Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pestaño: Carlsen is the new king of chess

Thursday, November 28, 2013

ALTHOUGH the result was not unexpected, the margin was. Magnus Carlsen of Norway won three games and drew seven and that is like winning a basketball game by 50 points.
Anand was thoroughly humiliated and that was a surprise, at least to me, as I had a bet on him. Carlsen so dominated the match that it lasted only 10 games out of 12 .
Carlsen is the first Westerner to win the crown since 1972 when Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky also by a wide margin. Experts are saying now that Magnus is the greatest player of all time and he has not even reached his peak yet. He will probably dominate chess for the next 20 years.
Kasparov compares him as a combination of Fischer and Karpov, a deadly blend of a positional attacking player. He says “Magnus rocketed to the top of the rating list almost without pause, displaying a consistency and tenacity rare in a young player to accompany his limitless talent.”
He also said that he comes once-in-a-generation and “a win by Carlsen is also a win for the chess world.” Kasparov was in India and watched all of the games.
Unlike Fischer, Carlsen is neither a xylothist nor a bigot and is personable and friendly. He was once described by the Washington Post as the “Mozart of chess” and also dubbed the “Justin Bieber of chess” after the match.
A fashion model in his spare time, Carlsen made it to the Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013. He also won the Chess Oscars, awarded by Russian chess magazine ‘64’ to the world’s best player, for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012.
Carlsen missed by a few weeks becoming the youngest world champion, a record set by Kasparov in 1985. He will be 23 on Nov. 30.
He has dominated the World Chess Federation’s list of top players in the last three years, with a top rating of 2870 Elo that broke Kasparov’s best of 2851 achieved in 1999. On the other hand , Viswanathan Anand has been champion for five years and was playing at home in Chennai, where he is considered a national icon.
It was the first time in eight world championship matches that Anand failed to win even a single game. He became the first Asian world champion in 2007 and at 43 was almost double Carlsen’s age.
“It’s clear he dominated,” Anand said. “My mistakes didn’t happen by themselves, clearly he provoked them, and all credit to him. The fifth game was a heavy blow.
I really hoped not to be afraid of him in long games but to match him. But it wasn’t meant to be.”
Organisers said up to 100 million people a day in India watched the games on TV and online, and estimated another 100 million hits in the world. In Norway, 600,000 households out of a population of six million watched the game, which was broadcasted live.
“I really hope that this can have some positive effect for chess, both in Norway and worldwide,” Carlsen said after clinching the title. “The match was shown on television and I know a lot of people who don’t play chess found it very interesting to follow.
And that’s absolutely wonderful.”
Despite his overwhelming dominance in the last few years, Carlsen warned rivals his best has yet to come.
“I still have so many ways to improve,” he said. “In every tournament, in almost every game, I find that I make mistakes. I definitely have some kind of talent but I don’t know exactly what it consists of.”
Chess sets in Norway were all sold out during the match.
With the title, Carlsen gets about 60 percent of the total $2.24 million in prize money, while Anand took home the rest. Fide also gets approximately $600,000.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pestaño: Your guide to collecting chess coins

Thursday, November 21, 2013

COIN collecting is the collecting of coins or other forms of minted legal tender.
Coins of interest to collectors often include those that circulated for only a brief time. Early coins or those with mint errors or beautiful or historically significant pieces are much sought after.
It is estimated that there are 30 million coin collectors around the world. Next to stamps, it is widely recognized as the most popular and rewarding of hobbies.
Also, like stamps, most collectors specialize on specific themes, countries or topics.
Chess stamps are issued by almost all countries worldwide and number to more than a thousand.
Chess coins, however, are few and rare and all are commemorative . They are intended to be used only as souvenirs, and are often produced in gold or silver with a proof finish. They are not intended to circulate. Minting is limited to only a few thousands.
In terms of cost, collecting modern commemoratives  are more expensive than collecting coins from circulation at face value.
The issuing country—at a high premium above face value—sells them directly to collectors. Laws authorizing commemorative coins usually mandate that a certain amount of the purchase price benefit a group or event related to the coin’s theme.
Most chess coins minted by a country honor a specific event. Here are the following chess coins.
The Philippines issued in 1992 a P5 coin to honor the Chess Olympiad which was held at the Philippine International Convention Center.
When the Olympiad was held in Turin, Armenia in 1996, they also issued a 100 dram coin. Another coin was also issued in 1999 with a value of 5,000 dram in honor of world champion Tigran Petrosian.
Cuba issued three coins--P1, P5 and P20 coins during the centennial celebration of Jose Capablanca in 1988.
China had two chess players with the Great Wall as the background in 1995 with a value of 5 yuan, to showcase its emergence as a world power in chess.
The Czech Republic honored Wolfgang Kempelen, the inventor of the chess-playing automaton, the Turk, with a coin worth 200 Koruns in 1994. Hungary also featured the Turk in 2002 with a value of 500 Forint.
The United Arab Emirates, Yugoslavia , Slovenia and Greece issued coins worth 10 Dirhams, 5 Dinaras ,2,500 Tolars and 100 and 500 Drachmas for the chess Olympiads held in these countries .
Other countries that also issued coins are Moldova (10 Leu in 2005), Belarus (20 Ruble in 2006) and Russia featuring Michael Chigorin in 2000.
Kasparov. Garry Kasparov arrived in the country last Tuesday afternoon and stayed overnight. He met officials of the National Chess Federation led by president Prospero Pichay, secretary general Jayson Gonzales, Eugene Torre and media to announce his donation of $10,000 for the victims of Yolanda.
“I understand there are far more important things than chess at this time in your country. My heart goes to the typhoon victims,” said the 50-year-old Kasparov, the
former world champion for a long time.
“We will course the donation to the Philippine National Red Cross. We are very thankful for Mr. Kasparov for lending a hand to our fellow Filipinos, who are in dire need after the super typhoon,” said Pichay.
Although the elections are still in August next year, Kasparov is campaigning for president of Fide this early. He will challenge incumbent president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov of the Republic of Kalmykia who has been holding the title since 1995.
He describes the Philippines as a “very important chess country.”

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pestaño: Chess masters who love to drink

Thursday, November 14, 2013

In the chess world, alcoholism is a problem. Numerous grandmasters are addicted to alcohol.
A few years ago GM Vladislav Tkachiev turned up drunk and could not finish his game in a tournament in India as he fell asleep during the game and could not be awakened.
Even world champions, especially Mikhael Tal and Alexander Alekhine, could not stay away from the bottle even during world championships.
Sometimes Tal had to be carried away from his game because he was so drunk! When told that the Soviet Union was launching a campaign against alcoholism he commented, “I’ll be on the side of vodka.”
James Mason, the Irish-born American and an author of several chess books, sometimes fell out of his chair because he was so drunk.
Joseph Blackburne favorite opening was the Scotch game and also his favorite drink. He would place a glass of whiskey at strategic locations while giving simuls. He even claimed that he was a better player while drinking.
Efim Bogoljubow was a beer drinker. It is said that beer was the only English word he knew.
Mikhael Chigorin was drinking free brandy from one of the sponsors while playing the world championship against Steinitz, who went along the ride by drinking champagne.
Another good player while drunk is the late Florencio Campomanes. He doesn’t seemed to be affected by beer, his favorite drink.
Charles Stanley was an alcoholic who was champion before Paul Morphy. Morphy would
play against him and sent all his winnings to Mrs. Stanley.
I think playing chess and drinking are inseparable because both are entertaining. Most chess clubs, not only here but all over the world are located in pubs and cafes where drinks are readily available. Cepca is no exception.
From Baseline to Lynn’s Juntion to Teofel and from there to Kawayan Grill and Handuraw, Cepca members meet to play chess and drink with very few exceptions. Of course, drinks are off limits during tournaments.
It has been observed that clubs worldwide that meet and practice chess where there are alcoholic drinks available tend to have more members. Most club members attend meetings and practice sessions because of the drinking sessions on the side.
Mactan. The Mactan Island Chess and Scrabble Association will be sponsoring two tournaments this weekend at the Super Metro in Lapu-Lapu City in celebration of the town fiesta-Kiddies and Non-master team tournament.
The Kiddies section is open only to Lapu-Lapu residents 14 years and below.
Registration is only P25 and prizes total P1,000 with the winner taking home P500.
This will be on Nov. 17.
The team tournament on Nov. 16-17 must have four regular members and one alternate.
All members must be residents of Lapu-Laupu City or employed in a company in Lapu-Lapu City for at least six months. The number of rounds will depend on the total number of teams playing.
Time control is 20 minutes plus two-second increments. Registration is P1,000 per team.
The top three teams will win P5,000, P3,500 and P2,500 plus trophies. All board winners, including the alternate, gets P500 each. Deadline of registration is Nov. 16 at 9:30 am.
The tournament director is Hon. Galileo “Django” Roma and interested teams may contact t Felix Poloyapoy 09336642958 or Rene Romero 09324051689.
PIcpa . The Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Picpa) team tournament will proceed this weekend at Deep Blue SM at 1pm. It was originally scheduled last weekend but was cancelled due to Yolanda.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pestaño: Where chess champions are buried

Thursday, November 1, 2012

TODAY is All Souls Day and being a predominantly catholic country, almost everybody goes to the cemetery.
Our article today chronicles the cause of death of world chess champions and where they are buried.
Bobby Fischer, although born a Jew, was buried in Selfox, near Reykjavik in the small Christian cemetery of Laugardælir church, after a Catholic funeral. He died of kidney failure after refusing treatment and medication.
Tigran Petrosian, who was champion from 1963-69, died of stomach cancer in 1984 and is buried in Vagankovo Cemetery in Moscow. The cemetery, established in 1771, is located in the Krasnaya Presnya district of Moscow.
Emanuel Lasker (Dec. 24, 1868 – Jan. 11, 1941) was the world chess champion for 27 years, from 1894-1921. He died of a kidney infection in New York at the age of 72 and interment took place at the Shearith Israel Cemetery in Cypress Hills on Long Island.
Alexander Alekhine’s death and burial is controversial. He was originally buried in Estoril, Portugal but reburied in Paris in 1956 after 10 years under the sponsorship of Fide. His tombstone is a chess board.
Although others say he choked on a piece of meat, he probably died of a heart attack. There are also speculations that he was murdered. The body was not buried for three weeks as no one claimed it.
Mikhael Tal was known for his tactics and unbelievable sacrifices. Later in life he mellowed, becoming a fully rounded player. He once went over 100 games without a single loss.
Tal succumbed to his life-long kidney ailment (one of his kidneys was earlier removed) on June 28, 1992 in a Moscow hospital and was buried in his native Riga, Latvia in Shmerly Cemetery .
José Raúl Capablanca was a Cuban chess player who was world champion from 1921 to 1927. Due to his relatively simple style of play, he was nicknamed the “Human Chess Machine.”
On March 7, 1942, Capablanca was chatting with friends at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York City, when he collapsed. The cause of death was given as “a cerebral hemorrhage provoked by hypertension.” Capablanca’s body was given a public funeral in Havana’s Colón Cemetery on March 15, 1942.
Wilhelm Steinitz (May 17, 1836 – Aug. 12, 1900) was the first undisputed world chess champion from 1886 to 1894. He died of a heart attack in the Manhattan State Hospital at Ward’s Island, New York and buried at the Bethal Slope in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, New York (grave number 5893).
Max Euwe who was champion from 1935-37 was cremated on Dec. 1, 1981 in Driehuis-Westerveld, following a ceremony attended by hundreds of visitors as he was also a former Fide president.
KC Morala reports. ”The National Little Milo Olympics Chess Competition was held in Marikina City last Oct. 20-21.
The secondary boys division team of Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano, Felix Shaun Balbona, John Francis Balbona, Glexan Derotas and Jeffu Dorog of the Visayas scored 8.5 points, to take the crown, while Luzon and NCR were second, 2.5 points behind.
The secondary girls team of of Jazzelle Villarin, me and Sharon Princess Lee Pacres and Laila Camel Nadera defeated their NCR and Mindanao to win the division.
The elementary girls team of Vic Glysen Derotas, Jeremy Rose Bajo, Cherry Mae Caballes and Claire Sy, fell short by two points against NCR and settled for second place.
For playing in the champion teams, Felix Shaun Balbona and me, both playing board 2, received the Most Outstanding Athlete plaques each for having been the highest scorers.”