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.

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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.