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).