Monday, June 18, 2012

Chess in Russia and the Tal Memorial

Russia indeed is the Mecca and chess capital of the world-before ,now and the foreseeable future. It is where children learn to move chess pieces even before they can walk, and follow chess notations before they can write their alphabet. Their top 10 players have an average rating of 2747. They have 2120 titled players with 214 grandmasters and 492 international masters. In contrast the Philippines has 69 rated players with 15 GMs and 23 IMs with an average of 2535 among our top 10. It just recently sponsored and hosted the World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand of India and Boris Gelfand of Israel won by Anand with a prize fund of $2.55 million.. It is hosting now the strongest tournament of the year,the Tal Memorial, which is a ten-player round robin event. Playing are eight of the top eleven players in the world with only Anand, Karjakin and Ivanchuk missing. Tomashevsky is included as the European Champion 2009, and Luke McShane because he won a viewers' poll on the web site of the Russian Chess Federation. The players are Magnus Carlsen (2835,Norway),Levon Aronian (2825 ,Armenia),Vladimir Kramnik (2801,Russia),Teimour Radjabov(2784,Azerbaijan),Hikaru Nakamura(2775,USA),Fabiano Caruana(2770,Italy),Alexander Morozevich(2769,Russia) ,Alexander Grischuk (2761,Russia),Evgeny Tomashevsky (2738,Russia) and Luke McShane (2706,England) After 4 rounds, the surprise leaders are Morozevich and Radjabov with 3 points each. Ever since the Russian revolution,the Soviets subsidized chess and the game became a national pastime. Soon after the revolution, Vladimir Lenin's supreme commander of the Soviet army, Nikolay Krylenko, laid the foundations for state-sponsored chess: He opened chess schools, hosted tournaments, and promoted the game as a vehicle for international dominance. The first state-sponsored chess tournament was held in Moscow in 1921. Six years later, Alexander Alekhine became the first Russian to win a world tournament. By 1934, 500,000 amateur players had registered with the state chess program. When Mikhail Botvinnik won the international title in 1948, he kicked off an era of Soviet domination that extended unbroken—except for Bobby Fisher. For one thing, many of its thinkers and leaders were avid chess players. Lenin and Trotsky were serious players. Stalin cared so much about his reputation as a chess master that he publicized a fake game in which he claimed to defeat party loyalist and future chief of the secret police Nikolai Yezhov. (Stalin later had him executed.) The Soviets also saw chess as a game of skill. It was cheap, and anyone could play it. The Russians developed a reputation for collective thinking ..At the famous match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in 1972, dozens of Soviet grandmasters would huddle during breaks and debate Spassky's next move. Fischer, by contrast, had only one second. Homecoming A tournament organized by Jun Olis and the Lapulapu Chess Club and sponsored by Norman Martin Olaybar, just recently arrived from Saudi Arabia, was held at Gun-ob Lapulapu last June 9. The winners were 1. Ariel Abellana 6 2. Allan Pason 6 3.Aldwin Daculan 5.5 4. Ezequiel Limpot 5 5.Kraig Quinain 5 6.Alvin Rigodon 4.5 7. Arnel Abellana 4 8.Giovanni Borongan 4 9. Jun Olis 4 10. Wynard Labastida 4 11.Jojo Muralla 4 12. Amado Olea 4. Ariel ,like Allan Pason is just 15 years old and a high school student of St. Alphonsus Catholic School in Lapulapu City. To recall Pason won the Guiness world record tournament early this year where 43,000 participated during the whole period. There were 27 participants.

Poker at its best

The World Series of Poker is the biggest poker tournament series in the world. There are 61 official “gold bracelet” events given to winners this year. Last year there were 75,000 entrants with a total prize pool of $192 million. The WSOP this year will again be held in Las Vegas, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. It started last May 27 and the main event begins on July 7 up to 17 , with the final table going on hiatus until its completion October 28-30. Majority of the events will generate huge prize pools ,but a few events will generate the most interest. First and foremost is the main event with its $10,000 buyin , the biggest single poker tournament in the world that will make several players millionaires Another event to watch is The Poker Players Championship, a $50,000 buy-in that starts on June 24 up to 29. It’s an eight-game mix, consisting of limit hold’em, Omaha hi-lo, razz, seven-card stud, seven-card stud hi-lo, no-limit hold’em, pot-limit Omaha, and 2-7 triple draw lowball. The winners of this tournament can make the argument that they are one of the best all-around poker player, as they will go up against a tough field in nearly every major variant poker offers. Another out-of-this-world event is Big One for One Drop, a $1,000,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em that already has more than 30 confirmed participants. It will start on July 1 up to 4.The field is drawing the interest of most of the very best players in the world, as well as some players who simply have very deep pockets. The champion is expected to win an eight figure amount. Most of the events will be covered by ESPN. National games Our kiddie journalist KC Morala played and sent in this report on the National tournament recently played last week in Dumaguete. “GM Darwin Laylo took the championship title after edging fellow 5.5 pointers IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, IM Rolando Nolte, and FM Paulo Bersamina on tie-break in the POC-PSC National Games held in Dumaguete City last May 27-31. Half a point behind were GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. USJR’s Michael Pagaran, GM Eugene Torre, Lennon Hart Salgados of FEU, NM Joey Florendo, and Jed Ian Montoyo who made up the rest of the Top 10 in the Open Men division. Jessa Balbona split a point on the last round with Jelou Tabanao. She lost to Janelle Frayna of Legazpi and WFM Rulp Ylem Jose of Makati, 3rd and 4th placers respectively, and another defeat in the early rounds against the Open Women Category’s champion and Boholano Jedara Docena. The eldest of the Balbona siblings came to an equal finish with UC’s Jacel Bucog, Carmel Loquez and three other ladies for the 7th to 12th places. Kyle Sevillano from USC, though unable to take the honor of facing the Youth Boys’ emerging champion Vincent Balena, got himself into a triple tie with Vince Medina and Dominique Lagula for 2nd to 4th places. Medina a better tiebreak to take the silver medal and Sevillano the third place. Maria Cecille Lumapac got the better of her last match against Nikki Erika Yngayo to secure her post as third placer in the Youth Girls category. Meanwhile, the USC trio of Jazzelle Villarin, Laila Nadera and KC Morala finish in dead heat together with five other players in the draw for the 6th to 13th places. Adrian Basilgo and Chris Aldritz Pondoyo with 4.5 pts placed 5th to 8th place in the Kiddies Boys division. Glysen Derotas nipped colleague Glesit Tatoy, who landed on the tie for 6th to 10th places, on the last round to join the Top 4. USC’s Jeremy Bajo nabbed 5th place. A total of 30 Cebuanos took part in the national tournament with 208 participants from all over the Philippines.,

Friday, June 1, 2012

Anand retains title after too many draws

Anand is still world champion after winning game 2 of the 4 rapid tiebreak games and drawing the rest. The World Chess Championship 2012 is being staged in Moscow, between the current World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India and Boris Gelfand of Israel. The match is over twelve games in classical time control and if necessary, tiebreak games will decide the match.. The prize fund is US $2.55 million, the winner getting $1.53 million (60%), the loser $1.02 million (40%). Chess as we know it now is very boring and has been declining in popularity .The modern game is boring because there are too many draws. There are too many draws because all of the top 100 players have memorized the opening systems. As the games were progressing a debate has occurred as to whether too many draws in chess are hurting the game. Former FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov suggested that draws are a drag on chess and should be eliminated. "If we want success, sponsors, public (interest) and the rest of the parcel," he wrote, "we need to abolish those draws in classical tournaments -- Like a tie-break in tennis. We need a result. Every single day. And here is how it works. We play classical chess, say with a time control of four to five hours. Draw? No problem - change the colours, give us 20 minutes each and replay. Draw again? Ten minutes each, change the colours and replay. Until there is a winner of that day. And the winner wins the game and gets one point and the loser gets zero." The weakness of Kasimdzhanov's argument is that it will result in haphazard play with no quality at all. Actually the main problem is the advent of computers in chess. Computers have had a profound influence on the game and players now are better prepared . Chess engines have become stronger players than even the best humans, and have made chess training and learning easier than ever. "The monster" has grown more powerful every year. Because chess is played with the same piece arrangement for white and black, these have been studied and analyzed to death. If you are playing black and white makes a certain move, you already have memorized what the best counter move is and then when he makes his second move you will already know which move to counter that. Some of these opening systems go up to 16 moves! The solution of having rapid and blitz playoffs to determine a winner in the event a game is drawn at classical time controls, will not solve what ails chess. A more drastic solution is necessary. My proposal is to incorporate Chess 960 in top level or world championship matches. Half of the games will be standard chess while the other half should be Chess 960. Chess 960 is a variant of chess invented and advocated by the late former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer. It was introduced in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June 1996. The game employs the same board and pieces as standard chess, but the starting position of the pieces along the players' home ranks is randomized. The random setup makes the prospect of obtaining an advantage through the memorization of opening lines impracticable, compelling players to rely instead on their talent and creativity. The arrangement of the pieces on the back row is decided by some random method , with the conditions that the king must be between the rooks, the bishops must be of opposite color, and the Black and White setups are identical. The idea of the game is to throw out opening theory and force the players to think for themselves from the start I will be forwarding this proposal to Fide and who knows, I might make chess history.

Poker in Cebu

There are some significant differences between poker tournaments and chess. Both attract about 50-100 players per tournament although chess accommodates more children as players below 21 are not allowed to play in poker clubs. There are however more lady poker players than chess. There are also more foreigners playing poker,mostly Koreans,Japanese.Americans and Europeans.. Poker tournaments are played ,almost daily, with bigger prices . Although chess most often have sponsors, poker rely mostly on registration fees. There are 5 poker clubs in Cebu. I am not familiar with Tulip Club in Mactan. All are licensed and regulated by Pagcor. Diamond Poker Club ,beside the Grand Convention Center, only have cash games. These are P10/20 blinds with a minimum buyin of P200 and maximum P1,000; P20/40 blinds with a minimum of P1,000 and maximum P10.000 and P25/50 with a minimum of P2,000 and maximum P20,00. Bad Beat jackpot is now P3.7 million. Metrocard in Mandaue feature some unique tournaments and prizes. In their cash games,they have some special prizes like P1,000 for losing with pocket aces, P2,000 if you have a hand of four-of-a-kind, P3,000 for straight flush and P5,000 for royal straight. Metro also have a freeroll (no buyin) every Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm followed by a 25k tournament with a buyin of P500. Every Monday,Wednesday and Friday they have a 25k tournament. On Sundays they have a 20k tournament. Tomorrow.Saturday there is a 200k tournament at 5pm. Allin Poker Club at Waterfront Lahug in the casino area now has a Bad Beat jackpot of P2.8 million.Every Tuesday they have a no limit turbo with a buyin of 1k and knockout bounty with a buyin of 1k +300 every Thursday.Both tourneys start at 630pm. They are now planning to hold a P2 million tournament. Oriental Poker Club in Parkmall,Mandaue is also active. Bad Beat is now P376,789. On June 1-3 at 2pm they have a 400k tournament with a buyin of P3,200 +300 and the final table on June 4. They also have a turbo satellite for this big event every Tuesday,Wednesday and Friday and also daily from May 28-31 at P300 at 2pm. On May 30 they have the Casino Filipino heads up challenge with a buyin of 2k+200 at 5pm and on May 31 it is a30k pot limit Omaha with buyin of P500+50, also at 5pm. Bad Beat happens when a player holds at least a fullhouse aces and tens and gets beaten by quads or straight flush. The loser gets 40% while the winning hand gets 20% and the rest is shared by the all the players equally in the table. Aside from live, majority of the Cebuano players also play poker on the internet. It has been mostly responsible for the dramatic increase in the number of poker players worldwide, now numbering an estimated 300 million.. Deep Blue Our kiddie chess player and journalist KC Morala sent in this report: “NM Merben Roque walked off with the champion title in the DeepBlue Chess Tournament held in SM Cebu last May 22-23. The champ drew his 5th round match with Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano, an incoming sophomore in USC, and achieved victory on the rest of his games, including that vs FM Anthony Makinano and NM Richard Natividad. Half a point behind him, Rommel Ganzon nabbed 2nd place, having recovered from his defeat in the 2nd round with Allan Pason and winning the next five rounds, including the fifth game with third-placer Sevillano of 5.5 pts. The latter had shown a mind blowing feat of straight wins on the first four rounds, facing head-on the veteran players of Cebu. Making up the rest of the top-ten winners were FM Makinano, Natividad, Peterson Sia, Eden Diano, Pason, Bonn Tibod, and Diego Claro.”,