Monday, December 13, 2010

Strongest event and 2 new Pinoy GMs

THERE has never been a category 22 tournament before, that is, until this week. The second part of the 2010 Grand Slam Masters Final is set to end today. It started on Oct. 9 in Bilbao, Spain.

This year, the participants are Viswanathan Anand (2800), the current world champion and world No. 2, Magnus Carlsen (2826), winner of the Wijk aan Zee, Nanjing and Bazna tournaments and current world No. 1, Alexei Shirov (2749) world No. 12, and former world champion Vladimir Kramnik (2780), the world no. 5.

Shirov and Kramnik qualified after placing first and second, respectively, in the first phase in Shanghai from Sept. 3 to 8.

It is a six-round double round-robin event and is the highest-rated event in history.

Veselin Topalov, winner of Linares and former world no. 2, missed the final due to personal reasons.

A category 22 means the average rating of the participating players must be at least 2776. The greatest player of all time, Bobby Fischer had a peak rating of 2780 in the 70s.

Time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 60 minutes with a 10-second increment per move as of move 41.Sofia rules are used, meaning no draws are allowed unless approved by the arbiter.

The scoring system is the Bilbao, which scores three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero for a loss to encourage fighting chess .

In the event of a tie, the tiebreak used will be two blitz games played at four minutes each with a three-second increment per move. And if the match is still drawn, a final Armageddon game.

The Bilbao Masters are off to a big surprise, with some unforeseen results, to say the least. Carlsen, after losing three games in the Olympiad, continued his free fall and lost to Kramnik and Anand for an 0-2 start.

Kramnik, on the other hand, is red hot, as he had wins over Carlsen and Shirov. Using the tournament’s 3-1-0 scoring systems, that leaves the standings as follows after 4 rounds:

Kramnik (8 points), Anand (6), Shirov (3), Carlsen (2).

NEW GMS. It’s now official. Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla (2518) and Roland “Kulot”Salvador (2511) were officially conferred the Grandmaster title by the World Chess Federation during the Fide Congress coinciding with the 39th Olympiad in Khanty Mansiyk, Russia .

Barcenilla, whose roots are in Carcar,Cebu and is now based in Arizona, USA, was conferred the title after getting his final GM norm in the 2009 Copper State International Chess Championship held in Mesa, Arizona.

He is the second Cebuano after Joseph Sanchez to achieve the title.

Also a blackbelter in taekwando, he would like to thank the late Art Borjal, Casto Abundo and most of all Prospero Pichay. He also credits his uncle, the late Bombi Barcenilla Aznar, Boogie Lim of Rose Pharmacy, his wife Lilibeth Lee, his parents Rogelio Barcenilla Sr. and Wilhelmina Padla, his uncle George Barcenilla, his in-laws Antonio Lee and Hedelisa Lee for being very supportive throughout his career in chess.

Salvador, who hails from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan earned his third and final GM title during the 11th edition of the International Chess Tournament Fermo-Porto San Giorgio held from Aug. 21 to 29 at the Astoria Hotel in Fermo ,Italy.

Thus, Barcenilla and Salvador has joined RP’s elite group of GMs--Eugene Torre, the late Rosendo Balinas, Jr., Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr., Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor, Nelson Mariano II, Mark Paragua, Wesley So, Darwin Laylo, Jayson Gonzales, John Paul Gomez and of course, Sanchez.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 15, 2010.

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