Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pestaño: Keep your mental health, play chess

Thursday, May 15, 2014

LAST month I wanted to visit a classmate in high school but when I called up, I was informed that he does not know me anymore as he has Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
The statistics are alarming and staggering. Worldwide, nearly 46 million people are believed to be living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. By 2030, if breakthroughs are not discovered, we will see an increase to nearly 76 million. By 2050, rates could exceed 135 million.
By 2050, cost of care for Alzheimer’s is projected to balloon from $203 billion in 2013 to $1.2 trillion. Today, caregivers provide an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible degeneration of the brain that causes disruptions in memory, cognition, personality, and other functions that eventually lead to death from complete brain failure.
Recent research indicates that playing chess can reduce the incidence of AD by 75 percent. GM Arnold Denker claims that no grandmaster has ever been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Medical authorities urge seniors to be mentally active and some experts believe that playing chess regularly may be a uniquely positioned activity in inhibiting Alzheimer’s symptoms. Denker challenged the chess community to identify an exception to this amazing coincidence.
If dementia care were a country’s economy, it would be the world’s 18th largest, ranking between Turkey and Indonesia. If it were a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue.
Wesley So. The Raul Capablanca Memorial has been held annually in Cuba since 1962 in honor of the former world champion (1921 to 1927). Prizes are one of the highest in the world.
The players are Lenier Dominguez (Cuba, winner in 2004, 2008 and 2009), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, winner in 2005-2007 and 2010-2012), Wesley So (Philippines, first participation), Francisco Vallejo (Spain, winner in 2001), Zoltan Almasi (Hungary, winner in 2013) and Lazaro Bruzon (Cuba, winner in 2002). All are rated over 2700.
Wesley is now leading the double-round robin tournament with two wins and three draws after 5 rounds. His live rating is now 2740, just three points off the world’s top 15.. He won over Almasi and Vallejo in the first round robin.
Fide elections. The Philippines has been divided in the on-going battle between former champion Garry Kasparov and incumbent president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for Fide president.
The elections will be held this August during the Olympiad in Norway.
In Ilyumzhinov’s ticket is Abraham Tolentino of the Philippines, who will vie for secretary general against Ignatius Leong of Singapore who is in Kasparov`s ticket..
On the other hand, NCFP president Prospero Pichay has openly endorsed Leong and Kasparov`s candidacy.
It will be a very close elections as Kasparov has been traveling all over the world for over a year now. Kirsan who is seeking his sixth terms since 1995, has secured nominations from 56 national federations--22 from Africa, 18 from the Americas, nine from Asia and seven from Europe.
Kasparov has been endorsed by Africa (5), Europe (5), Americas (2) and Asia (8) including that of Pichay, who had committed the Philippine vote to Kasparov when he was in Manila last November.
Kasparov wants Pichay’s to be president of the Asian Chess Federation to replace current head, Sheikh Sultan Bing Khalifa Al Nahayan of the United Arab Emirates, who is supporting Kirsan.
Cepca. Our May tournament will be this Sunday at Handuraw Gorordo starting at 2 p.m.
Come play and enjoy the fun. Format is five rounds Swiss with handicapping of 15 minutes for Class A and 20 minutes for Class B players.

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