Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pestaño: Wesley is now the No. 7 in the world

Thursday, January 29, 2015

THE tournament in Wijk Aan Zee has a long tradition. Now known as Tata Steel, it is on its 77th year and has grown into an international tournament of world class renown, for which top players will clear their diaries. Among chess players it is known as the “Wimbledon of chess.”
During the tournament more than one million people visited the official website.
The participants of the 2015 edition are Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Teimour Radjabov, Baadur Jobava, Ding Liren, Vassily Ivanchuk, Ivan Saric, Hou Yifan, and Loek van Wely. Average rating of the players is 2747.
This is a tournament to remember for Wesley and his many fans around the world. This was his greatest test and he hurdled it with flying colors. He finished in a four-way tie for the second to fifth places, just half a point behind world champion Magnus Carlsen.
Rated 2770 at the start of the tournament and at in 10th place, Wesley now has a live rating of 2788, good for seventh place in the world. So has surpassed Bobby Fischer’s highest Fide rating of 2785, which was achieved after the epic world championship match with Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1972. So is also now the No. 1 player in America overtaking Hikaru Nakamura, and he will be 12 rating points above Nakamura in the next Fide list in February.
This tournament is a clear indication that Wesley has arrived. World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana finished 1.5 points behind him and Levon Aronian, last year’s winner and formerly world No. 2, finished a full three points behind.
Wesley had five wins,seven draws and one loss for a total performance rating of 2854. His one loss to Anish Giri was an epic match lasting 111 moves and took more than 8 hours and 40 minutes .This loss ended his unbeaten run at 54 games.
Incidentally, all the players had losses including Carlsen. Two of So’s wins came at the expense of Armenian Levon Aronian, the 2014 titlist, and Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk, a former World Challenger, while two of his draws were with Carlsen himself and Caruana.
Wesley’s goal for the year is to reach 2800 and he is just 12 points away, and he still has 11 months left to achieve it. Leonard Barden, one of the oldest hands in chess journalism, wrote “He could become the real deal, the American with a chance of regaining the crown once held by Fischer. “It is rather odd as Wesley is now known as American not Filipino!”
His former coach at Webster University Paul Truong said in his Facebook page: “The next six months will be crucial. Top players will no longer underestimate him, and lower rated players will play more drawish lines against him.”
Professions. Last week I wrote about the professions of Cepca members. I missed out on CPA member Susan Itaas, who is now based in the USA and is the only Woman National Master in Cebu and Olympiad player.
Harvey Jane Hilvano is a Civil and Structural Engineer who is now the club sectretary.
If you want a child to improve in chess Cebu has a school founded by IM Kimkim Yap and Cebu Chess Masters of Eduard and Therese dela Torre.
Cepca. There will be an important change in our monthly tournament. The members will now be divided into two groups--A and B. The A players will play among themselves only likewise for B players.
Format will be five rounds Swiss with a time control of 20 minutes per player for each group.
For this month, children of Cepca members will be allowed to participate and they will also be screened as to what group they can play.
The tournament will be tomorrow Saturday at Handuraw Gorordo at 2 p.m.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pestaño: How you can lose games

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ED Beronio of Cavite probably has the most intensive information and collection of trivia than anybody else in the Philippines. He is comparable to the legendary and hall of famer American Bill Wall. He has sent me his collection, which I have used for reference from time to time.
There are a good number of signs that you are in danger of losing a game. Watch out for these possibilities.
You have a piece or pieces that can be easily attacked by a piece of lower value or loose (unguarded) pieces.
You have one or more pieces that can be attacked via “discovered move.” Your back rank is weak or vulnerable. Also you have pinned or “skewerable” pieces along the same rank ,file or diagonal.
Watch out for pieces or squares vulnerable to a knight fork. Don`t overwork your pieces meaning, guarding more than one piece or square.
Your opponent has pawn or pawns nearing promotion or you have weak squares or pawns that cannot be defended. You have inadequately guarded pieces or squares. You are behind in the development of pieces in the opening.
You have an uncastled king or no pawn protection with queens on the board. Your opponent has opening lines for rooks, queens or bishops on your king.
Some of your piece or pieces have little mobility or might easily be attacked or trapped.
You don`t have a balanced offense or defense on both sides of the board as most of your pieces are on one side. Your opponent has three or more pieces attacking your king.
Your opponent has a “desperado” piece that is lost anyway and can give itself up for maximum destruction.
PROFESSIONS. Most GMs do not rely on chess alone to support themselves and their families although there are some exceptions. That is the reason why the parents of Wesley So do not approve his decision to quit school at Webster University, where he is a scholar and already on third year taking up business administration, to devote full time to chess.
Those who are engineers are world champion Mikhael Botvinnik, who has a doctorate degree in Electrical Engineering; like myself, Edmar Mednis, who played a simul among Cepca members in 1996, is a chemical engineer; Alex Yermolisnky is also a chemical engineer, while Alexander Kotov and Edward Lasker are mechanical engineers.
Cepca engineers are Jerry Maratas, Marvynne Gurdiana, Jimmy Ty, Loy Miñoza, Bombi Aznar, my brother Danny, Jeffrey Solis, Jun Olis, Butchie Abaya, Pablito Argamosa, Ben Dimaano, Bob Inocian, John Velarde, Ronald Galindo, Maggie Dionson and Ogie Reyes.
Among the GMs, the accountants were Henry Bird and Samuel Rehevsky, while in Cepca, the CPAs are Felxberto Balbona, Carlo Maraat, Sonny Sollano, Jun Ortiz.
Among the Pinoy players, the lawyers Rosendo Balinas and Samuel Estimo. Another lawyer who is considered the greatest player of all time is Paul Morphy, who reportedly memorized the Louisiana Code. Fridrik Olaffson, Savielly Tartakower, Josef Noa, who became a judge, Sidney Bernstein, and Michael Wilder were all successful lawyers.
Cepca lawyers are Alex Tolentino, Sisinio and his brother Andales, Manuel Iway, Damaso Uy, Migs Enriquez, former mayor Alvin Garcia and of course Mayor Mike Rama.
William Lombardy was a priest and Ruy Lopez, who is famous for the opening that bears his name, was a monk.
Karl Burger, Helmut Pfleger and Siegbert Tarrasch are both doctors and Vincenzo Castaldi is a dentist. Kevitz is a pharmacist. Darcy Tabotabo is an eye specialist. El Labunog is a Med Tech.
Those who have unique occupations are Max Harmonist, who is a ballet dancer, Robert Huebner, who is classified as a papyrologist, and Reuben Fine a psychoanalyst.
Professors were Max Euwe, who at one time was boxing heavyweight champion in Europe, and Robert Byrne, John Nunn and William Formanek, who are all mathematicians.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pestaño: Controversial figures in chess

Thursday, January 15, 2015

JOSEPH Henry Blackburne’s nickname was the Black Death . He was known for his temper.
After losing to Steinitz in a match, he threw him out of a window. Luckily for Steinitz, they were on the first floor.
In 1963 a wife of a chess player in Milan filed for divorce because he was so obsessed with chess that he refused to work and support their two children. The court ruled that Mrs. Edvige Ruinstein was entitled to a separation from her husband Weaver Adams was a US master who won the US Open in 1948. In 1939 he wrote a book entitled, White to Play and Win. After publication, he played a tournament in Dallas and lost all his games using the white pieces and won all his games using the black pieces!
Claude Frizzel Bloodgood was a controversial American chess player. As a young man, he got into trouble with the law and was arrested several times. He was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering his mother. He was scheduled for execution six times, but received a reprieve on all occasions. While on death row, he played over 1,200 postal games. The postage was paid by the State of Virginia.
Nick Down joined the 1985-86 British Ladies Correspondence Chess Championship as Miss Leigh Strange and won the event. He was later caught and admitted his deception was a prank that got out of hand. He was later banned from the British Correspondence Chess Association.
Marcel Duchamp was one of the founders of Dadaism, surrealism, and cubism. He is a chess player who used chess themes in many of his paintings. In 1927 his bride Lydie glued all his chess pieces to the board because he spent his honeymoon week studying chess. They were divorced three months later. He played for France in four Olympiads.
In 1868, Georg Carr played chess with a friend five miles away using a telescope and semaphore, which is a system of sending messages by holding two flags or poles in certain positions according to an alphabetic code.
Robert Wyller was a chess addict who played 1,001 correspondece games at once in 1948.
Willie Sutton was a famous bank robber who was arrested by the FBI in 1952. In his possession was a book entitled “How to Think Ahead in Chess.”
Norman Whitaker tied for the US Open Championship in 1923. He received $100,000 from Charles Lindbergh on a promise to return the Lindbergh baby. It was a scam in which he went to prison for five years. The money was never found.
Diana Lanni ran away from home to escape domestic turmoil, worked as a topless dancer and a prostitute. She entered a women’s tournament in Michigan and won. She was a drug addict and suicidal and wound up in Bellevue Hospital in New York.
Lev Loshinsky is considered the greatest of all problem composers. He won over 70 first place prizes in problem-composing contests
Picpa team tournament. On Jan. 24 and 25, there will be an Open tem tournament composed of at least four players with a time control of 30 minutes plus 10 seconds increment.
Format is a single round robin among the participating teams.
Prizes are P12,000 and P8,000 for the top two and P6,000 and P4,000 for the third and fourth-placed teams. The venue is SM City and the registration fee is P1,200. Each team must have a CPA as one of the members.
Tata Steel. The first Super tournament of the year is the greatest challenge of Wesley So.
Wesley (2770) is doing well with a win against the 2014 winner Lervon Aronian 2797 and three draws against world champion Magnus Carlsen (2862), Fabiano Caruana (2820) and Radislaw Wojtaszek (2744), who defeated Carlsen in the rhird round. He has a performance rating so far with 2901. Vassily Ivanchuk is leading with 3.5 points.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pestaño: Wesley So quits school, turns professional

Thursday, January 8, 2015

WESLEY So has quit school to devote full time to chess.
His mother, Leny, when asked about the decision of Wesley was clearly upset and has this to say “Yes, but only after he graduates from Webster University. We had hoped it did not mean that he would give up his education. No matter how good he is as a chess professional, it cannot replace education and a university degree. All of us encouraged him to stay in school. He still has so much to learn. Unfortunately, there were poor advice given to Wesley, which is not to our liking.”
Susan Polgar, his coach at Webster University where he is now on his third year as a scholar studying business, also said “While I cannot speak about the specifics of his abrupt departure, all his teammates and I wish him the best,”
Polgar said she has done everything to improve So’s potential.
“We did everything we could to help Wesley reach the top 10 in the world, break the 2760 mark along with many big tournaments in the past two years. After nearly two and a half years of training at Spice, now is the time for him to show what he is made of,” she said.
In his last tournament, Wesley captured the North American Open Chess Championship and won $10,000. He was never threatened with seven wins and two draws for a remarkable eight points in nine rounds.
Wesley was so dominating that his closest pursuers only had 6.5 points. He now has a
rating of 2770, and is no.10 in the world.
This was his fourth win for the year after winning the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba last May, the ACP Golden Classic in Bergamo, Italy in July and last October’s Millionaire Chess Cup also in Las Vegas, where he pocketed $100,000, his biggest purse to date.
However he lost to Hikaru Nakamura in their blitz Death Match at 11.5-21.5 with time control of one ,three and five minutes. Nakamura is considered to be the best blitz player in the world. In a match between the United States’ top two players, Nakamura was clearly the dominant player over So, whose blitz rating is 2721 compared to Nakamura’s blitz rating of 2883, Wesley’s acid test will be the 77th edition of Tata Steel (formerly Corus ) to take place from Jan. 9-25.
The venue is once more the traditional city of Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. However two rounds will be played in satellite venues. On Jan. 15, the fifth round will take place in De Rotterdam, the recently opened building at the waterfront of the River Meuse in Rotterdam. And on Jan. 21, the 10th round will take place in the recently renovated press centre Nieuwspoort in The Hague.
Reigning Champion and World Number 1 Magnus Carlsen faces a big challenge. Number two Fabiano Caruana, the hottest player now, and 2014 champion Levon Aronian are also competing. Wesley is up there among the favorites. The Masters group also is back to 14 players and 13 rounds.
Here are the Group A players and their World Ranking --Magnus Carlsen (1), Fabiano Caruana (2), Levon Aronian (6), Anish Giri (7), Wesley So (10) , Maxime Vachier-Lagrave(13), Radoslaw Wojtazek (15), Temour Radjadov (20) Ding Liren (22), Jovaba Baadur (26) Vasilly Ivanchuk (33), Hou Yifan (70) and Loek van Wely (81), Saric Ivan (82).
Wesley’s main goal is to break the 2800 barrier, which are occupied currently by Carlsen (Norway ) 2862, Caruana (Italy) 2829, Alexander Grischuk (Russia) 2810 and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) 2800.
When asked if he is ready for the top 5, Wesley said“Absolutely! To always improve is my main goal. I hope it happens soon.”
He does not underestimate though the difficulty of being an elite player.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pestaño: Popes who love to play chess

Monday, January 5, 2015

THE greatest achievement of any man is not winning the Nobel Prize or becoming president of a large country like the USA but becoming Pope.
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican figures.
His Holiness Pope Francis has captured the world’s attention for his simple message of God’s boundless love and mercy. My observation is that he will be one of the greatest and most popular Popes of all time.
Pope Francis will visit the Philippines on Jan. 15-19 primarily to comfort Filipinos devastated by typhoon Yolanda and the earthquake that hit the Visayas. He will visit at least 11 venues in the province of Leyte and Metro Manila.
Because of the stature and importance of the man, it has been proposed that there will be no classes in Metro Manila, Samar and Leyte.
I hope that the Pope will also visit Cebu, being the cradle of Christianity in the Philippines.
I don’t know whether Pope Francis is a chess player but I would not be surprised if he is. Chess is a popular sport among seminarians.
Popes who played chess included Pope Leo XIII, Pope Gregory VI, Pope Innocent III, Pope John Paul I, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Leo X.
Chess and religion did not always get along. Chess was forbidden by  Roman Catholics and other religions as it was considered idolatry because of its graven images and a waste of time. Catholics were forbidden to play chess up to 1299.
When it spread to Europe, the pieces were changed to keep from being “graven” images--King and Queen, knights, castles (rooks) and foot soldiers (pawns).  Bishops had great power 400 to 500 years ago in Europe and actually had their own armies.  Hence the Bishop fit nicely.
A History of Chess by H.J.R. Murray (Oxford, 1913) stated that Leo X (1475-1521) was “a keen chess player.” This mentioned not only Leo X but also Leo XIII , described as “a constant player for over 30 years whose skill at the game was by no means mediocre.” A game (Giuoco Piano) purportedly played by Leo XIII, while he was still Cardinal Pecci (i.e. in the mid-1870s) has been widely published.
What is not generally known is that John Paul II was a composer of chess problems. I have known a lot of chess players and those who compose chess problems are the rarest of all. It requires a lot of creativity. Because of his passion for chess, Fide awarded the title “Grand Commander of the Legion of Grandmasters” to him in 1999.
Pope Gregory VI was described as an avid chess player. He was very controversial as he was accused of purchasing the papacy and freely admitted it. The bishops called upon him to resign. Gregory VI, seeing that little choice was left to him, complied on his own accord and resigned. had several online tournaments named after Pope Innocent III.
The next Wesley So? Whenever you come across a kid named Alekhine, you can be sure that the father is a chess player. I have known two fathers who named their child Alekhine--Cepca stalwart Jun Olis and Hamid Nouri--a familiar figure during my Luneta days and a Fide Master.
In the Asean Age Group Championships in Thailand in June last year, Alekhine Nouri won the Open 8-Under category and was awarded a FM title, making him the youngest in the world.
Now he is making waves in an on-going major tournament in Las Vegas with six straight wins against adults in the 1900 category. His family moved to California last year so he would be exposed to world-class chess.