Friday, November 27, 2009

Wesley So surprises Ivanchuck

Thursday, November 26, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THE 2009 World Chess Cup, an integral part of the World Championship Cycle 2009-2011, is being held in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia until Dec. 15. The tournament is a knockout event with 128 players.

The format is six rounds of matches comprising two games per round plus tiebreaks, with the winners progressing to the next round. The final seventh round will have four matches, excluding tiebreaks.

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The competition is one of the richest in prize money, totaling $1.6 million broken down as follows: Round 1 losers: $6,000 (64 players); Round 2 losers: $10,000 (32); Round 3: $16,000 (16 players); Round 4 losers: $25,000 (8); Round 5 losers: $35,000 (4); Round 6 losers: $50,000 (2).

The runner-up will get $80,000, while the winner will earn $120,000.

The Philippines has three qualifiers—Wesley So, Darwin Laylo and Rogelio Antonio.

Whoever said that our boys will probably make it to the fourth round was talking thru his nose. This competition is world- class and to even reach the second round is already a tremendous accomplishment. These are the world’s elite players.

Promising youngsters Parimarjan Negi, Ray Robson and girl wonder Hou Yifan are out. Also out is the current women world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk and world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta.

Antonio lost, 0.5-1.5, to 2007 World Cup runner-up Gata Kamsky of the USA despite using his favorite Caro-Kahn, while Laylo (2552) made headlines when he extended super GM David Navara (2707) up to the blitz games but eventually lost.

However, Boy Wonder So (2640) breezed thru the first round against Azerbaijan’s Gadir Guseinov (2625) by sweeping their tiebreak games. They earlier split their two matches.

The big news for all of us was Wesley’s upset win over the mighty Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine 2739) in the first game of the second round! Vassily is easily one of the world’s best chess players and the current No. 12 in Fide’s top 100 list.

Handling the black pieces, So upset the higher-rated Ivanchuk in a French Defense. This could have been a drawn game since Ivanchuk had a perpetual check by move 23, but he pushed for a win, underestimating the strength of the Boy Wonder.

In the second game, it was a shock for the Ukrainians, jubilation for Filipinos and awe for the rest of the world.

Wesley completed his victory with a fighting draw to advance to the third round of this prestigious tournament!

NM Glenn Bordonada says, “This is a historic day for Philippine chess. It recalls to mind Eugene Torre’s win over Mikhail Tal in Leningrad.”

His next opponent will be Gata Kamsky, who has quite a reputation in knockout matches, being a former world championship contender.

Here is Susan Polgar’s advice to Wesley, “Gata is very tough to anyone in match format. He is a grinder, is very patient and will not self destruct. Wesley must be VERY patient and be prepared for long and intense games. It is critical for Wesley not to get into time pressure. Gata is a world-class defender.

He has also played many big matches in his career. The weakest part of Gata’s game is his opening, however his middle game and end-game skills are his strengths. He is also mentally strong.”

It’s a tall order indeed. Go Wesley! Go!

MABOLO. Here are the results of the Mabolo tournament held at Kawayan Grill last weekend. The champion was Steve Pepito and the runners-up were Kyle Sevillano and Carlito Santos. Felix Shaun Balbona and Norvilli Tagnipis placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

I am requesting all Cepca members to visit the place and decide if we could make the place as our clubhouse and venue for tournaments. Food and drinks are reasonable and it is easily accessible thru public transportation. It also has a safe parking.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Be wary of


CHESS prodigies are children who play chess so well that they are able to beat Masters and even Grandmasters, even at a very young age. Only a few sports can enable children to compete with adults on an equal footing and chess is one of them.

One measure of a chess prodigy is attaining the title of Grandmaster. Although I must admit that it has become easier nowadays due to the advent of training with computers and ratings inflation. Still, only a select few have attained GM status while they are still young.

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The youngest GMs now are Jorge Cori, Ray Robson and Anish Giri who are all 14 years old, with only a few months separating them. They became GMs this year, but that does not mean that they attained the GM title earlier than others. Here is an updated list of child prodigies and their respective ages when they became GM.

1.) Sergey Karjakin--12 years, 7 months, 0 days, 2.) Parimarjan Negi--13 years, 4 months, 22 days, 3.) Magnus Carlsen--13 years, 4 months, 27 days, 4.) Bu Xiangzhi--
13 years, 10 months, 13 days, 5.) Teimour Radjabov--14 years, 0 months, 14 days, 6.) Ruslan Ponomariov--14 years, 0 months, 17 days, 7. Wesley So--14 years, 1 month, 28 days, 8.) Etienne Bacrot--14 years, 2 months, 9.) Jorge Cori--14 years, 2 months, 10.) Maxime Vachier--Lagrave 14 years, 4 months, 11.) Péter Lékó--14 years, 4 months, 22 days, 12.) Hou Yifan--14 years, 6 months, 16 days, 13.) Anish Giri--14 years, 7 months, 2 days, 14.) Yuriy Kuzubov--14 years, 7 months, 12 days
15.) Dariusz Swiercz--14 years, 7 months, 29 days 16.) Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son--14 years, 10 months 17.) Ray Robson--14 Years 11 Months 16 days 18.) Fabiano Caruana--14 years, 11 months, 20 days 19.) Humpy Koneru--15 years, 1 month, 27 days, 20.) Hikaru Nakamura--15 years, 2 months, 19 days 21.) Pentala Harikrishna--15 years, 3 months, 5 days, 22.) Judit Polgar--15 years, 4 months, 28 days, 23.) Alejandro Ramirez--15 years, 5 months, 14 days, 24.) Bobby Fischer--15 years, 6 months, 1 day.

A significant honor is that Wesley So is the strongest 14- and 15-year-old in chess history.

TAL MEMORIAL. The Tal Memorial, held in Moscow in honor of Mikhael Tal, has just concluded. It is the strongest tournament of the year, and at Category 21 (average Elo 2764), is also one of the strongest of all time.

While there are comparable Category 21 tournaments like Bilbao and Nanjing this year, the Tal Memorial involved the participation of 10 elite players.

The players are Viswanathan Anand (India, 2788), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2786), Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2801), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2772), Peter Leko (Hungary, 2752), Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2758), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2739) Alexander Morozevich (Russia, 2750), Peter Svidler (Russia, 2754) and Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2739).

Kramnik won the brutally strong tournament, with 6.0/9 . Ivanchuk and Carlsen shared second and third, with the young Norwegian going to number one in the world in the unofficial live rankings.

RESULTS of the just-concluded 2009 Lapu-Lapu Fiesta Chess Tournament last Nov. 14, 2009 at the Lapu-Lapu Auditorium: 1.) Felix Shaun Balbona 2.) Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano 3.) Marq Gabriel Balbona, 4.) Jasper Ycong, 5.) Neil Gilig.

The Seniors winner was Amado Olea followed by Loyd Rubillos, Ryan Rubillos and Ramil Resuera.

NOTICE. My e-mail has been hacked and all my contacts have been sent messages asking for money. As I cannot contact all of them mainly due to their large number, kindly ignore all messages coming from this e-mail.

My new e-mail address is found at the bottom of this column. May the hacker rest in peace. I just lost a 12-year-old e-mail address and all mails I saved thru the years.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family feud over Fischer’s inheritance

Thursday, November 12, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

CHESS legend Bobby Fischer died in Iceland on Jan. 17, 2008 of renal failure. In death, as in life, he left a legacy full of controversies. This time, it’s mainly the battle over his estate, estimated at $1.12 million cash deposited at an Icelandic bank. In addition, there are allegedly some gold deposits and a possible fortune in royalties from the making of the movie “Bobby Fischer goes to war.”

There are three claimants to this fortune, or four if you include the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The three are his nephews Alexander and Nicholas Targ who are the children of his late sister Joan; his Japanese wife Miyoko Wataihi; and his Filipina daughter, Jinky Young, who is now eight years old.

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Here is a short background of where this money came from and why it is controversial.

After disappearing from public view for 20 years, Fischer returned to play a chess match with Boris Spassky in 1992.

It was held in Sveti Stefan, a resort in Montenegro, and Bobby was warned not to join since Yugoslavia was being sanctioned by the United Nations for the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The prize fund was $5 million with $3.65 million going to the winner.

The sponsor was Jezdimir Vasiljevic, the President of Jugoskandic Bank. Eugene Torre served as Fischer’s second, while Cebuano Eric Gloria was also part of the team of Fischer, who won the match.

The other day, the Supreme Court in Iceland rejected the claims of the Targ brothers and awarded the inheritance to Miyoko Watai, recognizing his marriage to Fischer as legal.

I have been following this drama since the very start thru an Icelandic contact, Alfred Gudmundsson, who is married to a Cebuana, Mae, and Samuel Estimo, Jinky’s lawyer.

Unfortunately, Alfred, who was a very good man, passed away.

I immediately sent an e-mail to NM Samuel Estimo, and he informed me that Jinky’s claim is still valid.

Jinky, her mom Marilyn Torre and Sammy will be joining a shoot for a documentary by BBC HBO on the life of Bobby on either Dec. 6 or 7 in London, and then will proceed to Iceland.

In Iceland, Jinky is sure to be DNA-tested and Marilyn has agreed as she is sure of Bobby’s paternity. I have a picture of Marilyn and Jinky, together with Bobby.

Under Icelandic law, the child gets two-thirds of the estate, while the legal wife gets one third.

Bobby, in an interview, claims that he was never married to Watai (Bobby was in jail in Japan then and the marriage would have set him free). Also Eugene Torre claims that Bobby never wished to marry Watai but only wanted her as a companion.

Bobby preferred young and beautiful women.

Let us wish them good luck when they go to Iceland. As Sammy says “Bobby will turn in his grave if Marilyn and Jinky will not be given their due.”

MABOLO AND LAPU-LAPU TOURNAMENTS. The first is open to Class B Mabolo residents only. It will be held on Nov. 17 to 19 and format is seven rounds Swiss with 25 minutes time control.

Venue is at Kawayan Grill, in front of Persimmon. Games start at 5:30 p.m.

Registration is P150 with the following prizes: Champion (P1,500), second (P1,000), third (P500), and fourth P(300.) The fifth to eight placers will receive P200 each. For details call 4129283 and 4129018.

The Lapu-Lapu Fiesta competition will start on Nov. 14, at the Auditorium and will have two divisions-- Kiddies and Juniors/Seniors. The Kiddies division begins at 8:30 a.m. and the seniors will be at 1:30 p.m.

Format for kiddies is five rounds Swiss and 30 minutes time control. Confirmed players are the Balbona brothers, boy wonder Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano and Lapu-Lapu’s Allan Pason, Raffy Bensi and Gil Gelig.

The Juniors/Seniors section is open to Lapu-Lapu residents and people who work there. The sponsor is the Lapu-Lapu City Government through Mayor Arturo Radaza. For details contact Jun Olis at 09103476907.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chess-playing murderers and assassins

Thursday, November 5, 2009
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Frank “Boy” Pestaño

THIS article is about persons known to be avid chess players but at the same time, were assassins or murderers.

Generally, a person who murders restricts his or her act to one victim. A mass murderer or serial killer, however, slays three or more victims over a short period of time.

The most notorious serial killer is Alexander Pichushkin of Russia, 32, who has been nicknamed “Crazy Chess Player” as he had initially planned to commit 64 murders, one for each square of the chessboard . He boasted of killing 63 people--one short of filling up the chessboard--but prosecutors were able to find evidence only for 48. The killings were from 1996-2006.

He has been sentenced to life imprisonment as Russia has imposed a moratorium on the death sentence.

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John Christie was an English serial killer active in the 1940s and 1950s. He murdered at least six women—including his wife, Ethel—by strangling them in his flat in London. He was arrested, tried, and hanged in 1953 for his wife’s murder and those of the other women.

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. was an American serial killer. Between 1972 and 1978, the year he was arrested, convicted, and later executed, Gacy raped and murdered at least 33 young men and boys. Although some of his victims’ bodies were found in the Des Plaines River, he buried 29 of them in the small crawl space underneath the basement of his home. He became known as “Killer Clown” because he entertained children in a clown suit and makeup under the alias “Pogo the Clown”.

The Soham murder was a high profile murder case in August 2002 of two 10-year-old girls in Soham, Cambridgeshire, England. The victims were Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. The convicted killer was a local school caretaker, Ian Huntley,who was sentenced to life imprisonment..

Charles Manson founded a hippie cult in the ‘60s known as “the Family” whom he manipulated into brutally killing others on his behalf.

He was convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to death, later commuted to life, for the Tate/LaBianca murders .

Sharon Tate (Valley of the Dolls) was one of the most beautiful actresses at that time, and was married to renowned director Roman Polanski (“Rosemarie’s Baby,” “Chinatown”) and was 8 1/2 months pregnant.

Tate, who was stabbed 16 times, pleaded to be allowed to live long enough to have her baby; she cried, “Mother... mother...” until she was dead.

Polanski is in the news lately with an arrest warrant for sexual assault on a minor in 1977.

Scott Lee Peterson is an American who was convicted of the murder of his wife, Laci Peterson, then eight months pregnant.

Peterson’s case dominated the American media for many months.

In 2005, Peterson was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

He remains on death row in San Quentin State Prison while his case is on appeal to the Supreme Court of California.

We now have the assassins--Lee Harvey Oswald ,Sirhan Sirhan and John Hinckley.

Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of US President John F. Kennedy who was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. He was a Marine who defected to the Soviet Union and later returned. Oswald was shot and mortally wounded by Jack Ruby on live television.

Sirhan Sirhan is the convicted assassin of United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy who was killed on June 5,1968. He was sentenced to death but later commuted to life imprisonment. You would be surprised to know that Sirhan is not a Muslim but a Palestinian Christian.

John Hinckley, Jr., attempted to assassinate U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C, on March 30, 1981, in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has remained under institutional psychiatric care since then