evans. Asked the next day what he thought of the experience, Fischer said “Chess is better!”

CEPCA NEWS. The club elected the following as members of the board of trustees last Sunday at the Deep Blue Café SM City: Jongjong Melendez, Maggi Dionson, Joe Atillo, Marilou Pagarigan, Rene Casia, Fabio Abucejo, Ben Dimaano, Tony Cabibil and myself. The elected trustees will meet at a later date to elect among themselves the officers of the club.

After the election, we held our October tournament and the champion was Jojo Muralla. Second to fifth placers were Nic Cuizon, Fabio Abucejo, Jongjong Melendez and Percival Fiel, respectively.

We had four new members and we would like to introduce and welcome them to the club.

Ariel S. Atibula is a mechanical engineer working in the Court of Appeals-Cebu Station as administrative officer and chief maintenance unit. He learned to play chess at a young age and became active and studied more when he was working in Manila . He is a back-to-back champion, 2006-07 in a competition in their office.

Richard F. Ouano is connected with the Department of Interior and Local Government assigned in Madridejos, Cebu. He is 39 years old, married with three children, Honey Fe (10), Lawrence Paul (6) and Richard Jr. (4).

Cyrus Ian Pascua is a University of the Philippines graduate with a degree in BS Metallurgical Engineering and is connected with E-telecare Global Solutions. He was taught chess by his dad during his elementary years. He thinks that chess is not just a game of mind but also requires dedication and passion. He also likes billiards, basketball, table tennis, badminton and PC games.

David Garces is a seaman, who resides in Talisay City.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The signs of a chess addict

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño
Chessmoso is full of information if you want the latest news on chess. Recently, it came out with an “ultimate collection” of chess tidbits, collected by a certain Edmund Lee Beronio from the Internet. Most of these I am familiar with and some had even been featured in this column in the past. Here are the “signs” of a chess addict (edited and updated).

1.) You write a chess column. 2.) During sex, you and your partner use blitz time controls. 3.) You think the book “The Mating Game” is a chess book in spite of the nude couple on the cover.

4.) You multiply 8x8 faster than 7x7 5.) You call your girlfriend “Queen” instead of darling 6.) When you look at a pretty woman you think, “Could she play chess?”

7.) You want the school teacher to give your children an Elo-rating instead of grades 8.) You look at a newspaper’s chess column before any other section. 9.) You mumble “J’adoube” when bumping into things. 10.) You keep a chess book and set in the bathroom.

11.) You ask new acquaintances if they know how to play chess. 12.) You ask all chess players, “What’s your rating?” 13.) You maintain a chess blog. 14.) You own more books about chess than any other subject. 15.) You own more chess clocks than watches.

16.) You call a new friend a “novelty” 17.) You think the Olympics takes place every two years. 18.) You name your first child Bobby or Judith and you decorate your nursery in black and white squares “just in case.” 19.) You panic for an instant when a waiter says “Check?” 20.) You sponsor chess tournaments.

COMEBACK KID. Mark Paragua won the recently held 2007 Calabarzon open, which attracted 150 players from all over the country and is sponsored by educator
Saturnino “Bong” Belen. Belen is the owner and president of Faith (First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities).

The format was a seven-round Swiss followed by a two-game knockout system among the top 16 players. The quarterfinalists were IM Ronald Bancod, who won over GM Joey Antonio; IM Barlo Nadera, who won over GM Eugene Torre; GM Paragua, who over IM John Paul Gomez; and IM Richard Bitoon, who won over new GM Darwin Laylo.

In the semis, Bitoon prevailed over Nadera, while Paragua humbled Bancod. Final results saw Paragua taking home the P100,000 top purse. Bitoon was second and he took home P30,000 and Bancod was at third and pocketed P20,000. Nadera salvaged fourth place and took the P10,000 prize.

SO’S SECOND NORM. Wesley So got his second GM norm even if he went kagar in the second half of the recently concluded World U-20 Juniors and Girls Youth Tournament in Yerevan, Armenia. With only 21/2 points in the final seven rounds, he still achieved what he was aiming for, his second GM norm, due to an amazing start where he was leader after six rounds.

He needs to make a third norm probably in the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Cup next month in Manila or the first leg of the Asean grand prix in December hopefully in Cebu to make the GM title.

The surprise winner was GM Adly Ahmed of Egypt with a solo 10/13 performance. He was the first African winner in a major tournament.

SCRABBLE. There were two events last weekend at SM City organized by tournament director Roger Abella, a chess hall of famer.

Saturday’s winners were Renante de la Cerna, who won P8,000, Odette Rio, Teodoro Martus, Rolly Navarro and Eduardo Enaje, who took home P3,000, P2,000 and P1,000, respectively.

Sunday’s winners were Martus (P5,000), Renz Yamson (P3,000) and Dart Eslao (P2,000).

CEPCA NEWS. We will be holding our elections this Sunday to elect the officers and members of the board of trustees for 2008-2009 at the Deep Blue Café SM City Cebu at 1p.m. After the elections we will hold our monthly tournament for October. Attendance is compulsory.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Chess-loving serial killer

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THIS one is for the books, a candidate for “Believe it or not”. In an article in the Internet at Foxnews, a Russian has confessed to murdering 63 people with a goal of filling all the 64 squares on the chessboard.

In his trial which started last month, Alexander Pichushkin said that he should be charged of all 63 murders as not to do so would be unfair to all his victims.

Prosecutors have charged him with 49 murders committed between 2001-2006 in Bittsa Park, a wild area on the edge of Moscow.

In testimony at the City Court, he recalled the details of his killings especially his first, committed in 1992. “This first murder, it’s like first love, it’s unforgettable.”

The article also noted that “He was aware that a woman whom he intended to kill left a note at home saying she was going for a stroll with him — but killed her anyway.” The note led to his arrest in June 2006.”I burnt myself, so there’s no need for the cops to take credit for catching me,” he says. “I’m a professional.”

Most of his victims were men whom he met on the park and invited for a drink to mourn “the loss of his beloved dog.” In 2001 he killed six in one month. Most of his victims were killed by being strangled or getting hit on the head and thrown into a sewage pit.

According to Foxnews “From 2005, he began to kill with ‘particular cruelty,’ hitting his intoxicated victims multiple times in the head with a hammer, then sticking an unfinished bottle of vodka into their broken skull.”

He has been quoted as saying “For me, a life without murder is like a life without food for you”

Psychiatrists who have examined him say that he is sane. Whaaaat?

Here is a cute relevant joke: What do you call a breakfast food murderer? A cereal killer—hehehe.

World Juniors. The World 20-Under Championship for juniors and girls is being held in Yerevan, Armenia from Oct. 2 to 17. The Philippine Junior representative is 14-year-old IM Wesley So, the youngest player of the tournament, rated 13th with an Elo of 2531 among 80 players.

Girl representative is 15-year-old Aices Salvador rated 49th among 58 players with an Elo of 1992 .

The text of the town among chessplayers was the rocket start of Wesley with four wins and two draws in the first six rounds to grab the lead with five points.

However, in the seventh round he lost to GM Adly Ahmed from the Sinai Peninsula and slid to third in a tie with eight others.

Aices is surprisingly at 15th to 26th place with 4 points after 7 rounds.

Both events are slated for 13 rounds and the winners, juniors and girls, will automatically become Grandmaster and Woman Grandmaster respectively .

Twin Scrabble. There will be twin scrabble tournaments at the Trade Hall of SM City tomorrow and Sunday.

Saturday’s event is facilitated by Nascap, while Sunday‘s tournament is sponsored by the Cebu Scrabble Association and the University of Visayas.

Registration for the twin competition is P300 with 50 percent discount for students, the first round starts at 10:45 and the eighth round at about 7:30 p.m.

Prizes for Saturday are : Champion (P8,000), second placer (P4,000), third placer (P3,000),fourth placer (P2,000) and fifth (P1,000); for Sunday, the first, second and third will get P5,000,P3,000 and P2000, respectively.

Players must bring their own clock. The sponsor is Richwell Trading Corporation and the tournament director is Roger Abella, a master in chess and scrabble.

Cepca news. We will have a general membership meeting on Oct. 21 to elect the new officers of the club for the years 2008-09 at Deep Blue Café starting 1 p.m. Our monthly tournament will follow after the elections. Attendance is compulsory.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Anand breaches 2800; Antonio is RP’s no. 1

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

NEWLY crowned World Champion Vishy Anand topped the 2800 mark in the just released third quarter ratings of the World Chess Federation. The other significant result is the rise of Ivanchuk to the number two position after winning the Montreal and Aerosvit 2007.

Judit Polgar is again the highest-rated woman for the 29th consecutive time with 2708 . Teimour Radjabov is the highest-rated junior player for the 14th time with 2742, while Koneru Humpy is world’s no.1 girl for the 22nd time with 2606.

Although Joey Antonio missed the World Cup by a whisker in the just concluded sixth Asian Individual Championships, his performance was good enough to make him the highest-rated Pinoy now with 2540, replacing Eugene Torre. Torre slid down to a tie with boy wonder Wesley So at 2531.

Mark Paragua, on the other hand, continued his descent now with 2514 after losing 11 Elo points. Paragua was at one time rated among the top 100 in the world.

Darwin Laylo, given a reprieve by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCPF), was the only Filipino to qualify for the World Cup in the Asian Championships and on the side, became a grandmaster. He, however, is nowhere to be found in the latest Fide ratings together with the other players, who were suspended for game fixing, namely IMs Ronald Dableo, Chito Garma and Oliver Barbosa. The four have denied the accusation.

One of the guidelines issued by Fide is that a player must have a rating of at least 2500 to become a full-pledged grandmaster. In effect, Laylo cannot be confirmed a GM unless his rating breaches the 2500 mark. As of now, his rating is 2486. Aside from winning $2,167 in the Asian tourney, he was given $1,000 by NCPF president Prospero Pichay, for achieving grandmaster status.

Kim Steven Yap, the hometown boy who made an impressive performance, snatched an IM norm and gained a massive 91 Elo to stand tall at 2337.

Taking the top spot in the distaff side of the Philippines is WNM Catherine Pereña with 2247, followed by WNM Shercila Cua (2203), WFM Sheerie Joy Lomibao (2186) and WIM Beverly Mendoza (2132) and WNM Sherily Cua sharing the fifth spot.

I have been informed that Pichay plans to write to the president of Fide, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, to accommodate Antonio to the World Cup.

Kirsan has the authority to include five nominees to the World Cup and has already appointed four, so Butch Pichay and Antonio better hurry up.

The top 10 men in the world are Anand (India, 2801, 38), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2787, 38), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2785, 32), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, 2769, 32), Peter Leko (Hungary, 2755, 28), Alexander Morozevich (Russia, 2755, 30), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2752, 22),Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan, 2742, 20), Levon Aronian (Armania, 2741, 25) and Alexei Shirov (Spain, 2739, 35).

The top 10 in the women’s class are Judit Polgar (Hungary, 2708, 31), Koneru Humpy (India, 2606, 20), Pia Cramling (Sweden, 2531, 44), Zhu Chen (Qatar, 2531, 31), Zhao Xue (China, 2530, 22), Kosteniuk Alexandra (Russia, 2515, 23), Pia Sebag (France, 2509, 21), Hou Yifan (China, 2502, 13), Chiburdanidze Maia (Georgia, 2500, 46) and Kosintseva Tatiana (Russia, 2492, 21).

The top 10 in the Philippines are Antonio Jr.(2540, 45), Torre (2531, 56), So (2531, 14), Paraqua (2514, 23), Rogelio Barcenilla (2503), Joseph Sanchez (2496, 37), Oliver Dimakiling (2491, 27), John Paul Gomez (2469), Roland Salvador (2456, 25) and Jayson Gonzales (2454).

Country rank (average Elo of top 10 players, number of GMs, IMs, total titled players): Russia (2727, 173, 441, 1736), Ukraine (2676, 63, 172, 354) USA (2631, 61, 109, 475), Armenia (2628, 20, 23, 61), France (2625, 30, 76, 266) followed by Hungary, China, Poland, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The Philippines is at 34th (2499, 5, 27, 44).