Friday, February 12, 2010

The Cupid gambit

Thursday, February 11, 2010
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Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

EVERYBODY has something to say about love. Since this is a chess column, I’’ll just continue my tradition of writing about the love affairs of chess players during Valentine’s Day.

One that is popular for Pinoys is the Arianne Caoili and Levon Aronian love affair.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

Arianne, 24, is a Fil-Aussie mestiza and a celebrity dancer on Dancing with the Stars. In chess, she has achieved the Fide Woman International Master title and has a rating of 2235 and a peak of 2309 while still playing for the Philippines in 2002.

During the Turin Olympiad in 2006 British GM Danny Gormally and Aronian had a fight over her in the dance floor, which was a highly publicized incident. It is not surprising as Arianne is considered as one of the most beautiful faces today.

Aronian, 28, of Armenia won the Fide Grand Prix 2008–2009, qualifying him for the candidates tournament for the World Chess Championship 2011. He is also the 2009 World Rapid Chess champion. He is currently No.5 in the January 2010 Fide list with a rating of 2781.

5000 CLUB. Young couple WGM Natalia Pogonina and Peter Zhdanov recently compiled a list of the strongest chess couples in the world who could become members of the honorary “5000 Club”.

The requirements for becoming a member are: 1.) the two chess players should be officially married and 2.) the sum of their peak Fide ratings should be 5,000 or more.

As of this day, the top 10 pairs of the “5000 Club” are:

1.) GM Vassily Ivanchuk (2787) and Alisa Galliamova (2554)=5,341.

2.) GM Alexi Shirov (2755) and IM Victoria Cmilyte (2512) = 5,267.

3.) GM Alexander Grischuk (2748) and IM Natalia Zhukova (2490) = 5,238.

4.) GM Joel Lautier (2687) and IM Almira Skripchenko (2498) * = 5,185.

5.) GM Laurent Fressinet (2676) and IM Almira Skripchenko (2498) = 5,174.

6.) GM Bartosz Socko (2660) and GM Monika Socko (2505) = 5,165.

7.) GM Peng Xiaomin (2657) and WGM Qin Kanying (2501) = 5,158.

8.) GM Mohamad Al-Modiakhi (2588) and GM Zhu Chen (2548) = 5,136.

9.) GM Wu Shaobin (2545) and GM Xie Jun (2574) = 5,119.

10.) GM Oleg Korneev (2671) and WGM Tatiana Kononenko (2442) = 5,113.

*IM Skripchenko got divorced from Lautier in 1997 and married GM Fressinet in 2003.

GM MAROSTICA. I featured this love story before but it’s worth repeating. A unique historical tourist attraction featuring human chess players occurs every September on even-numbered years in Marostica, Italy. This is a true story dating back to 1454.

The story goes that two noblemen, Rinaldo D’Angarano and Vieri da Vallonara, fell in love with the beautiful Lionora, daughter of Taddeo Parisio, the Lord of Marostica’s castle. As was the custom in that time, they challenged each other to a duel to win the hand of Lionora.

The Lord forbade the encounter. He decided the two rivals should instead play a chess game: Lionora would take the winner as her husband and the loser would marry Oldrada, the younger sister.

The story is said to have had a happy ending, as the winner of the game was Vieri, Lionora’s secret love.

This event is repeated today with participants, just like when the time it happened, wearing costumes of those days. There are also multi-color banners and exquisite parades, ala Sinulog.

Joseph Sanchez is somewhere in France. I am calling on the mother or sisters of Joseph to please text me at 0929-210-4437.I have an important message for him.


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