Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pestaño: Chess for disabled players

Thursday, June 26, 2014

AS A testament to the popularity of chess compared to most sports, the game is played even by the disabled.
The World Chess federation recognizes three organizations- the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA), International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) and International Chess Committee of the Deaf (ICCD).
The ICCD was established at Copenhagen in 1949. It stages a four-year world championship cycle of its own for individuals and teams for both men’s and women. The rules are the same, however the only difference is that in any ICCD event, the deaf player must have a hearing loss of at least 55 decibels in the better ear and must not wear a hearing aid during the game. The Fide arbiter must also have an assistant who has knowledge of the international sign language .
The IBCA is an organization for blind and visually-impaired chess players. It was formed in 1948 by Reginald Walter Bonham with representatives from nine Western European countries. Today, it has over 60 member nations around the world and hosts two major competitions— the Blind Chess Olympiad and the Blind Team World Cup. It also has individual competitions in some member countries.
They play on a specially-designed chess set. All the black squares are raised about three millimeters above the white squares and each of the square in the board has a hole in the center so the pieces can be placed on the hole. Each of the pieces has a nail at the base, so they can be fixed securely on the board. All the black pieces have a pin fixed on their heads, helping the players distinguish between white and black pieces.
By feeling the raised or lowered squares, the players can figure out whether the piece is on a white or black square. By feeling the shape of the piece, they can determine whether the piece is a pawn, knight, bishop, rook, king or queen. The move is also announced loudly and recorded on a tape recorder.
The physically disabled chess players must have a considerably reduced efficiency of the musculoskeletal system. Examples are cerebral palsy, congenital, deformation or amputations, curvature of the spine, poliomyelitis or bone tuberculosis, partial or complete rupture of the spinal cord and paralysis.
Other who qualify are those who suffer from myopathy or multiple sclerosis or myasthenia gravis, polyneuropathy and achondroplasia.
These disabled players have been playing in Olympiads now and are competitive compared to the teams of other countries.
In the last Olympiad in 2012 in Istanbul, the blind placed 44th, the deaf 77th and the physically-disabled was 90th among 157 teams in the men’s division. In the women’s division, the disabled placed 67th, the deaf 85th and the blind finished 90th among 127 teams.
The First World Disability Chess Championship was a seven-round event consisting of members of IPCA, IBCA and ICCD held in Dresden Germany in October last year.
The champion was FM Stanislav Babarykin (Elo 2319 IBCA) from Russia and the second placer was Andrei Obodchuk (Russia IPCA). The third placer was Stachaczyk Jacek (Poland IBCA ).
Cepca. Our June tournament will be held this Sunday at Handuraw Gorordo at 2 p.m.
Dubai-based Jobannie Tabado is donating a top of the line chess clock worth P3,500 to the champion. Cash prizes for second to fifth is sponsored by Ben Dimaano.
The format is five rounds Swiss and Class A players will have 10 minutes, while class B players will have 15 minutes.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pestaño: Strongest Swiss tournament in history

Thursday, June 19, 2014

JOBANNIE TABADA, the former sports editor of Sun.Star Cebu, is having the time of his life watching the strongest-ever Swiss tournament in Dubai, UAE.
The world’s best players, including Vishwanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Sergey Karjakin, Boris Gelfand, Peter Svidler, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Le Quang Liem, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and a total of 123 titled players from 46 countries are competing in the Fide World’s Rapid and Blitz championship on June 15 to 20.
Eight out of the top 10 grand masters are playing and the field includes 28 players rated over 2700. Wesley So is not playing as he competed on the same dates in the US National Open in Las Vegas where he won the Blitz category.
The prize fund is a staggering $400,000. The top five winners for each segment will take home $40,000, $32,000, $26,000, $21,000 and $17,000. Prizes will be awarded up to 24th place.
In the Rapid Championship (June 16-18), each player will have 15 minutes plus 10-second increments. In the Blitz Championship (19-20 June), each player will have three minutes plus two-second second increments. The rapid segment will have 15 rounds, while the Blitz has 21 rounds.
Jobannie, who is one of the highest rated Cepca member (national master class), posted some pictures at the Cepca/Facebook site with some interesting comments.
Interestingly, Jobannie is a product of the “Cepca kids training program” initiated by the club in the early 1990's.
Fide now has three separate ratings for their members—Classical, Rapid and Blitz. The top three players in the Rapid format are Nakamura (2841), Caruana (2840) and Grischuk (2828), while the top three in the Blitz format are Nakamura (2879 ), Karjakin (2866) and Aronian (2863).
Carlsen won the rapid segment with a score of 11 points in 15 rounds. Half a point behind were Anand, Caruana, Aronian and Alexander Morozevich. Anand made a statement by beating Carlsen in round 12.
Carlsen wants to prove that being ranked fourth in this super-tournament is nonsense (Nakamura is no.1) and has also vowed to win the Blitz segment.
SQUABBLE. Wesley So is reportedly surprised that his name was included, without his knowledge and consent, in the World Chess Olympiad in Norway to be held in August.
His coach, former women’s world champion Grandmaster Susan Polgar, wrote in her website “All of a sudden, Wesley read from various media outlets that his name has been submitted as a member of the RP team for the Olympiad. This is a big surprise for him,” Polgar wrote. “He hopes it is not true since he was never asked or consented to play for the Philippines.”
Polgar added that “besides, his name was already submitted as coach of team USA (to the Olympiad).”
Meanwhile ,Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia said that the P40,000 monthly allowance of So has been temporarily withheld starting this month , pending the resolution of his status.
So will need an approval from the NCFP to switch federation or pay 50,000 euros, or about P3 million. If he cannot pay, he has to wait for two years and he will be barred from participating in all FIDE-sanctioned tournaments like the Olympiad and the World Championship Cycle. This is will be a serious setback for Wesley.
I hope this will be resolved as from what I gather, this is just a failure to communicate between him and Pichay. Besides ,Wesley issued a statement that he will remain a Filipino and will not change his citizenship, correcting previous news releases. He will only change federations, which is allowed under USCF and Fide rules.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pestaño: Wesley So seeks US citizenship

Thursday, June 12, 2014

THE big news this week is the decision of “national treasure” Wesley So to settle permanently in the USA.
Wesley wrote National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero Pichay Jr. last year to allow him to switch federation.
“I have filed the paperwork to switch federation to the US last year. I respectfully ask that you consent to my transfer,” e said.
Wesley also wants to play for the Philippines in the 41st Chess Olympiad in Norway, this year if the NCFP allows him to immediately switch federations after the tournament.
“This is not an easy decision. But it is the best decision for me to have a chance to be a top 10 player in the world, and perhaps one day fight for the World Championship crown... without losing more valuable time at this very important age,” said So.
But NCFP president Prospero Pichay Jr rejected (or ignored) So’s request, for whatever reason or reasons, only he knows. I sent text messages to him but got no reply .
Now Pichay is the most vilified person by Pinoy chess players worldwide and the comments online regarding his person is vicious, personal and very damaging to his reputation.
Wesley must pay 50,000 euros to the NCFP or undergo the two-year waiting period for players opting to change federations, which he can’t afford.
“It will severely slow down my progress by not being able to play in official FIDE events such as the World Cup, World Blitz and Rapid Championships, etc. I will be forced to miss the next World Championship cycle.”
Wesley receives an allowance of P40,000 per month or about $1,000 from the Philippines Sports Commission. There must be other reasons aside from financial and I believe it has something to do with his relationship with the top leadership of NCFP. Very few countries give this kind of support to their chess players.
Eugene Torre says there’s nothing to be sad since the 20-year-old So will be recognized as someone who came from the Philippines anyway. “We can’t judge him if his ambition is to become a world champion. The best thing to do right now is to agree to his (So) offer to play for the country one last time in the Chess Olympiad in Norway this August and set him free.”
GM Richard Bitoon, who was in contact online with Wesley last night, informed me that even if the NCFP releases Wesley without paying 50,000 euros, Wesley will not play in the Olympiad anymore as he has already commitments elsewhere. The Philippine team members will be chosen after the National championships starting June 19.
Wesley also says his next goal is to break 2750, then join the top 10 in the world.
His ultimate goal is to be able to one day compete for the world title. He is currently rated 2744 and is No. 15 in the world.
Wesley must compete at high-level tournaments of Category 19 or higher in order to continue improving. There are no such tournaments in Southeast Asia. It is better to be based in the United States, especially in Saint Louis, Missouri, where most of the chess action in America happens. He can easily travel to Europe and other places.
Also, it is closer to his family’s residence in Canada.
An Inter-police team tournament will be held tomorrow at Colonnade Mall starting at 10 a.m. Eight teams from Cebu, plus a team from Mandaue and a guest team from City Hall, will be competing in a five-round Swiss active format. There will be four players per team plus two alternates.
The top three teams will get P5,000,P3,000 and P1,000, respectively.
This event is organized by CCPO director Noli Romana. Playing in team 8 are Cepca members Ruel Hortelano and Tony Barade.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pestaño: PHL’s win-win situation in Fide election

Thursday, June 5, 2014

THE Fide elections will be held this August between Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Gary Kasparov during the Chess Olympiad in Norway and whatever the results, it will be good for the Philippines.
Both Kirsan and Garry are controversial figures. Kirsan is famous for claiming personal contact with aliens, alleging that they took him on a mystical tour of the galaxy in their spaceship in 1997. He also said aliens introduced chess to the world in the past. Gary is a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin and has been arrested several times.
If Kirsan is reelected, his secretary general is Pinoy Abraham Tolentino, who also wields tremendous powers in the Fide hierarchy. Kirsan has always been partial to the Philippines, having been personally chosen by the former president Florencio, Campomanes to succeed him.
Here is the ticket of Kirsan: Georgios Makropoulos (deputy president), Tolentino (general secretary) Aguinaldo Jaime (vice president), Martha Fierro Baquero (vice president) and Adrian Siegel ( Treasurer.)
And here are the members of Kasparov`s ticket Jan Callewaert (deputy president), Ignatius Leong (general secretary), Afrika Msimang (vice president), Ian Wilkinson (vice president), and Rex Sinquefield (treasurer.)
If Kasparov wins, he will support NCFP president Prospero Pichay as the next Asian Chess Federation president.
Kasparov and Leong also negotiated a deal in which Leong would help Kasparov’s presidential run in exchange for $500,000. Kasparov also agreed, after his election, to open a new federation office in Singapore, to be run by Leong.
Leong, who is the current secretary general of Kirsan but has switched sides, runs Intchess Asia which promotes chess in the Asean region and needs the financial support.
He employs a lot of Pinoys including Cebuanos NM Lingky Yap and IM Rico Mascarinas.
Other Pinoys working there are NM Robert Suelo, IM Domingo Ramos and NM Arlan Cabe.
They are working as trainers, while lingky is also a Fide arbiter during tournaments.
Lingky is the father of IM Kimkim Yap.
Since November 1995, Ilyumzhinov has been president of the World Chess Federation, investing a large amount of his private fortune—estimated at $80 million--into the game.
He easily won reelection in 2002 against GM Jaime Sunye- Neto of Brazil, 87–46. Jaime was my guest for dinner back in 1992 together with Eugene Torre.
Ilyumzhinov was again re-elected as president in 2006 by a margin of 96–54 against his opponent, the famous Bessel Kok.
In 2010, Kirsan was reelected as president of Fide over his rival, Anatoly Karpov. He decisively won that election by 95 votes to 55.
Garry has promised comprehensive changes if he is elected as the new president of Fide. He believes he has a good chance to be elected.
There are 181 national federations who has registered for the Olympiad. So he needs at least 91 votes to be elected. It’s a tall order indeed considering that Kirsan is popular among micro-organizations.
Kirsan has a big lead - he has been nominated by 56 federations, while Gary got nominated by 20 federations.
Kalunasan tournament. The venue is at the Barangay hall in Guadalupe and starts tomorrow at 1 p.m. The games on Sunday will start at 10am.
The format is 7 rounds Swiss with a time control of 30 minutes plus 5-second increments.
Registration is P100 and the prizes are P3,000 for the champion and P1,500 and P1,000 for second and third, all with trophies. The fourth to 10th placers will get P200 each.
The sponsor is Barangay Kalunasan and sports chairman Nestor Gabunada.
For details, contact the tournament organizer Cepcan Boy Gallardo at 5113900 and Marvin Ruelan 09267352951.

Marina’s circular

Thursday, June 5, 2014

NOT all the things that Ferdinand Marcos created during his martial law regime were bad. Many of them continue to exist until today because they serve a purpose. One of them is the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) which Marcos established in 1974 to accelerate the integrated development of the maritime industry in the country.
Marina must have done a good job carrying out its mandate because when Congress passed the Domestic Shipping Development Act some 30 years later, it granted additional powers to the agency. One of them was the authority to require every ship operator to obtain “such other compulsory insurance coverage necessary to adequately cover claims for damages.”
That was the basis of Marina’s issuance on Feb. 4, 2009 of Circular 2009-01 requiring
shipping companies to secure Protection and Indemnity (P & I) cover for their vessels.
Marina said this was necessary in order to ensure that domestic ship owners are able to meet their financial responsibility for any legal liability.
Circular 2009-1 declared that P & I insurance coverage was compulsory for any type of vessel that is 20GT and wooden-hulled ships that are 35 GT and above. The rule was simple: no P & I coverage, no authority to operate in the domestic trade.
Yesterday, the local Marina head, Director Nanette Dinopol was, however, reported by The Freeman as saying that P & I cover is in fact only optional. The same newspaper report said that the Marina has issued a “Cease and Desist Order” against compulsory P & I coverage.
I am not sure how an agency can CDO itself but Dinopol did not deny that since March 1, 2010, ship owners were no longer required to secure P & I coverage for their vessels.
I searched the Marina website just in case I missed the order suspending the implementation of Circular 2009-1. I did not find any such thing. The circular has been amended at least thrice since its issuance but none abolished or even
temporarily suspended the enforcement of the compulsory P & I coverage.
The first amendment, which was issued on Feb. 27, 2009 merely extended the filing of the Oath of Undertaking to comply with the provisions of 2009-1, aside from granting additional 5 percent discount on tonnage fee to those who were able to file their oath on time.
The second amendment, made on July 16, 2009, extended the deadline to secure mandatory marine insurance cover for wreck removal and oil pollution to Oct. 31 of the same year.
The third one, dated Oct. 19, 2009, expanded the coverage of Circular 2009-1 by directing that vessels using persistent oil and non-persistent oil and Philippine registered tankers and barges should secure insurance against liability from pollution and wreck removal.
In 2010, the year the P & I insurance coverage supposedly became optional, the Marina issued only two circulars affecting the domestic shipping sector. In 2011, there were also two such issuances, in 2012, one and last year, three. None touched the issue of mandatory P & I insurance coverage.
The equivalent of P & I in land transportation is TPL or third party liability insurance, which vehicle owners must secure otherwise they can’t register them. The “own damage” policy, on the other hand, is optional because it covers only risks to your own vehicle.
“Own damage” protection is secured by shipowners and operators through a hull and machinery insurance. While many of them are unhappy being compelled to insure themselves against damage to third parties, including the environment, they have no such qualms securing themselves from losses to their pockets.
Isn’t these something amiss somewhere?