Friday, April 29, 2011

Cebu kiddies invade Davao

NATIONAL Master Roger Abella sent me this report:

Davao City becomes the country’s chess capital for almost two weeks with the staging of the much-awaited Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-2011 National Age-Group chess championships on April 25 to 28 and the National Junior chess championships on April 29 to May 3 at the Gaisano and NCCC Malls.

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The national age-group championships will serve as qualifying events for the Asean age group tournament in Tarakan, Indonesia on June 11-20, while the national junior championships will be the qualifying event for the World Juniors in New Delhi, India on Aug. 1-16.

In the age-group categories, the tournament is divided into the following categories boys and girls 20-Under, 16-Under, 14-Under, 12-Under, 10-under, and 8-under.

The Cebu City chess delegation, sponsored by the Cebu City government, is now in Davao City for the Age Group Competitions. Players will play in both tournaments, the Age-Group and the National Juniors. Fide Arbiters Marvin Ruelan and Felix Poloyapoy accompanied the delegation.

The Cebu players selected by the Cebu Chess Federation are Renzi Kyle Sevillano, Allan Pason, Jeremy Pepito, Chris Aldritz Pondoyo, Christian Pondoyo, Vic Glysen Derotas, Diego Claro, Jhoronnie Gayl Bontes, Glexan Derotas, Aireen Rubillos, Yves Fiel, Laila Nadera, Jeffu Dorog, Glazel Villarin, Ryan Fernando, my kiddie journalist,KC Morala and the Balbona siblings Felix Shaun, Jessa Marie, John Francis, James Andrew and Marq Gabrielle.

KC will write about the details of both tournaments and will be featured next week in this column.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS. The Cepca vs. Lapu-Lapu chess club friendly match now on its eighth
year, will be on May 7 at the Kawayan Grill in Mabolo starting at 1pm.

The format will be 15 boards, with two games per board, and the time control is 1 hour per player, play to finish.

Cepca prexy Manny Manzanares and Judy Tamala of Lapu-Lapu will lead their respective clubs.

The Talisay Summer Chess Clinic is now on-going at the Talisay City Hall and is both for beginners and advanced players.

Lessons are about the opening, middle-game tactics and end-game techniques. There are free t-shirts and chess materials for participants. For details, contact Manny Manzanares at 09058386310.

The Talisay Chess Club recently had an election and the new officers are Gamaliel Vicente Jr. (president), Virgilio Villavelez (vice president), Valeriano Daria (treasurer), Manny Manzanares (secretary general), Siegfred Sandalo (auditor).

HBO. A new film about the American chess genius entitled “Bobby Fischer Against The World” debuted at the Sundance Film Festival recently and is now due for a wider release after Music Box Films announced that they have bought the theatrical distribution rights.

The HBO-backed film will premiere on HBO this June 6 before a wider theatrical release in the US. It will also be released in Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand .

The film is a co-production of HBO Documentary Film and LM Media GmbH and is produced and directed by Liz Garbus. Watch for it.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 29, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fischer: The most brilliant idiot

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

Friday, April 15, 2011

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DEFINING intelligence is controversial. Wikipedia describes it as a general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely a narrow academic skill, or scoring high in tests.

The World Chess Federation has initiated a program known as Chess in Schools because countless studies have shown that playing chess at an early age improves the IQ or intelligence of a child.

Through chess, children learn analytical and disciplined thinking skills, which are applicable to many other intellectual pursuits.

Chess is also extremely beneficial in raising self-esteem, teaching determination, self-motivation and sportsmanship.

More than any other game, chess has the potential to transform a child. If taught correctly, chess can be a student’s driving force, helping him/her in every aspect of critical thinking development.

It has been shown that “individuals with low IQs are more likely to be divorced, have a child out of marriage, be incarcerated, and need long-term welfare support, while individuals with high IQs are associated with more years of education, higher status jobs and higher income.”

I am defining the general IQ and it is important to realize that there are specific intelligence that defines a person’s abilities.

The intelligence that makes a good businessman is not the same as the intelligence that makes a good engineer, which in turn, is not the same as the intelligence which makes a good mathematician or a good doctor.

Please bear in mind that I am not saying that if you play chess, you must be intelligent. I’ve known people who were very intelligent but couldn’t play chess at all. And I’ve seen people who were not very bright but are excellent chess players .

I don’t know if I am intelligent because I play chess or whether I play chess because I am intelligent.

A person can be a brilliant chess player and a complete idiot also. Bobby Fischer, who had an IQ of 180, is a horrible example of this.

Some sources give “Garry Kasparov, considered by chess historians as the greatest player of all time, an IQ between 185 and 190. But in 1987-88, the German magazine Der Spiegel went to considerable effort and expense to find out Kasparov’s IQ. Under the supervision of an international team of psychologists, Kasparov was given a large battery of tests designed to measure his memory, spatial ability, and abstract reasoning. They measured his IQ as 135 and his memory as one of the very best.”

I think that chess probably attracts people who have an inquiring mind and enjoy problem solving so chess players may be more intelligent on average (by the IQ measure) than non-chess playing people.

Spatial intelligence is crucial for chess thinking. It’s the ability to “perceive possibilities.” This is important because you not only need to know what (a system of knowledge) but also know how (the system of experience).

Also, researchers have determined that high achievement in chess is based on exceptional visual memory, combinational power, speed of calculation, power of concentration, and logical thinking.

Some sources say the adult with the highest IQ who ever lived was Leonardo da Vinci, with an IQ of 220 and he was not only a chess player but a composer of chess problems.

Here is a look at how intelligent Filipinos are: 14,000,000 have an IQ of above 115, 2,000,000 above 130, 90,000 above 145 and only 270 above 160.

All the other Filipinos, totaling about 74,000,000, have or will have an IQ below 115.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 16, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hooks vs. rooks

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño


Friday, April 8, 2011

THERE is a bizarre sport and it features a battle of hooks and rooks and wits and fists.

It’s called chess-boxing and it seems odd to see the two terms in one sentence, much less a single word.

A chess-boxing match starts with both opponents playing blitz chess for four minutes.

If no one wins, they move to the boxing ring where they try to knock each other out during a three-minute round.

If neither are able to, they break for a minute, then hit the chess board again.

In this way, they alternate (there can be up to 11 rounds) until there’s a winner.

Victory, in a standard format, is achieved by checkmate, having the opponent run out of time, or by knocking the opponent out.

Here’s an interesting rule: if the judges’ scores are tied, the one playing with the black pieces wins automatically

It’s a hybrid sport between one that’s considered geeky and one that’s considered macho.

A really strange juxtaposition.

The sport traces its origins to a 1992 comic book by French artist Enki Bilal, “Froid Equateu.”

The comic, which depicted the hybrid sport, inspired Dutch artist Lepe Rubing to make it happen for real.

Competing under name “Lepe the Joker,” Rubingh staged and won an exhibition match in Amsterdam he billed as the “Chess-boxing Middleweight World Championship.”

Rubing said the contest favors the athlete who is clever and strong.

“There is no sport that combines mental and physical aspects, so when I came up with the idea, I was immediately intrigued because it combines mental and physical capabilities,” he said.

Since then, the sport has spread across Europe, become particularly popular in chess-loving Russia, and has started popping up in the United States.

There’s even a governing body called the World Chess Boxing Association, whose tagline is “Fighting is done in the ring, and wars are waged on the board,” and is based in Berlin.

Some of the game’s biggest names include wonderfully titled characters such as Frank “Anti-Terror” Stoldt and Nikolay “The Chairman” Sazhin.

A lot of chess players who are also interested in physical fitness, joined the chess-boxing group.

“You get more fulfilled doing something that involves your mind and your body.

You have a sense of being more well-rounded.”

To avoid incidents where competitors with not the slightest interest in chess could simply batter their opponents after one round of chess, participants must be both experienced pugilists and good chess players.

Any prospective competitors must have an Elo rating of at least 1800, which apparently takes years of training to achieve.

Surprisingly, however, these “dual stars” are more plentiful than you might think

Also, promoters try to make each match relatively balanced.

In the chess portion, a weaker player might start with more time on his clock.

And in boxing, a more experienced player might be instructed to use just one hand, keeping the other behind his back.

Chess-boxing has quite a few high profile admirers.

Former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is a fan and so is Ukrainian boxer, Vitali Klitschko.

Indeed, prior to a World Championship fight between the pair in Los Angeles in 2005, Klitschko actually challenged Lewis to a game of chess before they traded blows.

They are both good chess players and are rated over 1900.

Back in the 60s I was a fan of Francisco “Kid” Balug who was the OPBF champion for some time and whose fame to eternal glory is a bread called Francis, which was made popular by Elite Bakery.

Balug is a good chess player who plays at the Colonnade Chess Club and regularly gives me a good massage at home.

Another boxer who is a good chess player is the current sensation Manny Pacquiao.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 09, 2011.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The seven wonders of the chess world

LIKE the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse at Alexandria, the Temple of Diana at Ephesus and the Colossus of Rhodes, chess has its own wonders.

I am referring to children who play chess so well that they become grandmasters at a very young age and go on to greater excellence.

The magnificent seven are Paul Morphy, Bobby Fischer, Judit Polgar, Sergey Karjakin, Magnus Carlsen, Hou Yifan and Wesley So.

When Fischer became a grandmaster in 1958 at 15 years 6 months and 1 day, experts predicted at that time that the record would not be broken in 50 years.

It wasn’t to be as 33 years later, a girl, Judit Polgar of Hungary, achieved full GM status at 15 years, 4 months and 28 days .

Since then, due to GM title inflation, it has become less difficult to achieve it. Now, 29 children, and counting, have beaten Fischer’s record.

According to one researcher, ratings inflated by about 100 points between 1985 and 2000 and it is still growing.

This means that if Fischer would be rated today, he would be kissing 2900. On the other hand, Paul Morphy’s rating was not officially listed as the rating system started in 1950 and Morphy was playing a century before.

Nevertheless, Morphy is listed as the unofficial World Champion during his time and Fischer considered him to be the greatest player of all. Coming from the supreme egoist in chess, it sure means a lot.

Judit Polgar is a phenomenon. She is undeniably the best women’s player in history and at one time was rated no.8 in the world. Motherhood has drastically cut her playing schedule but she is the only woman in the top 100 now at no.51.

Judit could have become GM much earlier as her rating was already a whopping 2555 when she was 12 (after her unbelievable 2694 performance in the 1988 Thessaloniki Olympiad). She is also the youngest top 100 player in history.

The official record for the youngest GM belongs to Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine at 12 years and 7 months. His FIDE rating at the time was 2523. Today (March 2011) Sergey is a top grandmaster, ranked sixth in the world, with a 2776 rating that is climbing steadily.

One extraordinary chess prodigy came close to breaking Karjakin`s record. In 2004 Magnus Carlsen of Norway completed his GM norms, eight months later than Karjakin.

Carlsen, at 18, went on to become the top-ranked player in the world, crossing the magic 2800 mark--the youngest player by far to achieve these feats.

Carlsen was the highest ever rated player at the age of 15, while Karjakin is the third strongest among 16 year olds.

Where does Wesley So come in?

Wesley was the strongest 14-year-old in history!

He achieved the GM title at the age of 14 years, 1 month and 28 days, making him the seventh-youngest person to achieve the GM title.

Wesley is a diamond with some edges that needs cutting and polishing from a good tutor.

Wesley’s world ranking now is 64th. He also previously was the strongest Under-16 player in the world. He is currently ranked the sixth highest junior (Under-20) in the world. His current FIDE rating is 2665.

Hou Yifan is the youngest ever female player to qualify for the title of Grandmaster.

At the age of 12, she became the youngest player to participate at the FIDE Women’s World Championship (Yekaterinburg 2006).

In 2010, she became the youngest World Chess Champion in history (men’s or women’s) by winning the Women’s World Championship in Hatay, Turkey at 16.

Lapu-Lapu Chess Club. The club held a tournament among its members last weekend and the champion was Henry Infante followed by Aldwin Daculan and Allan Pason.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 01, 2011.