Friday, January 28, 2011

Miss Chess beauty contest

WAS watching the preview of the Miss Philippines beauty contest and it gave me an idea to search for the most beautiful chess players in the world.

Beauty pageants have become part of the Filipino culture. It is probably true that there is no other country in the world that hold as many beauty contests as the Philippines.

Greet your friends and families this Sinulog season. Sun.Star covers Sinulog 2011 live!

We have beauty queens in every city, province ,municipality and every big event. There is even a Miss Gay beauty contest.

Why this fascination about beauty?

A survey was made among male chess players and it showed that they choose significantly riskier strategies when playing against an attractive female opponent.

A 2006 study found that for door-to-door charitable fundraising, men respond more to attractive female solicitors than women do.

In 2010, researchers found that including an attractive woman in an ad has a significant effect on men but not on women .

I searched the net for the most beautiful chess players (must be titled) and I came across more than 40 names, all extraordinarily attractive.

I pruned the list to 10 and here are the finalists.

Miss Chess for 2011 is Harsanyi Kinga, while the first runner-up is Sophie Milliete and second runner-up is Arianne Caoli.

Here are the profiles of the 10 finalists.

1.) Harsanyi Kinga ,22, is a Hungarian Woman Fide Master and they say that she always wins against men because they are distracted by her beauty.

2.) Sophie Milliete,27, is the current national women’s champion of France and a WGM. A keen exponent of team chess, she represented France in the Chess Olympiads of 2004 and 2006. She also participated at the European Team Championships of 2003, 2005 and 2007

3.) Arianne Caoli, 24, is a Filipino-Australian Woman International Master title known as the “Anna Kournikova of chess.” She began playing chess at the age of six. At one point during 2002, she achieved a Fide rating in excess of 2300.

4.) Vera Nebolsina, 21, is a Russian WGM. Her most valuable victory to date was the World Junior Championship for Girls (under 20) at Yerevan in 2007 .

5.) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 26, is a former women’s world chess champion and known as the “Maria Shaparova of chess.” In November 2004, she was awarded the GM title, becoming the 10th woman to receive the highest title of FIDE.

6.) Natalia Pogonina,25, is a Russian WGM. She finished first at the prestigious Moscow Open 2009, and won the bronze medal at the European Women Championship 2009.

7.) Regina Pokorna, 21, is a WGM from Slovakia. GM Vladislav Tkachiev, talking about beauty in chess, called her “a child-woman, an eternal girl.”

8.) Anna Sharevich, 25, is a Belarusian WGM. She played for Belarus in the Women’s Chess Olympiads of 2002 to 2008.

9.) Vesna Rozic, 23, is a WIM from Slovenia. She will make it to any list of beautiful chess players.

10.) Sanja Dedijer, 21, is a WIM from Bosnia-Herzegovina. She was also chosen as the most photogenic woman in the 2006 Olympiad.

TATA STEEL. After 10 rounds, Wesley So is tied for the lead in Group B with Zahar Efimenko at 6.5 points. Wesley performance rating is 2765 on four wins, five draws and a single loss. His live rating has improved by 13 points and is now at 2686.

Standings after the 10th round.

Group A: Anand, Nakamura 7.0, Aronian, Kramnik 6.5; Carlsen, Nepomniachtchi, Vachier-Lagravem 5.5; Giri, Ponomariov, Wang Hao, 5.0; Smeets 3.5, L`ami 3.0; Grischuk, Shirov 2.5.

Group B: Wesley, Efimenko, 6.5; Navara Sargissian, McShane,Tkachiev, 6.0; Wojtaszek, Liem 5.5; Li Chao 5.0; Ganguly 4.0; Fressinet, Hammer, 3.5; Nijboer, Spoelman 3.0.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 28, 2011.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tatasteel review

THE original Koninklijke Hoogovens company was a Dutch steel producer founded in 1918.
In 1999, the company merged with British Steel to form the Corus Group .

The Corus Group, in turn, was purchased by India-based Tata Steel in 2007 (for $7.6 billion) and now, almost four years later, its chess tournament is named after the mother company.

This tournament has been held since 1938 in Wijk aan Zee, a small resort on the coast of the North Sea in the province of North Holland of the Netherlands.

To be invited to Wijk Aan Zee is like getting invited to the White house. An invitation is much sought after by chess players, not only because of the prizes but mainly because of the prestige and history behind the annual event.

It is therefore a distinct honor, and a recognition of his talents, that our Wesley So is playing in Tatasteel chess for the third time. He won the C group the first time and is now playing in the B group, which is considered to be the strongest ever.

The round robin tournament is currently started last Jan. 15 and will end on Jan. 30 and the fourth round has been played.

The A group is 21 points higher than that in the previous year, and the category has
improved from 19 to 20. The world’s top four players are present: world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2814), who is last year’s winner, world champion Viswanathan Anand (India, 2810), Levon Aronian (Armenia, 2805) and Anand’s predecessor, Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2784). Anish Giri (Netherlands, 2686) debuts in Group A after winning the 2010 B tournament.

The other players in the A group are (all GMs): Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 2773), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2751), Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine, 2744), Wang Hao (China, 2731), Alexey Shirov (Spain, 2722), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, 2721), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia, 2715) , Jan Smeets (Netherlands, 2662), Erwin l’Ami (Netherlands 2628).

The complete line-up of the B group (all GMs) are Radoslaw Wojtaszek (Poland, 2726) ,David Navara (Czech Republic, 2708) Laurent Fressinet (France, 2707), Zahar Efimenko (Ukraine, 2701) Gabriel Sargissian (Armenia, 2667), Le Quang Liem (Vietnam, 2664),Wesley So (Philippines, 2673), Luke McShane (England, 2664), Surya Ganguly (India, 2651), Li Chao (China, 2649), Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway, 2647), Vladislav Tkachiev (France, 2636),Friso Nijboer (Netherlands, 2584) and Wouter Spoelman (Netherlands, 2547).

The B group is led by Wojtaszek, who had a series of strong tournaments including the last Chess Olympiad .

Navara also passed through the eye of the needle in Reggio Emilia last month with a good performance and is ready for strong competition.

Fressinet and Efimenko complete the 2700 club favorites for top places in the group.

However, the B group has players who have the potential to grab the limelight--Wesley, Le, and McShane, who made headlines by downing Carlsen in the 2010 London Class Classic and Anand’s second Ganguly in the world championship 2010.

I am wondering what is happening to Le of Vietnam who lost 25 Elo points in the last
quarter last year and has an unexpected dismal performance.

The highlights so far are the defeat of world no.1 Carlsen to Giri in the third round
and the rocket start of McShane, who has three straight wins in Group B.

Standings of Group A after the 4th round: Anand 3, Nakamura 3, Aronian 2.5, Giri 2.5,Vachier-Lagrave 2.5, l’ Ami 2, Kramnik 2 ,Ponomariov 2 ,Nepomniachtchi 2, Smeets 2,Grischuk 1.5, Carlsen 1.5,Wang Hao 1, Shirov 0.5.

Standings of Group B after the 4th round: McShane 3.5, Sargissian 2.5, Fressinet 2.5 Navara 2.5 ,Efimenko 2.5, Nijboer 2,Wesley 2, Spoelman 2, Wojtaszek 2, Tkachiev 1.5, Ganguly 1.5 ,Li Chao 1.5, Liem 1, Hammer 1.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 21, 2011.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

A collection of chess limericks

A limerick is a silly poem with five lines. It is often funny or nonsensical. It is also sometimes obscene.

It may have had its roots in 18th-century Ireland, although the form can be found in England in the early years of the century.

Here is a collection of limericks by Bill Wall posted in . I enjoyed reading it and so will you.

There once was a player from Maine,
Who played chess on a fast train.
He took a move back
And was thrown off the track,
And he never played chess again.

There once was a chessplayer named Flo,
Who liked to mate, you know;
When you castled long,
She helped along,
and would say, “O - O - O.”

There once was a player named Maloney,
Who always played the Benoni.
But his counterattack,
failed to a sac;
And his Benoni was just baloney.

There’s something chess computers lack;
It’s not that they know how to attack;
They can fork and pin;
They may lose, more often win.
But they just will never talk back.

Postal chess is still played today
And no reason why I shouldn’t play.
It is nice and slow,
And I can use my ECO,
It’s the postage I can’t afford to pay.

This has happened to you, I bet.
You bring your chess set and didn’t forget.
Then you notice with shock
You have a broken chess clock,
And a piece is missing from the set.

The USCF rating system is inflated,
But the lower rated players are elated.
They can lose every game,
But their rating stays the same,
Or even become higher elevated.

A chessboard of a new design
that prevents an early resign.
With a different king
On either wing
The board must be 9 by 9.

A chess player known to be great,
Was anything but sedate;
When moving to win,
He broadly would grin,
And bellow: “That’s check - and mate!”

There once was a Grandmaster named Browne,
Who always wore a perpetual frown;
As he played blitz against Dzindzi,
The crowd got all cringy,
He said just one word, that was, “DOWN!”

MABOLO TOURANMENT. Aspiring sports journalist 13-year-old KC Morala, always active, sent this report on last Sunday’s event.

“USJR’s Felix Shaun Balbona again showed an elegant performance in Cebu City’s first Kiddies Chess Tournament of the year in Mabolo last Jan, 9. With 6 wins and a draw, Felix was declared the solo champion. He was followed by John Francis Balbona and Allan Pason, who both have six points. Diego Claro of UC got fourth place with 5.5 points.

The tournament had the 15-Under boys division and the 18-Under girls division. It was sponsored by Rose Pharmacy and other anonymous donors.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 14, 2011.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Highlights of 2010

CHESSWISE, here are the important events of 2010.

World champion Viswanathan Anand defended his title against challenger Veselin Topalov in Sofia, Bulgaria from April 24 to May 13. The prize fund was 2 million euros with 60 percent going to the winner. In a dramatic finish, Anand won the match 6½–5½.

Yifan Hou defeated teammate Ruan Lufei last December after four classical and four tiebreak games to be the youngest women’s world champion at 16. That match was held in Hatay, Turkey.

(The Chess Grand Slams are the Corus chess tournament, Linares, M-Tel Masters in Sofia, Pearl Spring in Nanjing ,Bilbao and the London Chess Classic).

Wijkaan Zee winner was Levon Aronian, Linares was snared by Anand and Sofia by Vassily Ivanchuk. Magnus Carlsen topped Pearl Spring and the London Chess Classic, while Vladimir Kramnik won in Bilbao.

Florencio Campomanes, the Grand Old Man not only of Philippine chess but of the world as well, was Fide president from 1982 to 95. He was Fide chairman from 1995 to 96 and honorary president until his death on May 3, 2010 at age 83.

Campo will always be remembered for turning Fide into a truly universal body ala United Nations.

The DNA test on Bobby Fischer remains proved negative when compared to Filipina Jinky Young, who claims to be his daughter.

Two men facing a trial for playing chess in a public park had their case dismissed on a technicality. The case attracted worldwide attention.

The World Chess Olympiad 2010, the largest national teams event with 150 men and 119 women, took place on Sept. 4 to Oct. 4 in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.

Ukraine (GM Ivanchuk Vassily, GM Ponomariov Ruslan, GM Eljanov Pavel, GM Efimenko
Zahar, GM Moiseenko Alexander) won eight matches and allowed only three ties, to win the gold medal.

Russia 1 (GM Kramnik Vladimir, GM Grischuk Alexander, GM Svidler Peter, GM Karjakin Sergey, GM Malakhov Vladimir) claimed the silver medal.

Israel took the bronze medal .

In the women’s division, Russia 1 secured the gold medal. The team was composed of GM Kosintseva Tatiana, IM Kosintseva Nadezhda, GM Kosteniuk Alexandra, IM Galliamova Alisa and WGM Gunina Valentina

China snatched silver with GM Hou Yifan, WGM Ju Wenjun, GM Zhao Xue, WGM Huang Qian, IM Wang Yu.

Georgia beat took the bronze medal with a better tiebreak over six teams.

A total of 17 chess teams entered the competition in the men’s section and 12 in the women’s section in the Asian Games at the Guangzhou Chess Institute, China.

The gold medal for both men and women was won by China.

The players of Team Philippines surprised even themselves by winning the silver and Iran the bronze.

We performed better than India, our nemesis, the remarkable Vietnamese and the former Asian republics of the Soviet Union.

Wesley So, Joey Antonio, John Paul Gomez, Darwin laylo and Eugene Torre were the members of the team

Magnus Carlsen is officially the highest rated player at the end of the year with Elo 2814. Second is Anand with and not far behind is Aronian with Elo 2805.

The women’s division has three players with a rating of over 2600--Judit Polgar of Hungary ,who plays only with men, India’s Koneru Humpy and Hou Yifan, who I expect will dominate women’s chess for a long time.

Wesley So continued his climb by being No. 3 among the world’s top junior players and no.64 in the world.

And lastly, sorely missed by the chess playing community is the late NM Matias ‘’ Bombi” Aznar III.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2011.