Sunday, August 31, 2008

An unfair decision

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

MY BARKADA and drinking buddy in college Rogelio “Tata” Morelos who, belongs to a family of chess players, just gave me a handwritten note criticizing the showdown between grandmasters Eugene Torre and Joey Antonio that was dubbed as the QC Chess Road Show.

“Dear Chessmoso, Just recently, two top Filipino grandmasters had a showdown with a reported P200,000 as prize money offered by the sponsors.

I was eagerly waiting for the result of the seven-game confrontation, which to my dismay ended in a draw.

What left a bad taste to my gin and tonic-watered mouth was that the two, who tied on the sixth game, did not play the tiebreak seventh game, but instead, decided by themselves to divide the pot money.

I find this to be beggarly and highly impolite for the GMs to do.

It is like Pacquaio and De La Hoya stopping at the 10th round of a scheduled 12 rounds and deciding to call it a draw after being informed by the judges that both have the same scores.

Are the actions of the two GMs allowed in chess tournaments? If so, the people who drafted the rules should be made to swallow the chess pieces of that tournament and add the board as dessert.

The tournament was supposed to be a showdown on who is the master of whom.”

I personally would like to know who the better player is, as I have been following their careers for a long time. Now, after much hype and publicity, there is no decision. I don’t know the inside story but isn’t it unfair to the chess-playing community?

CHESS RESULTS. The World Under-16 Olympiad played at Mersin, Turkey just ended with India and Russia tied at the top with 281/2 each. However, India had the better tiebreak to win the gold medal. After a disastrous performance at Beijing, the Philippines finally got the respect from chess fans by placing a strong third with 27 points 21/2 clear of the strong Azerbaijan team.

As expected, boy wonder Wesley So, snared the gold medal at Board 1 with an impressive 9/10 performance without a loss. Including his performance at the World Juniors, Wesley‘s Elo rating is now about 2618. Congrats Wesley, you are sooooo good!

The other players were Haridas Pascua, Alcon John Datu and Jan Emmanuel Garcia who all posted positive scores.

Another good news for Cebuano chess fans is that home grown FM Kim Steven Yap, son of NM Lingky Yap and grandson of the late NM Loloy Ruelan, got his second IM norm in the just concluded Datu Arthur Tan Malaysia Open.

Kim would have achieved a nine-game GM norm had he won his last game instead of a draw, against compatriot GM Darwin Laylo.

The First Dragon Capital Vietnam is currently on-going at Vung Tau from Aug. 26- Sept. 2. It is the sixth leg of the Asean Grand Prix.

Playing are Wesley So, Rolando Nolte, Julio Catalino Sadorra and Cebuano Richard Bitoon.

The top seeds for this tournament are Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Nguyen Ngoc Troungson, Le Quang liem and Wesley. After Round 2, Richard had 2 points, Wesley had 1.5 and Nolte and Sadorra each had a point. Wesley should win his third round match against Vietnamese lady player WFM Dang Bich Ngoc.

On the international scene, Vassily Ivanchuk, currently ranked fourth in the world, has just won the very strong category 20 Tal Memorial in the exhibition Hall of the Red Square in Moscow, a point clear off the field.

The other participants are former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, who won the tournament last year, Alexander Morozevich, currently the world’s second highest-ranked player, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (8th), Alexei Shirov (9th), Peter Leko (10th), Gata Kamsky (17th), Boris Gelfand, (18th), Ruslan Ponomariov (19th) and Evgeny Alekseev (26th).

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