Friday, January 25, 2008

Cepca wins; Urbiztondo is blitz king

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

HAMPERED by the absence of key players from Iligan and Cagayan de Oro due to fully booked flights and passages, the knights of region 10 team succumbed to the wiles of Cepca players by a rather wide margin of 9-15.

Winning both their games for Cepca were Mike Banebane, Zaldy Tabanao, Rene Casia and Engr. Mandy Baria. Dr. Rey Feliciano of Misamis also won both his games against Malou Pagarigan and Nicnic Climaco, while Rey Urbiztondo upset Engr. Ben Dimaano and drew Joe Atillo in board 1.

Dr. Leonidez Fernandez and Engr. Rocky Rocamora split their matches against Dante Arguelles and DENR’s Percival Fiel respectively. Exporter Jojo Muralla scored a win and a draw against Roy Roa while Alan Yap halved his matches against Boy Tumulak and Fred Sandalo.

Ozamis BPI manager Rey C. Urbiztondo trounced Roy Roa of Oroquieta City in the final round and emerged over-all champion in the Individual Sinulog Blitz Chess Championship.

Playing Black, Urbiztondo, the Region 10 NCFP coordinator, prevailed after 28 moves of a Sicilian Defense-Maroczy variation and finished with four wins and a draw in five outings.

Earlier, Urbiztondo toppled Jongjong Melendez, businessman Bong San Pascual, Engr. Jun Olis and drew with Engr. Rocky Rocamora.

Urbiztondo was second placer in the 1983 Cebu All Students Chess Championships to IM Enrico Sevillano and a gold medalist in the Cebu Amateur Athletic Association in 1984, when he represented CIT.

The Cebu Executives and Professional Chess Association would like to thank our visitors from Region 10 especially the two Reys of Misamis for initiating this wonderful match and we hope that they will be back next year.

GONZALEZ GETS THIRD GM NORM. Jason received the norm in the Asean Masters circuit in Tarakan Indonesia last week after placing second with 7.5 points, to get his third and final GM norm. All he has to do now is breach Elo 2500 to be officially called a grandmaster. He will be the third Pinoy grandmaster in five months during the term of NCFP president Prospero Pichay, after Darwin Laylo and Wesley So.

REST IN PEACE, BOBBY. My hero, Bobby Fischer, is dead. I have followed his career since the late 50’s, thrilled by his mastery of the game. When he defeated Boris Spassky in the “match of the century” in 1972, I was in Cagayan de Oro then and I remember that we celebrated the whole evening with one whole lechon and unlimited beer.

If there was to be a survey made on who the most eccentric man in this planet is, Bobby would be up there. However, I don’t agree with other journalists, who say that he was mad. I agree with the assessment of my good friend Art Ynclino, that there is a borderline between insanity and genius and Fischer was on the genius side, in the company of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci.

A true child prodigy, jaded veterans at the Manhattan Chess Club realized early that they had a flawless 5-carat diamond in their midst. At 13, Bobby, in his own words, “just became good” and the whole chess world trembled.

Fischer reportedly left a fortune of about $3 million and I presume that it would go to his biological daughter, Jinky, whose mother is a Filipina or to his half sister Joan Targ or probably to Miyoko Watai. Most of it though, would be claimed by the IRS.

The chess world is always debating on who the greatest player of all time is.

Prime candidates are Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Emmanuel Lasker, Raul Capablanca and Fischer. When Fischer was asked, he replied “It would be nice to be modest, but I would be stupid if I did not tell the truth. It is Fischer.”

I will be writing more about Fischer in the future.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cepca battles Region 10 tomorrow

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

READY with their offensive thrusts, gambits and sacrifices, the knights of Region 10 are invading Cebu to challenge once again the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association in the royal game of chess tomorrow at Deep Blue Café in SM City starting at 12:15 pm.

Ready with their bayonets are Atty. Quirino Sagario (NM), bank manager Rey Urbiztondo, eye specialist Dr. Rey Feliciano, who is somewhat of a chess legend in Cebu with his “Feliciano boys” chess team years ago, Dr. Leonides Fernandez, Dr. Willi Maghanoy of Iligan and Engineer Rocky Rocamora.

Adding color to the affair are businessmen Stephen Ty and Jun Tabarno, assistant to the governor Alay Yap, Engr. Ed Sanchez , Engrs. Vic Ardiente and Joey Ardiente, board member Ben Polao, Atty. Acmad Tomambiling, Bukidnon’s Tony Bartolome, Richard Wong and Richard Macas and Roy Roa of Oroquieta.

The delegation is supported by the Governor of Misamis Occidental Loreto Leo Ocampos.

Defending with their shields and bullet-proof vests are exporter Engr. Ben Dimaano, CIPDI’s Mat Matuco, DENR Percival Fiel, retired military man Miguel Banebane, internet café operator Nicnic Climaco, accountant Felix Balbona, Med tech El Labunog, Veco’s Nic Cuizon, exporter Jojo Muralla, Atty. Jongjong Melendez, municipal councilor and businessman Junard Labadan, businessman Dante Arguelles, bakery operator Joe Atillo, Engr. Jun Olis, Engrs. Maggi Dionson, Jade Garzon and Mandy Baria of Aboitizland. Bayanihan fame Nato Casia, professional musician Zaldy Tabanao and Cebu International School’s Malou Pagarigan, Cepca‘s lone female member. I will only play if necessary.

Format is two games per player over 20 boards and one hour per player, play to finish. Arbiter is Fide‘s Marvin Ruelan. In case of a tie after the regular games, a blitz tiebreak will be played at seven minutes per player in alternating colors.

A chess player is always a chess player. He will cross distant oceans and go to faraway shores for the love of the game. Welcome gentlemen to Cebu!

GRAND EVENT. Wijk Aan Zee is not only a tournament but a grand festival of gargantuan proportions. Aside from the main event, which features practically all the big guns of the planet, there are two more competitions that are also full round robins of 14 players.

Heading Group B are Ivan Cheparinov (Bulgaria, 2713) and Etienne Bacrot (France, 2700). Playing are the two most visible women today, Humpy Koneru (India, 2612) and Hou Yifan (China, 2527).

Playing in Group C are two of the youngest grandmasters, Fabiano Caruana (Italy, 2598) and Paimarjan Negi (India, 2526).

There are also side events for amateurs of three rounds each (quads), nine-round events, blitz, simuls, journalists group and a contest for composing end-game studies which attracted 151 entries from 20 countries.

There is also an honorary tournament featuring Victor Korchnoi (Switzerland, 2605), Jan Timman (Netherlands, 2561), Lubomir Ljubojevic (Serbia, 2543) and Lajos Portisch (Hungary, 2530).

All in all there are more than 1,800 players in the festival. Wow na wow!

Leading players after four 4 rounds in Group B are Harikrishna, Smeets, Bacrot. In what was billed as a tremendous upset Hou Yifan, 13, defeated former Fide World Champion Nigel Short.

Group C top players after Round 4 are Braun 4 , Caruana 3.5 and Carlsson 3.

In the main event after Round 4, Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian are in the lead with 3 points. Highlights so far are the two losses of former World Champion Veselin Topalov to Aronian and Loek Van Wely, while Anand lost to Teimour Radjabov.

Judit Polgar is holding her own with three draws and a win over Boris Gelfand.(

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cepca vs. Region 10 rematch

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE much awaited return match between the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) and their counterparts from Ozamis, reinforced by Iligan and Cagayan de Oro, will finally be realized this coming Jan. 19 as part of the Sinulog Celebration.

Venue this time is at Deep Blue in SM City and the format will be two games for each player over 20 boards. Time control will be at one hour per player, play to finish.

In full battle gear are the Region X team players: Atty. Quirino Sagario (NM), Rey Urbiztondo (bank manager), Dr. Rey Feliciano, Dr. Leonides Fernandez, Dr. Willi Maghanoy, Engr. Rocky Rocamora, businessmen Stephen Ty and Jun Tabarno, Alay Yap, Engrs. Ed Sanchez and Vic Ardiente.

More names will be published later as they complete their lineup.

Ready to rumble are the 12 monthly Cepca winners last year namely; Engr. Jun Olis, CIPDI general manager Mat Matuco, Engrs. Mandy Baria and Maggi Dionson of Aboitizland, retired military man Miguel Banebane, entrepreneurs Joe Atillo and Nato Casia, Nic Cuizon of Veco, professional musician Zaldy Tabanao, DENR‘s Percival Fiel, exporter Jojo Muralla and accountant Felix Balbona

Reinforcing the list are engineer and exporter Ben Dimaano, businessman Dante Arguelles, accountant Fred Sandalo, Attys. Richard Abangan and Jongjong Melendez and Cebu International School’s Malou Pagarigan, our lone female member.

The Big Bang. Like the universe, chess starts the new year with a big bang.

Two of the most prestigious and long running tournaments are the 50th edition of the Reggio Emilia and the 123rd Hastings tournament. Add to that the ACP Rapid World Cup and the “Mother of all chess tournaments” Wijk Aan Zee and you have a bellyfull of chess.

Zoltan Almasi of Hungary was the winner in Reggio, which was held from Dec. 29 to Jan. 8 with 10 GMs including Victor Korchnoi.

Hastings winner was Valeriy Neverov of Ukraine. The tournament was criticized for too many grandmaster draws. Competition was from Dec 28. to Jan. 6 among 103 participants.

The ACP Knockout Rapid World Cup in Odessa from Jan. 4 to 7 was full of action and featured some of the world’s top players. Teimour Radjabov, a 20- year-old lad from Azerbaijan took the Cup, beating Alexander Grischuk in the finals .

Participants were 1.) Peter Svidler (Russia, 2763), 2.) Alexie Shirov (Spain, 2755) 3.) Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2751), 4.) Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2737), 5.) Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan, 2735), 6.) Sergey Karjakin (Ukraine, 2732), 7.) Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia, 2720), 8.) Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 2711), 9.) Judit Polgar (Hungary, 2707), 10.) Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine, 2692), 11.) Ernesto Inarkiev (Russia, 2681), 12.) Anatoly Karpov (Russia, 2655).

We now have the lineup of Wijk Aan Zee(Corus) which includes all the big guns in the planet :1.) Viswanathan Anand (India, 2801), 2.) Ivanchuk, 3.) Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2785) 4.) Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, 2769) 5.) Peter Leko (Hungary, 2755), 6.) Shakhryar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2752), 7.) Teymour Radjabov (Azerbaijan, 2742), 8.) Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2741) 9.) Gelfand, 10.) Michael Adams (England, 2729), 11.) Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2714), 12.) Polgar, 13.) Pavel Eljanov (Ukraine, 2681), 14.) Loek van Wely (Netherlands 2680).

Tournament will be held from Jan. 11 to 27 in the Netherlands in a full round robin.

CEPCA NEWS. The January competition of the club will be this Sunday at 1 p.m. in Deep Blue Café, SM City. Format will be seven rounds Swiss with a time control of seven minutes per player.

The Kiddies and Juniors will start their contest at 10:30 a.m.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ratings and 2007 highlights

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

VLADIMIR Kramnik gained 14 points and Anand lost two and for the first time, we have a tie at the top. Topalov gained 11 to move to third, while my favorite Ivanchuk lost a massive 36 points to drop to ninth.

Morozevich and Svidler also stood tall, while the semifinalists of the World Cup—Kamsky, Shirov, Carlsen and Karjakin—moved up the ladder. The biggest gainer is Ivan Cheparinov with a massive 43 Elo to place 19th.

Top 10. 1.) Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 32, 2799) 2.) Viswanathan Anand (India, 38, 2799) 3.) Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, 32, 2780) 4.) Alexander Morozevich (Russia, 30, 2765) 3.) Peter Svidler (Russia, 31, 2763) 6.) Shakhrivar Mamedyaroy (Azerbaijan, 22, 2760) 7.) Alexie Shiroy (Spain, 35, 2755) 8.) Peter Leko (Hungary, 28, 2753) 9.) Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 38, 2751) 10.) Levon Aronian (Armenia, 25, 2739)

We now have another woman who gained super GM status, Koneru Humpy, while the Chinese have four of the top 10 excluding Chen Zhu, who is now a Qatari by marriage.

Top Women. 1.) Judit Polgar (Hungary, 31, 2707) 2.) Humpy Konery (India, 20, 2612) 3. Jun Xie (China, 27, 2574) 4.) Chen Zhu (Qatar, 32, 2548) 5.) Yifan Hou (China, 13, 2527) 6.) Pia Cramling (Sweden, 44, 2524) 7.) Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia, 23, 2523) 8.) Xue Zhao (China, 22, 2517) 9.) Marie Sebag (France, 21, 2510) 10. Yuhua Xu (China, 31, 2500)

Top 10 Philippines. 1.) Rogelio Antonio Jr. (45, 2529) 2.) Wesley So (14, 2526) 3.) Mark Paragua (23, 2521) 4.) Eugenio Torre (56, 2519) 5.) Darwin Laylo (27, 2508) 6.) Rogelio Barcenilla (2503) 7.) Joseph Sanchez (37, 2492) 8.) Oliver Dimakiling (27, 2484) 9.) John Paul Gomez (2469) 10.) Roland Salvador, (25, 2462).

World Cup. Gata Kamsky, originally from Russia and an immigrant to the US since the 1990s, won the 2007 World Cup without losing a single game. To recall, he retired from active chess in 1997-2004 to concentrate on his studies as a lawyer.

As the World Cup winner, he will challenge former champion Veselin Topalov some time next year in an eight-game match. The victor will then play the winner of the Kramnik-Anand match in 2009 to complete the cycle.

He won against Adly Ahmed of Egypt (1.5-.5); Boris Avrukh of Israel (1.5-.5); Kiril Georgiev of Bulgaria (1.5-.5); Peter Svidler (2.5-1.5),Ruslan Ponomariov (1.5-.5); Magnus Carlsen and finally, Alexei Shirov (2.5-1.5).

World Championship. The World Chess Championship took place in Mexico City last Sept. 13 to 30 among the following players in a double round robin format:

1.) Anand of India (2792) 2. Aronian of Armenia (2750) 3.) Boris Gelfand, of Israel (2733) 4.) Alexander Grischuk of Russia (2726) 5.) Vladimir Kramnik of Russia (2769)

6.) Leko of Hungary (2751) 8.) Alexander Morozevich of Russia (2758) 8.) Peter Svidler of Russia (2735).

Anand won the championship by drawing both his games versus Gelfand, Leko and Kramnik, while snatching a win against Svidler Aronian, Morozevich and Grischuk.

For the first time since 1993, we have an undisputed champion.

New Pinoy GMs. It has been a long time since we produced a grandmaster and we did even better by having two GMs last year.

In 2006, Darwin Laylo picked up two GM norms, the first from the 2006 Malaysian Open and the second at the 2006 Bad Wiesse tournament in Germany. His third and final norm came in the 2007 Asian Chess Championship in Mandaue City.

Wesley So is only 14 years old and is the youngest GM in the world today. He got his first GM norm in the Offene Internationale Bayerische Schaha Meisterschaft, Bad Wiessee, Germany and his second norm in the 2007 World Junior Chess Championship in Armenia. He achieved his third and final norm in the 3rd Prospero Pichay International Open in Manila.