Friday, October 31, 2014

Pestaño: Less prize money for world championship

Friday, October 31, 2014

THE World Chess Championship 2014 will be a rematch between world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and challenger Vishy Anand of India and will be held from Nov. 7 to 28 in Sochi, Russia.
The match will consist of 12 games and if necessary, tie-break games. The time control for the “classical” portion of the match will be 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game. They will also have an increment of 30 seconds per move after move 61.
Both Carlsen and Anand played in the 2013 Championship with Anand as the reigning world champion and Carlsen as the challenger. Carlsen easily won, 6.5-2.5 This will mark the first time that the same opponents will meet in consecutive World
Championship matches since Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.
Anand won the 2014 Candidates Tournament, an eight-player double round robin
tournament that took place in Khanty-Mansiyk, Russia from March 13 to 31 early this year for the right to challenge Carlsen.
Statistics show that Anand and Carlsen faced off 79 times across all time formats. Importantly, in the 38 times that the two met in classical format, Anand has won six, Carlsen 7 and the rest were draws.
The prize for this year is “only” $1.5 million compared to $2.5 million when the match was held last year in Chennai. Carlsen is reportedly not happy and almost forfeited.
Beginning 2010, the Women’s World Chess Championship will be held annually in alternating formats. In even years a 64-player knockout system will be used and in odd years a classical match featuring two players will be held.
The 64 players are selected through national chess championships, Zonal tournaments and continental chess championships. The 64 will be from Europe (28), Asia (12), Americas (8) and Africa (3). The rest of the field will be the semifinalists of the women’s world chess championship in 2012, the 2012 and 2013 world girls champions, Fide nominees and the rest by ratings.
With the Women Grand Prix over, the 2015 match-up is already known and that will be between Hou Yifan of China and Koneru Humpy of India.
LOCAL. Cepca’s old vanguards came out from their respective hideouts to try out their luck in the cash-rich October Edition of the club’s monthly Qualifying Tournament.
Seen were Victor Sepulveda and Sergio Borres of MCIAA, Pastor Henry Cariat, Manny Manzanares, Joe Atillo and Jun Pasion.
The club would like to extend its appreciation to the benevolent sponsors--our US-based members Jojo Clamor Dondon, Mitch Vergara, Gilbert Ababat and locals Handuraw, Ross Yamyamin and Serge Borres.
Shaira Mae Monsalud of the University of San Carlos placed fourth with 4 points in five grueling rounds without a single loss. She also bagged first place in the Ladies Category together with Aireen Robillos (USJR) and KC Morala also from USC.
Rey Flores and Ross Yamyamin tied for first, while Eduard dela Torre is the qualifier for October.
Cepca also had new members and these are Elmer Odango, a former OFW singer for 20 years and composer, Louie Alalim of the PNP Regional 7, and Ryan Cortes an IT specialist and former varsity player of Cebu Institute of Technology.
The Women Championship 2014 is even worse. It was originally scheduled from Oct. 11-31 this month. Problems in finding a sponsor and host city eventually forced FIDE to announce the postponement of the Championship.
With the tournament postponed a “few months” it may actually be played in 2015. During the Fide Elections in the last Olympiad both Kasparov and Ilyumzhinov promised to attend to this problem.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pestaño: Rulers who played chess

Friday, October 24, 2014

I WROTE about homosexuals before and although they constitute a significant percentage of the population, very few play chess.
Their lack of interest is a good topic for further research. There are exemptions, though.
The Chevalier d’Eon was history’s most famous transvestite. Among other things, he was a diplomat, spy, soldier and even served as Lady-in-Waiting to Marie Antoinette and became a nun!
He spent half his life dressed as a woman and the rest of the time as her—or rather his—own brother!
Later in life, he became a noted member of the St. George chess club and was good enough to beat Philidor in a simul. Wagers were placed about his gender and questions about his sexuality was only settled when a post-mortem showed he was male.
Charles Sherwood Stratton is known as General Tom Thumb and is the most famous midget
in history. According to his contemporaries, he was “an excellent chess player for his size” as his opponents couldn’t distinguish between him and the pieces.
Casanova was a known womanizer. In his memoirs, he wrote that he played chess with a girl named Pauline as part of his seduction technique. He lost all the time as his mind was almost certainly on other things.
Akbar the Great was India’s greatest emperor. During his rule, the Mughal Empire tripled in size and wealth. He played chess on a giant board (it still exist on Fatehpur Sikri) with elephants as pieces and horses as pawns.
Another Indian ruler was Shah Jehan, who is famous for building the Taj Mahal. He entertained his important friends who play chess with 32 living pieces who were virgins. The winner took the 32 virgins as prize. Wow!
Another ruler with a strange appetite was King Muley Hassan of Morocco. He sometimes
played with living pieces using prisoners from the Royal dungeons. What made this interesting was that captured pieces were beheaded on the spot! Legend has it his favorite opening was the Danish Gambit.
The war-like ruler King Conchubair of Ireland divided his waking hours into three—one-third for drinking, one-third for fighting and one-third for playing chess.
Aron Schvartzman of Argentina may be the world’s oldest chess player. He is still
playing chess at the age of 105.
During the war, British intelligence recruited chess masters Philip Stuart Milner-Berry,Hugh Alexander and Harry Golombek to break the German Enigma code and were successful.
In the United States, GM Reuben Fine, worked for the Navy and plotted out possible enemy submarine (U boats) routes.
George Soros, a chess player, is known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England.” He made a profit of $1 billion on forex trading during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.
Other interesting figures are Florencio Campomanes, Eugene Torre, the only GM to be also a movie actor and Roman Catholic saints Pope John Paul II and Teresa of Avila, the patron saint of chess players.
Local scene. Cepca`s October tournament will be this Sunday in Handuraw at 2 p.m. Our event will be spiced by the presence of six lovely ladies who will have their own set of prizes.
Eight teams played in the Inter-school team tournament for elementary students last weekend in Robinson Cybergate.
The top three teams were Tejero, Subangdaku and Labangon A. The individual gold medal winners were John Lester Belano in Board 1, Micah Caleb Guinto in Board 2, Mae Nicole Mangubat in Board 3 and Faith Marphine Mangubat in Board 4.
The tournament was organized by Eduard dela Torre of Cebu Chess Masters and was supported by Cepca.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pestaño: Developing good chess habits

Thursday, October 16, 2014

FOR TODAY, I originally planned to write about the details of the Millionaire Chess Open in Las Vegas, where Wesley So got the biggest prize ever won by a Pinoy player in a single tournament. However, it is in every newspaper and websites and by now every Tom, Dick and Harry knows that Wesley won $100,000 and is now in the world’s top 10.
I have been playing chess for more than six decades now and know the most common mistakes by a player and how to overcome them. Here they are.
Don’t play too fast unless you are playing a blitz game. Use your time wisely and don’t be impatient. Develop your pieces early and avoid moving them multiple times.
Don’t neglect to castle.
Don’t give up in controlling the center and never underestimate its importance. Avoid premature attacks and don’t expect that you can win the game in the opening. Do not rely on inferior moves by your opponent.
Avoid making idle threats and useless checks. Develop your position first before grabbing the pawns offered. This is usually a trap.
Don’t attack with only one piece. Make sure that your other pieces can join as early as possible. Do not exchange pawns and pieces unless the position calls for it.
Do not create weaknesses in your position (knight forks, weak pawns, exposed king and
holes in your structure).
Do not lose material carelessly and always ask yourself “Is this move, safe?” Do not be mentally lazy and always calculate several moves in advance. Always be alert of your opponent’s defensive moves. He can counterattack any time.
Don’t be misled that you can overcome an early material advantage. Develop the habit of always searching for the best possible move. Always analyze each position accurately and completely. After every check and capture--on both sides--look for all possible consequences.
Don’t be passive. Counterattack when threatened. Do not be too involved in your own plans and ignore or underestimate your opponent’s threats. Play the position on the board rather than your opponent.
Do not underestimate the value of pawns such as “passed” and “weak” pawns and holes in your pawn structure.
Always be aware of the values of open files, diagonals, and rooks in the seventh rank. Break pins early and watch out for knight forks. Don’t be too willing in trading queens.
When your opponent makes a sacrifice, analyze the consequences. Also, always look for ways to make sacrifices yourself.
You should always protect and create passed pawns in the endgame and use your king aggressively.
Do not be intimidated by strong players by playing cautiously and do not be over-confident against weak players by playing carelessly. Do not play for a win at all costs if the game is a draw. Do not resign prematurely and be careful of stalemates against losing opponents.
Always review all games, lost or won, and remember studying is the best option to improve your game,
Kiddie. There will be a Kiddie Interschool team tournament this weekend at Robinsons Cybergate for five-player teams. The champion team will get P6,000 plus trophy, the second placer gets P4,000 and the third placer gets P3,000.
The sponsor is Cebu Chess Masters and Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca).
The top three board finishers will also win cash prizes and medals. There will also be a prize for the top female participant. This tournament is open to kiddies 14 years and under who are elementary students. Time control is 25 minutes plus 5-second increment.
Registration is now open and interested players may contact Eduard dela Torre at 09328622010 or Cebu Chess Masters at 2668966.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pestaño: Hobbies of world chess champions

Thursday, October 9, 2014

WORLD champions do not play and study chess all the time. They also have other
Mikhael Botvinnik had a doctorate degree in electrical engineering and was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honour for his work on power stations in the Urals during World War II .
He was a champion Charleston and foxtrot dancer who knew some difficult moves. He boasted that once, he got to dance with Galina Ulanova (one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century ) and he managed to outdo her! Botvinnik considered himself the champion of everything including skittles (lawn bowling).
Max Euwe, who was world champion from 1935-37, was also the European heavyweight amateur boxing champion. He went on to become president of the World Chess Federation (Fide) and wrote more than 80 books.
Anatoly Karpov devotes the same relentless dedication to collectibles as he has to chess. His collection features about 30,000 sport, Olympic and chess pins but he is more famous for his stamp collection.
Karpov has a range of valuable stamps from the USSR, France, Monaco, and the Netherlands, but his most valuable selection is from Belgium and the Belgian Congo, of which he has the largest existing collection. One of his Belgian stamps is one of just 14 examples of the famous Termonde invert which shows one of the buildings upside down. It is worth around $100,000. By some estimates Karpov’s collections of stamps and pins are worth $15 to 20 million.
Jose Capablanca was also an all-around athlete and was good in tennis, baseball and basketball. He was also good at bridge. Other bridge players were Alekhine, who also wanted to be an actor and was a pupil at Moscow’s first school for film actors. Emmanuelle Lasker was also a first-class contract bridge player and wrote a book about the game.
Incidentally Lasker had two doctorate degrees in mathematics and philosophy. His best friend and roommate was Albert Einstein, who considered him an equal.
Alekhine and Tal’s well-known pastimes were cognac and vodka.
Boris Spassky was a superb athlete and could jump 175 centimeters. Tigran Petrosian loves to watch the opera, particularly Verdi and Wagner.
Vassily Smyslov was a baritone singer, and only decided upon a chess career after a failed audition with the Bolshoi Theatre in 1950. He occasionally gave recitals during chess tournaments, often accompanied by fellow GM and pianist Mark Taimanov. His total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals is an all-time record.
Taimanov was a top concert pianist in the USSR and one of the top pianists in the 20th century.
François-André Philidor was regarded as the best chess player of the 18th century and during his musical career, produced over 20 opéras comiques.
Do you know that Bobby Fischer liked to sing? He once considered a career as a pop singer. Unfortunately there were no karaoke bars during his youth or he would have been a regular customer.
Another great who loves to sing is Nigel Short. He was a member of a band called The Urge which appeared on BBC TV popular children show called Blue Peter.
Max Harmonist was a German master whose was a ballet dancer and often performed in the
royal ballet.
Henri Grob was a master from Switzerland whose “hobby,” aside from portrait painting, was collecting women! He was married nine times. When once asked if he were married he replied “Fast immer” (“Almost always.”)
Judit Polgar was once ranked 32nd in ping pong in Hungary in the 12-Under category (1988). GM Irina Krush, current US champion, is also a ping pong player.
WGM Irina Solomonovna Levitina was a five-time world champion in contract bridge.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pestaño: Poker lingo and trivia

Friday, October 3, 2014

I HAVE been requested by some poker players to write about the game since it has been a long time since my last article. Poker and chess are dubbed “distant cousins.”
The figures are astonishing. It is estimated that there are more than 60 million poker players in the United States alone and more than 150 million worldwide. In fact, more people play poker than play golf, billiards, or tennis combined.
Now, all that will dramatically change due to the internet phenomenon Facebook. FB has entered the picture and the game, particularly Hold ‘em, and it has grown by leaps and
I became aware of poker on Facebook, just last month when the website invited me to play. Since then, the number of apps has increased to 28 and all are gaining adherents in astonishing numbers. Considering that there are an estimated1.4 billion users in Facebook, one site says that the potential market is 100 million in the site alone.
I have been asked to rate all the apps there and I am in the process of grading them as it is still increasing.
Hold ‘em is played in all the sites and poker clubs in Cebu--Metro, Red and All-in.
Players are dealt two cards called “holes” and five cards are laid on the table. These are called “community” cards and are used by all the players on the table. It is these two hole cards that have a lingo all its own.
Pocket A is called a “Monster,” while pocket K is called “Elvis Presley.” Pocket Q is called “Cowgirls,” while pocket J is called “Bachelors.” A KJ hand is “Kojak”and KQ card is called “ lovers.” An AK card is also called “Anna Kournikova” because of her strong sex appeal.
Pocket 9 is called “Meat Hooks” and pocket 8 is “Snowmen,” while Pocket 2 is “Ducks.” A 3 and 8 is nicknamed “Racquel Welch” because of her curvaceous body while a 5 and 9
is “Dolly Parton” after the film 5 to 9. Pocket 4 of clubs and spades is “Darth
Vader’ after “dark force” in Star Wars.
A 4 and 5 is called “Jesse James” because he was killed by a .45 while the “Dead Man’s Hand,” which consists of an ace of spades and eights was named after the hand that Wild Bill Hickok was holding at the time of his death. He was shot in the back of the head on Aug. 2, 1876 in Deadwood, South Dakota. Hickok was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1979, despite being tagged as a lousy poker player by historians.
The most famous actress to win a World Series of Poker bracelet is Jennifer Tilly in 2005.The most famous actor to win a World Series of Poker bracelet is Ben Affleck in 2004.
President Obama plays the game and is reputed to be an excellent bluffer. President Richard Nixon was a keen poker player and his winnings from poker helped fund his first campaign for Congress. Nineteen US presidents play poker.
A deck of playing cards is called “Railroad Bible.”
A professional poker player is called a “Shark” while a beginner is called “fish.” “Rock” is a tight player while “Maniac” calls and raises on every bet. “White meat” is money won in poker.
BANKRUPT NCFP. During the Tromso Olympiad, Butch Pichay bluntly told Wesley So that the PSC will withhold its funding if Wesley will be released to the USCF. Richie Garcia has vehemently denied this and there was supposed to be a confrontation between him and Pichay. What happened?
The NCFP is apparently disorganized and bankrupt. There are no more tournaments and players’ prizes are not given. I was informed by a reliable source that the players are now planning to sue Pichay and executive director Jayson Gonzales for estafa. Our GMs and IMs have been leaving for abroad for some time now as “Wala na chess dito.”