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.,