Monday, June 28, 2010

Matias ‘Bombi’ B. Aznar III

Thursday, June 24, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

FROM what I have observed and gathered, Bombi lived an amazing and full life. He was a man of all seasons for all the right reasons. He was not only a friend to the high and mighty but also to the simplest of people.

He was the kind of friend you can count and rely on.

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He was a loving father. A good husband. A golfer. A real sportsman. An avid fisherman.An educator. A fellow of the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers. A national master in chess. A Cebu Sports Hall of Fame awardee. A valued member of the Auxilliary Coast Guard with the rank of rear admiral.

On the lighter side, he was also a good karaoke singer who liked to belt out Visayan songs, a bridge player who loved ice-cold San Miguel beer.

One of the things we shared in common, aside from chess and beer, was poker.

One of the trademarks of Bombi was that he always wanted to make people happy. I cannot recall him turning down whatever I requested him.

I first became aware of Bombi’s special talent in chess when the National Open was held in 1971 here in Cebu.

He became, along with the late Loloy Ruelan and Ben Macapaz, a national master.

Later, I read that Bombi was elected president of the Philippine Chess Federation.

He was team manager of our Olympiad team which played in Nice, France in 1974. That was an Olympiad to remember as Eugene Torre became Asia’s first grandmaster during that tournament.

Looking back, this stint was one of our best performances ever. We placed 11th in the A group.

Being in to the A group showed our high status in the international chess community back then.

According to NM Roger Abella, the members of that elite team, aside from Bombi, were Florencio Campomanes (team captain), Eugene Torre, Renato Naranja, Rodolfo Cardoso, Glenn Bordonada, Ramon Lontoc and Rosendo Balinas.

When I organized the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) in 1990, our first honorary member was Bombi.

The Manila Interzonals were being held at that time and we decided to start with a big bang by inviting four grandmasters to play a simul tournament, which had never been done at all, in Cebu. Bombi and the Sikatuna Lions Club help our club in a big way.

One of the things that endeared Bombi to Cepca happened during the 1992 Sinulog, when we (Cepca) decided to join the parade and street dancing.

We had a float where Bombi put on a cape and a scepter as “King” and Loy Minoza and Darcy Tabotabo as “bishops.” We had also a beautiful “Queen” and eight lovely maidens as pawns, which were probably the reasons Bombi agreed to being king then!

Cepca received a citation and trophy for that venture from the Sinulog organizers.

Bombi is gone from us now. Cebu chess will never be the same without his patronage. He has been around chess for more than three score years and the void can never be filled and replaced. I suppose you can also say that about golf.

Bombi was special. He was not only a friend to me but also to all my brothers--Jimmy ,Pepe, Bob and Danny.

What will I remember most about Bombi? His sincerity mostly, and his humility. Despite being a man of power, he never threw his weight around.

As they say, “This is not the time for us to grieve his death but it’s our time to celebrate his life. His memory will always be with us and his legacy through his children.”

On behalf of the Cebu Chess Federation, Cepca, the Colonnade chess club and all chess lovers in Cebu, goodbye and rest in peace, dear friend!


$1 million for Campo Memorial

Thursday, June 17, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

ONE of the main reasons Kirsan Ilyumzhinov will be reelected is his legendary generosity in the promotion of chess using his personal funds.

Former world champion Anatoly Karpov is challenging him for the Fide presidency and has gathered the support of most federations in Europe including the USA.

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I estimate that Kirsan has spent $50 million in the past 15 years and this has benefited not only the
top players, but the ordinary players as well. In fact, this month is a prime example of the abundance of Fide Tournaments.

The number of fide-rated tournaments is now more than 2,000 every year.

Kirsan announced during the meeting of the Asean Chess Federation in Subic early this month that he is personally putting up $1 million for a series of 10 tournaments in the region over the next 10 years to honor Florencio Campomanes, his mentor and predecessor as president.

Campomanes died last month at the age of 83 in Baguio City.

The tournaments will be in 10 countries: the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Brunei.

The tournament will formally kick off in Manila on Aug. 11 to 19, possibly at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

“The whole Asian region, especially the Filipinos, are very thankful for Ilyumzhinov for sponsoring these memorial tournaments in honor of Campomanes,” said National Chess Federation President Prospero Pichay during the meeting attended by Fide general secretary Ignatius Leung of Singapore and representatives of the 10 Asean countries.

Here the major tournaments this month.

The 1st Roseto International Festival was held on June 4 to 12 at the Villaggio di Abruzzo in Roseto degli Abruzzi, on the Adriatic coast in central Italy.

After nine rounds, GM Oleg Romanishin took clear first place with 7.0 points. A point behind is Roland Salvador of the Philippines.

The fourth edition of the Ruy Lopez International Festival is being held in Villafranca de los Barros, Spain from June 11 to June 19.

There are also other events are planned, some of for the youth and amateur players. There are also lectures, master tournaments, meetings, and a rapid open.

The main event of the festival is the round robin Master Tournament with eight players: Vladimir Malakhov (Russia, 2722), Fabiano Caruana (Italy, 2675), Ivan Cheparinov (Bulgaria, 2640), Gabriel Sargissian (Armenia, 2677), Pia Cramling (Sweden 2536), WGM Daisy Cori (Peru 2409), GM Ivan Salgado (Spain, 2606) and IM Manuel Pérez Candelario (Spain, 2527).

The 11th Poikovsky Karpov Tournament took place from June 2 to 14. Sergey Karjakin came straight from his ACP Rapid Cup victory to finish first place on a tie-break against Viktor Bologan. Both finished on 7/11.

The 3rd Kings tournament started last June 14 and will end on June 25 in Medias, Romania. Magnus Carlsen, Wang Yue, Boris Gelfand, Teimour Radjabov, Ruslan Ponomariov and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu are in the event.

The 45th Casablanca Memorial is being held in Havana, Cuba. The Elite Group is a six-player, double round robin event with Vassily Ivanchuk as top seed. This is Ivanchuk’s fourth participation in Havana after he won the tournament back in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Russia is represented by Evgeny Alekseev and Ian Nepomniatchi. Top Cuban players Leinier Dominguez and Lazaro Bruzon present the local challenge and Nigel Short of England is also in.

LOCAL. Lapu-Lapu and Talisay Cities will have a friendly chess match on June 20 in Lapu-Lapu.

The event, which will have 10 players playing two rounds, is organized by Councilor Django Roma, Alwin Dacalan and Manny Manzañares.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 18, 2010.

Cash prizes for the Olympiad

Thursday, June 10, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

FOR the first time in the history of the Olympiad, cash prizes will be awarded to the winning teams as well as to the board winners.

The following prizes (all in Euros) will be paid to the winning teams in the Open and Women's events: first placer-20, 000, second placer-12,000 and the third placer-8, 000.

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The top three winning teams for the best composite scores in the Open and Women's sections (The Nona Gaprindashvili International Trophy) will also receive 10,000, 6,000 and 4,000.

The top three individual board performers in both open and women's sections will get 5,000, 3,000 and 2,000.

The 39th edition will be held in Khanty Mansiyk, Russia on Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 and despite the financial crisis in Europe, the organizers have assured Fide and the participating federations that the Olympiad will be held at the highest levels.

It will be recalled that Khanty Mansiysk successfully organized the 2009 World Cup.

There were six competing bidders to host the 2010 Chess Olympiad. They were Poznan (Poland), Riga (Latvia), Tallinn (Estonia), Budva (Serbia and Montenegro), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Khanty Mansiysk.

The Fide Congress in Turin, Italy in 2006 voted for Khanty Mansiyk.

GM Michal Krasenkow, 46, is a well respected player from Poland and in an open letter to Fide, he objected to the cash prizes.

"I have just seen the news of the money prizes to be awarded for the best results at the Khanty-Mansiysk Chess Olympiad this year. The news is partly excellent but partly, alas, sad and devastating.

The team money prizes are the excellent part of the news. The best squads deserve to get rewards for their successful effort!

And parity of men's and women's prizes is an absolutely just idea! However, as an experienced participant and occasional team captain at Chess Olympiads and European Team Championships, I am extremely concerned about the individual money prizes. They can ruin the performances of many strong teams and lead to pressure and conflicts within the squads."

Here is the history of the Olympiad since it was held in Manila in 1992 and the top three winners:

1992 Manila, Philippines-Russia 39, Uzbekistan 35, Armenia 34.5.

1994 Russia-Russia I 37.5, Bosnia-Herzegovina 35, Russia II 34.5.

1996 Yerevan, Armenia-Russia 38.5, Ukraine 35, USA 34.

1998 Elista, Russia-Russia 35.5, USA 34.5, Ukraine 32.5.

2000 Istanbul, Turkey-Russia 38, Germany 37 Ukraine 35.5.

2002 Bled, Slovenia-Russia 38.5, Hungary 37.5, Armenia 35.

2004 Calvia, Spain-Ukraine 39.5, Russia 36.5, Armenia 36.5.

2006 Turin, Italy-Armenia 36, China 34, USA 33.

2008 Dresden, Germany-Armenia 19, Israel, 18 USA 17.

I suggest our lineup to the Olympiad should be based on the results of the recent National Championship billed as the "Battle of GMs."

The top six players were Wesley So, John Paul Gomez ,Joey Antonio, Catalino Sadorra, Darwin Laylo and Rolando Nolte.

In the women's section, the winners were Rulp Jose, Cheradee Camacho, Catherine Pereña, Beverly Mendoza and Jedara Docena.

It is fair and just that these players should compose our lineup for the Olympiad.

LOCAL. The monthly tournament for June in Talisay will be held on June 19, 9 a.m. at San Roque Barangay Hall.

The contest is for Kiddies who are residents of Talisay, Minglanilla and Inayawan. For details and registration, please call Manny Manzanares at 09058386318. (;

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 11, 2010.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Karpov challenges Fide president

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THE World Chess Federation will hold presidential elections during the General Assembly of the Fide Congress on Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. The elections, which is held every five years, will be held along with the 39th Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Just like the recent Philippine presidential elections, it is turning nasty.

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The incumbent president is Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, whose passion for chess is legendary.

He has been leader of the largely Buddhist southern Russian region of Kalmykia since 1993. He has served Fide for three terms since 1995, succeeding Filipino chess icon Florencio Campomanes who died last month.

He has spent millions of dollars of his own money on chess, including building a Chess City in Elista, Kalmykia’s capital.

He has claimed that he was given a tour of a spaceship by extra-terrestials in the 1990s and revealed just recently on TV that he was visited by aliens in his apartment in Moscow.

This is one of the main reasons Anatoly Karpov is challenging him to the presidency, claiming that Kirsan’s sanity is questionable.

Karpov was the 12th world champion and considered the third greatest player of all time after Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov.

He was the official world champion from 1975 to 1985.

I wrote in my column a month ago that Kirsan is the official candidate of the Russian Chess Federation (RCF). This is important as a federation can only have one candidate for president.

This was disputed by Karpov, who claimed he has the backing of RCF when a meeting on May 14 nominated him as Russia’s candidate.

But Arkady Dvorkovich--best known as the chief economic advisor of President Dmitry Medvedev and head of RCF’s supervisory board—thinks otherwise.

He declared that the nomination was invalid as there was no quorum and said his own letter of recommendation is enough for Ilyumzhinov to be the candidate of RCF.

“I respect Anatoly Karpov as a great chess player but unlike Kirsan Ilyumzhinov he is an ineffective manager. I also think Karpov’s election campaign has been indecent and unethical.”

On May 20 last month, security men seized the offices of the Russian Chess Federation on Gogol Boulevard, allegedly at the behest of Arkady Dvorkovich.

Control of the RCF bank account and website was also seized.

It was also reported that the chairman of the Russian Chess Federation, Alexander Bakh, a supporter of Karpov, was ejected.

Heavyweights France, Germany, the United States and 30 other federations are supporting Karpov but it may not be enough as Kirsan has the support of the smaller federations. Fide has 158 federations and follows the UN charter of one member-one vote policy.

Aside from Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, the world’s no.1 player, is supporting Karpov but former world champion Vladimir Kramnik and women’s champion Alexandra Kosteniuk are reportedly for Kirsan.

BATTLE OF GMS. Wesley So defeated IMs Oliver Dimakiling and Ronald Dableo in the last two rounds to snatch the top purse of P200,000 in the 2010 Phoenix Petroleum- Battle of GMs national chess championship in Tagaytay City.

Here are the final men’s standings:

(8.5 points) – W. So, (7.5) – J. Gomez, (7)–R. Antonio, J. ,Sadorra, (6)-- D. Laylo, (4.5)–R. Nolte, (4)–R. Dableo, R. ,Bitoon, (3.5)–H.Pascua, (2)–O. Dimakiling, (1)–J. Garcia.

Women’s standings. (8.5)–R. Jose, (8)–C. Camacho, (7.5)–C. Perena, (7)– B. Mendoza, (6)–J. Docena, (5.5)–C. Bernales, C. Mejia, (4.5)–S. Cua, (4)– A. Salvado, (3.5)–M. Suede, (3)–J. Palomo, A. Suede.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 4, 2010.