Friday, April 9, 2010

GM saves own life by winning game

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

TODAY we celebrate Araw ng Kagitingan to commemorate the fall of Bataan 68 years ago.

More than 80,000 Filipino and American soldiers surrendered after one of the fiercest and most brutal battles in World War II.

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One of the founders of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association, the late Gerry Tomakin was a Philippine scout during the war. He was captured by the Japanese near Bataan but managed to escape. He walked all the way to Pampanga, surviving on the generosity of complete strangers who probably realized that he was a soldier.

During World War II, the US Navy enlisted world champion chess player Reuben Fine to calculate--on the basis of positional probability--where enemy submarines were most likely to surface. Years later, Fine was asked about the project’s outcome, and modestly replied: “It worked out all right.”

In 1918, because he was a legal advisor to bankers, the famous chess player Ossip Bernstein was arrested in Odessa by the Cheka and scheduled for execution. As the firing squad lined up, a superior officer asked to see the list of prisoners’ names and, seeing Bernstein’s name, demanded if he was the International Grandmaster of the same name.

When Bernstein replied in the affirmative, the skeptical officer challenged him to a game. Unless the prisoner won the game outright, he would be shot. Bernstein won
with ease. Having literally won his freedom, he promptly fled on a British ship and settled in Paris.

The world championship match between Viswanathan Anand of India and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria will be from April 21 to May 13.

The match will be played at the Central Military Club in Sofia ,Bulgaria , and will consist of twelve games.

Total prize money is 2 million Euros.

Coinciding with the World Championship is The Asian Continental/individual Open and Women’s Chess Championship from April 20 to 30 at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center, Olongapo City.

Cebuanos Richard Bitoon,Kimkim Yap and Barlo Nadera are among the invited players. Others are Wesley So (2665), Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr. (2572) and Darwin Laylo (2527). Completing the cast of Pinoy players are GM John Paul Gomez (2507), GM Eugene Torre (2506), GM Mark Paragua (2497), GM-elect Ronald Dableo (2464), IM Oliver Barbosa (2452), IM Oliver Dimakiling (2441), GM Jayson Gonzales (2441), GM Bong Villamayor (2438), IM Rolando Nolte (2420) and IM Emmanuel Senador (2401).

Foreign players expected are Ni Hua (2667), Zhou Jianchao (2650), Li Chao (2613), Krishnan Sasikiran (2686), Pentala Harikrishna (2660), Geetha Narayanan Gopal
(2604), Abhijeet Gupta (2560) of India ; and Le Quang Liem (2689), Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (2642) of Vietnam.

All are grandmasters.

Total prize fund is $50,000 for the men’s and $15,000 for the women’s.

The Asean age group chess festival will be a parallel event which features the region’s brightest in the U8, U10, U12, U14, U16 and U18 divisions.

This tournament is a qualification for the 2011 World Chess Cup in Khanty Mansiysk and the women’s World Chess Championship 2012. There will be five qualifiers from both events.

CLINIC. Former Cepca president Manny Manzanares and Councilor Rodi Cabigan of the Talisay Sports Commission are organizing a clinic for beginners and those 14 years and under who have no knowledge of the game.

It is scheduled from April 12 to 30, Monday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Talisay City Hall.

Among the topics to be discussed are the basic principles of the opening ,middle and end games.

Registration is at P200 and includes a t-shirt and chess materials. For more details call 2722755.


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