Friday, October 30, 2009

Tips and pointers to improve your game

Thursday, October 29, 2009
Print Email Comment Subscribe

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.

Sun.Star accepts donations for victims of Typhoon Ondoy

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
Print Email Comment Subscribe

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).

"The Manny Pacquiao Blog". Click here for stories and updates on the Filipino boxing champ.

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
Print Email Comment Subscribe

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.

"The Manny Pacquiao Blog". Click here for stories and updates on the Filipino boxing champ.

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
Print Email Comment Subscribe

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.

"The Manny Pacquiao Blog". Click here for stories and updates on the Filipino boxing champ.

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
Print Email Comment Subscribe

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.

Sun.Star accepts donations for victims of Typhoon Ondoy

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.