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.

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