Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pestaño: Two legends join Hall of fame

Thursday, May 8, 2014

THE selection committee of the Chess Hall of Fame announce two additional nominees to the original 19 last April 23. They are Paul Keres from Estonia and Maia Chiburdanidze of Georgia.
Paul Keres (1916– 1975) was among the world’s top players from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s and author of several books. Chess historians consider Keres, who was dubbed “Paul the second,” as the strongest player never to become world champion.
Along with Victor Korchnoi (who I believe will join this elite group later), he defeated nine undisputed world champions—-more than anyone else in history.
Keres won both AVRO 1938 ( by tiebreak) and the 1963 Piatigorsky Cup, two of the strongest tournaments ever held. He also played on the gold medal winning teams of the Soviet Union in the 1952 – 1964 Chess Olympiads.
He was so popular in Estonia that his picture is in the currency of that country--the 5 Krooni bill (5 EEK).To my knowledge, he is the only chess player to have such honor.
Maia Chiburdanidze (born Jan. 17, 1961) of Georgia is the seventh (and then the youngest) women’s world champion at age 16.
She was only the second woman to earn the title of Grandmaster in 1984. She was a member of the Soviet and later Georgian women’s teams that dominated the women’s chess Olympiads through the 1980s and 1990s, winning nine team gold medals and four gold medals in Board 1.
Several postage stamps have even been designed in her country to celebrate her chess achievements. Mongolia issued a commemorative stamp in 1986 in her honor.
Wesley So. The Capablanca Memorial, which has been held annualy in Cuba since 1992 in honor of the former world champion from 1921 to 1927, started yesterday. It is one of best paid tournament in the world.
This chess festival will be played in three groups: The Elite Group is once again a six-player double round robin, the strongest in the history of the event. 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.
The Premier Group will be a 10-player round robin with other top Cuban players and from other countries (8 GMs and 2 IMs). The Open A Group will be played over 10 rounds of Swiss system with about 100 participants. This section is open to the players with international titles and those rated above 2300, youth champions and the qualifiers from last year’s Open B division.
FANTASTIC TOWN. Khanty Mansiyk is an oil boom town in Russia. Despite its small population (80,000) it is considered the chess capital of the world. Consider this: the city built the Ugra Chess Academy, which has been the venue of the 2010 Chess Olympiad and the Women’s World Chess Championship 2012. In 2010, the Olympic Hotel was built just to house the players in the Olympiad. It also hosted the 2005 Chess World Cup, the 2007 Chess World Cup, the 2009 Chess World Cup and the 2011 Chess World Cup.
It hosted the World Rapid and Blitz Championship in 2013 .
The 2014 Women Blitz Championship ( won Anna Muzychuk) concludes a row of official events that lasted nearly two months in Khanty-Mansiysk! It all started early March with the Fide Candidates tournament (won by Vishy Anand), followed by the Fide Women Grand Prix ( won by Hou Yifan) and the Fide women’s rapid championship (Kateryna Lahno).
It’s a fantastic chess-loving town!

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