Friday, March 19, 2010

Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THERE’S a big event tomorrow in Manila, the inauguration of the Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence (Pace) at Mindanao Ave., Quezon City.

“It is envisioned to become the first one-stop, fully-air-conditioned chess destination in the country, comparable to the best chess clubs in America and Europe,” said two-time Olympian GM Jayson Gonzales.

The place will hold regular tournaments and will serve as the venue for teaching young players to improve their skills.

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It will also provide Internet services to members as well as a modern library containing the latest books and software.

“We’re also planning to invite Russian and other foreign chess instructors to conduct classes for our members,” said Gonzales, who co-founded the academy with Eugene Torre.

“Pace will provide everything that the chess player needs, something which, unfortunately, we didn’t enjoy during our formative years in the sport,” said Gonzales. “This is a chess player’s dream come true.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. will be attended by Fide honorary president Florencio Campomanes, National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., Philippine Sports Commission chairman Harry Angping, former Department of Education secretary Jesli Lapus, NCFP secretary-general Mayor Abraham Tolentino, Aquilino Pimentel III and Ilocos Norte Rep. and senatorial candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Kami diay.Wa bay labot ang Cebu?

EUROPEAN CHESS. The 11th European Individual Men and Women’s Chess Championship just ended in Rijeka, Croatia. The gold was won by 20-year-old Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and by Swedish GM Pia Cramling.

The statistics of the event are impressive: 566 players from 41 countries, 440 players with titles, 196 of them grandmasters. Of the 3,078 games 2,088 or 68 percent were decisive, only 32 percent drawn.

Twenty-three male chess players qualified for the World Cup and 14 female players for the World Championships.

Boris Kutin, ECU president, said, “No championship has ever received as many compliments as this one in Rijeka. This is surely the best one.”

AMBER. The 19th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament takes place in Nice, France, from March 12-25.

On Round 9, Vassily Ivanchuk drew both his games against Vugar Gashimov. He now leads overall by half a point over Magnus Carlsen. Alexander Grischuk leads the blindfold section and Ivanchuk the rapid games.

Vladimir Kramnik also won in the rapids against Peter Svidler to stay in contention, just half a point behind. He is joined by Alexander Grischuk. There are only two more rounds left.

KUALA LUMPUR. The 3rd KL Open Championship has attracted a record 121 entries from 19 countries. It will start on April 6.

GM Mikhail Mchedlishvili from Georgia, 16-year-old women’s chess champion Hou Yifan from China and German champion Thomas Luther headline a top class field that has 16 GMs, 25 IMs, and 21 Fide Masters.

Among those playing are Cebuanos IM Richard Bitoon, who is seeking his third and final GM norm and IM Kimkim Yap. Yap is seeking his first.

LOCAL EVENTS. There will be a kiddie’s tournament this Sunday at the BJJ Billiards and Recreation Hall, Highway Tunghaan, Minglanilla.

Another one will be on April 6 at Deep Blue Café in SM City.

For details of both tournaments, contact Marvin Ruelan at 0916-4232335.

Former Cepca president Manny Manzanares is organizing a chess clinic for kiddies 14 years and below from April 12 to 15 sponsored by the Talisay Sports Commission.

It is ideal for beginners and those who have zero knowledge of the game. For details, contact Manny at 09297872073.

Incidentally, the much awaited Battle of GMs has been postponed again to a still to be decided date and venue.