Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pestaño: Nelson Mandela as a chess player

Thursday, December 19, 2013

WHEN Nelson Mandela died last Dec. 5 at the age of 95, it was front page headline all over the world.
He emerged after 27 years in prison in 1990 to lead his country out of decades of apartheid. He served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid, racism, poverty and inequality.
He received the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Order of Lenin, the Bharat Ratna and more than 250 honors in his lifetime. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often described as “the father of the nation.”
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man,” said Obama who became president of America because of Mandela’s legacy. “We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us -- he belongs to the ages.”
As a man,he had all the qualities of a good chess player, which he was, like patience, creativity and imagination.
Mandela turned to chess to pass the time during his more than 27 years as a political prisoner. Fellow detainees at the country’s notorious Robben Island prison recall him as a good player who favored a strategy of “attrition” to wear down opponents.
“He would take his time with every move, he would consider it very carefully,” recalled Neville Anderson, a fellow detainee who often played with him. “He would sort of mislead the other person by pointing things this way, that way, the other, and then making the move that wasn’t expected and so on.”
Current South African President Jacob Zuma, a good player himself and a fellow detainee , recalled the way they had to improvise just to play chess. “We made chess sets out of soap and driftwood and makeshift chessboards that allowed us to continue
to play this noble and great game,” Zuma said .
In 1996,Mandela gave a chess set to Queen Elizabeth, a chess player herself, during a state visit that featured Zulu tribesmen.
In 1977, South Africa was banned from Fide events because of its apartheid practices.
The ban was lifted in 1992 by Florencio Campomanes and that allowed South Africa to play in the Manila Olympiad.
Tournaments. The 2013 Cepca grand champion is Tacloban City-born civil engineer Jimmy Ty, who defeated Peterson Sia in the finals. Third placer is Percival Fiel and the fourth placer is Manuel Abucay.
The results were a big surprise to all of us as the favorites were last year’s champion Rey Flores, Romy Pialan, Jomgjong Melendez and Maggi Dionson.
In the non-qualifiers category, the winner was Carlo Maraat, as expected. I even wondered why he did not make it to the grand finals. Both winners were awarded unique trophies fabricated by Dr. Ronald Galindo, the coordinator of the USC college of engineering.
The Deep Blue “D” Woodpushers Club will sponsor a Christmas Tournament for kiddies and open division tomorrow and Sunday at the second level of SM City Cebu.
The format is seven rounds Swiss and the time control is 25 minutes plus five-second increments to finish the game. The tournament is supported by lawyer Mariano Tan, CPA Nestor Encallado, Molet Hortelano and Vizmin Marketing.
The top four kiddies players will go home with P1,200, P800, P600 and P400, respectively. In the open category the top four finishers will get P3,000, P2,000 ,P1,000 and P500. The fifth to the 10th finishers will get a consolation prize of P200 each.
The registration fee for the Open players is P150 and P100 for the Kiddies players. For more information contact FA Marvin Ruelan 09267352951

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pestaño: Induction of officers and grand finals

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ATTENTION, all Cepca members. Please be reminded that our Christmas party will be this Sunday at Lola Saling’s Grill and restobar in Casungtingan,Mandaue beside Gaisano. Please inform me today if you can attend if you had not done so.
We will also have the Grand Finals for the monthly winners. They are Jongjong Melendez, Percival Fiel,last year`s champion Rey Flores, Maggi Dionson, Manny Abucay, Jun Kidlat, Freddie Casagan, Arnold Cadiz, Harrison Chua, Peterson Sia, Jimmy Te and Romy Pialan.
The non-qualifiers will also have a separate tourney. The champions of both events will receive unique trophies, handmade by member Engr. Ronald Galindo Ces, the coordinator of the college of Engineering of the University of San Carlos.
We will also have an induction of the new officers for 2014. The incoming officers are
president Jerry Maratas, vice president external Marvyne Guardiana, vice-president internal Dante Arguelles, secretary Jun Olis, treasurer Jun Kidlat, auditor Ruel Hortelano, and me as PRO. Completing the nine-man board are Jojo Muralla and Mandy Baria.
The inducting officer will be former city mayor Alvin Garcia, an honorary member of the club.
Chess prisoners. The news this week has also been about those in prison. Homicide convict and former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste is a free man again after being granted parole.
But P-Noy has strongly objected to his release.
He is a national figure as he once was married to Sen. Loren Legarda and is the father of Toni Leviste, the bemedalled Asian Games equestrienne.
There were nearly 600 detainees at the Leyte Provincial Jail when Yolanda destroyed the complex allowing all of the prisoners to escape. 251 prisoners returned, and are now being housed in a section of the jail that suffered minor damage.
World champions who have been in prison were Bobby Fischer, detained in Japan when his passport was cancelled,Garry Kasparov for protesting against Putin and Russian Alexander Alekhine, arrested in Germany when war broke out.
Claude Bloodgood was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering his mother, although the sentence was later commuted. While in prison, he played a large number of correspondence games. Over time, he achieved a very high ranking in the United States Chess Federation.
Robert Stroud, known as the “Birdman of Alcatraz” (there’s a movie made about him), was sentenced to life in prison for murder and while there, killed one of the guards and was placed in solitary. He reared and sold birds and became a respected ornithologist. The only contact he had with the outside world, aside from the birds, was playing chess with his guards .
Raymond A. Weinstein has an IM title acquired in 1962. He has been incarcerated since for killing a man in 1964. He defeated many top American players, including Reshevsky and Benko.
Milan Matulovic, who died a few months ago, was a grandmaster and one of the strongest Yugoslav player for much of the 1960s and 1970s. He was convicted of manslaughter and served nine months in prison for a car accident in which a woman was killed.
Alexandre Deschapelles was a French chess player who was probably the strongest player in the world after Philidor. He was considered the unofficial world champion from 1800 to 1820.He was in prison for his part in the insurrection of June 1832.
Other chess playing prisoners were James Mortimer, GM Ludek Pachman, Norman Whitaker and world champion Wilhelm Steinitz for the silly crime of sending coded military secrets when he was just playing correspondence chess.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pestaño: The hybrid sport of chess-boxing

Thursday, December 5, 2013

MOST of the sports news this past week has been about chess and boxing.
In a match that was viewed by over 200 million live and online daily, Magnus Carlsen easily overwhelmed the reigning world chess champion Viswanathan Anand in Chennai.
Almost at the same time, Manny Pacquiao demolished Brandon Rios in Macau that gave Pinoys and the suffering victims Yolanda something to cheer for as the match was also viewed by millions elsewhere.
Do you know that there is a sport now which is a combination of both? It is called, of course, chess-boxing and if you don’t believe it’s for real , read on. It is described in puns as a showdown between brains and brawns, rooks and hooks and wits and fists.
The hybrid sport of chess-boxing, developed initially in Berlin by Lepe Rubingh, was established in London by television producer Timothy Woolgar in 2008.
Los Angeles , Tokyo , Nantes (France), Reykjavík , Amsterdam , Calcutta and Krasnoyarsk (Russia) have all staged events over the last five years.
How does it work? A full match consists of 11 rounds: six rounds of chess, each four minutes long, and five rounds of boxing, each three minutes long. The match begins with a chess round, which is followed by boxing. Rounds of chess and boxing alternate until the end of the match. There is a one-minute break between each round, during which competitors change gear. Rules of blitz chess are used (including touch move), and a competitor only has a total of 12 minutes in chess. The players wear closed-back headphones during the chess rounds to avoid being distracted by the live chess commentary, or hearing advice shouted from the audience. Time is measured using a chess clock.
A competitor may win the match during a boxing round by knockout or TKO, by achieving a checkmate or if the opponent’s 12 minutes run out during a chess round, or by the opponent’s resignation at any point.
If there is a stalemate, the scores from the boxing rounds are used to determine the winner. If the boxing score is also a draw, the outcome is declared as a tie.
The sport is governed by the World chess-boxing Association (WCBA) based in London and it has promoted more than 20 tournaments in the last five years. Another group is the World Chess Boxing Organization.
Chess-boxers must not only be fit and experienced boxers, but must also be at least Class A as a chess player. Nikolai Sazhin has an Elo 1900, while European chess boxing champion Tihomir Atanassov Dovramadjiev is a Fide Master with a rating over 2300 and has won multiple chess competitions. Arik Braun, the strongest chess player to have competed in Chessboxing, is a grandmaster rated 2556. Chess players are intelligent enough to know what they are doing.
Thirteen countries, including the US, Germany, Russia, the UK and France, play the game. Newer entrants like Iran, China and India (over 300 members including lots of women) have also introduced the sport.
Calling Cebu boxing promoters!
Chess-boxing is a global phenomenon. There are around 380 active members of the World Chess Boxing Organization, with affiliate groups across Europe, Asia and America. The Berlin Chessboxing Club alone has 450 members, 80 of whom are in training every day.
There’s a chessboxing club in China, asking “Who’s the smartest, toughest guy in China?” In the last three months, a chessboxing club was even formed in Iran.
This new sport has competitors floating like butterflies and stinging like kings!
An excellent chessboxing match would be between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, who are both avid chessplayers. How about it Bob Arum?