Thursday, December 24, 2009

The year that was

Frank “Boy” Pestaño

JUST like in other sports there has been no shortage of dramas in chess in 2009. To help remember the year that was, we have compiled a list of major international events ranging from Corus in January to the World Cup in December. Local and National events will be reviewed in my next column.

The first major event of the year is always Corus or Wijk Aan Zee as it is popularly known among the chess players. The youngest person to become grandmaster, Sergey Karjakin, surprisingly won the Group A event. The other winners were Fabiano Caruana in Group B and Wesley So in Group C.

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However, Sergey’s most memorable moment came later this year when he married WGM Kateryna Dolzhikova on July 24 and decided to become a Russian citizen.

The Fide Grand Prix 2008–2009 was a series of six chess tournaments, which formed part of the qualification for the World Chess Championship 2011.

Five of the six tournaments have been played. Levon Aronian has already scored sufficient points to win the Grand Prix with Teimour Radjabov at second.

There were three major events in February--Linares,Aeroflot and the Topalov vs Kamsky match which Topalov easily won.

Alexander Grischuk won Linares by virtue of a superior tiebreak score over Vassily Ivanchuk, with Anand and Carlsen close behind.

Aeroflot, where Wesley So also played, was marred by a scandal when Shakhriyar Mamedyarov accused one of his opponents of computer-assisted cheating. Etienne Bacrot won the tournament.

Lev Aronian snared the Amber Rapid and blindfold event in March, performing equally well at both disciplines to take the overall prize.

Hikaru Nakamura won the US championship in May. The MTel Masters in Sofia was likewise won by Alexei Shirov over top favorite Magnus Carlsen and hometown hero Veselin Topalov.

Carlsen came out on top in Leon and it was revealed that the young sensation has been training under Garry Kasparov.

In Dortmund in July ,Vladimir Kramnik triumphed for a staggering ninth time.

Next up was the Biel tournament, where young Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France took first prize.

In August Aronian again prevailed over a tough field which included Vishy Anand in the World Rapid Championship.

In the same month a Russian-born chess maverick, Vladislav Tkachiev, fell asleep on the board after reportedly turning up drunk at a grandmasters’s tournament in India.
August was also the month that the International Olympic Committee refused the inclusion of chess in the 2016 Olympic games.

The month also featured a rematch between the two former chess giants, Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov. Kasparov easily won, 6-2.

Pearl Spring in China revealed the new Carlsen and his rating went over 2800. In fact, he is now rated no.1 in the World.

The strongest tournament of the year and one of the strongest of all time, the Tal Memorial in Moscow, also revealed that former World champion Vladimir Kramnik is still a force to reckon with. In the world blitz championship after the tournament, Carlsen again grabbed the headlines.

November also saw Anand crushing Karpov in a rapid match.

The last month of the year featured the strongest and most prestigious tournament in a quarter of a century in England, the London Chess Classic which was a resounding success. Carlsen won the event to finish the year as the new world #1.

Next up was the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiyk, Russia which was won by Boris Gelfand of Israel over Rusland Ponomariov of Ukrainne. He therefore qualified for the candidates event in the next World Championship Cycle.

The World Cup also discovered a new talent in Wesley So, who defeated Gata Kamsky and Vassily Ivanchuk and was dubbed the “gold nugget ”of the tournament.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Jinky Young, Bobby Fischer’s daughter

Thursday, December 17, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

ONE point five million Euros. How much is that worth?

Approximately P100 million. This is what Jinky Young is expected to get as her rightful inheritance from her father, chess legend Bobby Fischer, not counting the gold holdings deposited at the Landsbanki Islands .

Add to that the expected royalties from the forthcoming movie “Bobby Fischer Goes to War” and you have quite a sizeable fortune. The movie is directed by John McDonald and stars Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck.

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There are three other claimants to this fortune—Alexander and Nikolas Targ—children of his late sister, Joan Fischer Targ and Miyoko Watai, his alleged wife.

Early this month, Jinky took a leave from school to visit her father’s tomb in Iceland with her mother, Marilyn Young. They were accompanied by Eugene Torre, Bobby’s best friend and Jinky’s lawyer Samuel Estimo. After Iceland, all four went to London for the filming of a documentary by BBC-HBO on the life of Fischer.

The last time mother and child saw Fischer was in September 2005 in Reykjavik, when the chess legend had a three-week rendezvous with them.

Bobby died on Jan. 17 ,2007.

Marilyn recalls, “There was not a day that Bobby didn’t call us, sometimes three to four times, except when I was in school. He would always ask for Jinky, who would say, ‘I love you, Daddy.’”

Torre acted as Bobby’s second during his return match with Boris Spassky in 1992 in Yugoslavia. It was then under sanction by the United Nations and the USA for the civil war in Bosnia Herzegovina .The US Government pursued him until he was jailed in Japan in 2005.

Iceland granted him a special citizenship and he was transferred there much later.

Eugene introduced Marilyn to Bobby and Jinky was born in May 2001 in Baguio City.

Samuel Estimo and a lady Icelandic lawyer accompanied Jinky last Dec. 2 to a Reykjavik hospital where her blood samples were taken for DNA testing. It turned out that it was the same hospital where Fischer died.

Estimo and Thordur Bogason of the law firm who will handle the claim, are optimistic about Jinky’s chances of getting her due from the estate of her father.

“The Magistrate of Iceland will uphold Jinky’s claim, which means that she will get two-thirds of Fischer’s estate,” said Bogason.

“That is on the assumption that Ms. Miyoko Watai’s supposed marriage to Bobby Fischer will be affirmed by the Icelandic Supreme Court. Otherwise, Jinky will collect the whole of Bobby’s estate,” concluded Estimo.

In an e-mail to me dated a few days ago, Estimo said ,“In a decision dated Dec. 8, 2009, the Supreme Court of Iceland thumbed down the marriage of Japanese Miyoko Watai to Bobby for failure to submit the original copy of their alleged marriage contract after several directives to submit the same.”

Per Icelandic law, the presence of a child cancels also all claims of the Targ brothers, who are mere collateral relatives.

Watai is a Japanese women’s chess champion and the general secretary of the Japanese Chess Association. She is also a Woman International Master. She has been a friend of Bobby since 1973.

Joan Fischer Targ is a celebrity in her own right and is a pioneer in computer education and has a prominent family, who are all achievers.

Young Joan started it all when she bought a chess set from a candy store and gave it to her younger brother Bobby on fifth birthday.

Husband Russell Targ is an author and a physicist, and a pioneer in the earliest development of the laser.

Their late daughter, Elisabeth, was a psychiatrist and is best known for her research on the healing powers of prayer.

Brother Alexander is a prominent Palo Alto anesthesiologist.

So it seems, that the Targ family are well-off.


Jinky Young, Bobby Fischer’s daughter

Thursday, December 17, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

ONE point five million Euros. How much is that worth?

Approximately P100 million. This is what Jinky Young is expected to get as her rightful inheritance from her father, chess legend Bobby Fischer, not counting the gold holdings deposited at the Landsbanki Islands .

Add to that the expected royalties from the forthcoming movie “Bobby Fischer Goes to War” and you have quite a sizeable fortune. The movie is directed by John McDonald and stars Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

There are three other claimants to this fortune—Alexander and Nikolas Targ—children of his late sister, Joan Fischer Targ and Miyoko Watai, his alleged wife.

Early this month, Jinky took a leave from school to visit her father’s tomb in Iceland with her mother, Marilyn Young. They were accompanied by Eugene Torre, Bobby’s best friend and Jinky’s lawyer Samuel Estimo. After Iceland, all four went to London for the filming of a documentary by BBC-HBO on the life of Fischer.

The last time mother and child saw Fischer was in September 2005 in Reykjavik, when the chess legend had a three-week rendezvous with them.

Bobby died on Jan. 17 ,2007.

Marilyn recalls, “There was not a day that Bobby didn’t call us, sometimes three to four times, except when I was in school. He would always ask for Jinky, who would say, ‘I love you, Daddy.’”

Torre acted as Bobby’s second during his return match with Boris Spassky in 1992 in Yugoslavia. It was then under sanction by the United Nations and the USA for the civil war in Bosnia Herzegovina .The US Government pursued him until he was jailed in Japan in 2005.

Iceland granted him a special citizenship and he was transferred there much later.

Eugene introduced Marilyn to Bobby and Jinky was born in May 2001 in Baguio City.

Samuel Estimo and a lady Icelandic lawyer accompanied Jinky last Dec. 2 to a Reykjavik hospital where her blood samples were taken for DNA testing. It turned out that it was the same hospital where Fischer died.

Estimo and Thordur Bogason of the law firm who will handle the claim, are optimistic about Jinky’s chances of getting her due from the estate of her father.

“The Magistrate of Iceland will uphold Jinky’s claim, which means that she will get two-thirds of Fischer’s estate,” said Bogason.

“That is on the assumption that Ms. Miyoko Watai’s supposed marriage to Bobby Fischer will be affirmed by the Icelandic Supreme Court. Otherwise, Jinky will collect the whole of Bobby’s estate,” concluded Estimo.

In an e-mail to me dated a few days ago, Estimo said ,“In a decision dated Dec. 8, 2009, the Supreme Court of Iceland thumbed down the marriage of Japanese Miyoko Watai to Bobby for failure to submit the original copy of their alleged marriage contract after several directives to submit the same.”

Per Icelandic law, the presence of a child cancels also all claims of the Targ brothers, who are mere collateral relatives.

Watai is a Japanese women’s chess champion and the general secretary of the Japanese Chess Association. She is also a Woman International Master. She has been a friend of Bobby since 1973.

Joan Fischer Targ is a celebrity in her own right and is a pioneer in computer education and has a prominent family, who are all achievers.

Young Joan started it all when she bought a chess set from a candy store and gave it to her younger brother Bobby on fifth birthday.

Husband Russell Targ is an author and a physicist, and a pioneer in the earliest development of the laser.

Their late daughter, Elisabeth, was a psychiatrist and is best known for her research on the healing powers of prayer.

Brother Alexander is a prominent Palo Alto anesthesiologist.

So it seems, that the Targ family are well-off.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Wesley So to return to Corus

Thursday, December 10, 2009
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Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THE 72nd Corus chess tournament, an elite event in the Fide calendar, will be held in Wijk Aan Zee, a North Sea resort in the Netherlands from Jan. 15 to 31. The winner of the contest in Group A will qualify for the Grand Slam Bilbao Final 2010.

It was known as the Hoogovens tournament from 1938 until 1999 after which, the Dutch steel and aluminum producer Koninklijke Hoogovens merged with British Steel to form the Corus Group.

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There are three sections—A, B and C. Wesley has been invited to play in Group B. To be invited to Corus is like to be invited to the White House.

The Group A participants (all GMs) are Viswanathan Anand of India, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, Peter Leko of Hungary, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, Hikaru Nakamura of USA, Alexei Shirov of Spain, Sergey Karjakin of Russia (winner of Corus A last year), Leinier Dominguez Perez of Cuba, Nigel Short of England, Sergey Tiviakov of Netherlands, Fabiano Caruana of Italy (winner of Corus B last year), and Loek van Wely and Jan Smeets of the Netherlands.

Participants in Group B (all GMs) are Ni Hua of China, Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany; Emil Sutovsky of Israel, Pentala Harikrishna of India, Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania, So of the Philippines (winner of Corus C last year), Varuzhan Akobian of the USA, David Howell of England, Parimarjan Negi of India, Tomi Nyback of Finland, Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia, and Erwin l’Ami, Dimitri Reinderman and Anish Giri of the Netherlands.

Wesley is coming off an exceptional performance in the 2009 World Cup where he reached as far as the 4th round. He gained 15 points and his live rating is now 2655.

Incidentally, the finalists in the World Cup are Boris Gelfand of Israel and Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine who are still playing.

Another big tournament now on-going is the London Chess Classic, billed as the strongest and most prestigious in England in 25 years.

Kramnik, who recently won one of the strongest tournament of all time, the brutally-strong Category 21Tal Memorial, is competing.

Carlsen is another exceptional player who won the “Pearl Spring” competition in China this year. Making up the “awesome foursome” from overseas are Hua, who has won three National Chinese Championship and Nakamura, who is twice an American champion.

The four British players completing the cast are Short, Michael Adams, Howell and Luke Mcshane.

Sofia Rules, meaning no draws unless approved by the arbiter, will apply with three points for a win.

To be held with the London Classic is the women’s invitational and one of the players is WIM Arianne Caoili, formerly of the Philippines but now residing in Australia.

Coming up is a Christmas treat for our local players, the Serging Osmeña Memorial tournament.

In the Open section, there will be an elimination round on Dec. 19 at the Guadalupe Sports Complex to select the top 16 players.

The next day will feature a knockout contest among the 16. Time control is 25 minutes per player.

The champion will get P10,000 and the second placer, P5,000. All the qualifiers will receive cash prizes.

There will also be the women’s and kiddies’ sections on Dec. 20. Cash prize will also be awarded.

For details, you can get in touch with Marvin Ruelan at 09164232335.

Just recently, the Labogon Chess tournament was held at the Labogon Barangay Hall. Tournament director was Leonardo Alidani and Ruelan was the arbiter.

The champion in the Open section was IM Kim Steven Yap. Tied from second to fourth were Boy Abugho, Carlos Moreno III and Joel Pacuribot. The fifth and sixth placers were Eden Diano and Nelman Lagutin.

In the kiddies’ division, the first placer was Raymond Abellana. He was followed by Kyle Sevillano, Daniel Minoza. Harold Pones and Felix Shaun Balbona.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 11, 2009.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wesley So exits the World Cup

Thursday, December 3, 2009
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Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THE ride is over. After a fairytale come true celebrated throughout the country, Wesley So, only 16, lost in the fourth round of the World Cup to a seasoned veteran, Vladimir Malakhov of Russia, who won all three of their tiebreak matches. Earlier they split their regular games.

Still Wesley accomplished what no Filipino has done before and he can hold his head high when he goes home to a warm welcome.

He was the “gold nugget” of the tournament and the darling of chess fans throughout the world.

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Unlike Joey Antonio and Darwin Laylo, Wesley traversed a rocky road to the World Cup. He had two chances. He failed in the first and barely made it in the second.

The event was the last round of the Intercontinental Asian Championships in Subic. Wesley was playing white versus another child prodigy, Le Quang Liem of Vietnam.

Each was on a must-win situation and at stake was a slot to the World Cup. Wesley lost and according to a friend, was so heartbroken that he wept after the game.

GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India finished with five wins and six draws. GM Zhou Weiqi finished second, while Yu Yangyi finished in a tie with Yu Shaoteng, Le Quang Liem, Antonio Jr., Hou Yifan and Shou Jianchao. They all made it to the World Cup.

Wesley finished 22nd.

Wesley was very discouraged. He was rated second in this tournament and everybody expected him to qualify. But there was still a chance. Coming up was the Asean Zonals where two slots were at stake. So was disconsolate and informed his fans that he will be taking a rest from chess and will not play in the Zonals.

In the last hour, GM So decided to join the tournament. There was a lot of pressure from the Philippine chess community and he also wanted to redeem himself.

Laylo was a revelation in the Zonals with seven wins and two draws. Wesley barely made it with 6.5 points. He needed a win and a draw in his last two games.

In one of my earlier articles, I wrote that Wesley will be playing in the World Juniors in Argentina. However, his mother Eleanor wanted him to concentrate on his studies and skip the tournament where he was the top favorite.

He is a 4th year high school student in St.Francis of Assisi in Cavite.

Whenever chess players congregate and talk about Wesley, the topic of going to school or to be a professional player comes up. My belief is that he should finish high school first and study at the International Correspondence School (ICS) later.

You will be surprised to know that a lot of companies have respect for their graduates and their standard is even higher than most schools.

Wesley earned $25,000 in the World Cup and this is just the start. He will be a multi-millionaire before he reaches 21.

In an interview in Russia, Wesley said he needs a trainer now.

“I feel like I should have an assistant now. Another problem is that chess is not that famous in the Philippines. We don’t get any financial support from the government.”

“The government does not give money for tournaments, coaches, nothing,” said So. “Our National Federation pays for our tickets. That’s it. You realize at one moment that to reach some professional level you need private sponsors. I would be happy with some $20,000 to $30,000 a year.”

Any takers? Gentlemen and ladies in government?

How about our Taipans? Do you know that 15 percent of our population are chess players? Wesley can sell more products by endorsing them than any other celebrity.

The exuberance and excitement of chess players of his wins over Ivanchuk and Kamsky is more than that that of Pacquaio’s wins over Cotto, Hatton and dela Hoya.

As they say, So is young but already so good and so brilliant.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 4, 2009.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wesley So surprises Ivanchuck

Thursday, November 26, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE 2009 World Chess Cup, an integral part of the World Championship Cycle 2009-2011, is being held in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia until Dec. 15. The tournament is a knockout event with 128 players.

The format is six rounds of matches comprising two games per round plus tiebreaks, with the winners progressing to the next round. The final seventh round will have four matches, excluding tiebreaks.

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The competition is one of the richest in prize money, totaling $1.6 million broken down as follows: Round 1 losers: $6,000 (64 players); Round 2 losers: $10,000 (32); Round 3: $16,000 (16 players); Round 4 losers: $25,000 (8); Round 5 losers: $35,000 (4); Round 6 losers: $50,000 (2).

The runner-up will get $80,000, while the winner will earn $120,000.

The Philippines has three qualifiers—Wesley So, Darwin Laylo and Rogelio Antonio.

Whoever said that our boys will probably make it to the fourth round was talking thru his nose. This competition is world- class and to even reach the second round is already a tremendous accomplishment. These are the world’s elite players.

Promising youngsters Parimarjan Negi, Ray Robson and girl wonder Hou Yifan are out. Also out is the current women world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk and world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta.

Antonio lost, 0.5-1.5, to 2007 World Cup runner-up Gata Kamsky of the USA despite using his favorite Caro-Kahn, while Laylo (2552) made headlines when he extended super GM David Navara (2707) up to the blitz games but eventually lost.

However, Boy Wonder So (2640) breezed thru the first round against Azerbaijan’s Gadir Guseinov (2625) by sweeping their tiebreak games. They earlier split their two matches.

The big news for all of us was Wesley’s upset win over the mighty Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine 2739) in the first game of the second round! Vassily is easily one of the world’s best chess players and the current No. 12 in Fide’s top 100 list.

Handling the black pieces, So upset the higher-rated Ivanchuk in a French Defense. This could have been a drawn game since Ivanchuk had a perpetual check by move 23, but he pushed for a win, underestimating the strength of the Boy Wonder.

In the second game, it was a shock for the Ukrainians, jubilation for Filipinos and awe for the rest of the world.

Wesley completed his victory with a fighting draw to advance to the third round of this prestigious tournament!

NM Glenn Bordonada says, “This is a historic day for Philippine chess. It recalls to mind Eugene Torre’s win over Mikhail Tal in Leningrad.”

His next opponent will be Gata Kamsky, who has quite a reputation in knockout matches, being a former world championship contender.

Here is Susan Polgar’s advice to Wesley, “Gata is very tough to anyone in match format. He is a grinder, is very patient and will not self destruct. Wesley must be VERY patient and be prepared for long and intense games. It is critical for Wesley not to get into time pressure. Gata is a world-class defender.

He has also played many big matches in his career. The weakest part of Gata’s game is his opening, however his middle game and end-game skills are his strengths. He is also mentally strong.”

It’s a tall order indeed. Go Wesley! Go!

MABOLO. Here are the results of the Mabolo tournament held at Kawayan Grill last weekend. The champion was Steve Pepito and the runners-up were Kyle Sevillano and Carlito Santos. Felix Shaun Balbona and Norvilli Tagnipis placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

I am requesting all Cepca members to visit the place and decide if we could make the place as our clubhouse and venue for tournaments. Food and drinks are reasonable and it is easily accessible thru public transportation. It also has a safe parking.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Be wary of


CHESS prodigies are children who play chess so well that they are able to beat Masters and even Grandmasters, even at a very young age. Only a few sports can enable children to compete with adults on an equal footing and chess is one of them.

One measure of a chess prodigy is attaining the title of Grandmaster. Although I must admit that it has become easier nowadays due to the advent of training with computers and ratings inflation. Still, only a select few have attained GM status while they are still young.

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The youngest GMs now are Jorge Cori, Ray Robson and Anish Giri who are all 14 years old, with only a few months separating them. They became GMs this year, but that does not mean that they attained the GM title earlier than others. Here is an updated list of child prodigies and their respective ages when they became GM.

1.) Sergey Karjakin--12 years, 7 months, 0 days, 2.) Parimarjan Negi--13 years, 4 months, 22 days, 3.) Magnus Carlsen--13 years, 4 months, 27 days, 4.) Bu Xiangzhi--
13 years, 10 months, 13 days, 5.) Teimour Radjabov--14 years, 0 months, 14 days, 6.) Ruslan Ponomariov--14 years, 0 months, 17 days, 7. Wesley So--14 years, 1 month, 28 days, 8.) Etienne Bacrot--14 years, 2 months, 9.) Jorge Cori--14 years, 2 months, 10.) Maxime Vachier--Lagrave 14 years, 4 months, 11.) Péter Lékó--14 years, 4 months, 22 days, 12.) Hou Yifan--14 years, 6 months, 16 days, 13.) Anish Giri--14 years, 7 months, 2 days, 14.) Yuriy Kuzubov--14 years, 7 months, 12 days
15.) Dariusz Swiercz--14 years, 7 months, 29 days 16.) Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son--14 years, 10 months 17.) Ray Robson--14 Years 11 Months 16 days 18.) Fabiano Caruana--14 years, 11 months, 20 days 19.) Humpy Koneru--15 years, 1 month, 27 days, 20.) Hikaru Nakamura--15 years, 2 months, 19 days 21.) Pentala Harikrishna--15 years, 3 months, 5 days, 22.) Judit Polgar--15 years, 4 months, 28 days, 23.) Alejandro Ramirez--15 years, 5 months, 14 days, 24.) Bobby Fischer--15 years, 6 months, 1 day.

A significant honor is that Wesley So is the strongest 14- and 15-year-old in chess history.

TAL MEMORIAL. The Tal Memorial, held in Moscow in honor of Mikhael Tal, has just concluded. It is the strongest tournament of the year, and at Category 21 (average Elo 2764), is also one of the strongest of all time.

While there are comparable Category 21 tournaments like Bilbao and Nanjing this year, the Tal Memorial involved the participation of 10 elite players.

The players are Viswanathan Anand (India, 2788), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2786), Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2801), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2772), Peter Leko (Hungary, 2752), Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2758), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2739) Alexander Morozevich (Russia, 2750), Peter Svidler (Russia, 2754) and Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2739).

Kramnik won the brutally strong tournament, with 6.0/9 . Ivanchuk and Carlsen shared second and third, with the young Norwegian going to number one in the world in the unofficial live rankings.

RESULTS of the just-concluded 2009 Lapu-Lapu Fiesta Chess Tournament last Nov. 14, 2009 at the Lapu-Lapu Auditorium: 1.) Felix Shaun Balbona 2.) Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano 3.) Marq Gabriel Balbona, 4.) Jasper Ycong, 5.) Neil Gilig.

The Seniors winner was Amado Olea followed by Loyd Rubillos, Ryan Rubillos and Ramil Resuera.

NOTICE. My e-mail has been hacked and all my contacts have been sent messages asking for money. As I cannot contact all of them mainly due to their large number, kindly ignore all messages coming from this e-mail.

My new e-mail address is found at the bottom of this column. May the hacker rest in peace. I just lost a 12-year-old e-mail address and all mails I saved thru the years.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family feud over Fischer’s inheritance

Thursday, November 12, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

CHESS legend Bobby Fischer died in Iceland on Jan. 17, 2008 of renal failure. In death, as in life, he left a legacy full of controversies. This time, it’s mainly the battle over his estate, estimated at $1.12 million cash deposited at an Icelandic bank. In addition, there are allegedly some gold deposits and a possible fortune in royalties from the making of the movie “Bobby Fischer goes to war.”

There are three claimants to this fortune, or four if you include the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The three are his nephews Alexander and Nicholas Targ who are the children of his late sister Joan; his Japanese wife Miyoko Wataihi; and his Filipina daughter, Jinky Young, who is now eight years old.

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Here is a short background of where this money came from and why it is controversial.

After disappearing from public view for 20 years, Fischer returned to play a chess match with Boris Spassky in 1992.

It was held in Sveti Stefan, a resort in Montenegro, and Bobby was warned not to join since Yugoslavia was being sanctioned by the United Nations for the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The prize fund was $5 million with $3.65 million going to the winner.

The sponsor was Jezdimir Vasiljevic, the President of Jugoskandic Bank. Eugene Torre served as Fischer’s second, while Cebuano Eric Gloria was also part of the team of Fischer, who won the match.

The other day, the Supreme Court in Iceland rejected the claims of the Targ brothers and awarded the inheritance to Miyoko Watai, recognizing his marriage to Fischer as legal.

I have been following this drama since the very start thru an Icelandic contact, Alfred Gudmundsson, who is married to a Cebuana, Mae, and Samuel Estimo, Jinky’s lawyer.

Unfortunately, Alfred, who was a very good man, passed away.

I immediately sent an e-mail to NM Samuel Estimo, and he informed me that Jinky’s claim is still valid.

Jinky, her mom Marilyn Torre and Sammy will be joining a shoot for a documentary by BBC HBO on the life of Bobby on either Dec. 6 or 7 in London, and then will proceed to Iceland.

In Iceland, Jinky is sure to be DNA-tested and Marilyn has agreed as she is sure of Bobby’s paternity. I have a picture of Marilyn and Jinky, together with Bobby.

Under Icelandic law, the child gets two-thirds of the estate, while the legal wife gets one third.

Bobby, in an interview, claims that he was never married to Watai (Bobby was in jail in Japan then and the marriage would have set him free). Also Eugene Torre claims that Bobby never wished to marry Watai but only wanted her as a companion.

Bobby preferred young and beautiful women.

Let us wish them good luck when they go to Iceland. As Sammy says “Bobby will turn in his grave if Marilyn and Jinky will not be given their due.”

MABOLO AND LAPU-LAPU TOURNAMENTS. The first is open to Class B Mabolo residents only. It will be held on Nov. 17 to 19 and format is seven rounds Swiss with 25 minutes time control.

Venue is at Kawayan Grill, in front of Persimmon. Games start at 5:30 p.m.

Registration is P150 with the following prizes: Champion (P1,500), second (P1,000), third (P500), and fourth P(300.) The fifth to eight placers will receive P200 each. For details call 4129283 and 4129018.

The Lapu-Lapu Fiesta competition will start on Nov. 14, at the Auditorium and will have two divisions-- Kiddies and Juniors/Seniors. The Kiddies division begins at 8:30 a.m. and the seniors will be at 1:30 p.m.

Format for kiddies is five rounds Swiss and 30 minutes time control. Confirmed players are the Balbona brothers, boy wonder Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano and Lapu-Lapu’s Allan Pason, Raffy Bensi and Gil Gelig.

The Juniors/Seniors section is open to Lapu-Lapu residents and people who work there. The sponsor is the Lapu-Lapu City Government through Mayor Arturo Radaza. For details contact Jun Olis at 09103476907.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chess-playing murderers and assassins

Thursday, November 5, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THIS article is about persons known to be avid chess players but at the same time, were assassins or murderers.

Generally, a person who murders restricts his or her act to one victim. A mass murderer or serial killer, however, slays three or more victims over a short period of time.

The most notorious serial killer is Alexander Pichushkin of Russia, 32, who has been nicknamed “Crazy Chess Player” as he had initially planned to commit 64 murders, one for each square of the chessboard . He boasted of killing 63 people--one short of filling up the chessboard--but prosecutors were able to find evidence only for 48. The killings were from 1996-2006.

He has been sentenced to life imprisonment as Russia has imposed a moratorium on the death sentence.

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John Christie was an English serial killer active in the 1940s and 1950s. He murdered at least six women—including his wife, Ethel—by strangling them in his flat in London. He was arrested, tried, and hanged in 1953 for his wife’s murder and those of the other women.

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was an American serial killer. Between 1972 and 1978, the year he was arrested, convicted, and later executed, Gacy raped and murdered at least 33 young men and boys. Although some of his victims’ bodies were found in the Des Plaines River, he buried 29 of them in the small crawl space underneath the basement of his home. He became known as “Killer Clown” because he entertained children in a clown suit and makeup under the alias “Pogo the Clown”.

The Soham murder was a high profile murder case in August 2002 of two 10-year-old girls in Soham, Cambridgeshire, England. The victims were Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. The convicted killer was a local school caretaker, Ian Huntley,who was sentenced to life imprisonment..

Charles Manson founded a hippie cult in the ‘60s known as “the Family” whom he manipulated into brutally killing others on his behalf.

He was convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to death, later commuted to life, for the Tate/LaBianca murders .

Sharon Tate (Valley of the Dolls) was one of the most beautiful actresses at that time, and was married to renowned director Roman Polanski (“Rosemarie’s Baby,” “Chinatown”) and was 8 1/2 months pregnant.

Tate, who was stabbed 16 times, pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby; she cried, “Mother... mother...” until she was dead.

Polanski is in the news lately with an arrest warrant for sexual assault on a minor in 1977.

Scott Lee Peterson is an American who was convicted of the murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, then eight months pregnant.

Peterson’s case dominated the American media for many months.

In 2005, Peterson was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

He remains on death row in San Quentin State Prison while his case is on appeal to the Supreme Court of California.

We now have the assassins--Lee Harvey Oswald ,Sirhan Sirhan and John Hinckley.

Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of US President John F. Kennedy who was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. He was a Marine who defected to the Soviet Union and later returned. Oswald was shot and mortally wounded by Jack Ruby on live television.

Sirhan Sirhan is the convicted assassin of United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy who was killed on June 5,1968. He was sentenced to death but later commuted to life imprisonment. You would be surprised to know that Sirhan is not a Muslim but a Palestinian Christian.

John Hinckley, Jr., attempted to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C, on March 30, 1981, in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has remained under institutional psychiatric care since then

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tips and pointers to improve your game

Thursday, October 29, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

BRUCE Pandolfini is a chess author, teacher and coach. He was portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the 1993 film “Searching for Bobby Fischer.” He has coached many talented chess players, the most famous being Fabiano Caruana.

Here are his tips, pointers and hints on how to be a better chess player.

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Be aggressive, but play soundly. Don’t take unnecessary chances. Make sure every move has a purpose. If you know your opponent’s style, take advantage of it. But, in the final analysis, play the board, not the player.

Don’t give needless checks. Answer all threats.

Play for the initiative. If you already have it, maintain it. If you don’t have it, seize it. When exchanging pieces, try to get at least as much as you give up. Take with the man of least value, unless there is a definite reason for doing otherwise.

Cut your losses. If you must lose material, lose as little as possible. Never play a risky move, hoping your opponent will overlook your threat, unless you have a losing position.

Rely on your own powers. If you can’t see the point of your opponent’s move, assume there isn’t any. Don’t sacrifice without good reason. When you can’t determine whether to accept or decline a sacrifice, accept it.

Attack in number. Don’t rely on just one or two pieces. Look for double attacks.

Play for the center: guard it, occupy it, influence it. Fight for the center with pawns. In the opening, move as few pawns as necessary to complete your development.

Try to develop your Bishops before blocking them in by moving a center pawn just one square.Develop your pieces quickly, preferably toward the center.

Try to develop a new piece on each turn. Don’t move a piece twice in the opening without good reason. Try to develop with threats, but don’t threaten pointlessly.

Develop minor pieces early. King-side pieces should usually be developed sooner than Queen-side ones, and Knights before Bishops. Develop during exchanges.

In the opening, don’t remove your Queen from play to “win” a pawn. Don’t bring out the Queen too early, unless the natural course of play requires it.

Seize open lines. Develop Rooks to open files, or to files likely to open. Castle early. Try to prevent your opponent’s King from castling. Keep it trapped in the center, especially in open games.

Try to pin your opponent’s pieces. Avoid pins against your own pieces. Don’t capture pinned pieces until you can benefit from doing so. After castling, don’t move the pawns in front of your King without specific reason.

When applicable, pick target squares on the color of your unopposed Bishop. Try to avoid early exchanges of Bishops for Knights.

Put queen and Rook(s) on the same file or rank, and Queen and Bishop on the same diagonal.

Usually play to retain your Bishops in open games, and Knights in closed games. To improve the scope of your Bishop, place your pawns on squares opposite in color to it.

RESULTS. Visayas dominated the elementary division boys and girls of the Milo Olympics held in Cebu. The members of the boys’ team are Felix Shaun Balbona, John Francis Balbona, James Andrew Balbona and John Paul Arenilla. The alternate is John Antonio, while the coach is Christine de la Cerna.

The proud parents of this chess playing family are Felix and Juliet Balbona. Another member of the family, Jessa Marie Balbona, placed fourth in the strong All Students Chess Tournament at the Colonnade Chess Club last weekend won by Michael Pinar.

Other placers were Johnny Carzano and Alfer Joseph Fernandez.

Here are the results of the San Roque Barangay’s cup held last weekend. The champion was Loraine Pawao. He was followed by Kryztell Ouano, Arjay Pardillo, Joseph Acosta and Christian Lustre.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Carlsen the Great: a virtuoso performance

Thursday, October 22, 2009
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Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

ONE of the greatest tournament performance of all time was recently accomplished by Magnus Carlsen of Norway when he won the second Spring Pearl competition in Nanjing, China.

Carlsen, whose first name is “great” in Latin, totally dominated the event, winning six times and drawing four for an amazing 8/10 score. He left his nearest rival, the world’s top-rated grandmaster, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, 2 1/2 points behind. This is like winning in the NBA by 60 points.

While such scores are fairly common in chess, this was extraordinary as the competition was a category 21 and was considered a super-elite tournament. Here is the final score: Carlsen (2772, 8 points), Topalov (2813, 5½), Wang Yue of China (2736, 4 1/2), Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan (2757, 4), Peter Leko of Hungary (2762, 4) and Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia (2742, 4).

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GM Viswanathan Anand, the current world champion and No. 2 in the rating list, was originally slated to play. Instead he was substituted by the Hungarian grandmaster Leko.

Fide has recognized this tournament, which came after the highly successful first edition last year won by Topalov, as part of the world Grand Slam tournaments. This makes it a super-elite world chess event after Corus in Holland, Linares in Spain, Sofia in Bulgaria and Bilbao Grand Slam Chess Final.

Carlsen performed at a 2850 level (double-round robin) with an average Elo of 2763 and gained a massive 29 points on the Fide ratings list. This brings him to 2801, making him the fifth player in history--after Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Topalov--to break the 2800 barrier.

The currently highest-ranked player, Topalov, scored 5.5/10 and performed at a 2789 level. He lost 3.5 points and will appear at 2810 on the next list.

A relatively high 70 percent of the games in this event were drawn, with white winning 20 percent and black 10 percent.

Each of the other GMs dropped one game to Carlsen or Jakovenko.

In an article in, Jeff Sonas wrote that this was the best tournament performance since January 2005 and the greatest ever of all time by a teenager as Magnus is just 19.

The five best performances of all time were by Anatoly Karpov 2899 (Linares 1994); Garry Kasparov, 2881 (Tilburg 1989); Emanuele Lasker, 2878 (London 1899); Kasparov, 2877 (Linares 1999); and Mikhael Tal 2869 (Bled, Zagreb, Belgrade).

Surprisingly, Bobby Fischer’s best performance is just the same as Carlsen at 2850 in Palma de Mallorca (Interzonal) in 1970.

Bobby Fischer’s 100 percent score of 11-0 at the US Championships in 1963-64 is not recognized due to the low playing strength of his opponents. It is the only perfect score in the history of a major tournament.

Many observers attributed Carlsen’s amazing performance to the former world champion Kasparov, now retired, who is now his trainer and coach. A big amount of money must have been involved and Carlsen’s purse of 80,000 Euros in this event is just for starters.

The World Juniors Championship has just started in Puerto Madrin, Argentina instead of Mar del Plata as originally scheduled. The competition started yesterday and will end on Nov. 4.

Although there is also a Girls’ section, the Philippines is not represented. Our Wesley So is one of the favorites in the boys’ event.

The top 10 seeded players are (all GMs) 1. Vachier-Lagrave Maxime (2718, France), 2. Andreikin Dmitry (2659, Russia), 3. Sergie Zhigalko (2646, Bulgaria), 4. So (2644, Philippines) 5. David Howell David (2624, England) 6. Maxim Rodstein (2623, Israel) 7. Li Chao (2617, China) 8. Eduardo Iturrizaga (2605, Venezueala) 9. Eltaj Safarli (2587, Azebaijan) and 10. Ivan Popov (2582, Russia).

Ray Robson, the world’s youngest GM from the US, is also expected to be a contender.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Building a child’s self-confidence

Thursday, October 15, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THERE are several ways to build self-confidence-a trait needed to ensure success in this highly competitive world. It is vitally important that the child—your child—possesses this characteristic.

Your perception of yourself has an enormous impact on how others perceive you. Perception is reality — the more self-confidence you have, the more likely it is you’ll succeed.

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Playing chess has many benefits and one is promoting self-confidence. You can learn many techniques and skills that you can apply in daily life.

Every time you win a game, you improve self-esteem and self-confidence.

Chess is a thinking game. It is a fair game in that the player is responsible for the fate of the game and there is no other intervention in the game either in the form of luck or chance.

If children were taught this noble game at a tender age and encouraged to play, they would perform better in academically and outshine others.

If your child has a history of school failure and academic problems, teach him/her to play chess. In due time, you will see great improvements not only in the personality but also in the intellectual capacity of the child

Chess players show intense concentration, abstract thinking, and mental strategies that are extremely difficult to understand and learn.

With more self-confidence, you can face the many difficulties of life. A child develops the attitude that he can do it and that he can achieve his dreams.

One of the important subjects that a child is taught in school is mathematics. This is a very important subject and one needs to master it to pursue and understand higher studies.

In a study of the richest people recently by Forbes magazine, one of their common traits is that they are good in math.

The importance of math is that it cannot be learned by memorizing. You cannot just memorize the formulas of algebra and reproduce it in exams.

Understanding the concepts, applying concentration, attention and analyzing the various types of problems is what is required in math and chess.

Other ways to improve your self-confidence is to recognize your insecurities, and remember that no one is perfect. You should also be thankful for what you have and be positive. Avoid self-pity, or the pity and sympathy of others. Never allow others to make you feel inferior—they can only do so if you let them.

So if your school, starting this school year will teach your child to play chess welcome it because your child will in the long run develop self-confidence.

Local news. The Colonnade Chess Center will be celebrating its 11th anniversary with a tournament on Oct. 24 and 25.

Format is active, seven rounds Swiss. Only students can participate. Tournament starts at 9 a.m.

Also on Oct. 24 and 25, the San Roque Chessfest will be held at the barangay hall at 9:30 a.m. Format is active seven rounds and is open only to kiddies 14 years old and below and residents of Talisay, Minglanilla and Inayawan. Contact Manny Manzanares at 09157206457.

Last weekend, an executives-only competition was held at the Deep Blue Coffee shop in SM City. Format was seven rounds handicapping chess with a time of five minutes for Class A, 10 minutes for Class B and 15 minutes for Class C.

The winner was Jonathan Canque with 5.5 points. He was followed by Allan Cinco, Wilfredo Dominguito, Maggi Dionson,Allen Borbon and Excel Canque, all with 5 points.

The sponsors were Carlos Tan, Edgar Hortelano Jr. and Dr.Jesus Cellona.

After the tournament, a chess club was formed—the Deep Blue “D” Woodpusher Chess Club. Wilfredo Dominguito was also elected as the first president.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Occupations of famous chess players

Thursday, October 8, 2009
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Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

CONTRARY to what you know, most chess players have a regular occupation aside from playing chess. Almost everybody knows that very few people can make a living out of the game. Here are the selected professions of some players, all of them are grandmasters.

Edmar Mednis was a chemical engineer, a profession closest to my heart. He who played a simul tournament with Cepca members here in Cebu in the late 90s.

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Mikhael Botvinnik was a three-time world champion who was an electrical engineer. His famous pupils include world champions Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik.

Max Euwe was not only a world champion but was also a past president of Fide. He was a professor and had a doctorate in mathematics.

Paul Morphy was considered by Bobby Fischer to have been the greatest player of all time and an unofficial world champion. He was a lawyer by profession and was known to have memorized the complete Louisiana book of code and laws.

William Lombardy gained fame by being the second of Bobby Fischer in the match of the century against Boris Spassky in 1972. He was a former Roman Catholic priest.

Miguel Najdorf was a Polish-born Argentine chess grandmaster of Jewish origin, famous for his Najdorf Variation. He was an insurance underwriter and once played communist revolutionary Che Guevara to a draw.

John Nunn is one of England’s strongest players and once belonged to the world’s top 10. He is also a college instructor in mathematics.

Reuben Fine was one of the strongest chess players in the world from the mid- 1930s through the 1940s and is a psychoanalyst.

Samuel Reshevsky, considered by many to have been the best player after Bobby Fischer and Paul Morphy, was an accountant. He was a contender for the World Chess Championship from 1935 to the mid-1960s.

Mark Taimanov has the distinction for being one of the top 100 players of all time in chess and piano.

Siegbert Tarrasch was one of the strongest players and most influential chess teachers of the late 19th century and early 20th century. He was a doctor.

Andrew Solis is considered one of the most prolific chess writers, having authored or co-authored around 30 books. Soltis is a journalist and a weekly columnist for the New York Post. He was named “Chess journalist of the year” by the Chess Journalists of America in 1988.

Alex Yermolinsky won the US championship in 1993 and 1996 and is a chemist.

MILLION POT. Poker has grown tremendously over the last three or four years, including here in Cebu. It’s a game that largely attracts the same people as chess. Poker is a lot similar to chess in that beneath its seemingly simple surface lurks a deep sea of advanced theoretical concepts that give skilled players a great advantage over occasional ones

Chess is a game like golf, tennis or boxing, it has plenty of followers, yet no one will watch it on TV. The invention of the pocket camera has made poker the fastest
growing game in the world today.

The action is at its highest at the All-in poker club at the Waterfront Hotel where there is a guaranteed P50,000 tournament everyday and cash games all the time.

A lot of chess players including Cepca members play here.

Tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., there will be a P1-million guaranteed tournament with a freezeout format. The buy-in is only P10,000 plus P500 registration.

The club manager is Bryan Lo, and the assistant is Cathy Dagiso. Antonio “Mario” Lo Jr. is the Chairman-CEO of the Vanskaps Management Group that operates the poker club.

If you think you are good ,this is your chance to play this once in a lifetime competition .Contact Bryan at 3181101 or 0917-7256756.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The five aces of the chess world

Thursday, October 1, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

QUINTO Alas (five aces) is the highest card in poker. Chess also has the equivalent of the five aces. These are Viswanathan Anand (India), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria).

These players have been dominant in top-level chess these past years and I expect this to continue for a few more years.

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Anand, 40, is known as a strong all-around player with great tactical acumen. In 2007, he won the World Championship Tournament with a score of 9/14 to become classical world champion. In 2008, he defeated Vladimir Kramnik, 6.5-4.5, to retain the world championship. He won or shared first place at Corus five times, and at Linares three times. He also won the Chess Oscar five times.

Aronian, 27, is an aggressive player willing to go into complex positions. He won the 2005 World Chess Cup, the 2006 Linares, Corus, and is a three-time Chess960 champion. He is the envy of most chess players for being the boyfriend of Fil-Aussie beauty Arianne Caoili. He also wears a Barong Tagalog during tournaments.

Kramnik, 34, is usually described as a solid and pragmatic player. In 2004, he drew with Peter Leko to retain the world championship. In 2007, he finished second in the World Chess Championship tournament with a score of 8/14, losing the title to Anand. He won or shared first place at Dortmund eight times and won or shared first place at Monaco Amber Medley six times.

Carlsen, 19, has been tagged as a future world chess champion since bursting into the scene in 2003 at age 13. In 2004, he the became third youngest player to become a grandmaster (13 years, 4 months, and 27 days). At 15, he became the youngest world championship candidate. He has teamed up with the retired Garry Kasparov to improve his play.

Topalov, 34, is the current No. 1 and is known as a strong tactical player and likes to outthink his opponent in very complex positions. He won three consecutive M-Tel Masters tournaments (2005-2007), had two first place finishes at the Corus Chess Tournament (2006, 2007) and shared first at 2005 Linares Tournament with Kasparov.

results. There have been several local tournaments this month.

Over at San Roque, the September champion is Donn Gerard Ouano.

Previous monthly champions were June-Joshua Guinto, July-Markeno Azar Manzanares and August-Jeffu Dorog. The monthly winners up to December will meet in the grand finals in January 2010.

There is a new chess club composed of all lawyers in Cebu—IBP Cebu Chess Club.” The group elected its first set of officers on Sept. 16 at Baseline. The officers are: Orvi Ortega (president), Edgardo Mayor (vice president) Nigel Keith Davide (secretary), Joe Noel Lawas (treasurer) and Jessican Cagara (auditor).

The Board of Directors are Jong Melendez, Eduardo Kangleon and Venice Balansag.

The club held its first tournament at Baseline last Sept. 16 with the following result: Jong Melendez (champion), Joe Noel Lawas (second), Jessican Cagara (third) and Edgardo Kangleon (fourth).

The group has committed to meet twice a month at Baseline.

City Hall just completed its team competition involving eight teams and the champion is the Department of Public Services.

It was followed by the Engineering and Public Works, Accounting and Sanguniang Panglunsod.

The champion team is composed of Constantino Paculaba, Raul Cinco, Rodrigo Navaja and Cirio Escasinas.

In Liloan, 82 players joined the Kiddies division last weekend.

The co-winners were Godfrey Villamor and Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano.

The men’s champion was Vivencio Mendoza Jr.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September is for fun and games

Thursday, September 24, 2009
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Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

JUST as Octoberfest is a tradition for eating and drinking, in the world of chess, September is for having fun in and for playing.

We have several events this month, ranging from kiddies tournaments in the local level, the PGMA Cup in the national scene and big tournaments internationally. These are the women’s team championship, the Bilbao Masters and viola—the return match between Kasparov and Karpov!

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Also on-going is the 3rd edition of the Spice Cup 2009, where Wesley So is participating.

Aboitizland also supported a contest among three elementary schools—Gabi, Lagtang and Mabolo—totaling 30 players, complete with lunch including lechon.

The winner was Justine Borinaga of Gabi with a perfect score of five points. He was followed by Miah Dianne Villanova, Chanelie Tabuga and Adrian Omamba, all of Lagtang Elementary School.

The venue was the newly constructed complex of Persimmon in Mabolo that is expected to change the landscape where I live.

Andoni Aboitiz himself was there to boost the morale of the kids.

Last weekend, the Laray Fiesta contest was held for kiddies. The champion was Markeno Czar Manzanares. He was followed by John Theodore Entera, Jemario Gabiana, Fashene Ivy Labajo and Jeffu Dorog.

On Sept. 26 and 27, there will be another kiddies tournament at Barangay San Roque starting at 9 a.m. Format is 7 rounds Swiss and the registration fee is P25.

Register by text to 09157206457.

The 2nd Women’s World Team Chess Championship took place in Yinzhou, China, from Sept. 2 to 11. Ten teams participated and the champion was China with Russia as first runner-up and Ukraine as third.

There was some controversy in the last round between China and Vietnam which ended in a draw, 2-2. This enabled China to become champion. Vietnam had a big advantage in Board 1 and a winning advantage in Board 4 when the draws were agreed. Nagsabot?

The Bilbao Cup is a tournament of champions featuring the winners of different events— Alexander Grischuk of Linares, Sergey Karjakin of Corus, Alexei Shirov of Sofia and Levon Aronian of Nanjing.

Aronian was the runaway winner with 13 points on four wins, one draw and a loss. Second was Grischuk with eight. The scoring system was three points for a win and one for a draw.

One of the greatest rivalries in the history of chess has just re-started as Garry Kasparov,46, took on Anatoly Karpov, 58, in the Spanish city of Valencia from Sept. 21-25.

The re-match took place 25 years after the two legends first met for the world title—a match which dragged on for five months and totaled 48 games before it was called off by then Fide President Florencio Campomanes for health reasons.

The new match will have 12 games—four rapid and eight blitz.

Kasparov looked sharp and took a 2-0 lead after Day 1 even as Karpov came back to take Game 3. Karpov lost on time in game 4.

Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre started the defense his title when the fourth PGMA international chess championship opened yesterday in Parañaque City.

Other Filipino players to watch for are GMs Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr., Mark Paragua, Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor, Jayson Gonzales, John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and GM-elect Ronald Dableo.

Wesley So is now in a tournament in Texas at Texas Tech University, the 3rd Spice Cup, that will test him if he is indeed the new face in chess. His performance after 4 rounds is three draws and a loss—which is not so good.

The contest is a category 16 double round robin among the “rising stars”: Wesley (Age 15 Elo 2644), Dmitry Andreikin of Russia (18, 2659), Yuri Kuzubov of Ukraine (19, 2636), Rauf Mamedov of Azerbaijan (21, 2626) and Jon Ludwig Hammer of Norway (19, 2585).

Friday, September 18, 2009

World’s top guns

Frank “Boy” Pestaño

FOR the first time, the World Chess Federation is now publishing the top players every six months compared to every quarter previously.

The big losers are Gata Kamsky from 18 to 38, Dmiitry Jakovenko from 5 to 11, Michael Adams from 35 to 50, and Vladimir Akopian from 25 to 34.

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The top gainer is the phenomenal Vassily Ivanchuk, who won the fifth Grand Prix in Jermuk, Armenia and is now eight from 30. Hikaru Nakamura went to 16 from 26 and Rustam Kasimdzhanov from 58 to 31. Also with an amazing rise is 44-year-old Nigel Short, who is now the top-rated player in Britain from 44 to 29 and now belongs to the 2700 club with 2706.

Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria is still numero uno, while World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India is in second place.

Armenian Levon Aronian has advanced to third in the world, one point ahead of Norwegian Boy Wonder Magnus Carlsen and former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.

Aronian, who wears a barong tagalong (Do you know why?) in his games has also taken the first of two Grand Prix Slot.

Wesley So almost lost his lofty rating among the top 100 players of the world and is now No. 97 from 92 last July. He is also No. 8 among the Juniors (20 years and below). He lost some points in the Asian Championship and the Asean finals, although he qualified to the World Cup together with Joey Antonio and Darwin Laylo.

He has a chance to join the 2700 Club as he will be competing in the Susan Polgar’s Spice Chess Cup Open 2009 (Group A) beginning Sept. 19 at the Texas Tech University, USA. The tournament runs until Sept. 29.

Joining him in the RP rankings are No. 2 GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr., (2557), No. 3 GM Darwin Laylo (2537), No. 4 GM Eugene Torre (2535), No. 5 GM John Paul Gomez (2521), No. 6 GM-elect Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla Jr. (2518), No. 7 GM Mark Paragua (2501), No. 8 IM Richard Bitoon (2490), No. 9 IM Julio Catalino Sadorra
(2468), No. 10 GM Joseph Sanchez (2463).

Dableo needs to reach a rating of 2500 to formally become our latest GM.

Judit Polgar still leads the women’s division without a change in her rating. The big loser in the distaff side is Koneru Humpy who lost 28 to dip below the 2600 mark, leaving Polgar 92 ahead.

Just ten points behind is my favorite 15-year-old Hou Yifan. After Hou comes another Chinese, Zhao Xue, 43 behind.

Magnus Carlsen (2772) and Hou Yifan (2585) are both leading the World’s Top Junior and Top Girls, respectively, Magnus by 50 points.

Top 10: (No. 1) Topalov, Veselin, 2813; (2) Anand, Viswanathan, 2788; (3) Aronian, Levon, 2773; (4) Carlsen, Magnus, 2772; (5) Vladimir Kramnik, 2772; (6) Leko, Peter Hungary, 2762; (7) Radjabov, Teimour Azerbaijan, 2757; (8) Ivanchuk, Vassily Ukraine, 2756; (9) Gelfand, Boris Israel, 2756; (10) Morozevich, Alexander Russia, 2750.

San Roque Jeffu Dorog won this tournament last weekend in Barangay San Roque, followed by Christian Gebb Lustre, Steven Kieth Pacada, Firce May Labajo and Mae Abendan.

Awarding and recognition will be tomorrow 9 a.m. in Barangay San Roque, Talisay City.

STO. NINO. Last Aug. 29, the alumni of Colegio del Santo Niño had their annual homecoming at the Casino Español. All of us, five brothers, Jimmy, Pepe, Bob, Danny and I were alumni of that school, which closed its high school department in 1976.

Incidentally I met retired PAL pilot Tereso Lebumfacil, who is a very good friend of my brother Jimmy, and he informed me that one of the avid followers of this column is his son, Justine, 13.

The Augustinians, with the help of the alumni led by Dodong Osmeña, are planning to reopen the school, which used to be the premiere educational institution in Cebu.

I met my classmates: Gabby Leyson, Jun del Prado, Cesar Dakay, Kiting Moro and Lito Sotelo.

Not your usual kind of news

THIS article is not your usual kind of news. It features a homicide, a drunken master (not Jackie Chan), chess from outer space and a game between Hitler and Lenin.

Police say David Christian and Michael Alan Steward were playing chess and drinking at Christian’s residence in Iowa City when a quarrel turned violent. They say Christian apparently trapped Steward’s neck between his legs and squeezed it until Steward died.

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Christian will plead guilty to a lesser voluntary manslaughter charge, which has a maximum 10-year sentence. Christian originally faced a charge of second-degree murder, which could have landed him in prison for 50 years.

According to a report from, GM Vladislav Tkachiev appeared for his Round 3 game totally drunk and was ultimately declared the loser. He was playing in the Kolkata Open in India just this month.

The Hindustan Times reported that he could hardly sit on his chair and after 11 moves, fell asleep.Attempts to wake him up proved futile and the game was awarded to his opponent on the technical ground of Tkachiev being unable to complete his moves within the time limit. He was reprimanded by the organizers but allowed to take part for the remainder of the competition.

Tkachiev, with a rating of 2669, is one of the presidential nominees to the World Cup in Khanty Mansiyk, Russia this year and is ranked no. 58 in the world. I don’t recall an incident like this ever happening before.

Last month, Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang was sent into outer space in the 128th mission of the Nasa Space Shuttle Program.

An interesting sidelight of the program is the chess game between Christer and the Swedish public. Chess moderators pick out three different moves that the public, playing black, are able to choose from by voting online. The move that gets the most votes is sent out to space.

Everybody knows that Vladimir Lenin, the Father of the Russian Revolution in 1917, was an avid chess player. Historians have named him one of the most influential persons in the 20th century.

Another person also listed is Adolf Hitler, who needs no introduction.

A controversy is now raging among chess players in Europe over a picture being put on sale depicting Lenin and Hitler playing chess in around 1909. The etching was allegedly drawn from life by the future Führer’s art teacher, Emma Löwenstramm.

The owner of the picture is sure of its authenticity. Historians, however, are not.

The story according to Russia Today, is that back in 1909, Adolf Hitler, then 20, was an artist in Vienna and Lenin was about 40 and in exile. The house where they allegedly played the game belonged to a prominent Jewish family which departed from the Austro-Hungarian capital in the run-up to the Second World War and left a part of their property to the housekeeper. The etching and the chess set pictured on it were among the possessions left.

The etching will be put on auction next month on Oct. 1 and is expected to fetch over $60,000.

Did you know that there have been silly talks and tsismis that Hitler was the son of our hero Jose Rizal? It is of course unfounded and has no basis at all except for the fact that Rizal was in Germany at that time.

It is also well-known that our hero, a chess expert, had several love affairs. Historians say he was involved with a “dozen women”, nine of whom have been identified.

They were Gertrude Becket (London), Nelly Boustead of an English and Iberian family, Japanese Usui Seiko, Segunda Katigbak and Rizal’s first cousin, Leonor Rivera.

The others were: Leonor Valenzuela (Filipino), Consuelo Ortiga (Spanish), Suzanna Jacoby (Belgian), and Josephine Bracken (Irish).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Batting for a new Guinness record for Cebu

Friday, August 21, 2009

Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE Guinness World Records is a reference book that is published annually and contains an internationally-recognized collection of world records, most of it about human achievements. The book itself holds a world record as the best-selling copyrighted series of all time.

It has been in the news lately and has become a sorce of pride among Cebuanos after Guinness confirmed and authenticated that 7,770 people converged at the Cebu City Sports Center for a dance class on June 27. The previous record of 2,289 was held by the city of Budapest in Hungary.

In chess, simul games are the most significant and difficult records to achieve.

On Oct. 21, 2006, a gigantic multi-simul was organized in El Zócalo, Mexico City central square. About 600 masters played against 20 to 25 opponents each. The total number of players was 13,446. The tables were arranged in squares of different colors, each containing seven simuls. Guiness acknowledged the event as the largest one held in a single day.

Last Aug. 14, a new Guiness record on single simuls was achieved by, of all people, Iranian GM Morteza Majoob. It will be recalled that chess was banned in Iran for sometime by Ayatollah Khomenei after the Islamic revolution in 1979. He believed that it can affect one’s memory, cause brain damage and contribute to a war-mongering mentality.

The simul started at 10 a.m. on Aug. 13. Mahjoob did his five first moves in 2 hours. Lunch (the only break) was served from 2:30 to 3 p.m. after the ninth move. The remaining games continued and finally at 4:12 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2009 he finished the last game.

Majoob played 500 opponents at the Tehran Sports Complex, winning 397, drawing 90 and losing 13 games for a winning percentage of 88.You have to win 80 percent of the games in order to qualify for the Guiness world record.

Majoob played this year at the 8th Asian Continental Championship in Subic last May, where our Joey Antonio qualified to the World Cup.

In Majoob’s simul record, the oldest and youngest players were 81 and 4 years old. Many nationally-rated players participated. Also, three strong Iranian blind players

The sponsor covered all organizing expenses as well as cash prizes for every winner and everyone who could score a draw. Also some prizes were raffled to the spectators.

Councilor Jack Jakosalem has been in the forefront of the dance record as well as DTCC founder Edward Hayco.

Jack has also been very supportive of all sports, including chess, and I am sure he would like to have another Cebuano Guiness record.

Cebuano IM Kimkim Yap, playing against, say, 520 people. He is fully qualified to take on this superhuman endeavor. I have spoken to Kimkim and he is willing to take up the challenge.

Aside from the city, we need a sponsor.

Without in any way diminishing the feat of our dancesport team, their execution lasted officially for about 30 minutes.

Easy? Yes, definitely. It was in organizing that event that DTCC probably had nightmares.

Chess is a much more prestigious sport and played by 800 million people worldwide. In the Philippines, we have 16 million chess players. It will be more significant and appreciated worldwide than dancing.

I estimate that the exhibition will last more than a day and will tax to the limit all the participants, especially the master giving the simul. He will walk maybe about 50 to 60 kilometers during the entire exhibition.

The biggest problem will be the participants. Are they willing to stay awake for about 20 hours? Am I dreaming or can this be achieved?

Perhaps. A Guinness is a Guinness because it is difficult.

Shell and Cesafi chess

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Frank 'Boy” Pestaño

SINCE 1992, the Shell companies in the Philippines have promoted and sponsored the biggest annual competition among kiddies and juniors held in strategically located sites nationwide.

To date, tens of thousands of youngsters have been motivated and credit playing chess as an activity that has positively contributed to enriching their lives.

The tournament is open to all Filipino non-titled chess players who are bona fide students and are certified by their respective school registrars or principals.

Out-of-school youth may also join the tournament.

There will be two categories—Juniors for the 20 years old and below (born not earlier than 1989) and the Kiddies for the 14 years old and below (born not earlier than 1995).

The top three players in each category will proceed to the grand finals.

Children have come to appreciate the values that the game of chess has taught them—discipline, diligence, sense of fair play, maturity and responsibility.

Among the winners who have graduated from the ranks of tournaments and gained prominence in the field of chess are GM Wesley So, GM Nelson Mariano III, GM Mark Paragua, GM Darwin Laylo, GM John Paul Gomez, GM Bong Villamayor, WIM Arianne Caoili, IM Ian Cris Udani, FM Ildefonso Datu, NM Onofre Espiritu Jr., NM Arlan Cabe, NM Rodolfo Panopio Jr., NM Elmer Sumangat, NM Rodolfo Diaz Jr., NM Virgilio Vuelban, NM Exfelicos Bolico, NM Romeo Alcodia, NM Herbert Ciocon, NM Roland Perez and NM Roland Castro.

There is now a big problem though as far as participation is concerned. Cesafi has a standing rule that during their tournament proper, the players cannot play in other tournaments. This means that varsity players of the member schools cannot participate in this year’s regional elimination, which will start this Saturday and Sunday at SM City.

Since it’s just a matter of scheduling, Shell should respect Cesafi’s guidelines since most of the good players come from the 10 member schools. I believe that the same predicament is also happening in Manila and other regions.

Also, there is such a thing as inflation. With prizes set for first place for Kiddies at P4,000 and Juniors at P5,000, these amounts are a pittance.

Shell can afford much, much more. There are also special awards for the youngest player, top eight-year-old, overall top female player, sportsmanship award, and the most represented school in the kiddies and juniors divisions.

I also have a message to tournament players—it’s only a game and very few individuals can make it a career. Do not take it seriously as to affect your main objective which is to get a good education. It must enhance life, not dominate it. If you lose perspective because of the game then chess is not for you.

SELMA CUP. The top chess players troop to Minglanilla next weekend, for the Mayor Eduardo Selma Chess Cup, which starts 9 a.m. at the Minglanilla Sports Complex.

The format is seven rounds Swiss with 26 minutes per player, play to finish. Registration is P100 in the Open category, P50 for kiddies and P200 for the Executive level (handicapping).

First prize winners for the open, kiddies and executives divisions is P3,000,P1,000 and P1,500, respectively.

Prizes will be awarded up to sixth place in the Open and Kiddies category and up to fourth place for Executives.

The champions will also get trophies donated by Apollo Dante.

The tournament organizer is Blas Hipulan, while arbiters are Marvin Ruelan and Tony Cabibil.

The proceeds of this competition will go to the Knights of Columbus , Minglanilla Council. For more info, you may call Hipulan at 0920-9021370 or Ruelan 0916423233

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tita Cory the chess player

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Frank “Boy' Pestaño

IN A previous article, I wrote that the Philippine presidents who played chess were Carlos Garcia, who was considered an expert of the sport, Ferdinand Marcos and Fidel Ramos.

Gloria Arroyo also approved the inclusion of the game as part of the curriculum in elementary and high school starting October this year.

Unknown to many, Corazon Aquino was also a chess player.

With our heads of state leading the way, it’s no wonder why chess is the most popular game in this country.

The biggest and greatest event here was not the Korchnoi vs. Karpov championship match in Bagiuo in 1976 but the 30th Manila Olympiad in 1992.

The key people who made it possible was then Fide president Florencio Campomanes, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Rafael Hechanova, then executive secretary Franklin Drilon, who was the head of the organizing committee and most important, Tita Cory, as she preferred to be called.

The Manila Olympiad was played at the Philippine International Convention Center from June 7 to 25. It was considered by the chess players themselves, journalists both foreign and local, as well as jaded Fide officials as the best Olympiad ever and has never been equaled.

One of the thrills of Tita Cory (and vice versa) was when she met the great Gary Kasparov, who was then at the peak of his popularity, when they both made the ceremonial opening moves.

Incidentally, Chessmoso was honored with a citation by the organizing committee.

Tita Cory was honored in absentia with the “Grand Knight of Fide” award on the 75th anniversary of Fide in Lausanne on July 20, 1999 in recognition for being an outstanding statesman and chess benefactor. The honor was given by the President of Federation Internationale Des Echecs (World Chess Federation), Kirsan N.

Other heads of state who have received this award are President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida of Nigeria, Francis Chiluba of Zambia, the Presidents of Georgia and El Salvador, Mikhail Gorbachev (Soviet Union) and James Callaghan (United Kingdom).

Also nominated was the controversial Ernesto Che Guevarra (post-humous) of Cuba. The Rolls Royce of Fide awards is the “Grand Commander of the Legion of Grandmasters.” This ultra-exclusive club comprises three individuals, all appointed in 1999: Jacques Chirac, president of France, John Paul II, the pope and Fidel Ramos.

I think that Tita Cory majored in math, so I am not surprised at all that she was also a chess player.

Olympiad to return? In an e-mail, columnist and broadcaster Marlon Bernardino informed me that National Chess Federation president Prospero Pichay will bid for the holding of the prestigious World Chess Olympiad and the Asian Zonal Chess Championships.

This was revealed last Monday by GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio who paid a courtesy call on Vice President Noli de Castro last Monday at the Office of the Vice President in PNB Building, Macapagal Ave., Pasay City.

Antonio is one of three Filipinos who qualified to the World Cup 2009 (Fide World Chess Championships) on Nov. 20 to Dec. 15 in Russia.

The other two are Super GM Wesley So and GM Darwin Laylo.

The World Cup has 128 selected and pre-qualified participants and the format is a knockout system.

As I’ve said earlier, the first Olympiad here was held in 1992.

The Asian Zonal Chess Championships, on the other hand, was last held in 2001 at the Grand Boulevard Hotel along Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

The Asian Zonal is the qualification tournament for the individual World Cup, while the World Chess Olympiad is a team competition of all nations throughout the world.,

Friday, July 31, 2009

Darwin pulls a rabbit

Thursday, July 30, 2009
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Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

IN what was not expected practically by every Tom, Dick and Harry who plays chess, Darwin Laylo pulled a rabbit to win the Zone 3.3 Fide tournament in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by an amazing seven wins and two draws (8/9) to again qualify to the prestigious 2009 World Cup.

In doing so, he had an incredible performance rating of 2795 though he was rated only 10th at the start.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Wesley So was solo second (6.5/9) to claim the other slot to the World Cup. He was also undefeated with 4 wins and 5draws.

We now have three qualifiers, including Joey Antonio, who earlier finished in the top 10 in the Asian Championship in Subic--a historic first.

The World Chess Cup is scheduled in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia on Nov. 20 to Dec. 15 this year and the winner will compete for the World Championship.

Darwin had wins over Tran Ngoc Lan, Vo Thanh, Ninh Bao Khoa, Duong Te Anh and draws against So and Nguyen Truong Son. He capped his incredible run with victories against strong GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia and super GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore. Wow na wow!

The other Pinoys who played were Mark Paragua (6.0), Rolando Nolte (5.0) and chess icon Eugene Torre (4.5). Cebuano Richard Bitoon again missed that elusive GM norm (5.0).

Wesley’s penchant for draws almost did him in. He halved the points with Laylo (14 moves), Zhang Zhong (11) and Paragua (8) for a total of 33 moves in three games! He won’t get far in the World Cup where aggressiveness is the key but I guess he just played it safe.

In the distaff side, sisters Sherily and Shercila Cua had identical 4,5/9, while Catherine Perena and Daisy Rivera had 4.0. The winners were Munguntuul Batkhuyag of Mongolia (7.5) and Nguyen Thi Mai Hung(7.0) of the host city.

Amidst all the sound and fury of the past three years is the remarkable rise of chess from the bottom of the barrel. It is due in large part to Prospero “Butch” Pichay, who has done a remarkable job as president of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

BIEL. The 42nd Biel International Chess fiesta is taking place from July 18 to 31. There are 10 different tournaments (open, rapid, blitz, team, youth, Chess 960) attracting more than 1,000 players.

The main event is a Category 19 double round robin featuring Vassily Ivanchuk, Evgeny Alekseev, Boris Gelfand, Fabiano Caruana, Alexander Morozevich and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

After 9 rounds, Vachier-Lagrave is leading with 5.5/8.

Other side events were a doubles tennis competition and for the first time in Biel history, a poker contest among chess players.

MAINZ. Chess Classic Mainz is a monster event of superlatives.

It takes place once a year in Mainz, Germany and spans seven full days from July 27 until Aug. 2.

The event includes tournaments and opens and random chess, while the main event features World Champion Vishy Anand, Levon Aronian of Armenia, strong Russian junior Ian Nepomniachtchi and top German Arkadij Naiditsch.

Notable side events, which normally attract more than 1,000 players, are the 16th Ordix Open (Aug. 1 and 2) , FiNet Chess960 Open (July 30 and 31), 3rd Mini-Ordix (July 28), the 3rd Mini-FiNet (July 29) for children and the 5th Livingston Chess960 Computer World Championship (July 29 to 31).

Aronian is the star this year and is playing a simul against 40 amateurs and is also competing in the Chess960 edition.

He is the envy of chess lovers for being the boyfriend of famous beauty Fil-Aussie mestiza WIM Arianne Caoili, who is also playing and turning heads in Mainz.

Arianne has already qualified to the Women’s World Cup 2009 by winning the Oceania Zone and will represent Australia.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How to be a great chess player

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Frank “Boy” Pestaño

WHAT makes a good chess player? Some say it is talent or hard work or both. Nonsense—what distinguishes a good chess player from a bad one is the precise knowledge of his chess horoscope!

You need to know your good and bad days, when to trade off queens early and when to play the French.

In astrology, a horoscope is a chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person’s birth.

This article is written to celebrate the longest solar eclipse in this century that covered the India and was also partially visible in the Philippines and other parts of Asia last Wednesday.

Solar eclipses abound in superstitions and some say it is caused when a bakonawa swallows the sun. Another myth says the sun rays, during an eclipse, can harm
unborn children.

Sun.Star has a horoscope as a testament to its popularity. Here now is your horoscope of the week.

Aries The Ram (March 21 to April 19). You are the pioneer type and hold most horoscopes in contempt. You play chess with dead people. People can’t wait until you are dead. You should sell insurance. (Korchnoi, Kasparov, Smyslov, Najdorf).

Taurus The Bull (April 20 to May 20).You show no original thought. Most people think you are stubborn. Sometimes you play chess with God. You think astrology is a bunch of Taurus. (Spielmann, Steinitz, Euwe).

Gemini the Twins (May 21 to June 20). People say you are too boring. You expect too much for too little. This means you are cheap. Most of your games are won by swindles. Go home and collect stamps. (Karpov, Reti, Short, Petrosian).

Cancer the Crab(June 21 to July 22). You are sympathetic to your opponents and give up draws too easily. Opponents think you are a sucker. You like gambits and taking poisoned pawns. (Bird, Benko, Gelfand).

Leo the Lion(July 23 to Aug. 22).You consider yourself a born leader. Most Leos are bullies, vain and dislike criticism. Your arrogance is disgusting. You expect people to throw coins at you every time you win a game. (Judit Polgar, Marshall,Botvinnik).

Virgo the Virgin (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22). You are cold and sometimes fall asleep while making love. Take up music and remember pawns are the souls of chess. (Philidor, Zukertort, Koltanowski).

Libra the Scales (Sept. 23 to Oct. 22).You are the artistic type and have a difficult time with reality. Its hard for you to accept losses. You suffer from penile envy. See a shrink. (Fine, Rubenstein, Ehlvest)

Scorpio the Scorpion (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21). You are shrewd and cannot be trusted .You may develop a drinking problem later in life. You have many secrets, like being a Nazi. You lose games to idiots by being over-confident. (Alekhine, Tal, Capablanca).

Sagittarius the Archer ( Nov. 22 to Dec. 21). You are enthusiastic when you play. You have a tendency to rely on luck since you have no talent. You collect chess books but don’t read them. You are a fast player and lover. (Reshevsky, Pillsbury, Blackburne , Anand).

Capricorn the Goat (Dec. 23 to Jan. 19). You are afraid of taking risks. You don’t do much of anything and are lazy.

Opponents will win brilliancy prizes from you. You are a loner but seem to like it that way. You always end up in second place.(Keres, Browne, Lasker).

Aquarius the Water Carrier (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18). You have an inventive mind and play original openings. You are also careless and make the same mistakes. You are a poor loser. (Spassky, Mecking, Reinfeld, Taimanov).

Pisces the Fish (Feb. 19 to Mar. 20) You have a vivid imagination and think that you are being followed by the CIA or FBI.

You lack confidence and are generally a coward. You accept gambits. (Bronstein, Fischer, Tarrasch).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Six-year-old challenges Pacquiao

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Frank “Boy” Pestaño

WE have several future grandmasters in the making in the persons of six-year-old Stephen Rome Pangilinan, seven-year-old Vic Glysen Derotas, Renzi Kyle Sevillano, nine, and 10-year-old Paolo Bersamina. Vic Glysen and Kyle are both Cebuanos, while Paolo and Stephen are from Luzon.

Stephen, a product of Milo Checkmate, won first place in the Susan Polgar World Open (Las Vegas International Chess Festival) against 36 competitors in the 8-Under bracket.

When asked why he was triumphant he said, “Kasi ginamit ko yong pamatay kong opening!”

“I (would) like to face Manny (Pacquaio) because I saw him on television play chess before his fight,” said Stephen.

“I also want to play against grandmaster Wesley So,” he said.

“He’s got a lot of (chess) points and he’s very good.”

Playing against Manny will generate a lot of interest between one so young and the most celebrated Filipino boxer of all time.

The big question is—will Manny Pacquiao accept the challenge?

When she first made headlines, I was surprised that a girl could play as well as a boy.

Glenda Derotas’s proud parents are Victor and Melchora. She is presently in Grade 2 at Camp Lapu-Lapu Elementary school. Her father is a soldier with the PAF.

The only girl among a brood of three, she started playing chess at the tender age of four. She is also a consistent honor pupil since pre-school and ranked No.2 among 105 examinees who took the entrance test in her school.

She was also a regional finalist in the DepEd MTAP math challenge 2009 and dreams of joining the PMA when she grows up.

Among her achievements are: gold medalist in the 2007 Milo Little Olympics at five, and gold medalist in the 2008 Cebu City Olympics at seven.

She was also the champion in the 8-under division in the National Age Group 2009 in Kalibo, Aklan and was nominated to be the country’s youngest delegate to the 10th Asean Age Group 2009 in Hue, Vietnam.

Renzi Kyle Sevillano has been a consistent participant in all of Cepca’s tournaments. Most of our members are wary of this gifted boy as he has scalped some seasoned veterans five to six times his age.

The son of Napoleon and Melchora, he is also the nephew of one of the most gifted Cebuanos to ever play the game, IM Enrico “Econg” Sevillano and is the grandson of chess regular Luis. His other uncle is Voltaire.

The Sevillanos are protégées of NM Bombi Aznar, who was president of the Philippine Chess Federation in the 70s.

Kyle has been the champion several times in Kiddies tournaments in Cebu. He has represented Cebu in the prestigious Shell National Finals since he was six years old.

He won the 10-Under title in the National Age Group in Kalibo Aklan and represented the Philippines in the 10th Asean Age Group 2009 in Hue, Vietnam.

Paolo Bersamina is no stranger to achievements. He won two gold medals in the 7th Asean Age Group in Jakarta in 2006— in the rapid and blitz categories—both in the 8-Under division.

A student of the UE Elementary Laboratory School, Paolo is the youngest son in a family of chess enthusiasts. His father, Norberto, was a former chess player of the Mapua Institute of Technology. Paolo’s elder brother, Joshua and Joseph are all chess players.

Paolo has been playing since at age four.

He won the gold medal in the12-Under category in Vietnam this year. His coach, Henry Mariano, sees him as a future GM and praises his diligence and discipline.

Paolo, a Pasay City resident, got further recognition for his achievement when he was inducted into Pasay City’s Hall of Fame by no less than Pasay Mayor Wenceslao Trinidad.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Chess-playing couple in the White House

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Frank “Boy Pestaño

THE last time the Americans had a chess-playing couple at the White House was when they had the Carters—Jimmy and Rosalyn—who also taught their daughter Amy how to play the game.

In fact, Carter was quite serious in improving his game that he bought a chess computer hoping to reach master level.

Despite his known high intellectual skills, he realized he could only reach that much and gave it up. He is featured on the May 1998 issue of Chess Life .

In Obama’s first book, he wrote of playing chess often with his grandfather and step-father as a sort of bonding with them. Also, Michelle Obama and her brother were expected to fill their time with books, chess and sports by their parents.

It would be neat if the Obamas also taught their daughters, Malia and Sasha, the game so the Americans can have a chess-playing family again at the White House.

The “Obama chess set” limited edition, is now on sale for about $395 and it has pictures of Obama and his wife as Queen and King. It is handcrafted by renowned artist and sculptor Igor Valega and made out of marble. The king is 5.25 inches long.

Chess in the White House is not as well known as the other “games” played there. However, a great majority of the occupants played chess and a few were considered of expert level.

Robert John McCrary wrote of an interesting episode in 1885, when both the US president and vice president visited a chess event together. The incident was described as follows in the September 1885 issue of The International Chess Magazine:

“Ajeeb, the Chess Automaton,is now giving exhibitions at Eden Musee, 23rd St., New York. We learn from the evening telegram that President Cleveland and Vice-President Hendricks paid a visit recently to Ajeeb’s room and the latter had a neat version of the so-called Philidor’s Legacy or smothered mate.”

James Madison played chess, as did Thomas Jefferson. John Quincy Adams also played and his set is displayed in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Abraham Lincoln, considered as America’s greatest president, enjoyed chess. According to McCrary, “There are several stories about his enjoyment of the game. One of those stories was that he once played in the White House, when his little son, Tad, called him to supper. He told the lad to wait, but the tyke did not handle frustration well and was probably hungry.

So he swept away the position, whereupon his presidential dad dutifully headed to supper.”

By the way, Lincoln’s first vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, enlisted in the Maine Coast Guard while serving as US vice president and served two months as a cook! (Apparently there is truly little for a vice president to do in Washington!)

I believe that majority of American presidents have, at one time or another, played chess in their life. Perhaps the Americans should take a note of this and check more carefully the ratings and openings of future aspirants to the White House.

MICHAEL JACKSON. Most of us at Cepca belong to the generation of Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Abba, Frank Sinatra and the Bee Gees.

I thought Elvis was beyond compare until I checked out the artistry of Jackson just recently. The man-child is a music phenomenon! Michael is simply the greatest entertainer of all time.

I came across an article of Jackson buying a one-of-a-kind chess set years ago allegedly costing $3,000. It was a marble chess table supported by four parcel gilt horses on marble pillars.

Apparently, he was on an “insane shopping spree” and bought it just for fun.

Jackson has been seen on video playing chess with his son but he was not a good player because he did not know whether he was black or white!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Caoli to World Cup; Antonio gains 41 points

Friday, July 3, 2009

Frank “Boy” Pestaño

FILIPINO-Australian mestiza Arianne Bo Caoili won the 2009 Oceana Zonal competition at the Outrigger Twin Towns Resort, Gold Coast, Australia just recently to qualify for the prestigious World Cup on Nov. 15 to Dec. 20 later this year in Khanty-Mansiyk, Russia.

The 22-year-old collected eight points on seven wins and two draws to emerge as the only undefeated player in the

Caoili is currently No. 32 in Australia’s Fide rating list with an Elo rating of 2172. The last time Caoili represented the Philippines was in the 35th World Chess Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia in 2002.

Considered as one of the most beautiful chess players in the world, she seems to have settled down after the controversy in the Turin Olympiad when her now alleged boyfriend, Levon Aronian, was punched on the dance floor by English rival Danny Gormally in an apparently jealous clash over her during the Bermuda Nights party.

She once described her likes as “getting up to no good, fine food (and fine boys), Johnny Depp, vodka, red wine, Kahlua ... and the odd Cuban cigar.” She was one of the celebrity dancers in the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars.

Once touted as having the potential to become a woman international grand master while she was just a little girl in the Philippines, Caoili said chess now takes a back seat to her studies and travel.

She is enrolled in International Relations, Finance and Statistics at the Australian National University in Canberra and has her sights on a PhD “probably on Russian foreign policy.”

She transferred residence to Australia because according to the family, she was not properly supported in the Philippines.

BIGGEST GAINER. Twelve-time national open champion Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr. is the top Filipino gainer in the latest July Fide rating list released by the World Chess Federation.

Joey gained a massive 41 points and is now in third place among Filipinos with a rating of 2559. He is a point behind chess icon Eugene Torre, although he is still way behind boy wonder Wesley So.

Joey gained a lot of points during his campaign in the US early this year and by placing among the top 10 in the Asian Continental Championship, thereby qualifying for the World Cup.

Despite a disastrous performance in the Asian Championship, Wesley still gained five points to remain as the top Pinoy player with a rating of 2646.

Here are the top 10 Pinoy players (All GMs unless specified): 1. So (2646) 2. Torre (2560) 3. Antonio Jr. (2559) 4. Rogelio Barcenilla (2518) John Paul Gomez (2515) 6.IM Richard Bitoon (2495) 7.Darwin Laylo (2494) 8.Joseph Sanchez (2491) Mark Paragua (2487) 10. IM Julio Catalino Sadorra (2468).

It will be recalled that Cebuano International Master (IM) Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla Jr. earned his third and final GM norm in the Copper State International Chess Tournament last May 29 to June 3 in Mesa, Arizona, USA.

TRIVIA ANSWERS. Here are the answers for last week’s trivia and the winners.

Section 1: 1.) Richard Reti, 2.) William Lombardy, 3.) Svetozar Gligoric, 4.) Samuel Reshevsky, 5.) Jacques Mieses, 6.) Alexander Tolush, 7.) Herman Steiner, 8.) Yuri Averbach.

Section 2:1-35. Bobby Fischer, en passant, queen side castling, passed pawn, Susan Polgar, champions, stalemate, tournament ,grandmaster, pieces and pawns, Larsen, Rubentein , Topalov, Philidor, Timman, Bronstein, Pillsbury, Polgar, Gligoric, Seirawan, Menchik, Staunton Kramnik, Paulsen, Tarrasch, Gunsberg, Lautier, Marshall ,Zukertort, Schlechter, Korchnoi, Taimanov, Capablanca, Blackburne, Reshevsky.

The winners are Christopher Alegro Beduya (350 points) and Brian Calabroso (85).They won P400 and P200, respectively, courtesy of Cepca pioneer Eli “James Bond” Berciles.