Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pestaño: The worst showing in a tournament

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A FEW columns ago I wrote about the “Best performances of all time” and got a compliment via e-mail from an extraordinary man whom I have admired for a long time.
Frederic Freidel co-founded Chessbase, the data base company that produces and markets the Fritz family of chess engines. It also operates a server for online chess-
Frederic has been in close contact with many of the world’s top chess players, including Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik, Carlsen, Leko, Topalov, Svidler, Short, the Polgar sisters and many others. Today, he spends most of his time editing the successful and the articles are remarkable and highly informative.
Today’s article are those players at the bottom of the barrel. These anecdotes are from the popular book “The complete chess addict” by Mike Fox and Richard James.
There is a story that Alekhine was watching two players playing in a café with only kings left on the board. After a while, one of them was jubilant, the other miserable who said “Draw?” The other said “No. I got my king to the 8th rank and made it a
Another story told by the author of the book was, about the time when after playing for about 10 minutes ,he was jolted by a query from his opponent “Excuse me sir,
which is the queen?”
Colonel Charles Moreau was a French soldier serving in the artillery and an officer of the French Legion of honor. He achieved the worst result ever recorded in an international chess tournament by losing all his 26 games in the 1903 Monte Carlo tournament. It is unclear why a weak player was able to play in an international tournament.
Another incidental player and a beginner at chess, Geoffrey Hosking, once defeated a Russian candidate master who was drunk. Because of this, he got an invitation to play in a tournament in Baku and was slaughtered by a dozen international masters.
One of the strongest claimant for the all-time grandpatzer title is George Hatfeild Dingley Gossip (last at Breslau 1889, London 1889, Manchester 1890, London 1892, and New York 1893).
J.T.S.Burke has the dubious distinction of having the most last place finishes of any professional player in the 19th-20th century.
A player who lost all 13 of his games by exceeding the time limit was Friedrich
Samisch in the Linkoping 1969 tournament.
Other players who laid duck eggs were James McCord 0/17 US Open 1944, Herbert Trenchard 0/27 in Vienna 1898 and Nicholas Menelaus Macleod 0/31 in a New York tournament in 1889. Surprisingly he was a good player considering that he was Minnesota Champion in 1899 and won the second Western Chess Association Tournament later called the US Open at Excelsior 1901.
At the 1947 Zonal tournament in Hilversum Bartholomew O’Sullivan manage 12 eggs. A solitary draw spoiled his bid for perfection. Harry Golomek wrote “O’Sullivan’s play was rather worse than his score.”
World Cup 2013. The World Cup currently played at Tromso, Norway is now in the final and last round from an original cast of 128 top players in the world. Playing for the championship are Vladimir Kramnik and Dmitry Andreikin, both Russians.
Kramnik won over Maxime Vacier-Lagrave of France, while Andreikin prevailed over the surprise semifinalist Evgeny Tomashevsky will now play best-of-fou r games.
Cepca. We will elect the new set of officers for 2014-15 on Sept. 15 Sunday at Handuraw Pizza in Gorordo. The monthly tournament will follow and attendance is compulsory.
Our Club will be 23 years old next month and we will celebrate it with an Open tournament. Details, venue and prizes will be announced later. Early sponsors are Handuraw Pizza, an old friend, Jerry Maratas and Eli Berciles.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pestaño: The deranged legends of chess

Thursday, August 22, 2013

IF YOU Google xylothist or xylothism, you will find out that it is a new word in the English language and was introduced and defined by Chessmoso sometime ago.
A xylothist is a derogatory description of a chess player gone wrong. It comes from the Greek word meaning wood-pusher. It means he is suffering from a disease or psychological disorder because of chess.
There are a lot of them around under varying degrees of disorder. I will just mention the prominent ones, all world champions—Bobby Fischer, Paul Morphy and Wilhem Steinitz.
Fischer drafted a letter to Osama bin Laden, which began: Dear Mr. Osama bin Laden, allow me to introduce myself. I am Bobby Fischer, the World Chess Champion. First of all you should know that I share your hatred of the murderous bandit state of “Israel” and its chief backer the Jew-controlled U.S.A. also known as the “Jewnited States” or “Israel West.” We also have something else in common: We are both fugitives from the U.S. “justice” system.
There are other “weird” actions by Bobby that are well known by almost everybody, even none chess players.
Paul Morphy (June 22, 1837 – July 10, 1884) was an American player considered to have been an unofficial world champion He was called “The Pride and Sorrow of Chess” because he had a brief and brilliant chess career. He is considered by many, including Bobby Fischer, as the greatest chess player who ever lived.
In his later years, he was described as “A trim little man , muttering to himself, swinging his cane at most who dared approach. Sometimes he would take a fancy to a passing woman and following her for hours at a distance. He lived in fear of being poisoned, eating only food prepared by his mother or sister, and he believed that neighborhood barbers were conspiring to slit his throat. His family tried to have him committed to an asylum, but he argued his sanity so convincingly that the authorities declined to admit him.”
Wilhem Steinitz, the first official world champion was making claims in his later years that he could move chess pieces at will by emitting electric currents, that he could phone anyone in the world without wire, and that he was trying to contact God, offering a pawn and move in a match. In 1900 his wife committed him to the insane asylum at Ward’s Island, New York.
I am introducing now another new word, grandmartyrs (masters), which means those who died while playing chess.
The most common cause of death while playing chess is a stroke or heart attack.
Those who died of a heart attack while playing include Vladimir Bagirov (right after time pressure and his flag fell), Efim Bogoljubow, Vladimir Simagin, Ed Edmondson, Ivan the Terrible, Charles Keyser Leonhardt, Gideon Stahlberg, John Purdy , George Steiner, Rainer Wunsch and Howard Staunton.
Those who had a stroke while playing include Jose Capablanca ,Aivar Gipslis, and Johannes Zukertort.
CardosO.I received a text message from good friend Samuel Estimo that Rodolfo Tan Cardoso died of heart failure at the Philippine Heart Center last Wednesday at 3:10 pm.
I remember him well because we invited him to play a simul with my Mobiloil co-employees back in 1974.
“He was a true gentleman over the chessboard. Being the first International Master of Asia, he put our country in the world chess map. And he was the only Filipino to ever beat Bobby Fischer in chess,” said Estimo, a two-time Olympian member and National Master. “Rudy , together with Florencio Campomanes,Carlos Benitez and Glicerio Badilles, composed the first Philippine Team that played

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pestaño: All about Elo ratings

Friday, August 2, 2013

WHENEVER new players meet, one of the questions asked is “What is your rating?”
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of chess players. It is represented by a number, which increases or decreases based upon the outcome of games between rated players.
Elo is not an abbreviation nor an acronym but the name of a person who created the system. Arpad Elo was a professor of physics at Marquette University in Milwaukee and a chess master who died in 1992.
In 1970 the World Chess Federation adopted the Elo Rating System.
Here are some significant statistics. There are 145 chess federations in Fide and but only 116,362 members are Fide-rated. The top 10 countries are Germany, Russia, Spain, France, India, Poland ,Hungary, Italy, Czech Republic and Serbia.
The first seven countries have almost the same number as the rest of the 138 countries combined and the top 20 countries (85,439) have almost three times as many as the rest (30,923).
The last 50 countries have only about 2,217 players or four times lesser than France (8,033) and only 26 federations have more than 1,000 Fide-rated members. The Philippines has only 405.
These points were raised several times in the past during elections as Bermuda or the Virgin Islands have one vote, the same as Russia, China or the USA, which is rather ridiculous.
There are an estimated 700 million people in the world who play chess but only a minimal number play in tournaments.
There’s no such thing as an “average” chess rating, as it varies in different countries and clubs. A solid club-level player, like those in Cepca, might be rated somewhere around 1600-1800. Above 1800, then it really begins to thin out.
Chess prodigies Kyle Sevillano and Felix Shaun Balbona are now rated 2091 and 2040 respectively and they are considered as “experts.” There are a lot of them around but from getting from expert to master is a huge jump and only a few make it.
An analysis of Elo ratings showed the following numbers worldwide. 5,839 players had an active rating in the range 2200 to 2299, which have the Candidate Master title.
2,998 players are rated in the range 2300 to 2399, most of whom are Fide Masters.
1,382 players are rated between 2400 and 2499, all of whom are either IMs or GMs. 587 players are rated between 2500 and 2599, most of whom are GMs. 178 players are rated between 2600 and 2699, all but one GMs. 43 players are rated between 2700 and 2799 including Wesley So. Three players are over 2800. namely Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik.
Cepca members who have high ratings are Jobannie Tabada, former sports editor of Sun.Star Cebu, who is rated 2210. Former president Ben Dimaano (a Philippine Junior champion) has a rating of 2200. 2012 Cepca Grand Champion Rey Flores had a performance rating of 2300 in the last Philippine National games, participated by almost all grandmasters, and he is already 55 years old!
Other highly-rated Cepca members are Joe Atillo 2000, current president Jojo Muralla 2010, Bong San Pascual 2080, and Mike Banebane 2155. Those are almost 2000 are Peterson Sia 1985, Nicnic Climaco 1970, Percival Fiel 1957 and Manny Manzanares 1949.
Some Cepca ratings are based on the previous PCF list not NCFP.
Fide classifies tournaments into categories according to the average rating of the players. Each category is 25 rating points wide. Category 1 is for an average rating of 2251 to 2275, Category 2 is 2276 to 2300, etc. For women’s tournaments, the categories are 200 rating points lower, so a Category 1 is an average rating of 2051 to 2075, etc. The highest-rated tournament was Category 22, with an average from 2776 to 2800.
The only Category 22 tournament that I know was the 2011Tal Memorial in Moscow.
Most of the tournaments in Cebu are  uncategorized as these are below category 1.