Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pestaño: The Mardi Gras festival of chess

Thursday, September 25, 2014

THERE are all kinds of festivals. Almost every country in the world has one. They are mostly religious, regional, historical and also includes food, wine, music and films. There is even a festival for the dead in Mexico, a major one.
However, the most unique is probably the chess festival in Marostica, Italy, also called the “city of chess.” The town is famous all over the world for the human chess game it carries out on even numbered years, with living chess pieces, in the city public square.
On odd years, the town sponsors an international tournament. Not surprisingly, every resident there plays chess.
For over fifty years, the living chess festival in Marostica, is one of the most important event, a unique opportunity to discover the customs and traditions of an era long forgotten.
It is based on folklore and tradition written by Mario Mirko Vucetich in which Renaldo D’Anganaro and Vieri da Vallanora, fell in love with the beautiful Lionora, daughter of the local lord, Taddeo Parisio. As was the custom at that time, circa 1454, they challenged each other to a duel.
The Lord forbade the encounter as he does not want her daughter to have blood in her hands. Instead he decreed that they play a chess game, as both were well known chess players. The winner would have the hand of Lionora.
The Lord also ordered that the game featured live people dressed as armed men, foot-soldiers and knights with horses, fireworks, street dancing, music and a grand parade.
There is a happy ending in this story as Lionora had a secret love on the winner of this match—Renaldo D’Anganaro.
The reenactment of the living chess match involves more than 500 people in costume for two hours of excitement and entertainment. The orders are still given to the cast today in the local Language (Venetian), not Italian.
There are four performances of the chess match throughout the weekend (one each Friday and Saturday, and two on Sunday). It’s recommended that to buy tickets in advance, as this is a very popular local and international festival and tickets can be hard to come by later on.
Given the impossibility of reproducing the original moves of the human chess game of Marostica in1454, the organizers choose from the best chess games played in the past and select then on the basis of their duration.
This year the festival was celebrated last Sept. 12,13 and 14. Watching the spectacle were more than 4,000 residents and tourists who paid a hefty Euro 30 and 50 for special seats.
World championship.The Men`s World Chess Championship 2014 will be a return match between the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen, and challenger Viswanathan Anand,.
It will be held from Nov. 5 to 25 this year in Sochi, Russia and will consist of 12 games and if necessary, tie-break games.
Prize fund is USD 3 million with 5/8 going to the winner.
The Women`s championship 2014 will be played as a 64-player knockout format originally scheduled from October 11-31 next month. However, FIDE announce today that the Championship will be postponed for a few months. Exact dates will be announced soon when FIDE finalizes all organizing details with potential sponsors interested to hold
this event.
The players were selected from continental chess championships-28 from Europe,12 from Asia,8 from the Americas and 3 from Africa plus 2 presidential nominees. The rest are seeded by rating.
Many players had to deny invitations to other tournaments in order to free time for this tournament without knowing any detail of where it will be held.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pestaño: Significant chess records this year

Thursday, September 18, 2014

THE game had the most superlatives this year.
The strongest world rapid and blitz tournament in history were held in Dubai, UAE last June. Eight players from the current top 10 participated, including the world’s top three --Magnus Carlsen (Norway), who won both events, Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia).
Former world champion Vishy Anand also joined along with 28 other 2700 plus rated players. There were also close to 100 GMs who participated.
Only Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov were missing from the top 10.
The Tromso Olympiad last month was the biggest in history with a record 174 men’s and 143 women’s teams. It also featured the best performance in Olympiad history by the men’s team of China, which did not lose a match and only drew one out of 44 games.
The Sinquefield 2014 tournament last month was the strongest tournament with an average Elo of 2802 and the first ever Category 24 event. Those who played were six of the world’s top nine players. Fabiano Caruana scored seven straight wins for the greatest performance ever and finished three points ahead of the field with 8.5 points.
Another superlative is coming. The Millionaire Chess tournament is offering the biggest prize fund in chess history for an open event. It will start on Oct. 9 and will be held in Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
Millionaire chess was founded in 2013 by GM Maurice Ashley and entrepreneur Amy Lee, a unique combination as Maurice is black and Amy is Chinese.
“We understand that chess suffers from a perception problem,” says Ashley.
“Millionaire Chess intends to revolutionize the chess world and hopes to bring in thousands of amateurs from around the world and of all ages.”
Cepca member. Josito Dondon, who is now based in the USA will be playing in the 2200 and under category. Also playing is Wesley So and his gang at Webster University. He is the favorite in the Open category to bag the $100,000 top prize.
Amy Lee is supplying the funding for what she believes will be a three-to-five year investment, with corporate sponsorship and events in other cities to follow.
“I consider this as a business,” she told The New York Times. “In order to bring
sponsors in, you have to make chess exciting. You have to make it fun.”
Amy is Chinese and was born in Vietnam, raised in Canada and has been there since she was eight years old. Her family escaped from Vietnam in 1976. Her parents had nothing left but the four gold necklaces they saved up for as wedding gifts for their children. Amy’s family literally started life anew in Canada.
Child prodigy. A child prodigy has just been killed. An 11-year-old internationally-ranked chess player was shot dead by his father before killing himself. Scotch Plains police of New Jersey found the bodies of 48-year-old Jens Elberling and his 11-year-old son Thomas last weekend. His wife Kate Chou filed for divorce last May, though the divorce had not yet been granted.
Joan DuBois, director of affiliate relations for the USCF confirmed that Thomas was an expert-level player who was ranked as one of the highest child players in the country.
“He was a very, very good player,” DuBois said.
Cepca. Our monthly tournament will be this Sunday at Handuraw Gorordo at 2 p.m. The format is five rounds with handicapping. We will have some kiddie guest players-- Mico Tequillo, Andre Avenido, chess sensation Jerish Velarde and James Andrew Balbona. The sponsor is Fiesta Cebuana of SM Foodcourt. Come, join and enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pestaño: The queen makes her last move

Thursday, September 11, 2014

THERE are few 24-carat heroines in history. What comes to mind are Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale. The fourth in my book is Judit Polgar.
Joan of Arc is considered a heroine of France and is a Roman Catholic saint. Mother Teresa is about to become one, while Florence was a philosopher of modern nursing and a social reformer.
Judit is the strongest female chess player in history and has defeated 10 current or former world champions--Magnus Carlsen, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Boris Spassky, Vasily Smyslov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Khalifman, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Last month, she announced her retirement from competitive chess at age 38.
She and her two older sisters GM Susan and IM Sofia, were part of an experiment carried out by their father Laszlo Polgár, who wanted to to prove that children could make exceptional achievements if trained at a very early age .”Geniuses are made, not born”, was Laszlo’s belief.
Polgár became a GM at the age of 15 years and 4 months in 1991, the youngest to have done so of either sex, breaking the record previously held by Bobby Fischer which had stood for 33 years. At that time, training with the use of computers were not available and a GM was as rare as a dodo.
She is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament in 2005. Also, she is the only woman to have surpassed the 2700 ELO rating barrier and was rated 2735 in 2005 and ranked no.8 in the world.. She has been the No. 1 rated woman in the world since 1989 (when she was 12 years old).
She is retiring to focus on the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation and to spend more time with her children. She now finds it increasingly hard to summon the laser-like concentration that propelled her to becoming a legend.
“You have to be a winner,” she said. “You have to be more motivated, you have to work more, and if you lose you have to stand up and fight again and again.”
In her view, the world may have to wait some time before it sees someone like her again. Asked when chess would have its first female world champion, she said, “I hope in the next 20 years.”
WESLEY. The Grand Prix Series schedule and participants has just been announced. The first two players will qualify to the candidates tournament to select the challenger to the world champion.
The participants are Caruana Fabiano (2801), Grischuk Alexander (2789), Nakamura Hikaru (2782), Karjakin Sergey (2777), Vachier Lagrave Maxime (2768), Giri Anish (2758), Dominguez Leinier (2756), Mamedyarov Shakhriyar (2756), Gelfand Boris (2748), Jakovenko Dmitry (2747) Svidler Peter (2732), Andreikin Dmitry (2722), Radjabov Teimour (2717), Kasimdzhanov Rustam (2706), Tomashevsky Evgeny (2701) and Ghaem Maghami Ehsan (2591).
Wesley So (2755) should have been one of the participants had the NCFP released him to
the USCF. How very sad!
BBRC TOURNAMENT. Cepca will put some sunshine to the life of chess-playing inmates of BBRC this Sunday at 1 p.m.
The format is five rounds Swiss and time control will be 15 minutes per player plus 10-second increments. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five players—P1,000 ,P800 ,P600, P400 and P200.
If there will be time, there will be a simul by Cepca members to the participants and winners will receive a token prize of P100.
The sponsor is Cepca vice president Marvyne Guardiana.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pestaño: Special tournament for seniors

Thursday, September 4, 2014

THIS will come as a surprise. Aside from the traditional Fathers’ and Mothers’ days, there is also a “Lolo” and “Lola day”. It is being celebrated in some countries in the world, including the Philippines and for 2014, it is on the first Sunday of September.
In some countries, malls and restaurants lay out the red carpet for grandparents through special sales, discounts, free movies, gift giving. Hospitals give free check up and medicines. As the number of grandparents continues to grow, so does the impact they make on the lives of their grandchildren.
I only knew of this this week when couple Eduard and Therese dela Torre of Cebu Chess Masters announced a “Seniors tournament” starting tomorrow and Sunday at the Cybergate Robinson Mall located along Don Gil Garcia St. Capitol site.
This is open only to seniors 40 years and over and for those who do not look their age, an ID is required.
Prizes are P6,000 and a trophy for the champion and P4,000 and P2,000 for the next two placers. The fourth to 10th placers will get P1,000 gift certificates, while the best female performer gets P1,000.
This tournament will be NCFP-rated and the format is seven rounds Swiss with a time control of 30 minutes plus 20-second increments.
Registration is P300 on or before Sept. 4 and P350 onsite. Tournament starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday.
For more info, contact Cebu Chess Masters at 266-8966 and Michael Pagaran 09321338641.
For the young ones, IM Kimkim Yap and GM John Paul Gomez will hold simuls at the Cebu Chess School on Sunday.
Sagay. The 1st Sagay City Open Chess Tournament 2014 will be held on Sept 27-28 at the Balay Kauswagan Hall, Poblacion I, Sagay City. It is sponsored by the City Government of Sagay in coordination with Barangay Poblacion I.
The organizers are Candido “Coycoy” Lepiten and Barangay Chairman Bienvenido Fernandez Sr. while the Chief Arbiter is Marvin Ruelan.
The top three placers will get P15,000, P10,000 and 5,000, while the fourth and fifth placers get P3,000 and P2,000 respectively.
Registration fees are P400 (with free two-night accomodations at Balay Kauswagan) while Sagay residents only pay P200. Students from Sagay will only pay P100.
Contact persons are Monina C. Candelario (0936-9158659), Loremer V. Dilag (0920-6955408), and Candido “Coycoy” Lepiten (0927-2844404).
Lepiten( who studied at SWU) is extending his invitation to all Cebuano players, especially to his old-time friends . He assures that they will be taken cared of while in Sagay.
Sinquefield. When Bobby Fischer shut out Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen by similar 6-0 wins in route to a 20-0 straight record over the top players in the world then in 1971, his performance rating was estimated at a whopping 3060.
Now a similar achievement is taking place in what is considered to be the strongest tournament in history , the 2014 Sinquefield Cup.
The players are No. 1 Magnus Carlsen (Norway) , No. 2 Levon Aronian (Armenia), No. 3 Fabiano Caruana (Italy), No. 5 Hikaru Nakamura (USA), No. 8 Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and No. 9 Maxime Vachier Lagrave (France). Their average rating is 2802 and it is the first ever Category 24 tournament in history.
Caruana has beaten all his opponents in an amazing six straight wins! His performance rating is calculated at 3596 and he has gained 29.6 rating points so far, while all the other players have lost rating points. He leads the reigning world champion, Magnus Carlsen, by an unbelievable three points with just 4 rounds remaining.
Regardless of what the results will be in the remaining four rounds , this is the greatest chess performance of all time.