Friday, August 15, 2008

Wesley So's must-win and Heath Ledger

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

AFTER winning his two previous games to tie at second, Wesley So suffered his only loss in the 11th round to tournament leader Arik Braun of Germany, who has 8.5 points, half a point lead over six other boys. Had Wesley drawn his game, it would have been a tie among eight players at the top.

If he managed a draw, he would have been the only undefeated player in this very strong tournament, which has qualified 22 GMs, 22 IMs and 15 FMs totaling 109 players from 60 countries.

Wesley is in solo eighth place with a still salvageable 7.5 points but he must win his two remaining games to have a chance at becoming a world champion.

It was a painful loss for the world’s youngest GM as he has a higher rating of 2577 over the German’s 2533.

He was playing Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan last night and was the slight favorite, although his opponent already has eight points.

Wesley’s performance rating is still a high 2629.

The Top 4 boards in the 12th and penultimate round, where the eventual champion will come from, are Gupta Abhijeet (India)– Maxim Rodshtein Braun (Israel)-David Howell (England), Parimerjan Negi (India)-Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vietnam) and Wesley’s game against Eltaj.

Abhijeet and Negi played in last year’s Asian Championship at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue.

As of Aug. 12, Wesley has a live rating of 2604 from the games here and from his fine performance in his last nine tournaments, where he placed no lower than fifth place in eight of them.

SOCHI GRAND PRIX. The Second FIDE Grand Prix Tournament, is on-going in Sochi, Russia from July 30 to Aug. 15 with 14 players from 10 different countries competing.

The Grand Prix is a series of six tournaments among pre-selected top players that will determine the challenger to the World Champion in 2010.

After 11 rounds, the leader is Levon Aronian (2737) of Armenia with seven points. There is a three-way tie for second among Wang Yue (2704), Ukraine’s Sergey Karjakin (2727) and Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov (2744).

THE DARK KNIGHT is now the third highest-grossing movie of all time. Only Titanic and Star Wars have sold more tickets than the latest Batman movie and this is primarily due to the late Heath Ledger’s phenomenal interpretation of the Joker, which might be good enough for a posthumous at the Oscars.

While many of you know him as one of the most promising actor of his generation, very few know that he was one hell of a chess player.

A New York restaurant, Brightside, that Heath was planning on investing in, will honor the Australian actor in the form of a chess board.

Brightside owner Jud Mongell said the chess board will be known as Heath’s table. Patrons can enjoy their meals while playing chess in Heath’s honor.

“Heath was a big chess player,” Mr Mongell said. “The whole idea was to make it a spot for us. We wanted to make it our own space to hang out.”

He said the opening this summer will be bittersweet without Ledger, who died in January at the age of 28 from an accidental prescription drug overdose.

CEPCA BLITZ OPEN. Richard Natividad and NM Glenn Pardillo were the co-winners in the recent contest. Kiddies winner was Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano.

Our Club would like to thank Opascor, most especially lawyer Tomas A. Riveral, president and general manager and a good chess player, for allowing us to use their facilities. Opascor is a chess-friendly company.

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