Friday, March 14, 2008

Tournaments from all fronts

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

MORELIA/LINARES, the “Wimbledon” of chess and traditionally considered as the unofficial championship of the year, had just finished and the winner was the highest-ranked player, Vishy Anand.

The surprise of the tournament though was the second place finish of 17-year-old, Magnus Carlsen, considered by many as the new Fischer and is expected to claim the No.4 ranking in the next Fide ratings in April.

Most of the games were bitterly contested as 22 games were decided out of 56, which is extraordinary in a caliber of this level, as all the players were over 2700 Elo.

Here are the final results: 1.) Anand (India, 2799, 8.5) 2. Carlsen (Norway, 2733, 8.0), 3. Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2739, 7.5), 4. Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, 2780, 7.5), 5.) Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan, 2735, 7.0), 6.) Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2751, 6.5), 7.) Peter Leko (Hungary, 2753, 5.5), 8.) Alexei Shirov (Spain, 2755, 5.5).

We have two big ongoing competitions now. One of them is an all-women contest, which is long overdue as most tournaments nowadays are usually for men.

Here are the results of the first round of the Is Bankasi-Ataturk International Women Masters Chess Tournament held in Istanbul, Turkey, which saw every game reaching a decision: Irina Krush (USA, 2475)-Zhu Chen (Qatar, 2548), 1-0; Ekaterina Atalik (Turkey, 2404)-Harika Dronavalli (India, 2455), 1-0; Lela Javakhishvili (Georgia, 2470)-Zhao Xue (China, 2530), 1-0; Ushenina Anna (Ukraine, 2486)-Yifan Hou (China, 2527), 0-1; Yildiz Betul Cemre (Turkey, 2220)-Cramling Pia (Sweden, 2524), 0-1.

The Reykjavik Chess Festival is being held in memory of Bobby Fischer and has an open section and a special invitational tournament composed of Fischer’s contemporaries namely Pal Benkö, Vlastimil Hort, Lajos Portisch and Friðrik Ólafsson. Arbiter is Boris Spassky and the commentator is William Lombardy, Fischer’s second in the Match of the Century.

Starting Sunday, the 17th Melody Amber will start in Nice with the 12 top grand masters from 10 countries participating. Playing are Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Veselin Topalov, Alexander Morozevich, Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov, Peter Leko, Vassily Ivanchuk, Levon Aronian, Boris Gelfand, Magnus Carlsen, Sergey Karjakin and Loek Van Wely.

The Amber Tournament is one of the most prestigious in the chess calendar and the only one where half of the games are played with blindfold.

BATTLE OF PINOY GMs. The NCFP’s “Battle of Grandmasters,” will be held from April 19 to 30 and will feature GMs Rogelio Antonio Jr., Eugenio Torre, Wesley So, Jayson Gonzales, Bong Villamayor and Nelson Mariano II. International Masters John Paul Gomez, Julio Catalino Sadorra and Rolando Salvador will also be invited. There is, however, no mention of Mark Paragua and Darwin Laylo playing, our two other GMs.

Cash prizes and trophies will be at stake with the champion getting the lion’s share of P200,000. The first runnerup will get P150,000, while the second runnerup will pocket P100,000. The fourth prize winner will receive P75,000, while P50,000 will be given to the fifth placer. No one will go home empty-handed as P30,000 will be given to the rest.

INTER-BARANGAY. The Mandaue Inter-Barangay chess team competition will start tomorrow and is open to Mandaue residents only. It will start at 3 p.m. in front of the City Hall. Time control is one hour per player, play to finish and will be a single round robin. The champion will receive P8,000 plus trophy, while runners up will get P5,000 and P3,000 respectively.

The team composition will be four regular players with two alternates.

CEPCA. The kiddies and juniors competition will be this Sunday, March 16, at the Deep Blue Café at SM City Cebu starting at 1 p.m. The regular members’ monthly contest will be on March 23 at the same venue.

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