Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Simul games and the worst record

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

SIMULTANEOUS exhibition (often abbreviated to “simul”) is an event where a very strong player (commonly a grandmaster) plays multiple games at the same time with selected players, usually below master strength and club members.

In Cepca, thru the years, we have invited several masters to play with us and here are some of them (al lGMs); Eugene Torre, James Sunye-Neto of Brazil, Walter Arencibia of Cuba, Jorge Hickl of Germany, Ye Rong Guang of China, the late Edmar Mednis of the US and the late Alexander Wojtkiewiez of Poland.

Edmar Mednis was a respected American author of several books and was born in Riga, Latvia. He migrated to the US after the war and was the first person to beat Bobby Fischer in the US Open. He became famous during the 1972 Spassky vs. Fischer “Match of the Century” when he served as analyst of the games which was televised in the US and some countries that propelled chess to new heights. He suffered a fatal heart attack in 2002 at Woodside, Queens, New York.

He was our guest in Cebu in 1996.

GM Alexander Wojtkiewiez was born in Latvia, but was Polish by nationality. He was a great chess talent in his teens, but his career was interrupted when he was imprisoned for refusing to join the Soviet Army. In 1986 he moved to Poland and later took residence in the US, becoming one of the most active tournament players in the world. He died on July 14, 2006. He was our guest in 1998 and was a regular guy, fond of the ice cold beer and karaoke.

Walter Arencibia is from Cuba who won the 1986 World Juniors. He become a grandmaster in 1990 and was our guest in the same year after the Inter-Zonals in Manila.

He has also represented his country at several Olympiads from 1986 to 2006. His current rating is 2555 which places him third in Cuba and 306th in the world. I have very fond memories of him together with Alex Tolentino.

In a regular simul, no chess clocks are used. The exhibitor walks from board to board in a fixed order. Usually the boards are arranged in a large circle or square. The opponents are expected to make a move when the exhibitor arrives at the board.

In clock simuls all the games are played as normal tournament games, timed by a clock, apart from the fact that the exhibitor is playing on all boards.

Time pressure can become quite severe in such simuls. The most famous Clock Simul was when World Champion Garry Kasparov played the Olympiad team of Germany, who were all strong grandmasters.

The new world record is by GM Susan Polgar for 326 Simultaneous Games Played with a 96 percent win rate in Palm Beach, Florida on Aug. 1, 2005.

Her opponents ranged from 4-year-old Hannah Boshell, who lasted one more round than her older sister, Hunter, to 95-year-old Jona Lerman, who’s been playing the game for more than eight decades.

The Worst Performance ever is by Joe Hayden, 17, who challenged 180 persons to play simultaneous games against him at a shopping center in Cardiff, N.J. in August, 1977. Only 20 showed up, of whom 18 beat him, including Stowell Fulton, 7, who needed only a few moves. Hayden’s two wins were against a man who grew tired of waiting between moves and withdrew—and Hayden’s own mother.

In 1910 the Austrian master, Josef Krejcik, gave a simultaneous display at Linz on 25 boards and lost every single game.

Cepca results. Lawyer Gaudioso “Jongjong” Melendez won the June edition of the Club with five straight wins at the Deep Blue Café SM City last weekend. Second placer was Miguel Banebane with 4 points. Tied at third and fourth spots were Joe Atillo and Nic Cuizon. Mandy Baria and Felix Balbona each scored 3 points to tie at fifth to sixth.

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