Friday, July 30, 2010

Biel and Dortmund

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

TWO big events are going on almost at the same time—Biel and Dortmund. Aside from that, there’s the US Women Championships, it’s getting famous because of the drama in the previous two seasons.

The US Women Championship took place from July 9 to 20 at the Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, thanks to a guy named Rex Siquenfield, who is becoming one of the biggest benefactors of the game.

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IM Irina Krush won her last two games to snare the crown from the two-time defending champion IM Anna Zatonskih.

These two ladies have been in a very close competition in the last four years, and they also had a highly-controversial Armageddon game two years ago.

Dortmund 2010 in Germany or the The Sparkassen Chess-Meeting is on its 38th edition. It is one of the four “majors” in the chess tournament circuit along with Corus, Sofia and Linares and only very strong players are invited.

The nine-time winner here is former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik.

This year, the tournament is a category 20 having an average rating of 2734. It is a six-player, double round-robin event. The players are Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2790), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2760), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2737), Peter Leko (Hungary,2735) , Arkadi Naiditsch (Germany, 2691).

The newcomer is the highest-rated Asean player today, Le Quang Liem (Vietnam, 2689) who won a place here by winning the 9th Aeroflot Open in Moscow.

After six rounds, the solo leader is Ponomariov with 4.0, followed by Le at 3.5. Mamedyarov and Kramnik are tied with 3.0, while Naiditsch has 2.5. Leko only has 2.0.

The Biel Chess festival in Switzerland is a whole canopy of chess events. The main attraction is the category 17 battle of 10 young stars.

The hero for the moment is our Wesley So, who is now leading the tournament after scoring two wins and a draw in three rounds.

His win over Maxim Rodshtein was a masterpiece and most kibitzers did not see the mate in five engineered by Wesley. Tied for second are Fabiano Caruana and Evgeny Tomashevsky with 2.

There is a five-way tie between Maxime Vacher Lagrave, Dmitry Andreikin, Anish Giri, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and Rodshtein, all with 1.5. David Howell has 1, while Parimarjan Negi is the whipping boy of the competition and is still scoreless.

LOCAL. Talisay City conducted basic training sessions last July 11 and 18 that was attended by 22 kiddies players.

A tournament was played after the training sessions and the winner in the 10-Under was Nadene Cabano, while Kierlyn Sebial won the 11-Above.

The next event will be on July 25. For details contact Manny Manzanares at 09058386310. The organizers are Loreto Powao, Gil Buzon and Rowell Campaner.

Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano won the 16-Under tournament last Sunday at SM with a masterful 6.5 out of seven rounds and he is only 11 years old!

Golden Haven is sponsoring a tournament this Sunday at their park in Barangay Binaliw, Talamban starting at 1 p.m.

A van will ferry passengers from the Metrobank parking lot in front of the Talamban Gym to the park and back. Passengers can ride in shifts starting at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

There are two categories—13-Under and 20-Under. For details contact Roger Abella 0910-268-6898.

This is probably the first time in the world that a chess tournament will be held in a cemetery or a memorial park as it is now aptly called.

Also, a 10-board match will be played tomorrow between Aboitizland and Deep Blue players at SM.
Olympiad. Here are members of the Philippine team for the Chess Olympiad in Russia on Sept. 19 –Oct. 4.

The men’s team is composed of GMs So, Eugenio Torre, Rogelio Antonio, John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo. The women’s team is composed of Catherine Perena, Cheradee Camacho, Shercila Cua, Jedara Docena and Rulp Ylem Jose.

Nicely chosen!


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2010.

9-year-old Filipina to inherit P140 million

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl from the Philippines, Jinky Young, claims Bobby Fischer, who died in 2008, was her father. She stands to inherit approximately P140 million and some gold holdings deposited in a bank in Iceland.

Other claimants are Fischer’s nephews, Nicolas and Alexander Targ, Bobby’s alleged wife Miyoko Watai and the Internal Revenue Service.

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Thordur Bogason, a lawyer based in Reykjavik, said evidence was presented to the court that showed that Fischer sent Jinky and her mother Marilyn Young “considerable” amount of money on eight occasions in the years before he died. It ranged from $1,230 to $6,150.

Other documents she provided were pictures of her with Fischer, and postcards to Jinky signed “Daddy” that she said were from Fischer.

Also, Marilyn claimed that Fischer also gifted her with a house and lot in an upscale subdivision in Davao.

“At this point we are just trying to establish this,” Thordur said. “And if she is confirmed as the daughter of Bobby Fischer, then by Icelandic law she is his legal and only heir.”

The remains of chess genius Bobby Fischer was exhumed a few days ago for paternity testing .

Paternity tests use samples from blood or tissue and compares the DNA pattern of the child to that of the alleged father.

Usually the mother’s DNA is also collected (called a trio) to help exclude half of the child’s DNA, leaving the other half for comparison to the alleged father. Because DNA is inherited from parents, the comparison can be used as definitive proof of a biological relationship.

Establishing paternity is important not only for legal and financial reasons, but also for social and health reasons.

Both mothers and children can get a peace of mind and sense of well-being for knowing for sure who the biological father of a child is.

There are two types of paternity tests: legal and home DNA tests. Unlike a home DNA test, legal testing follows a Chain of Custody documentation process to ensure accurate and legally defensible results. Testing can offer a 99.99 percent accuracy rate for inclusion and a 100% accuracy rate for exclusion.

Police district commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson said Fischer’s corpse was dug from a cemetery near Selfoss in southern Iceland in the presence of a doctor, a priest and other officials.

Kjartansson said the exhumation “was done in a professional and dignified way and according to law. The privacy of the deceased was protected at all times.”

Thordur Bogason said the country’s Supreme Court made the decision in order to allow for tests so his client, Jinky Young, can find out who her father is.

Earlier in December last year, Jinky and her mother were DNA-tested in Iceland.

One of Iceland’s lower courts had originally been asked for permission to examine Fischer’s remains, Bogason said, but it was denied. They appealed to the Supreme Court, which approved the exhumation.

According to Samuel Estimo, Jinky’s local lawyer, this whole issue will be resolved in about two week’s time.

A movie is also in the works as Kevin MacDonald helms the story of Bobby Fischer’s match in 1972 against Soviet Boris Spassky in the Universal Pictures co-production with Working Title Films. Shawn Slovo provided the script based on David Edmonds and John Eidinow’s book “Bobby Fischer goes to war.”

Another movie about Fischer is ‘’Pawn Sacrifice” starring Tobey Maguire of Spiderman fame. David Fincher will direct.

Royalties from these movies will add a sizable income to Fischer’s estate.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 16, 2010.

Why GMs are not what they used to be

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

THE Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in chess.

Elo is not that reliable. Let’s take a Look at what Arpad Elo (the inventor of this system) said about his own creation.

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He said it was futile to attempt to use ratings to compare players from different eras and in his view, they could only possibly measure the strength of a player compared to his or her contemporaries.

He also said the process of rating players was in any case rather approximate; Elo is not absolutely correct and must be adjusted over time. He compared it to “the measurement of the position of a cork bobbing up and down on the surface of agitated water with a yard stick tied to a rope and which is swaying in the wind”!

The Fide rating list for July has just been released and Magnus Carlsen remains world No. 1 at 2826. Veselin Topalov lost some points in his world title match against Viswanathan Anand and is second with 2803.

Anand moved to No. 3 and these three players are rated 2800 and above. In addition, there are 37 players over 2700 and all players in the top 100 are 2639 and higher.

Wesley So is rated 2674 and is at No. 60.

Only one player in history has ever been rated higher than Magnus: Garry Kasparov, who peaked at 2851 11 years ago.

Here are the Elo ratings of the world top 20 players and the year they acquired them.
You will notice that only Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov are included. The great players of the past like Capablanca, Lasker, Tal ,Spassky, Botvinnik are nowhere near.

Gary Kasparov (Russia, 2851,1999), Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2826, 2010) Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria, 2813, 2006), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2811, 2002), Viswanathan Anand (India, 2803, 2006), Alexander Morozevich (Russia, 2788, 2008), Ivanchuk Vassily (Ukraine, 2787, 2007), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2786, 2009), Robert Fischer (USA, 2785, 1972), Anatoly Karpov ( Russia, 2780, 1994), Peter Svidler (Russia, 2765, 2006), Peter Leko (Hungary, 2763, 2005), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov ( Azerbaijan, 2763, 2010), Radjabov Teimour (Azerbaijan, 2761, 2009), Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2761, 2010), Dmitry Jakovenko (Russia, 2760,2009), Alex Grischuk (Russia, 2760, 2010), Vugar Gashimov (Azerbaijan, 2759, 2010), Michael Adams (England, 2755, 2000), Alexei Shirov ( Spain, 2755,2008).
Ratings inflation is a real thing over time and it is a scandal that the ratings required to get titles have not moved with it.

The highest title a player can reach is the grandmaster and once awarded, it is good for life. There is only one title higher than that and it is world champion.

My proposal is to increase the minimum rating of a grandmaster from 2500 to 2620 and an IM from 2400 to 2520.

A GM title should carry some measure of respect from the lesser rated players but that is not what is happening now. Beating a GM is relatively easier and once achieved, it does not merit news coverage.

MARATHON. The country’s bid to break the world record for the biggest chess simultaneous exhibition is scheduled on July 31 to Aug. 1 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales will face 600 opponents—mostly varsity players from public schools of the nation capital—and needs at least an 80 percent score to qualify for the record.

The current record-holder is Iranian GM Morteza Mahjoob, who faced 500 opponents simultaneously last Aug. 13, 2009 in Tehran, Iran.

PLDT, Shell and other supporters will cover the bulk of the operating expenses including the preparation expenses of Gonzales. Registration is free.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 9, 2010.

Why Wesley gets invited to big events

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

WHAT makes one popular? My observation is that if you have money or if you are talented, good-looking and pretty, you get invited to parties and big events.

In chess, what counts most is talent but there are also a lot of factors that come in.

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The reasons Wesley So is now the darling of the chess crowd is because he is the youngest ever to become super GM, the youngest player now in the top 60, and he comes from a third country, and is also Asian at that. He also has the distinction of being the strongest 14-year-old player in history.

He also defeated super strong players, Vassily Ivanchuk and Gata Kamsky, in the last World Cup.

Earlier, he was invited to Corus, which is like being invited to the White House. Now, he is playing at Biel, a much sought after event by GMs. It has been a so-so performance by Wesley though as he scored only 4.5/9 to place fifth after tiebreaks.

EXPERIENCE. Here comes the 5th NH tournament to be held from Aug. 12 to 22 at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam.

The NH Chess Tournament is a “Scheveningen” team tournament between an “Experienced” team and a “Rising Stars” team. There’s a special prize for the best Rising Star--an invitation to the celebrated 2011 Amber Blindfold and Rapid tournament.

The “Experience” team has Boris Gelfand (Israel, 2739), Peter Svidler (Russia, 2734), Peter Heine Nielsen (Denmark, 2700), Loek van Wely (The Netherlands, 2677) and Ljubomir Ljubojevic (Serbia, 2572). The “Rising Stars” are Hikaru Nakamura (United States, 2729), Fabiano Caruana (Italy, 2697), Wesley So (Philippines, 2674), Anish Giri (Netherlands, 2672) and David Howell (England, 2616).

Another event where our prodigy is invited is the Spice Cup 2010.

The Spice Cup will take place on Oct. 28 to Nov. 7 at the campus of Texas Tech University.

To make the tournament a lot more exciting, the Spice Cup committee has unanimously voted to adapt the following new rules: No draw offer allowed prior to move 30, a win is worth three points and a draw is worth 1 point.

The invited players are Zoltan Almasi (2717), Alexander Onischuk (2701), So (2674),Georg Meier (2648), Ray Robson (2562), Eugene Perelshteyn (2523).

Wesley will also be playing in the Pichay Cup on Aug. 20 to 27 and the Campomanes Memorial on Aug. 28 to Sept. 5.

There is, of course, the granddaddy of them all, the Chess Olympiad in Russia on Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

LOCAL. Here are the winners of the Golden Haven competition held at Talamban Hills last Sunday.

The Kiddies section winner is Andrew Balbona. Second place went to his brother Felix Shaun and third to Raffy Benzi. The Junior winners were Bernardo Suelo, Kyle Sevillano, who opted to play at the Junior level, and Kraig Quinain.

I checked, though I stand to be corrected, this is probably the first chess tournament in the world held in a cemetery.

The Bulacao tournament was also held last Sunday at Hillside Village. There were three sections--seniors, open and kiddies.

The winners were Joel Acabo, John Jane Bayutas and Emmanuele Arcamo.

The sponsors were Danilo Penaranda, Gil Buzon, Bernardo Navarro and Ronnie Lobarada.

There is also an upcoming tournament in Labogon this Saturday at their Barangay Hall.

It will start at 9 a.m. and will have four sections--class B, open, Kiddies and Women.

Players are advised to bring their own chess sets and clock.

The sponsor is Sen. Lito Lapid and the tournament director and arbiter is NM Leonardo Alidani.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wesley in Biel chess tournament

Thursday, July 1, 2010
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By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

BIEL in Switzerland is not just a mere event in the chess calendar but is a festival of gargantuan proportion.

There is the master group, the main section, the Hanowa rapid, a blitz attraction, Chess 960 and simul exhibition games.

The main attraction this year though is the invitational section featuring the rising stars of tomorrow and that includes our own Wesley So.

Other young players are defending champion Maxime Maxime-Lagrave (France, 19 ,2710), Evgeny Tomashevsky (Russia, 22 ,2708), Fabiano Caruana (Italy, 17, 2675), Dmitry Andreikin (Russia, 20 , 2643), Anish Giri (Netherlands, 16, 2642), Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (Vietnam, 20, 2642), Parimarjan Negi (India, 17 , 2636), Maxim Rodhstein (Israel, 21, 2626) and David Howell (England, 19, 2620). All are GMs.

This is a category 17 tournament with an average Elo of 2657. The format is round robin and it will start on July 19 and end on July 28.

This is the 43rd edition of this annual festival and it is a much-sought invitation among the top players.

This is an excellent chance for Wesley to close in on a 2700 rating.

Elections. It has been posted on that the following presidential tickets and continental presidents have submitted their candidacies to the Fide office.

The Presidential ticket of Mr. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov:

President: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov nominated by Russia, Argentina and Mexico.

Deputy president: Georgios Makropoulos nominated by Greece.

Vice president: Lewis Ncube nominated by Zambia.

Vice president: Beatriz Marinello nominated by Chile and Brazil.

General secretary: Ignatius Leong nominated by Singapore.

Treasurer: Mr. Nigel Freeman nominated by Bermuda.

Presidential ticket of Anatoly Karpov:

President: Anatoly Karpov nominated by France, Germany and Switzerland.

Deputy president: Richard Conn Jr. nominated by the USA.

Vice president: Jaime Aguinaldo nominated by Angola.

Vice president: Alisa Maric nominated by Serbia.

General secretary: Abd Hamid Majid nominated by Malaysia.

Treasurer: Viktor Kapustin nominated by Ukraine.

I. Continental President for Europe:

Silvio Danailov nominated by Bulgaria, Robert von Weinzacker nominated by Germany, Ali-Nihat Yazici nominated by Turkey.

II. Continental President for the Americas: Jorge Vega Fernandez nominated by Guatemala.

Erick Marvin Guevara nominated by El Salvador. III. Continental President for Asia:

Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al-Nahayan nominated by United Arab Emirates.

IV. Continental President for Africa: Dabilani Buthali nominated by Botswana.
Hesham Elgendy nominated by Sudan.

Mohammad Moammar AL-Gathafi nominated by Libya.

Lakhdar Mazouz nominated by Algeria.

Kezzie Msukwa nominated by Malawi.

Hussein Nafady nominated by Egypt.

Max Baron Nitzborn nominated by Namibia.

Fide will ratify the list of candidates during its Presidential Board meeting in Tromso, on July 24 on 25.

The Philippines was earlier reported as one of the 55 federations which have expressed their support for the candidacy of Kirsan and company.

LOCAL EVENT. The monthly kiddies champion of Talisay for June was Justice Sousa with a score of five points. Other winners were Kent Padillo, Kierlyn Sebial, Emmanuele Arcamo and Cathysienne Tabora.

The sponsors of the event were Loreto Powao, Ariel Araw-araw and Gamaliel Vicente Jr., while the tournament director was Manny Manzañares.