Friday, April 24, 2015

Pestaño: Lotis Key and other chess dramas

 Friday, April 24, 2015
LOTIS Key is a former professional film and theater actress who starred in almost 90 major films and was once romantically linked with the late Dolphy. She is the author of two novels, “The Song Of The Tree” and “A Thing Devoted.” She is married to Bambi Kabigting, a former basketball player of the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles and Crispa Redmanizers.
She has been in the limelight lately as the “foster” mother of chess sensation Wesley So and became controversial during the just-concluded US Championship, which I featured last week. Here is a letter from her daughter in Facebook. The daughter describes herself as Wesley`s best friend.
“My mother, Lotis Key-Kabigting has given up her entire life to support Wesley, and help him achieve his dreams of becoming world Champion.
She has devoted endless love, time, energy and money to aid him in becoming a better person and chess player.
When my mother says she’s going to do something, she gives everything and holds nothing back. She has plunged head-on into this raging river, and in the process, has suffered much in the way of persecution from people who wish they could be her and do the amazing things she does.
She has given up all the comforts of home as she has almost no time now to spend at the house with her family, beloved animals, or attend to her businesses. She has no time for friends, socializing, or personal vacations. She has put everything on hold for Wesley.
She has committed herself to travel with Wesley to every single tournament he has this year so that he won’t be alone, will be protected, and can focus on nothing but chess. You cannot imagine her sacrifice and dedication.
She has endured the threats and insults hurled at her with grace, and even in the face of extreme adversity, continues to move ahead with steadfastness and courage.
She continues to shield and protect those whom she loves because she is a warrior. Well Mom, I want everyone to know that I am here and I will always fight for you.
She is the most selfless person I know, and always gives a hundred percent to help anyone and everyone become the best they can be.
No one can hold a candle to her. I love you Mom
.--Your daughter, Abigail Grace Key
The chess world was full of other dramas last week with news of Wesley So’s disqualification in the ninth round of the US Chess Championship and Gaioz Nigalidze getting caught cheating at the Dubai Open.
The US Championship was highly successful but it was Wesley So’s sensational forfeit that took most of the attention. The reason was not only controversial but absurd.
In a stunning decision, the arbiter Tony Rich forfeited Wesley So when it was discovered that So was writing notes to himself during the game,
At first, it seemed like an abuse of power by a rules-obsessed referee. Wesley wrote a reminder to himself on a piece of paper: “Double-check, triple-check and use your time.” It turned out that he had been warned twice already not to do it. Varuzhan Akobian complained to the arbiter who then forfeited Wesley
“So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbance, nor did he cheat. So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.” Rich could have penalized So by just deducting time for his clock,
Cheating at chess tournaments has become easier with technology.
GM Gaioz Nigalidze was caught cheating in the Dubai Open tournament. He was using a smart phone that he’d hidden in the bathroom. He was expelled from the tournament and faces a three to 15-year ban.
The motivation in Dubai is obvious. The winner gets $12,000.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pestaño: Wesley So’s life in turmoil

THE 2015 US Championship has ended and Wesley lost four times in 11 games to finish third behind winner Hikaru Nakamura and Ray Robson.
The reason behind his dismal performance has emerged in the open and was a big scandal during the tournament. Wesley’s personal life is in turmoil.
“There are personal problems in my family,” So said “Trying to fix them during this tournament caused a lot of stress and tension.”
Since quitting school, So has been living with Lotis Key (a famous actress in the 7o's) and her husband, former PBA cager Renato Kabigting in Minnetonka in Minnesota
Lotis and Leny, Wesley’s mother, had a confrontation in this tournament. Leny says she and her family “are at the end of our rope and don’t know how to proceed.” She also said that Lotis is manipulative and responsible for a change in her son’s behavior and of her blocking access to her son.
Lotis earlier said that Wesley told her his mother made threats, including cutting contact with his sisters if he didn’t return to college.
He is slated to play tomorrow in the Gashimov Memorial—a category 22 tournament—in Azerbaijan, his biggest test ever .
Ruelan Memorial. Our lady journalist KC Morala sent in this report. “Merben Roque remained unbeaten in seven rounds and took the champion trophy in the 4th Marcelo Ruelan Memorial Open Chess Tournament at the Rapid Chess Club Elizabeth Mall last April 11.
After drawing his sixth round match to Richard Natividad, NM Roque sealed a win against Erwin Ababat in the last round to secure his victory.
Elwin Retanal and Rommel Ganzon drew in the seventh round, while Allan Salientes won against Jeffu Dorog, while Mario Mangubat vanquished Moreno. Retanal, Ganzon, Salientes and Mangubat tied for second to fifth places at 6 points.
Rodrigo Alejandre, Alfer Fernandez, Edcel Montoya, and me posted 5.5 pts and tied for sixth to ninth places. Meanwhile, I also nabbed the Top Lady Award.
Erwin Ababat, Carlos Moreno III, Jeffu Dorog, Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano, Adrian de Luna, Arnold Cadiz, Romulo Pialan, William Retanal, Jr., Ceferino Vizco, Jr., KeithClaire Carlisle Morala, and John Francis Balbona finished at 10th to 20th places.
Muzychuk. Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine is the new women’s world chess Champion. She won the Fide knockout championship in Sochi, Russia, after defeating Natalia Pogonina (Russia) 2.5 to 1.5 in the final match. She will defend her title against Yifan Hou later this year.
Dubai Open. Normally I would not have featured this tournament but Cepca member and formerSun.Star sports editor Jobannie Tabada is playing, being based in Dubai. This is also an important tournament for Pinoys Haridas Pascua and Catalino Sadorra as both are seeking their third and final GM norms. Both have failed.
A field of 151 players from 39 countries are competing with 39 Grand masters, eight Woman Grand masters, 22 International Masters, 3 woman International masters, 13 FIDE Masters and three Woman FIDE Masters.
Jobannie created a stir with a major upset in the first round over Super GM Yuriy Kuzubov, who is rated 2660. However, his results have not been significant in succeeding games.
This tournament merited major headlines. A chess Grandmaster, Gaioz Nigalidze of Georgia has been banned from this tournament after he was found to have used an electronic device hidden in the toilet during a match with Armenia’s Tigran Petrosian.
He has been banned for three years and his title might be withdrawn.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pestaño: Vishy Anand has a planet

 Thursday, April 09, 2015

I have always been fascinated with astronomy and became a member of the Philippine Astronomical Society in the 70s and 80s.
I read on Chessbase that a minor planet has been named after Anand, the former world chess champion.
I thought it was a joke as it was April Fool’s day, which is a tradition in Chessbase, however it is really true.
Minor planets or asteroids are rocky bodies that range in size from boulders tens of meters wide to the size of islands hundreds of kilometers across mostly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, called the Main Asteroid Belt.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), through its 15-member Committee on Small Body Nomenclature, is the scientific organization responsible for the naming of asteroids and comets
Michael Rudenko, a committee member and a chess enthusiast , named it after Anand, who is an astronomy buff. The minor planet is now called 4538 Vishy Anand and he is ecstatic!
Anand sometimes uses the Telescope in Australia and is credited for capturing the images of the Lagoon Nebula and Jellyfish nebula, both galactic remnants of a supernova. The images produced by Anand show all the unique details.
Anand is not the only chess player with a a minor planet. The other ones are Alexander Alekhine (1909 Alekhin), Vassily Smyslov (5413 Smyslov), Anatoly Karpov(90174 Karpov), Mikhail Chigorin (7268 Chigorin) and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov(5570 Kirsan).
There are also minor planets named after prominent Filipinos. I will mention only three- Victor Badillo, Roman Kintanar and Christopher Go.
I met Badillo (4816 Badillo) in the 70s during my active days with the Philippine Astronomical Society as he was its founder and president .He was a Jesuit and director of the Ateneo Observatory.
Roman Kintanar (6636 Kintanar) s a meteorologist and was director of Pagasa for 40 years and comes from Argao. He is related to Clodualdo Bajenting, a Kintanar, who was with Sunstar.Cebu.
Christopher Go( 30100 Christophergo) is a Cebuano Astro- photographer since 1990. He produced the excellent images of the eclipses of the Galilean moons of Jupiter and discovered the red spot jr. of Jupiter in 2006.
Christopher was given the Presidential Order of Lakandula for his contribution to astronomy. He also received the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO) Walter Haas Award.
Since our topic is astronomy, permit me to add some important items.
Mankind`s most ambitious project ever is Mars One,which is to colonize Mars by 2024.
When the project asked for volunteers, more than 200,000 applied knowing that it is a one-way ticket and they will never return. That group was whittled down to 1058 in December 2013 and further to 660 by February 2014.
There are now only 100 left -50 men and 50 women- and will undergo more screening that can “endure all the hardships of a permanent settlement in Mars”.
The big news is that two pinays are included namely Jaymee del Rosario 27 and Minerva Raneses 24.
Jaymee said .” “I want to offer my life experience, knowledge and skills to the Mars One team to achieve the goal for preserving humanity,”
Rañeses, 24, describes herself as an “intellectual wanderer” who seeks “growth in knowledge and philosophy.”
You might be surprised to know that there are two more “willing” - Senators Nancy Binay and Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Miriam was reportedly quoted as saying “. I want to live in a place where I will only be dealing with intellectuals, not these good-for-nothing, self-absorbed and corrupt colleagues of mine in Philippine Congress.I believe that the planet Mars is that place.” How about that!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pestaño: Weird women’s world championship

 Sunday, April 05, 2015
The 2014 Women’s World Championship is unique in several ways. Although its’ called the 2014 championships, it is being held this year. There are actually two world women championships to be held in 2015.
It was originally scheduled from Oct. 11 to 31, 2014 however problems in finding a sponsor and host city eventually forced FIDE to announce the postponement of the Championship. The unclear state of the tournament was highly criticized by the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP).
On Nov. 20, 2014 it was announced that the championship would take place in Sochi, Russia on March 17 to April 7 this year thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin . If you will recall, Garry Kasparov (Putin’s fiercest critic) promised to solve this problem.
The women’s championship uses a knockout format on even-numbered years and uses a match play for odd years.
Another interesting item is that the defending champion Hou Yifan of China is conspicuously absent. Hou opted not to play because of a prior commitment to a chess tournament in Hawaii.
However, Hou won the 2014 -2015 Grand Prix and will therefore meet the 2014 champion via match play later this year. They will play in the second half of 2015 in a 10-game match for the title.
The women’s world championship, currently in the finals, features 64 players in a series of knockout matches. The early rounds are two games each, plus a tiebreak if necessary. The final is a match of four games, plus possible tiebreakers. The prize fund is $450,000 with the winner taking home $60,000.
The players are selected through national chess championships, Zonal tournaments and continental chess championship.
Natalia Pogonina claimed her place in the final after a 116-move win over Pia Cramling in the tie-break.
The Russian faced Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine, who overcame Harika Dronovali of India after the latter failed to convert a completely won position.
The first game in the final was a draw and I expect the match to go the full distance and it will be won via tiebreakers. It is also interesting to note that both women are very beautiful and lovely.
STRONG FIELD. The 2015 US Championship has arguably the strongest field ever .The sponsor is Rex Sinquefied and has a prize fund of $175,000 . There is also the $64,000 “Fischer Bonus.” Named after Bobby Fischer’s sensational 11-0 win in the 1963-64 U.S. Championship, it is given to any player who can match the feat.
This year’s 12-player tournament will run through April 13 and the participants hold an average rating of 2642, higher than any other national championship in U.S. history. Two of the participants, Hikaru Nakamura (2798) and Wesley So (2788), are ranked No. 3 and No. 8 in the world, respectively.
More than half the field are under the age of 25. After two rounds Wesley won over Daniel Naroditsky 19 (2663) and Samuel Shankland 23 (2661). After a battle of almost six hours, Nakamura also won over Conrad Holt 2530 (US Open champion) and Varuzhan Akobian (2630) .
Wesley was set to play Samuel Sevian 2530 (wild card entry) and the youngest GM today, while Nakamura was to face the dangerous Gata Kamsky (2683).
Wesley and Nakamura could also face off probably to determine the champion. The last time they met was early this year in Tata Steel, where they had a draw.
Running concurrently is the U.S. Women’s Championship featuring Irina Krush, who has won the title six times since first winning as a 14 year old in 1998.
Irina will be looking to capture her seventh title as her main rival Anna Zatonskih is not participating this year.