Friday, February 27, 2009

64 chess commandments

ONE of the most informative materials sent to me by my readers is this one from Engr. Ed Beronio, which gives guidelines on how to play the game. It is instructive and I urge every chess player to carefully consider each of them.

1. Develop your pieces quickly 2. Control the center 3. Put your pieces on squares that give maximum space 4. Develop the knights toward the center 5. A knight on the rim is dim.

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6. Don’t take unnecessary chances 7. Play aggressive 8. Calculate forced moves first 9. Always ask yourself “Can he put me in check or win a piece?” 10. Every move should have a purpose 11. Assume your opponent’s move is his best move 12. Ask yourself, “Why did he move there?” 13. Play for the initiative 14. If you must lose a piece, get something for it if you can.

15. When behind, exchange pawns. When ahead, exchange pieces 16. If you’re losing, look for counterplay 17. Don’t play unsound moves unless you are losing badly 18. Don’t sacrifice a piece without good reason 19. If you are in doubt of an opponent’s sacrifice, accept it 20. Attack with more that just one or two pieces 21. Do not make careless pawn moves.

They cannot move back 22. Do not block in your bishops.

23. Bishops of opposite colors have the greatest chance of drawing 24. Try not to move the same piece twice in a row 25.

Exchange pieces if it helps your development 26. Don’t bring your queen out early 27. Castle soon to protect your king and develop your rook 28. Develop rooks to open files 29. Put rooks behind passed pawns 30. Study rook endgames. They are the most common.

31. Don’t let your king get caught in the center 32. Don’t castle if it brings your king into greater danger 33. After castling, keep a good pawn formation around your king 34. If you only have one bishop, put your pawns on its opposite color 35. Trade pawn pieces when under attack 36. If cramped, free your game by exchanging material.

37. If your opponent is cramped, don’t let him get any freeing exchanges 38. Study openings you are comfortable with 39.

Play over entire games, not just the opening 40. Blitz chess is helpful in recognizing chess patterns. Play often 41. Study
annotated games and guess each move 42. Stick with just a few openings with white and black 43. Record your games and go over them, especially the games you lost 44. Show your games to higher-rated opponents and get feedback from them.

45. Use chess computers and databases to help you study 46. Everyone blunders. The champions just blunder less often

47. When it is not your move, look for tactics and combinations 48. Try to double rooks or queen on open files 49. Always ask yourself, “Does my next move overlook something simple?” 50. Don’t make your own plans without the exclusion of the opponent’s threat 51. Watch out for captures by retreat of an opponent’s piece.

52. Do not focus on one sector of the board. View the whole board 53. Write down your move first before making that move if it helps 54. Try to solve chess puzzles with diagrams from books and magazines 55. It is less likely that an opponent is prepared for off-beat openings 56. Recognize transposition of moves from main-line play 57. Watch your time and avoid time trouble 58. Bishops are worth more than knights except when they are pinned in.

59. A knight works better with a bishop than another knight 60. It is usually a good idea to trade down into a pawn up
endgame 61. Have confidence in your game 62. Play in as many rated events as you can 63. Try not to look at your opponent’s rating until after the game 64. Always play for a win.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sinulog and the best players of 2008

THE Sinulog Open Team Tournament, organized by the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) and sponsored by the City Government, will start this Jan. 9 at 1 p.m. tentatively set at E-mall and will be a 7-round Swiss. There will be two games on Friday, three games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. All games will start at 1 p.m.

There will be a captain’s meeting at 12:30 p.m. We will invite Cebu City Councilor Jack Jakosalem, Cepca honorary members and National Master Bombi Aznar and chess patron Boojie Lim. Acting Mayor Michael Rama, also an honorary member of Cepca, will also be invited.

Prizes totaling P63,000 are at stake with P25,000 and a designer trophy for the champion. Other prizes are P15,000 for the first runner-up, P10,000 for the second runner-up. The fourth placer will get P5,000, while the fifth and sixth placers will get P3,000 and P1,000, respectively. Board 1 to 4 winners will also get P1,000 each.

Each team will be composed of four players and an additional reserve player, which is optional. Time control is one hour per player, play to finish.

To make the tournament competitive, Fide arbiters, led by National Master Roger Abella and Marvin Ruelan have made a list of players who must not play together and must play on Board 1.

The players are Erwin Ababat, Francisco Abugho, Leonardo Alidani, Odillon Badilles, Jhonel Balquin, Arnold Cadiz, Eden Diano, Rogelio Enriquez, Anthony Makinano, Mario Mangubat, Carlos Moreno III, Richard Natividad, Glen Pardillo, Ramsey Pedroza, Allan Salientes, Voltaire Sevillano, Elmer Sumangat, Bonn Tibod, Christopher Tobalado, Ceferino Vizco and Kim Steven Yap.

Some players may have been missed by our committee, hence, qualification to play shall be a determining prerogative of the organizers.

Registration fee per team is set at P1,000 and every team is urged to pay the fee by Jan. 7, and submit their line-up to my niece Malou Pestaño at the Colonade Chess Club.

The organizers are also urging the team to play in proper uniforms and to come in proper attire.

It has been observed that in team competitions, some games are “arranged” and this will strictly not be allowed by the organizers. The penalty will be set by a committee composed of Renato Casia as chairman and Marvin Ruelan, Roger Abella, Jun Olis and Joe Atillo as members.

TOPALOV IS NO. 1. Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov is in first place with a rating of 2796 as of January 2009. He is five points higher in the previous list and he gained these five points at the Chess Olympiad in Dresden. His winning the Nanjing Super-GM has not been counted since that event ended on Dec. 22. If included, his rating will be at 2810.

At second place in the Fide list is World Champion Viswanathan Anand, who gained eight points from his match in Bonn with Vladimir Kramnik. The latter lost eight points from the Anand match, and five more points at the Chess Olympiad.

Here are the Top 10. 1.) Veselin Topalov 2.Viswanathan Anand (39, India, 2791) 2.) Vassily Ivanchuk (39, Ukraine, 2779) 4.) Magnus Carlsen (18, Norway, 2776) 5.Alexander Morozevich (31, Russia, 2771) 6.) Teimour Radjabov (21, Azerbaijan, 2761) 7. Dmitry Jakovenko (25, Russia, 2760) 8.) Vladimir Kramnik (33, Russia, 2759) 9.Peter Leko (29, Hungary, 2751) 10.) Sergei Movsesian (30, Slovakia. 2751).

Our Wesley So, 15, is now rated at 2627 and is No. 9 on the top Juniors list (20 and below). His rating though has increased to 2637 for his performance in the Asian team Championship. I expect Wesley to barge into the top 100 when he plays at the prestigious Corus 2009 in Holland.

Sinulog Open team tournament starts today

EXCITEMENT is at fever pitch as chess players troop to SM City today as the 2009 Open Team tournament starts at 1 p.m. with a brief opening ceremony.

This tournament is the first major team tournament in a long time in Cebu and its realization is sponsored by the City Goverment primarily due to the help extended by City Councilor Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem, who heads the committee on sports, games and amusement and is a well known supporter of chess.

To recall, Team Cebu City has been participating in important national events, especially the recent Handuraw National Team tournament where we garnered second place and the previous Inter-Cities and Municipalities where we were the champion.

We are expecting about 26 to 30 teams to play in this seven-round Swiss using the Olympiad formula for scoring— a win is worth two points, a draw, one point and a loss, zero. This is better than the previous method of scoring as it gives equal chances to more teams. Playing time is one hour per player, play to finish.

Some of the participants are worthy of mention. The Balbona Kids of Felix and Juliet will give the adult players a lot of headache. The all-women team of Handuraw Pizza is not to be counted out easily, although they will probably not figure among the top winners.

The varsity teams of University of Cebu, which I understand will field two teams (men and women), University of San Jose Recoletos, University of the Visayas and Southwestern University will have more chances this time as the organizers have made sure that most of the teams are balanced and highly-rated players cannot play together.

Fide arbiters Marvin Ruelan and Roger Abella have done an admirable job thus far. The Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association Inc. (Cepca) is the organizer of this tournament and key members have formed their own teams.

Chessmoso has fielded two teams (Handuraw Pizza of Marissa Pestaño-Basilad and Prime Parts of Joe Bernas). Club president Renato Casia, past presidents Jun Olis, Nicnic Climaco combined with Paquito Unchuan, Ben Dimaano, Danny Pestaño, Mandy Baria and Manny Manzanares have their own teams.

Other Cepca members who formed teams are Kelly Uy and Edmund Suralta, Boy Tumulak, Fabio Abucejo and Felix Balbona.

Cepca was established in 1990 and is one of the longest running in the country where chess clubs come and go.

My co-founders are Art Ynclino, Alex Tolentino, Babes Andales, Nicnic Climaco, Loy Minoza, Danny Pestaño and both the late Sonny Sollano and Gerry Tomakin. We have more than 100 members although some are already inactive, have left for abroad, including a lot of foreigners and expats, or have passed away.

Honorary members are Bombi Aznar, Boojie Lim, Kelly Uy, Darcy Tabotabo, former mayor Alvin Garcia and the current acting mayor Michael Rama.

Total prizes for this event is P63,000 and P25,000 will be awarded to the champion, plus a designer trophy. P15,000, P10,000, P5,000, P3,000 and P1,000 will be given to the rest of the top five, while board winners will win P1,000 each.

On-site registration will be allowed as we expect some out-of-town teams to enter.

However, the organizers reserve the right to approve their lineup to ensure that no team will dominate the competition. You have to come early though, preferably before 12 noon.

We expect all teams to come in proper attire and we urged all team managers to supply their players with proper uniforms. Put-off your cell phone as ringing during tournament play will mean outright disqualification.

Players are also required to come on time and to shake hands before play. Recording of games will be implemented.

Sinulog winners and the Corus

I WOULD like to honor the winners and the people behind the just-concluded 2009 Sinulog Open tournament, as this was one of the most successful tournaments in terms of participation, enthusiasm and quality of games, in a long, long time.

Five generations of chess players were present as players from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s attended the event, including the youngest player, who is eight years old and a few more players, who are below 10 years old.

And, most of Cebu’s best players were also there.

We, the members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association Inc., are eternally grateful to the city council especially to the chairman of the committee on sports, games and amusement, Councilor Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem and Acting Mayor Michael Rama for their help and support.

We hope that this collaboration will be repeated for the next Sinulog and luckily, we have been assured of it.

Many thanks also to SM City Cebu, led by Marissa Fernan and Marybelle Chua, for allowing us to use the venue and to Nicnic Climaco for making this possible.

The champion in the competition that attracted 32 teams was the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Team A composed of Rogelio Enriquez Jr., Romelio Asoque, Yuri Cauba, Rosendo Yamyamin and non-playing team manager, Bernard Garces. They won the P25,000 top purse plus a signature designer trophy.

There were four teams figuring in a deadlock for second to fifth places. They were Cebu Progress Marketing of Kelly Uy, USJ-R Team B, Fe Fish Dealer of Choyan Evardo and Uniplus Gaming Center of Danny Pestaño. They each pocketed P8,250.

Six teams tied for sixth to 11th places and they are Gorgonio Builders of Moyon Cala, Lapu-Lapu City of Jun Olis, Sikad Talisay of Manny Manzanares, Opascor of Tomas Riveral, Sta. Cruz Shell Gallery of Ben Dimaano and Barangay Day-as of Nic Cuizon.

The winners in Boards 1 to 4 were Glen Pardillo of White Sands, Bonn Tibod, Aller Somosot and Rodrigo Ababat (tied at Board 2), Joel Pacuribot of Opascor and Mandy Baria of Aboitizland, respectively.

The most unique team was the Balbona Kids, the brood of Felix and Juliet. The Balbona siblings, who are all chess enthusiasts, are Jessa Marie (16 years old), Marq Gabriel (13), Felix Shaun (11), Jhon Francis (10) and James Andrew (8).

Another kiddies lineup was the Lapu-Lapu team headed by Rafael Bensi.

Also making his presence felt was Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano of Southwestern University. A protege of Bombi Aznar, Sevillano, though only eight years old, gave the adults a hard time.

Many thanks also to the rest of the managers and coaches—Rey Ompoc, Wilfredo Gallardo, Edmund Suralta, Vergillo Codilla, Christopher Tubalado, Jesus Bitoon, Gonzalo Tumulak, Paquito Unchuan, Dave Entea, Louie Navaja, Romeo Romagos, Roberto Basadre, Chris Mejarito and Boy Cabungcal, who were instrumental in the success of the event.

CORUS 2009. The Corus chess tournament happens from Jan. 16 to Feb. 1 in Wijk aan Zee, a North Sea Resort in the Netherlands. It was called the Hoogovens Tournament from 1938 to 1999, and is one of the most prestigious in the Fide chess calendar. The tournament is divided into three main groups—A, B and C.

Our Boy Wonder, GM Wesley So, accepted the invitation by Jeroen van den Berg, the tournament director, to join the prestigious tournament.

An e-mail by Mr. Van den Berg sent to Mrs. Eleanor So, Wesley’s mother, dated June 6 said, “I am interested in the participation of Wesley So in the upcoming Corus Chess Tournament (Grandmaster group C). We can offer Wesley 1,250 Euros as appearance fee, plus hotel and breakfast during the event.”

The average Elo of the players in group C is 2521, a Category 11. Wesley is the highest-rated player at 2627. If he wins here, it will be his ticket to bigger tournaments.

Incidentally, Jobannie Tabada, the former sports editor of Sun.Star, is now a Fide arbiter after passing the course in Dubai just recently.

Eating my words and Chess in Schools program

MORE than three years ago, I wrote “The future of Philippine chess is as dim as the moons of Pluto. Like a schoolboy who refuses to go to school, there is practically no hope in the horizon.”

I continued with, “Today there are no world-class Pinoys…the just-concluded Southeast Asian Games clearly showed that we have lost our dominant position in the Asean region to Vietnam.”

“The much-heralded 12-year-old Wesley So is not as gifted as the child prodigies Sergey Karjakin, Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen.”

“The only way we could regain our position in the chess world is to institute a Chess in Schools program. China, Europe and even the United States have such a program, where chess is part of the curriculum.”

At that time, I did not count on a dynamic man named Prospero “Butch” Pichay, who took over the presidency of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines. Now, I stand corrected.

In a span of just two years, we have produced four grandmasters including Wesley. The others are Jayson Gonzales, John Paul Gomes and Darwin Laylo. Wesley is now a world-class player and should make the Top 100 list before the year ends or maybe even earlier.

We also have up-and-coming players Kimkim Yap, Rolando Nolte, Richard Bitoon and Joseph Sanchez, who make us look ahead in the future.

The ladies are not far behind. Chardine Cheradee Camacho is one of the top female young talents, who had an impressive result during the Olympiad in Dresden scoring 8.0/10 that gave her a WIM norm. At only 15, she has the potential of becoming a Woman GM, the first in the Philippines.

The Chess in Schools program will now be part of the curriculum starting next school year. In a short span of time, we will have thousands of gifted children like the Balbona kids of Cebu.

Why should my child play chess? The short and very important answer to that is chess gives children the skills needed to excel in the world today.

Christine Palm, after a study of the New York chess program, wrote that “Chess instills in young players a sense of self-confidence and self-worth; dramatically improves a child’s ability to think rationally; builds a sense of team spirit while emphasizing the ability of the individual; teaches the value of hard work, concentration and commitment; makes a child
realize he or she is responsible for his or her own actions and must accept their consequences.”

“Additionally, chess teaches children to try their best to win while accepting defeat with grace; allows girls to compare with boys on a non-threatening socially- acceptable plane; through competition, gives kids a palpable sign of their accomplishment; provides children with a concrete, inexpensive and compelling way to rise above the deprivation and self-doubt which are so much a part of their lives.”

Dr. Peter Dauvergne of the University of Sydney, upon surveys of various case studies on the psychological and educational effects of chess on children, said that chess as a learning tool can:

Raise intelligence quotient (IQ) scores; enhance reading, memory, language, and mathematical abilities; foster critical, creative, and original thinking; provide practice at making accurate and fast decisions under time pressure, a skill that can help improve exam scores; challenge gifted children while potentially helping underachieving gifted students learn how to study and strive for excellence; teach how to think logically and efficiently, learning to select the “best” choice from a large number of options; demonstrate the importance of flexible planning, concentration, and the consequences of decisions.

The question, therefore, should not be why should my child play chess?, but rather, why isn’t my child playing chess?

Chess and doping

CHESS has been trying to become an Olympic sport and must submit to all the rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), including their anti-doping program.

The program was first introduced during the Asian Games in Qatar although the competition’s organizer, Yousuf Ahmad Ali, was quoted as saying, “I would not know which drug could possibly help a chess player to improve his game.”

During the last Olympiad in Dresden last year, Ukraine was chosen after a raffle to undergo drug testing and it was done in the last round. Let us take a look at exactly what happened.

A victory over the 10th seed USA in the final round would give them gold, a draw would secure silver and even a 1-3 loss to the US would get them a bronze medal.

However, the final result was ½-3½ and subsequently Ukraine did not win any medal at all, losing the bronze to the US on tiebreak points.

After losing the crucial game to Gata Kamsky, Vassily Ivanchuk was terribly upset. A witness was quoted saying, “I witnessed Ivanchuk kick a large concrete pillar, then bang his fists on the food service counter a couple of times in the cloak room area of the venue, all the time being followed by a couple of officials.”

They were saying that he should undergo drug testing. Actually, to be precise, he didn’t fail it—he refused to take it, which in the totally rational world of international drug testing, counts as a positive.

Fide president Kirsan Ilyumshinov himself has indicated that Ivanchuk could face a two-year ban.

After a thorough investigation, though, it was announced prior to the start of the prestigious Corus 2009 tournament that it was a misunderstanding and there would be no penalty. Besides….how the hell do you dope in chess?

Athletes are banned from taking thousands of chemical substances that experts believe will give them an unfair advantage.

There are five main categories of drugs that are banned: anabolic steroids—these help athletes to build muscle; peptide hormones—substances that occur naturally in the body but produce similar effects to the anabolic steroids; painkillers such as morphine; stimulants—drugs like amphetamines and cocaine can raise the heart rate and improve performance;
diuretics—chemicals that help the body to lose fluids and be useful in helping boxers to meet their fighting weight.

In the laboratory, mind-enhancing drugs are the next gold mine in the medical field. “We’re on the verge of profound changes in our ability to manipulate the brain,” says Paul Root Wolpe, a bioethicist. “The next two decades will be the golden age of neuroscience,” declares Jonathan Moreno, another bioethicist. “We’re on the threshold of the kind of rapid growth of information in neuroscience that was true of genetics 15 years ago.”

Truly effective neuropharmaceuticals that improve moods and sharpen mental focus are already widely available. While there is some controversy about the effectiveness of Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, millions of Americans have taken them, with mostly positive results.

Other effective drugs that enhance memory concentration and focus are Huperzine A, Gingko Biloba, Dimethylaminoethanol, which is used to treat attention deficit disorder, Choline, Pyroglutamic acid, which stimulates cognitive function, and Ribonucleic acid, RNA.

The implications of drug-enhanced minds are vast; these drugs would create a transformation every bit as significant as the one wrought by computers and the Internet. Why should we not take them?

Does it mean that chess players should not take them in order to play in the Olympics? Baloney!

So's magnificent victory

THE 71st Corus tournament took place from Jan. 16 to Feb. 1 at Wijk Aan Zee, a North sea resort in the Netherlands. Wesley So convincingly won Group C, showing a lot of maturity and excellent technique to run away from the 14-man field with a score of seven wins, five draws and a single loss and a performance rating of 2686. His live rating is now 2647, which places him at No.111 in the world.

This is one of the most memorable wins by a Filipino, reminiscent of the victories of Eugene Torre in the 70s. Only the most talented players are invited to Corus.

Next year, he will be playing in the B Group. Wesley is considered one of the finest young talents today and is a probable world champion along with such young talents as Magnus Carlsen of Norway, Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine, the winner in the A Group and Fabiano Caruana, also the winner in the B Group, an Italian- American.

He won over Tiger Hillarp Persson (Sweden, 2586) and all of the players from Holland, namely Ali Bitalzadeh (2400), Friso Nijboer (2560), Roeland Pruijssers (2444) and Manuel Bosboom ( 2418).

His other wins were against Eduardo Iturrizaga of Venezuela (2528) and Manuel Leon Hoyos of Mexico (2542).

He had his draws mostly at the start of the tournament when he was tentative. He drew with Abhijeet Gupta of India (2569), the current World Junior Champion; Harika Donavalli, also of India and the current Girls World Champion; and Anish Giri, the youngest of the group at 14 years and also a player to watch in the future.

Anish placed a strong second, a point behind Wesley, to snare his third and final GM norm. He is now officially the world’s youngest GM replacing the highly-talented girl from China, Hou Yifan.

Other draws were against Oleg Romanishin of Ukraine (2533) and another rising star David Howell of England (2622). His only loss was to Frank Holzke of Germany (2524) which was a fluke as he had a slight advantage when he committed a simple error with a pawn capture by his knight. After that, he engineered four straight wins.

Torre, who knows what he is talking about, often compares Wesley to the great Bobby Fischer and said, “The talent and skills are already there and he has proven that. This year could be a test of character and nerves for him because everybody knows him already.”

Next for Wesley is a probable 10-game match versus Torre which is slated to start Feb. 10.

Two games each will be played in Quezon City, Davao, Iloilo and Cebu and if the match is not decided, another two games will be played in Quezon City. A knockout game will be played in case there is a tie at 5-5.

The winner will take home P600,000, while the loser will earn P400,000. Another P100,000 goes to the winner of each provincial leg while the loser will get P50,000. Sponsor is Rep. Matias Defensor.

The odds are about even in this dream encounter since the two GMs had split their three previous games.

However, I have just been informed by a highly-reliable source that “ nagka hassle pa ang match” although as per previous press releases, the match was sealed as early as September last year.

In case the match will be postponed, the next schedule for Wesley is the Aeroflot Open in Moscow on Feb. 16 to 27. The Open is running on its eighth year. Total prize fund for the A1 Group (rating of 2550 and up) is 70,000 Euros with the champion getting 21,000 Euros.

The winner of the A1 Group will be invited to this year’s super tournament in Dortmund, Germany, which will be held from July 2 to 12. Dortmund is one of the major tournaments in the chess calendar and an invitation is much sought after.

Bitoon starts search for final GM norm

Frank “Boy” PestañoChessmoso

THREE exciting events will start next week. Two are major tournaments and the third is significant to us because four Pinoys are competing, Wonder Boy Wesley So and Cebuano Richard Bitoon, who is seeking his third and final GM norm.

The other two are young talents Haridas Pascua and Jan Emmanuel Garcia. They will be playing in the 2009 Aeroflot Open in Moscow, which starts Feb. 16.

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This is the strongest tournament that Wesley will be contesting thus far and he will be tested to the limit. He will be playing in the A1 Group, whose members have ratings of at least 2550. There are a lot of players who are rated higher than Wesley (live rating -2647) and it will be a major achievement if he finishes in the top five and even more so if he wins the tournament.

The winner in this group will be invited to play in Dortmund, Germany (July 2 to 16) this year against the likes of Veselin Topalov, World Champion Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and the rest of the 2700s gang.

In the A2 Group, which is for players rated between 2400-2550, Richard will be seeking his third and final norm and if he succeeds, he will be the first Cebuano GM to have that distinction.

Pascua and Garcia will be playing in the B Group for players rated 2199-2399, which will be a good experience for these talented youngsters.

The winner in Group A1 will take home 21,000 Euros, while the winner in A2 will earn 9,000 Euros. The B3 winner will take home 3,500 Euros.

I am a little bit disappointed though as I was expecting our Kimkim Yap to be a part of this group.

TOPALOV-KAMSKY. Also on Feb. 16, the match featuring Veselin Topalov vs. Gata Kamsky, officially dubbed “World
Chess Challenge Sofia 2009” will be played in Bulgaria. It has a prize fund of $250,000 which will be divided equally between the two.

The Challenger’s Match will consist of eight games and possible tie-breaks. The winner qualifies for the World Championship Match 2009 against Anand of India later this year.

Kamsky and Topalov have played eight games against each other. The first and the last two ended in draws, while Topalov won the rest.

Topalov is the clear favorite. He’s the current world no. 1 with a rating of 2796 (2809 in the live ratings), while Kamsky is 17th at 2725 (2723 in the live ratings).

Linares 2009. The XXVI Linares 2009 tournament will take place in Spain on Feb. 18 to March 8 and is considered the “Wimbledon of chess.” The champion will take home 100,000 Euros and the second and third placers will earn 75,000 and 50,000 Euros, respectively.

World Champion Anand defends his title after winning the event last year. Other players are Wang Yue, Teimour Radjabov, Vassily Ivanchuk, Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk, Leinier Dominguez Perez and Levon Aronian. Format is double round robin.

Speaking of Aronian, his girlfriend Arianne Caoili, who has a WIM title and is a celebrity in Dancing with the Stars, was seen in the Corus tournament last month. She is a Filipina-Aussie mestiza famous for her beauty. She played for the Philippines in several Olympiads but is now a resident of Australia.

Pasil. The tournament was played last Feb. 8 at Brgy. Pasil Sports Complex.

The winners are NM Enriquez Rogelio (champion, 6.0 points), IM Kim Steven Yap (second place, 5.5), FM Anthony Makinano (third place, 5.5), Rosendo Yamyamin (fourth place, 5.5), Dennis Navalez (fifth place, 5.0), Venancio Loyola (sixth place, 5.0), Eden Diano (seventh place, 4.5), Joselito Loquez (eighth place, 4.5). The best junior player was Marq Balbona and the best female was Phoebelyn Bitoon.

Many thanks to the committee members of Brgy. Pasil, the organizer Richie Evardo and also to the arbiter, Vicmeil Pepito for making the tournament a success.