Friday, January 27, 2012

Allan Pason snares world`s biggest tournament

Comprising a record 43,157 participants in a tournament which started last October ,Allan Pason , 15, a 2ndst year high student of Pajo National High School ,won the World`s biggest tournament and is now a Guinness record.

The 95 participating schools, all in Cebu City, included the Apas National High School, which had 1,594 participants, the Barrio Luz Elementary School (1,369), the Don Carlos Gothong Memorial Night High School (2,289) and the Abellana National School (3,432).

It is an achievement that will not be eclipsed for a long,long tome,probably not in this generation. The whole event was orchestrated from the very start by the Chairman of the Cebu City Sports Comission,Edward Hayco.

In 2009, Hayco also gathered 7,770 participants for the biggest dance class ,also a Guinness world record.

The finals were held last weekend at the Sports Center comprising 3100 qualifiers and was dubbed the “Cebu Chess Festival: World’s Largest chess Tournament”

One of the requirements of Guinness is that the event must be witnessed by experts and individuals who have a good standing in the community.

Chessmoso was appointed an official “witness” of the event. Other witnesses were the President of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) Romualdo “Jojo” Muralla Jr and the eminent chess patron of Cebu Benjamin “Boojie” Lim Jr of the Cebu Chess Association.

The experts were Fide Master Anthony Makinano and International Master Kim Steven Yap.

An outstanding achievement was also made by the Pondoyo brothers of Mabolo and University of Cebu , Christian, 13, and Aldritz, 10, who won 2nd and 3rd place. The other semifinalist was Jazelle Villarin of USC BED.

The other top finishers must also be recognized as it entailed a lot of talent and effort:Vinnier Paraon,Raffy Bensi, Royd Ortouste, Diego Claro, Fred Fernandez, Cecillee Lumapac, Karl Alasagas, Glyssen Derotas, Francis Paraon,Karl Morala ,Jethro Claro And Quenelyn Torres.

Allan was born on January 15, 1997 and his parents are Alex Pason and Helen. He came to my attention 4 years ago when Jun Olis pointed him out to me as an outstanding talent.

He learned to play chess at the age of 5 after watching a game during a wake in the neighborhood. He has won a lot of age group tournaments and can compete with the top players here in Cebu.
Christian Klent Pondoyo started to play the game at 8 years and has since then won and placed in several local and regional events. He has competed in Shell,Milo and CVRAA

Younger brother Aldritz was taught by his elder brother,Christian and has also accomplished a lot for his age.

Both are talented players and future masters,maybe even grandmasters.

Local tourneys. Cepca will hold its monthly tournament on Sunday January 29. Venue is at Deep Blue in SM City starting at 2pm.Format is 5 rounds Swiss and will be a handicapping tournament. Contact Jun Olis at 09232629642.

There will be a competition tomorrow in Talisay for ages 16 and Under at corner Rabaya and Tabunok.Format is 7 rounds Swiss with a time control of 40mins,play to finish. Registration is P60.

For details contact Felix Balbona 09173241079 or Raul Fernando 09076496879.

Another tournament is on February 11-12 organized by USC BED also for 16 years and Under. Format is also 7 rounds Swiss and time control of 25 minutes,

There will also be a special prize for the top female and the youngest participant. Registration is P100 for USC students and P200 for others.

Contact 09335765077 for more information such as venue and prizes.,

Friday, January 20, 2012

How much does a chess pro make?

Unless you are a grandmaster (GM) or in a few cases an International Master (IM),its damn next to nothing. Its not enough to live a decent life or support a family.

In fact ,most GMs have a steady job or sideline aside from chess. The World Champion and the other "super GMs" make alright livings, but nothing compared to other professional sports ,such as golf, tennis or basketball.

If you can write well enough you can make a real living through writing and personal lessons...but even then it's tough. That is how most chess pros earn more money aside from cash prizes in tournaments.

Unlike other sports who get most of their income thru the live gate and TV coverage and therefore sponsors, the tough thing about chess is that it only becomes really engrossing when you know a lot about it . So it would be hard for a chess show to appeal to a mass market.

Have you ever paid to watch a chess match? Would you ever? If so how much? Ever seen chess players endorsing products on TV?

It also depends on where you live. Top chess players in the Philippines get a monthly allowance from the Philippine Sports Commission thru the National Chess Federation of the Philippines which is more than the minimum wage and also depends on your title. GMs get P20,000 per month and IMs P15,000. Some get P10,000.

Other countries who support their chess players are Vietnam,China and India. I understand that in Armenia ,Iceland and Azerbaijan, their top players are considered national heroes and taken cared of.

Top GMs usually get "additions" when they play .In some cases they even receive "pocket money" for each day as well. The participants in Tata Steel, Linares, Bazna Kings or other major tournaments do not pay such expenses as travel, food, or hotel.

Here are the main legal means of earning money in chess based on an article by WGM Natalia Pogonina:
1)Prize money.The winner of the world championship typically gets $1-2 million. (1,300,000 euros for Anand in 2010). By winning a top event (e.g. Linares or Tata) one gets something like 100,000 euros.Top open events normally have a first prize of about $20k . A typical event won by a 2500+ GM has a first prize of below $5k. Of course, there are exceptions like Cebuano Josito Dondon who won $10k in the Under 2000 sometime ago.
2)Appearance fees – works for top pros who are paid to “show up” at a certain event, thus boosting its prestige
3) Scholarships and stipends. Members of national teams also often have a special wage. Here in Cebu, members of the school team receive scholarships and sometimes a playing allowance during tournaments. Wesley So just recently was rewarded a scholarship from Texas Tech.
4) Teaching . On the Internet IMs and GMs charge about $20-50 per hour. Personal lessons are also given by some of our top players locally for a fee.
5)Performances. simuls, exhibition matches and other events of this type.
6)Literature .writing chess columns like Chessmoso.
7)Organizational work .being an arbiter, tournament director, steward etc.
8)Hustling . You can see a lot of chess hustlers at parks or at chess clubs. Humprey Bogart and Stanley Kubrick made good money before they became famous.
The top 4 players in the world are estimated to be each earning over a million dollars annually. Being in the top 10,you should make over $200k while the top 50 should have over $100k.
All the others can make an alright living out of chess provided you're prepared to teach, etc and not just play.
Cepca-Our January tournament is on the 29th at Deep Blue in SM City, Registration is P200 and format is active and 5 rounds Swiss.,

50,000 players

I never in my wildest imagination expected this kind of achievement.50,000 chess players and counting have participated in what is expected to be a Guinness record that will last far beyond our lifetime.

Guinness World Records is a reference book published annually, containing a collection of world records, mostly in human achievements and the extremes of the natural world. The book itself holds a world record, as the best-selling copyrighted book series of all time.

A series of eliminations began last October 2011, which will culminate in January 21 and 22 this month. More than 50, 000 participants have been recorded and authenticated in the most ambitious chess program ever anywhere in the world..

“Nearly 4,000 finalists will converge at the Grand Finals during the first “Cebu Chess Festival: World’s Largest Chess Tournament” on January 21, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. at the Cebu City Sports Center Grand Stand and on January 22, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. at the Cebu City Sports Center Gym.”

This ambitious project is organized by the Cebu City Sports Commission in cooperation with the Cebu City Government, Department of Education Region VII and the Philippine Sports Commission.

Sponsors are Julie’s Bakeshop, Bioderm, International Pharmaceuticals Inc., Rose Pharmacy, Virginia Foods Inc. and the University of Cebu and supported by the Cebu Chess Association .

The existing record is held by Krasnoyarsk, Russia with a “puny” 1,214 participants.

In essence, the current record was already broken by one school alone, the Apas National High School that had 1,594 registered participants. Barrio Luz Elementary School had 1,369 participants; while Don Carlos Gothong Memorial Night High School had 2,289. The Abellana National School alone had 3,432 registered participants.

Cebu City Sports Commission Chairman Edward Hayco exclaimed,
“We first targeted only 1,500 participants. We didn’t realize the number would balloon up to more than 50,000 after we launched an aggressive grassroots program that took three months of extensive chess workshops in over 150 public schools.”

The main bulk of the 50,000 registered participants are elementary and secondary students, with winners pitted against winners in a series of tournaments from classroom level to schoolwide, finals at the sports center, until a grand champion emerges.”

Instructions on how to play chess and how to conduct chess tournaments began early August this year with selected school teachers and school coordinators who in turn trained the students in the classrooms, section by section.

Tata Steel formerly known as Corus and originally Hoogoven has been held since 1938 in Wijk aan Zee, a small wind-swept town on the coast of the North Sea in the the Netherlands.

It is one of the most prestigious event in the chess calendar and starts January 13..

The tournament takes place in three Grandmaster Groups, with a number of amateur events being held at the same time. The three Grandmaster tournaments have 14 players each and are full round robins
According to “The participants of the 74th Chess Tournament Tata Steel is the strongest of its long and rich history. It features eleven of the top twenty chess players in the world-. Carlsen, Aronian, Topalov, Nakamura, as well as juniors Giri and Caruana.With an average rating of 2754, it exceeds the previous record of 2740 held by the 2008 edition..
Also of note is Veselin Topalov, who has played very little following his defeat in the world championship match against World Champion Anand in 2010, and Boris Gelfand, who will be Anand's next challenger in May.,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sinulog games

Aside from the street dancing and its culmination at the Sports Center ,the highlights of the Sinulog celebration are the various sports played including the popular marathon and football.

In this case , what is of interest to us are chess and poker.

27 teams have expressed interest in joining the chess competition and I expect that the number will exceed the 32 teams who competed in the last Sinulog.

There are several teams who stands out not because of better players but because they are unique.

Handuraw is once again fielding an all women lineup and Max GXL have an all kiddies lineup .Although I don’t see them winning any of the prizes , they serve the main purpose of the organizer (Cepca) which is to promote the game especially among children and ladies.

Special mention are the Balbona family. Playing boards 1-4 are Marq Gabriele (16), John Francis (13), Felix Shaun (14) and Jessa Marie (19). Alternate is proud father and original Cepca member Felix Balbona.

The other team(s) are Rose Pharmacy, the prime sponsor of local chess ,led by Singapore based IM Rico Mascarinas,who for a long time was an Olympiad veteran and another team led by his nephew, IM Kimkim Yap.

The local schools and universities will also be in full force .University of San Jose Recoletos will have 3 teams as well as the University of the Visayas and San Carlos .Cebu Institute of Technology and University of Cebu will also fight it out.

There are also some participants from out of town namely Bohol,Dumaguete and Bayawan.

The Max lineup include Royd Jayson Ortoste (14),Ryan Pacres (13), Jeffu Durog (12) and Ryan Fernando(12). Handuraw has Shaira Mae Monsalud(15), KeithClaire Morala (15), Sharon Pacres , Kaytte Ouano.(15) and Phoebe Bitoon (15).

Registration of P1,200 is going on at the Colonnade Chess Club thru Lito Pielago or you may contact Marvin Ruelan (0926-7352-951);Roger Abella (0910-2686-890); Jun Olis (0923-2629-642.

Tournament venue is at the Activity Center of SM City on January 7 and 8. Format is 7 rounds Swiss with a time control of 30 minutes per player plus 5 seconds increment .Matches will be played on 4 boards.

This cash rich tournament with a total prize of P76,000 is organized by the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association Inc and sponsored by the Cebu City Government thru Mayor Michael Rama.

Poker- There are two major tournaments during Sinulog time. At Metro Club in Mandaue ,the Cebu Flag Football league will hold a fund raising Texas Hold Em tournament on January 7,Saturday, with a buyin of P1,500 and a guaranteed pot of P100,000.

The competition starts at 5pm with a reentry allowed until the first break. Special add-on of 4k chips worth P500 for every buyin and reentry given . Add on funds will help the CFFL team in their bid for the championship in Manila.

A much bigger poker tournament will be held at the Oriental Sports club in Parkmall Casino.They will be holding a 1 million peso guaranteed tournament Sinulog Cup on January 12 and 13,which is sure to attract the high rollers from out of town and local players.

Buyin is P25,000 and you can join and qualify for as low as P300 in their satellite events which is held everyday at 8pm. Winners will get guaranteed seats for their step 2 satellite worth P2,500.

Step 2 satellite is being held every Friday and Saturday at also 8pm.Minimum 9 players to start. Winners will get seats to the main event which is the Sinulog Cup. For registration contact Mona at 0915-4288-998.,