Friday, May 29, 2015

Pestaño: Marie Ernestine makes chess history

 Friday, May 29, 2015
CHESS history will be signed and sealed today. Marie Ernestine School will include chess in their curriculum starting this coming school year. The Memorandum of Agreement of the school, the Cebu School of Chess and the Cebu Chess Masters will be finalized today at 3 p.m. at their school in Canjulao, Lapu-Lapu City.
Signing for the school are Dr. Marie Ernestine D. Fajatin, school founder and Dr. Michael Robert Dennis D. Fajatin, VP for Administration and International Master Kim Steven Yap of Cebu School of Chess, Therese dela Torre and National Master Merben Roque of Cebu Chess Masters. Witnesses will be Eric Maria S. Dizon and Jojo Muralla of Cepca.
To my knowledge this will be the first time to happen in the Philippines.
Invited to witness this unique event is Mayor Mike Rama and former Mayor Alvin Garcia. Also invited is the president of Cebu Chess Federation Benjamin B. Lim. The three are honorary members of the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca), which serves as the adviser of this project.
Selected members of Cepca will also be present and all print media has been invited.
Why chess? Because chess is more than a board game. It teaches us to think analytically and be more successful in life, no matter what profession one pursues.
In about 40 countries across the globe, including Brazil, Spain, Armenia, Venezuela ,China, Singapore, Israel, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Greece, chess is incorporated into the country’s curriculum.
In a previous article I also noted that “We face in our modern, splintered world not only a crisis in education, but more pointedly a crisis of understanding--of thought and of willingness to engage in thought. Thinking tools like chess, help our minds expand, grow comfortable with abstraction and learn to navigate complex systems.”
DepEd Secretary Lapus said, “It is a game that improves organizational and analytical skills. Children when exposed to this game at an early age achieve academically better than those not engaged. Likewise, chess is among the activities that help build memory skills, concentration, self-confidence, self-esteem and in making disciplined decisions. Playing chess provides opportunities to practice such values as perseverance, honesty, and sportsmanship.”
Jerry Maratas has approved the donation of 15 chess sets and two chess clocks to the school from Cepca. Bodjie Lim will also donate two brand new digital chess clocks to the school. The school will also provide scholarships to child chess geniuses.
One of the prime movers of Chess in Schools (CIS) is no less than former world champion Garry Kasparov thru the foundation (KCF) bearing his name.
He said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in the most worthy of endeavors – the education of our children. In an age when schools are facing significant budgetary restraints, there is a greater need than ever to make chess available to as many students as possible. We’ve assembled the very best in chess education to develop a complete chess curriculum – K through 12.
We’ve designed a program that encourages creativity, instills self-discipline and offers hope and a feeling of accomplishment to millions of children. But we can’t do it alone. With your help, we can bring chess into the classrooms where it belongs. We can turn our dream of a better education for tomorrow into a reality today. KCF’s mission is to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children throughout the world by providing a complete chess curriculum and enrichment programs.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pestaño: Transfers make USA a world power in chess

 Thursday, May 21, 2015
FABIANO Caruana, the world’s No. 3 player, announced just recently that he was switching allegiance to the U.S. Chess Federation from the Italian federation.
The news of Caruana’s decision was described as a “bombshell announcement” in one chess website.
Caruana admitted that he was offered a “large sum” of money from an unnamed source to play for the USA. There’s speculation that the bill ($100,000) is being picked up by Rex Sinquefield, a wealthy chess benefactor and the host of the Sinquefield Cup.
Transfers of elite players are not common, partly because of the fees that must be paid. In Caruana’s case, the fees will total 55,000 euros (about $61,000)--50,000 euros to the Italian federation and 5,000 euros to Fide.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be representing the United States again,” Caruana said in a statement . “I’d like to thank everybody who has made this possible, and I look forward to this exciting new partnership. In addition, I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude for the support given to me over the past 10 years by the Italian Chess Federation. “
The USA will now have three players in the world’s top ten. Caruana will join Hikaru Nakamura, world No. 4 and Wesley So, world No. 7, who recently switched his federation to the US from the Philippines. The US has never had three players in the modern era’s top 10. American chess is now poised to become a true powerhouse, and all of them are under 28 years old,
The trio sets up the U.S. team as a favorite in international competitions, including next year’s Chess Olympiad in Azerbaijan. The last time the United States won was in 1976, when the Soviet Union and allies boycotted the event in Haifa, Israel. The last time the United States won an Olympiad that was not boycotted was 1937.
Caruana’s playing strength has surged in the past two years. Carlsen has admitted that among the field of younger players closing in on his title, Caruana is “the guy.” This was confirmed when Caruana defeated Carlsen in the 2014 Sinquefeld Cup. He had a 7-0 winning streak against a super-elite field and that feat is now celebrated as the greatest tournament performance in chess history.
Caruana was born in Miami and raised in USA up to age 12 though he has enjoyed dual citizenship with Italy for the past 10 years.
Mabolo. In celebration of its fiesta , original Cepca member Bob Inocian, who just arrived after being an OFW for sometime, organized a chess tournament last weekend.
There were two categories--kiddies and seniors.
In the kiddies, Aldrich Podoyo was champion (P2,500). The other winners and their prizes were Edel Vosotros (P2,000), James Francis Paraon (P1,500), James Virneer Paraon and Jeremy Bajo (P1,000 each), Adelyn Bensi, Shaina Caparino, Robert Diloy, Rejel Perandos and Rex Sumalinog (P200 each).
In the seniors division, the winners were Christian Podoyo (P2,000), William Valle (P1,500), Raul Cinco (P1,000), Nick Monterroyo (P500) and Joe Nasul (P500).
An interesting match was between Rex Sumalinog and Glory Bensi. I have been observing chess for the past 60 years and I have never come across similar to this game. Peterson Sia, who has hundreds of books on chess, expressed the same sentiment.
Rex defeated Glory when she ran out of time (25 minutes per player). There were no pieces captured, not even a pawn! This game is Book of Guinness material.
The sponsors were Cepca, Mayor Mike Rama, Vice-Mayor Edgar Labella, JP Labella, Ading Macasero, Mabolo Baranday Council and Bob Inocian.
Tournament arbiters were Marvin Ruelan and Tony Cabibil.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pestaño: Marie Ernestine adds chess in curriculum

 Friday, May 15, 2015

MARIE Ernestine , in both their Mactan and Talamban campuses, will continuously and permanently include chess education as part of their curriculum for Grades 3,4,5 and 6 starting this school year .
To my knowledge, this is the first time for a school to do so in the whole Philippines. The administrator believes that this move shall further enhance the critical thinking skills for the continuous improvement of their students. Just like any subject in school, the students will be graded according to what skills and life values they have learned.
International Master Kim Steven Yap of the Cebu School of Chess will handle the Mactan campus, while National Master Merben Roque of Cebu Chess Masters will be assigned at Talamban. The memorandum of agreement will be finalized and signed in their Mactan campus this May 29 at 3 p.m..
In about 40 countries across the globe, including Brazil, Spain, Armenia, Venezuela ,China, Singapore, Israel, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Greece chess is incorporated into the country’s scholastic curriculum.
I would like to share a recent article by John Koshy (with permission) which is very enlightening to those involved in the education of children.
“Why chess? Because chess is more than a board game. It teaches us to think analytically and be more successful in life, no matter what profession one pursues..
If you favor intelligence over strength, then think chess. Unlike some other games, chess does not rely on luck, muscular strength or brute force. It is a brain over brawn exercise and an exquisite art form that has existed for more than 1,500 years in India.
In chess, both players are provided with equal opportunities and they use strategy and intelligence to win.
So why is chess more than a game?
Because the pattern of thinking in a game of chess can be used while dealing with real-life situations to achieve better outcomes. As a chess player, you learn to analyze situations, evaluate options, plan strategically and solve problems-attributes that will help us be more successful in our daily lives.
Foresight, anticipation, prediction: the ability to consider the consequences of a particular action by someone else, and using this information to plan and decide your actions. Foresight helps in planning and decision-making.
Circumspection: being able to view the big picture. Remember you can see all the pieces on the board in a game of chess, your opponent’s and yours. If you know what moves your opponent is going to play, several moves ahead, wouldn’t that be a great skill to use in real-life situations?
Caution: We all know how important it is to think and act cautiously. We can only be cautious if we think.”
In addition, chess is extremely helpful in brain development and improving IQ, particularly when it is played regularly from a very early age.
Playing chess on a regular basis right from childhood improves the learning, thinking, analytical power, and decision-making ability of the child.
Practicing chess regularly also aids in improving the self-confidence of the child, which is extremely essential for the child’s growth.
In chess, a child learns to do a thorough analysis, research, and assessment of the situation before making any decision. Mental clarity and mental dexterity is required for solving problems, analyze consequences, and formulate future tactics.
Children playing chess from an early age exhibit extraordinary memory skills and helps in improving concentration and academic performance of the child.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 15, 2015.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pestaño: Wesley out of super grand tour

EIGHT of the top grandmasters on the planet have committed to join a three-tournament circuit, christened the “Grand Chess Tour.” The total prize money is $1,050,000 – a fairly huge sum even for top-level chess.
Former world chess hampion Garry Kasparov was instrumental in making the tour happen.
The three tournaments that will make up the tour are Norway Chess, the Sinquefield Cup (held at the club in St. Louis), and the London Chess Classic. Those who have signed up initially are Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Fabiano Caruana (Italy), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Viswanathan Anand (India), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Anish Giri (Netherlands), and Hikaru Nakamura (USA.
It was not clarified why Wesley So is out. An informally designated media liaison in Manila said in a Facebook post that Wesley was invited but could not make it due to prior commitments which are in conflict with the schedule of some of the legs of the tour.
Personally this is a mistake if indeed Wesley declined. Now he is definitely out of the tour as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France was just recently added as the ninth and last player in the Super Grand Tour starting June 15. A wildcard will fill out the 10-person field, normally coming from the country where the leg is held. It’s possible though that Wesley may be the wild card in the Sinquefield Cup.
New members. Cepca had three new members who joined our April tournament at Pado Beach Resort in Marigondon.. They are Sammy Limquiaco Jr., Elmer Odango and Rafael Bensi Jr. Incidentally Elmer was the champion in the B group.
Sammy is an electrical engineering graduate of USC and passed the board exams for Assistant Electrical Engineers. He was a production engineer of a wire and cable company then joined the marketing and sales of a multinational oil company. He is a widower with four kids who finished their schooling and professions.
As a retiree, he is presently venturing in the extraction and processing of aggregate products based here in Cebu.
At a very young age, he was fond of watching people play chess. Constant practice and a little of text book stuffs made him one of the good players in school and at work. His interest on the game is back and prompted him to join Cepca.
Elmer is an AB Economics graduate of of USJR and BS Marine Transportation graduate of Mats College,Davao City. He is a songwriter and member of Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He was an OFW as a professional singer.
He loves to read and analyze the life and chess games of world champions such as Bobby Fischer, Tal, Kasparov and Carlsen.
Raffy is a 1989 graduate of Associate in Marine Engineering at Cebu Central Colleges now UC. He was connected with William Lines Inc and Cimecor ( Cebu Industrial Marine Engineering Corporation) .
He started work on Schlumberger as a contractor under Monsoon Maritime Services, Phils. from July 2006 up to December 2012 on a 10-week, on 5-weeks Off rotation.
On Feb. 11, 2013 he became a direct hire on the same company with a five weeks on, five weeks off rotation up to present.
He started to play chess in high school and taught all his children to play at very young ages. He even hired a trainer and spent good money for their travel expenses in various tournaments because of his love of the game.
Three of his children played multiple times in the Cviraa---Raffy Glen, Lefa Glier and Adelyn. Lefa Glier qualified for the Palaro this year. Edelyn also almost qualified and only needed a draw in her last game but lost.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Pestaño: Floyd vs. Manny is also a chess match

 Friday, May 1, 2015
THE interest on this fight is awesome. There has never been a single sporting event comparable to this. The boxer who fights as a chess player will win.
Both are good chess players. Floyd has been quoted as saying “In a tough neighborhood, chess is the only way out.” He also said much earlier , “Chess will help you succeed in life.” Referring to Manny he said, “There are some bad apples on the chess board” and “In the chessboard he is a pawn.”
Manny has a chess set in his training camps and uses it as part of his mental relaxation, playing one or two hours every day. He has sponsored some of the biggest tournaments here.
He bankrolled the Asian Continental Cup in 2013 with a total prize of $100,000. Prior to the start of the tournament ,he played against GM Eugene Torre.
Pacquiao battled Torre to a draw in 20 moves . Manny played with a Queen fianchetto and Torre was quite impressed although he probably eased up a little bit.
In earlier interviews, Manny said that he was an avid chess player even before he became a boxer. Playing chess will allow Manny to strategize his defense and offense as the fight progresses.
I would like to describe this fight as between a bishop and a knight. Because of his longer reach and height, an advantage of four and 11.2 inches respectively, Floyd is the bishop while Manny is the knight.
Which is better? In an open game, the bishop is preferable but a knight is superior in closed positions.
If the fight will be at long range, then Floyd has an advantage. However ,if it will be a brawl and at close range, then Manny will win. Whatever the outcome it will be close and controversial so there will probably be a rematch.
You know what? If Manny wins, he has a good chance of being elected president! One thing sure, he will never enrich himself in office.
Gashimov Memorial. The field is so strong, a Category 22, that one of the players said, “In this tournament, everyone’s either an ex-world champion, a current world champion or a future world champion.”
Playing are World champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2863), Fabiano Caruana (Italy, 2802), former world champion Viswanathan Anand (India, 2791), Anish Giri (Netherlands, 2790), Wesley So (USA 2788), former world champion Vladimir Kramnik (Russia, 2783), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, 2762), Shakriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2754), Michael Adams (England, 2746) and Rauf Mamedov (Azerbaijan, 2651).
Wesley finished at third place behind champion Carlsen and second placer Anand. This is a strong performance by Wesley, considering that he finished ahead of Caruana on tiebreak , Giri (his nemesis) and Kramnik. He posted a performance rating of 2814.
He won 15,000 euros and is likely to also receive an appearance fee and refund of expenses. He also moved up one rank higher to No.7.
This good showing represents a rebound from the U.S. championship in St. Louis, where an unexpected visit from his estranged mother made it difficult to focus on his games. He was also slapped a rare forfeit loss for a rules violation.
Next up for Wesley is participation in the French Team Championships starting at the end of May.
Vugar Gashimov was an Azerbaijani GM. He was a noted player of blitz chess and very popular among top players due to his sportsmanship. At his peak, he had a rating of 2761 and was no.6 in the world in 2009. He died due to a brain tumor at age 38.
Beach tournament. We had our annual outing last Saturday at Pado Beach Resort in Marigondon and also our April monthly tournament.
The winners in Group A were Rey Flores, Rosendo Yamyamin and Felix Shaun Balbona. In Group B Elmer Odango, Jun Olis and Jerry Maratas prevailed.