Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grand Prix

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THREE years ago, Fide created the Grand Prix--a series of six tournaments that would be part of the cycle to select a challenger for the world chess championship for both men and women.

The Grand Prix is a brainchild of Bessel Kok of Global Chess, who challenged unsuccessfully Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, during the last elections in 2006 in Turin, Italy.

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The Grand Prix tournaments offer substantial prizes (30,000 euros for first, 22,500 for second, 20,000 for third, etc.) though much lower for the ladies.

Fide selected 21 of the top men players in the world. Each of the 21 men will play in four of six tournaments.

Each Men tournament is a 14-player, single round-robin format. Grand prix points are then allocated according to each player’s result: 180 points for first place, 150 for second place,130 for third place and down the line.

The winner of the Men Grand Prix was originally scheduled to play a match in 2010 against the winner of the Chess World Cup 2009, with the winner of that match becoming the challenger for the World Chess Championship 2012.

Fide has changed the format. Instead, the winner and the runner-up will join an eight-player Candidates Tournament. This has caused a number of protests, with two players withdrawing (Magnus Carlsen and Michael Adams) and two others being replaced.

Here are the top 3 players on each leg: Wang Yue and Vugar Gashimov tied for 1st followed by Teimour Radjabov in Baku, Azerbaijan; Levon Aronian won in Sochi,Russia while Radjabov was 2nd and Wang Yue 3rd; In Elista, Radjabov ,Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Jakovenko tied for 1st ; Aronian again won in Nalchik,Russia with Peter Leko 2nd and Grischuk 3rd; Vassily Ivanchuk won in Jermuk,Armenia followed by Aronian and Boris Gelfand.

Finally,the last leg took place in Astrakhan, Russia last May 9-May 25. Pavel Eljanov took clear first place with 8/13.Five players tied for second including Radjabov.

The 2 Grand Prix qualifiers are, therefore, Levon Aronian and Teimour Radjabov.

They will join the following players to select the challenger to Vishy Anand in 2012: Veselin Topalov (loser of the championship vs Anand this year); Gata Kamsky (loser of the 2009 challenger match); Boris Gelfand (winner of 2009 World Cup); Magnus Carlsen (highest rated player in the world); Vladimir Kramnik (2nd highest rated player in the world).The seeding is based on the average ratings as of July 2009 and January 2010.

The final 8th player will be nominated by the sponsor of the Candidates Tournament.

Eighteen women were selected in the Women‘s Grand Prix and 12 players will play in each leg.

The third Women’s Grand Prix has just concluded in Nalchik, Russia. It was won by Tatiana Kosintseva of Russia. She scored 9 points out of a possible 11. This was Kosintseva‘s 1st participation in the Grand Prix series.

The 1st leg was held in Istanbul and snared by Koneru Humpy and the 2nd was snatched by Xu Yuhua in Nanjing.

After the 3rd Grand Prix,Hou Yifan and Zhao Xue are tied for first in the overall standings. Nana Dzagnidze and Koneru Humpy are tied for third and fourth, Pia Cramling is fifth and Kosintseva is tied for sixth through eighth with Marie Sebag of France and Xu Yuhua of China.

The 4th Grand Prix will take place in Jermuk,Armenia on June 23-July 6, the fifth in Ulan Bataar,Mongolia on July29-August 12 and the final and 6th leg will be in Santiago,Chile on October 27-November 9.

The winner of the Grand Prix series at the end of 2010 will play the Women World Champion in the third quarter of 2011 in a ten-game match for the Women’s World Championship title.

Alexandra Kosteniuk is the current Women Champion.


Solution to the previous puzzle (problem 108)-Qd4 (White mates in 3 moves). Those who got it right are Markeno Czar Manzanares, Allan Abing, Reynaldo Tolorio, Jhamaika Seville, Windy Padin, Jerty Dorog, Denis Navales, Christian Lumapac, Darius Caesar Lauta, Godfrey Villamor.The winner is Denis Navales.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 28, 2010.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wesley So nabs World Cup spot

Thursday, April 29, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THERE are three big events that are being held at the same time—the Asian Individual Continental Championship in Subic, the third Women’s Grand Prix in Nalchick and the granddaddy of them all, the World Championships between Vishy Anand and Veselin Topalov in Sofia, Bulgaria

Our focus is the Subic event, where the top five players will qualify to the World Cup 2011.

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Thirty-two grandmasters, 23 IMs and 63 titled participants are playing in the Open Division. There are 10 players rated over 2600, including local hero Wesley So.

The total prize fund is $65,000--$50,000 for the Open Division and $15,000 for the women.

The result was not favorable for the 32 Pinoy participants as only Wesley So qualified to the World Cup 2011.

Joey Antonio had one draw too many.

In addition to Wesley, the other qualifiers were Ni Hua and Zhou Jianchao of China, Abhijeet Gupta of India and Le Quang Liem of Vietnam despite a loss and a draw at the start.

Ni Hua sored 7/9 to snare the top prize of $6,000.

The Women’s Grand Prix will have six legs over two years (2009/10) in various countries around the world with three tournaments every year. The leader after two legs is Zhao Xue of China.

The Women’s Grand Prix is a significant development as there will be a Women’s Championship annually starting this year. The champion will be determined from the Knockout World Championship which will be held in Turkey and the following year, 2011. The world champion will face the winner of the Grand Prix series 2009/2010 in a match for the title.

The Women’s Grand Prix in Nalchik, Russia is being played from April 25 to 8 May 8.

The participants are: GM Koneru Humpy (2622, India), GM Yifan Hou (2570, China), GM Kosintseva Tatiana (2524, Russia), GM Cramling Pia (2523, Sweden),IM Mkrtchan Lilit (2503, Armenia), IM Danielian Elina (2491, Armenia), GM Zhao Xue (2490, China),GM Dzagnidze Nana (2479, Georgia),GM Chen Zhu (2476, Qatar), WGM Batkhuyag Munguntuul (2428, Mongolia), WGM Kovanova Baira (2385, Russia), WIM Yildiz Betul Cemre (2244, Turkey).

In the World Championship, Anand won Game 2 and 4, both Catalans, to lead, 2.5-1.5. Topalov won Game 1.

Prize fund is 2 million Euros with 1.25 million going to the winner and the format is best of 12 games.

LOCAL EVENTS. Here are the winners of the Dimataga Open held last weekend in Opon: Joel Fernan (champion) Nelman Lagutin (runner-up). The semifinalists were Francisco Abugho and Mike Banebane.

In the Kiddies section, the champion was Felix Shaun Balbona. He was followed by Neil Gilig, Kyle Sevillano and Allan Pason.

There were 72 players in the Deep Blue Open held at SM City last Sunday for Juniors sponsored by Felix Balbona, Carlos Tan and Edgar Hortelano.

The first place winner was Yuri Cauba, who got a trophy and a chess clock. Marq Gabrielle Balbona placed second and got a trophy and a chess set. The third placer was Bernardo Ruelo Jr. and went home with a chess book and trophy.

Former Cepca president Manny Manzanares organized a chess clinic mostly for beginners in coordination with the Talisay City Sports Commission headed by Jeanneth Villagonzalo and Councilor Rodi Cabigas, starting last April 12.

Twenty-five students finished the course and the winners of the culminating tournament yesterday were Justice Sousa, Fashene Labajo, Emmanuele Arcamo Jr., May Labajo and Mishael Seguerra.

Coming up this weekend is the Marcelo “Loloy” Ruelan Memorial Open to be held at Norkis Plaza, Plaridel St., Looc, Mandaue City, in front of Mandaue City Comprehensive National High School .

The format is seven rounds Swiss and time control is 25 minutes each, play to finish. Registration is P150 for the Open and P50 for Kiddies and Women.

Games start at 9 a.m.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April

Anand still world champion

Thursday, May 13, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THE past week, I have slept late not because of the elections but because of the just concluded World Championship which was played in Sofia, Bulgaria from April 24 to May 11.

I followed the live broadcast of the match on the Internet, usually at with occasional peeks at and

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Viswanathan Anand of India won the 12th and final game despite playing black to retain his
crown over the challenger Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, 6.5-5.5.

Prior to the last game, black never had a winning chance and all the wins were with the white pieces.

The match was delayed by a day due to the incredible eruption of a volcano in Iceland, which caused all air travel to be cancelled in most countries in Europe.

Anand was in Frankfurt, Germany with his team: GMs Peter Heine Nielsen, Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Surya Shekhar Ganguly and wife Aruna.

Anand was lucky to hire a limo in Holland, a Mercedes Sprinter (equipped with all kinds of amenities like a fridge, two TV screens and a DVD player) to drive him all the way from Frankfurt to Sofia.

The trip, which took 40 hours, took them to five countries—about 2,000 kilometers and a “million potholes.”

Here is a brief rundown of the match.

Game 1.Topalov won in 29 moves of a Gruenfeld Indian with white. Anand resigned in a hopeless position. A great start by Topalov.

Game 2. Anand equalized with his pet, the Catalan. He obtained a decisive advantage and it was just a matter of time before Topalov resigned. Black gave up on move 43, in a lost Rook endgame.

Game 3. Draw. Topalov played the Gruenfeld Indian again but this time, Anand played a solid Slav.

Game 4. Another Catalan game and another win by Anand in white in 32 moves. He took the lead, 2.5-1.5.

Game 5. Draw. Anand again played a solid Slav and a peace treaty was agreed after a triple repetition in move 44.

Game 6. Draw. Anand had the white pieces and for the third time played the Catalan. Another repetition of moves in 58.

Game 7. Draw. Anand again had the white pieces as per regulations. A lot of maneuvering by both players as Anand again played his pet, the Catalan. They split the point in move 58.

Game 8. Topalov won with white in 56 moves and the match is tied, 4-4. The eighth game of the match featured the Slav defense, which was seen in Games 3 and 5.

Game 9. Draw. The game saw a different opening as Anand and Topalov entered the Nimzo-Indian defense, Rubinstein variation, avoiding the previous dispute in Catalan. The complicated struggle lasted until the 83rd move.

Game 10. Draw. Another Gruenfeld by Topalov and another intense struggle until move 60.

Game 11. Draw. The 11th game saw an opening entirely different from the earlier games.

Anand played with the English opening, allowing Topalov to play his favorite reversed Sicilian. The game ended in a draw on the 65th move when repetition of moves became imminent.

Game 12. Anand won the game and with it retained his title as undisputed champion of the world. He played the Lasker Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Not a great win by Anand but I think Topalov lost it as I believe Anand would have been contented with a draw.

Anand earned 1.2 million out of a prize fund of 2 million Euros.

RP CHESS. The national age group 2010 will be held in Davao City at the Gaisano Mall starting tomorrow up to May 18. Cebuano Kiddies participating are Kyle Sevillano in the 12-Under, Vic Glysen Derotas in the Girls 10-Under and Jeremy Pepito in the Boys 8-Under.

Good luck from Chessmoso!

There will be twin tournaments in Talisay City: the Barangay Cup on May 15 and the SK Youth Chessfest on May 18.

For details, you may contact Manny Manzanares at 09058386310.


Tips and dangerous moments

Thursday, May 20, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

IT’S never too late to improve your game. Even if you are in your 40s or 50s, you can still learn a few tactics and strategies. There is so much to know that you can never learn it all in a lifetime.

Here are a few tips that you may look into:

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1. Always unpin.

2. Always make a blunder check.

3. Check each possible move of your opponent’s pieces and pawns while it is the opponent’s turn to move.

4. Try to find ways to ignore your opponent’s threats and look for stronger counter-threats.

5. Prefer to move an attacked piece rather than defend it.

6. Never play the Queen to the b-file early in the opening unless it goes there with a threat.

7. Handle rooks aggressively.

8. Never vacate an open file to avoid exchanges.

9. Look for ways of using your King as an active piece.

10. Do not postpone a must move.

11. Never risk for additional material when winning.

12. Plan a few moves at a time and revise as often as you can.

Watch out for these situations. They could be the start of your defeat:

1. pieces that can be easily attacked by enemy pieces of less value;

2. one or more pieces that can be attacked via discovered check;

3. weak back rank;

4. pinned pieces along the same rank, file and diagonal;

5. pieces vulnerable to Knight forks;

6. opponent’s pawn nearing promotion;

7. open enemy lines for Queen, Rooks and Bishops to your King;

8. uncastled King;

9. pieces that have less mobility;

10. a “desperado” piece that is lost anyway and can cause maximum destruction;

Here are 10 dangerous moments that can happen during a game (humor):

1. There has been a change in pawn structure. Your opponent has eight and you don’t have any.

2. Your opponent begins to throw pieces at your eyes.

3. You have a won position but your opponent has a gun.

4. The arbiter tells you not to turn in your score sheet after the game.

5. Before the games begin, you notice that your opponent’s initials start with GM.

6. Just as you start your opening move, your opponent announces mate in two.

7. You don’t control any squares at all.

8. After making your opening, your opponent is already playing the endgame.

9. Your draw offer sends all the people watching your game into uncontrollable laughter.

10. Your opponent has three bishops.

LOCAL. The SK Youth Chessfest was held last May 18 and the champion was Jan Maravilla. He was followed by Firce May Labajo, Jhon Deipharine, Lorrainne Powao and Kryztelle Ouano.

Also last May 15, Joshua Guinto won the San Roque Tournament Was Joshua Guinto. The runners-up were Justice Sousa, Francis Kyle Entera, Kent Pardillo and Dasvid Musa.

CAMPOMANES. The late Fide president and chess legend will be honored with a tournament in mid-June by his close friend Boojie Lim of the Cebu Chess Federation.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 21, 2010.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Florencio Campomanes

Thursday, May 6, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

Very few of the young players today are aware of his contributions to chess but he helped place the Philippines in the world chess map.

Several months ago, Campo (his nickname) visited me at Handuraw.

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He liked the pizza there and said that you could not find that concoction anywhere in the world. That meant a lot as he has probably visited more than 100 countries during his lifetime.

He never gave me any hint that he was suffering from cancer. After a few chess games, we broke up and discussed the possibility of playing poker. We played before and I can say that he was a good poker player and even a finer chess player despite his age.

Once, he joined a Cepca monthly tournament several years ago and was able to hold his ground against the good players of our club. I remember that he was strict in implementing the rules of tournament chess.

One of my prized possessions was a kamagong chess set that I won while I, and several of my officemates, were his guests during his TV show in Manila in the mid-70s.

I met him again in 1988 and 1990 during the World Juniors and Interzonals in Manila, which he both organized, and in 1992 here during the pre-Olympiad Grandmaster tournament organized by the Cebu Chess Federation headed by Boojie Lim,Cepca and CIFYA.

He, and the organizers of the Chess Olympiad, even gave me a citation.

From time to time, he would call me up or visit me to correct some of my articles and even asked copies of all of them as I had no blog then.

He was a character, unique and his love for chess had few equals.

Here is his brief curriculum vitae (from Chessbase and Fide websites):

Born 22 Feb 1927, Manila Philippines

B.A., cum laude, University of the Philippines, 1948

M. A., Brown University, Prov., R.I. 1951

Doctoral Studies, Georgetown University, Wash. B.C. 1949-1952

Fullbright Guarantee, 1948

Lecturer, (Political Science) University of the Philippines, 1954-1956

Chess columnist, Manila Times and Manila Chronicle, 1954-1961

TV Producer and Host, “Chess Today,” PTV 4 Manila, 1973-1982

Permanent Philippine delegate to Fide, 1956-1982

Fide Asian Zone President, 1960-1964

Fide deputy president for Asia , 1974-1982

Fide President, 1982-1995

Fide Chairman, 1995-1996

Honorary President 1996-2010

He also raised $13 million for six men’s world championships in nine years.

Campo could also be resourceful.

Casto Abundo said, “He was studying flight schedules during the 1960 Leipzig Olympiad in Germany and told his teammates that they could tour Paris. They wondered how since they had no money.”

“On their way home, they missed their Paris connection for the once-a-week Air France flight to Manila. Campo argued convincingly to get free hotel accommodation. And they qualified for $200 compensation for one lost luggage.

Campo, Renato Naranja, Meliton Borja, Ruben Reyes, Edgar de Castro and Segundino Avecilla enjoyed Paris for a week, free at the Georges V hotel.”


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 7, 2010.

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