Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pestaño: Norway hosts biggest chess tournament

Thursday, July 3, 2014

ONE of the world’s largest sporting event featuring more than 1,600 players from 181 countries will take place in Tromso, Norway on Aug, 1-14. This is the largest Olympiad ever.
Earlier I reported that the organizers had some funding problems and their local media speculated that the event might even be cancelled. Now, the government has promised an additional funding of 15 million Kroner (about $2.5 million) so the show will go on.
An important side event is the Fide elections, where the charismatic former world champion Garry Kasparov will be contesting the presidency against incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
Kirsan has been president since 1995 and has warded off previous challenges. Although this is his biggest challenge ever, he will probably be reelected.
There is some confusion in our men’s and women’s team. It was announced earlier that Wesley So, Julio Catalino Sadorra and Oliver Barbosa have been seeded to the Men`s team and the other three players will be selected after the National open, which ended a few days ago.
The top three winners in the National Open are the legendary Eugene Torre, John Paul Gomez and Paolo Bersamina.
Eugene (62!) will be competing for a record 21st time in the Olympiad, the most by any player worldwide and will probably not be broken. From 1970 to 2010 he played 20 times in the Olympiad, 19 of which were consecutive, breaking the old record of 18 by Heikki Westerinen. His 20 non-consecutive appearances tied the record set by Hungary’s Lajos Portisch .
Gomez is rated No.4 in the Philippines and No. 571 in the world and is only 28 years old while Bersamina is just 16 and is rated 2330. Paolo is also No.1 in the Philippines in the 18-Under bracket, 17th in Asia inthe 16U and 58th in the world 16U.
Sadorra is 28 with a rating of 2600. He is the no.2 pinoy player behind So and 27th in Asia and also no.227 worldwide.
Barbosa is 27 and has rating of 2561. A major highlight was winning the 10th Parsvnath Grandmasters Tournament in New Delhi in 2012, with 9.5/11 and an astounding performance rating of 2710. His live rating went up to 2627. Although seeded, Oliver is unsure of playing as he is reportedly not happy with his monthly allowance of P8,000 from the Philippine Sports Commission and that is understandable.
The case of Wesley so is a sensitive issue. Although, he has been nominated to the top board, he will probably not be playing for the country, which is sad.
I believe there was a misunderstanding as it was earlier reported in media that he was changing his citizenship, which was false. Wesley clarified that he was only changing federations from NCFP to USCF.
Because of this, his monthly allowance of P40,000 was cancelled. Also Pichay is adamant and refuses to officially approve his transfer. This will mean that Wesley must pay NCFP 50,000 euros (about P3 million) or wait for two years.
I have an advice to Wesley. Play for the Philippine team in this Olympiad. It is not too late. It was your original intention anyway. You can then change federation later and will probably be released by Pichay without paying the 50,000 euros. At this stage, it is crucial that you make the right decision. Susan Polgar, please take note!
The women’s players who qualified from the National Open are Janelle Frayna, Catherine Perena, Christy Bernales, Cherry Ann Mejia and Jedara Docena. There is some confusion here as it was earlier reported that Cheradee Camacho (based in the US and the country`s highest rated lady player) and Jan Jodylin Fronda (RP no. 4) were seeded outright. Both did not compete in the National Open.

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