Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pestaño: The subtle religious aspects of chess

THIS article is not to discourage people to play the game but to enlighten why religious leaders banned the game. In the dark ages, the Roman Catholic and Ortodox churches, Islam, Baptist and other evangelical churches had, at one time or another, banned or forbade the game. This was caused by misinterpretation.
As in life, chess is the ultimate battle between good (white) and evil (black).
Chess is war in miniature and a battle of the minds. It is about defeating and humiliating your adversary. It is also a waste of precious time which can be used much better in doing something helpful for us, family and society in general.
Our only competition has to be self, not with our friends and neighbors. They are not our enemies. The devil (black) is our enemy. We should help them and not exploit their weaknesses. What people need is inspiration.
The game is actually against Christianity and is not about helping others to grow and to win/overcome. We can`t use any tactics to prevent others from winning like you are taught to do in playing chess.
The King is the secular head of the state with the church at his side (King's Bishop)- liaison between Man and God. But there are two Bishops, one for the Church, one for the Congregation, and between the two of them, they can get anywhere. This shows the transparent myth of Separation of Church and State.
The Queen is a powerful tool of his administration and starts at his side, to show his dominance. The straight and diagonal movement shows the ability to apply to all problems and situations.
The Knight is able to attack from unseen angles, and retreat across obstacles. The 90-degree component is seen by many to symbolize the duality of God's might and man's will.
The Rook is portrayed as a castle and examination of early structures leads many to conclude it is actually a church. Whatever it is, it usually exemplifies a building made of Stone, and "On this stone, I shall build a church."
All the Pawns represents mankind, serving God best by stepping blindly forward.
Playing chess, especially on the White Side, is acting out a morality play, attacking the forces of darkness and crushing them under his heel. There lies the trick that ensnares and captivates millions of innocent souls to chess every year.
Evil has, mathematically, as much of a chance to win as good. The only restriction between the colors is that white moves first. In reality, the good side should have more power than the evil, for the Lord has said, regarding his believers: "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." Unfortunately, the 'powers' given to the individual units of a chess set are evenly matched by their direct opponents.
Anther problem is the power of the Queen. She is clearly portrayed as the King's wife, but granted greater power and maneuverability. She travels and works independently of the King, if nominally at his 'bidding.' This directly conflicts with many biblical verses, like:"...and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
A further heresy in chess, is that of returning lost souls to play. If a simple pawn makes it unmolested to the final rank of the enemy's side, he can be transmuted to any other piece of the game. In this manner, lost pieces can be regained. The bible clearly shows that there is only one event of importance and that is the judgment. After that, the soul is sent to heaven or hell . Reincarnation is the devils idea.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pestaño: Hou Yifan regains women’s crown

THE Women’s championship has alternating formats--one-on-one for even years and a 64-player knockout competition for odd years.
The women’s world chess championship match 2016 between current world champion Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine and challenger Hou Yifan of China (former world champion 2010-2012, 2013-2015) took place in Lviv, Ukraine last March 1 to 18. It was scheduled this month, this being International Women month.
The Ukrainian Muzychuk, who obtained the title by winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup, entered the match at her peak Fide rating of 2563. Her Elo is dwarfed though by Hou Yifan’s monstrous rating of 2667, and she is the heavy 10-3 favorite.There is little doubt that she is the far stronger player. While Mariya has only just surpassed 2560, Hou Yifan’s rating has not fallen below 2660 since August 2014.
As expected, Hou won three games and the match ,originally scheduled for 10 games was over before the last round. The score was 6-3. Despite having a dream team at her disposal (GMs Pavel Eljanov, Yuriy Kryvoruchko and her sister Anna) and playing rather well, Mariya Muzychuk lost her match with a score that reflected the Elo difference rather accurately.
The local hero didn’t speak about her play, but graciously noted, “I’m happy that this match took place in my home city Lviv because many chess players had chance to come and visit this match.”
Of her victory, Hou said, “Of course I’m very happy that I managed to successfully finish the match. My team is supporting me here all the time during the match and before. I would also like to mention that, although there’s a six-hour time difference, there are many people in China watching online, and supporting me. I even received some messages after the game, even though it’s already midnight. Many people and also my friends in the chess world are supporting me.”
Hou has won all three matches for the world title: against Humpy Koneru, Anna Ushenina and now Mariya Muzychuk. Her lead in the Fide rating list will be almost a hundred points, and so it’s safe to say that she is dominating her rivals and will do so for the next decade as there is no one in sight, being only 22 years old.
Hou will get 120,000 euros for winning the tournament, while Muzychuk will receive 80,000 euros.
Candidates matches The candidates tournament is traditionally considered to be the most important part of the FIDE World Chess Championship cycle. It started last March 11 and will end on March 28 with FIDE’s commercial partner Agon as the official organizer, with support from the Russian Chess Federation.
The tournament will be contested as a double round-robin over 14 games. The winner of this eight-player candidates tournament will be the challenger for the 2016 World Chess Championship against Magnus Carlsen scheduled in November this year in New York.
There are five different qualification paths to the candidates tournament. In order of priority, these are the world chess championship 2014 losing finalist (Viishy Anand 2762), the top two finishers in the chess world cup 2015 (Sergey Karjakin 2760 and Peter Svidler 2757), the top two finishers in the FIDE Grand Prix 2014–5 (Fabiano Caruana 2794 and Hikaru Nakamura 2790), the next two highest-rated players (Veselin Topalov 2780 and Anish Giri 2793) and one player nominated by the organizers (Levon Aronian 2786)
After four rounds, here are the results: Karjakin 3; Aronian 2.5; Anand,Giri, Caruana Svidler-2; Nakamura 1.5; Topalov 1.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pestaño: Manny Pacquiao joins elite group

MOST of the big sponsors are countries, corporations and organizations. Individuals are a rare breed.
In modern times, there have been only three--Luis Rentero, Joop van Oosterom and Rex Siquenfield. Manny Pacquiao is about to join them if he continues his tournaments in Gen. Santos City.
Rentero was a brilliant businessman who ran a chain of supermarkets and owned two hotels. He died last year at the age of 83.The Linares International Chess Tournament began in 1978 and was held annually up until 2010.
He succeeded in making Linares the best chess tournament in the world with the attendance of the main top players fighting for the honor to be the winners of this “Wimbledon” of Chess.
All the elite chess players of his era attended the famous tournament. He did not like “grand master draws” and his policy was not only to invite the best players but also the more combative ones. A quick draw usually leads to both players not invited for the next edition!
Joop van Oosterom is a Dutch billionaire. For many years he has staged the annual Melody Amber tournaments in Monaco, where world class grandmasters play rapid and blindfold games. It is named after his first daughter Melody Amber.
Van Oosterom was a strong correspondence chess player, but suffered a severe stroke some years ago. Nevertheless, he became the 18th world champion in Correspondence Chess.
The Amber chess tournament was an annual invitation-only event for some of the world’s best players from 1992 to 2011. Since the second edition, the event uniquely combined blindfold chess and speed chess, and has been held in Monte Carlo. Invited players considered this like an invitation to the White House and the players were treated like royalty.
Rex Sinquefield is an American financial wizard. In 1973, he helped create the first Standard & Poor’s index funds and in 1981, co-founded Dimensional Fund Advisors, which manages more than $310 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, 2013.
In 2007 Rex opened the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, a non-profit organization. Its mission is to “maintain a formal program of instruction to teach the game of chess and to promote and support its educational program through community outreach and local and national partnerships to increase the awareness of the educational value of chess.”
The Sinquefield Cup is an annual, invite-only chess tournament in St. Louis, Missouri first held in 2013. The event in 2013 was the strongest chess tournament ever held in the US up until that time. The 2014 edition, however, is the strongest in the history of chess, as measured by actual average Elo ratings of 2802 for the six participants, who are all in the top 10 of FIDE’s Elo rating list. The third edition was held last Aug. 22 and the particpants had an average FIDE Rating of 2795.
Over P2 million in cash and prizes was given in the Pacquiao Random Chess Festival 2016 held last Feb. 20 to 23 at SM Mall in Gen. Santos City. This is the fourth time that Manny has sponsored a big tournament. The first was the Manny Pacquiao Cup Asian Continental Chess Championships (Open, Women’s and Blitz) from May 17 to 27 2013 at the Midas Hotel in Pasay City.
The Elegant Houses in Pampanga, led by GM Darwin Laylo, emerged as champion in the team tournament via a superior tiebreak after it ended up tied with NICA Team Ilonggo and Pacman Team A with 12 points. Individual winners in the Rapid and Blitz events were IM Joel Pimentel and Jenrich Cajeras.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Pestaño: Astronomy at Handuraw

THERE will be an exhibit tomorrow at Handuraw Mango (beside National bookstore) featuring the works of Christopher Go from 6-10 p.m.
Christopher is a Cebuano Astro- photographer since 1990. His detailed images of the eclipses of the Galilean moons of Jupiter attest to the excellent quality of his work using a 0.28m telescope and discovered the red spot jr. of Jupiter in 2006. He has a minor planet named after him ( 30100 Christophergo).
Christopher was also 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.
Astronomy is a favorite study and subject among chess players and grandmasters. I became a member of the Philippine Astronomical Society in the 70s and still remember Fr. Victor Badillo of the Ateneo Observatory and Hans Arber.
Top chess players, who are astronomy buffs have been honored by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) by naming minor planets after them. The latest is former world champion Vishy Anand (4538 Vishyanand).
Grandmasters with minor planes named after them are Alexander Alekhine (1909 Alekhin), Vassily Smyslov (5413 Smyslov), Anatoly Karpov(90174 Karpov), Mikhail Chigorin (7268 Chigorin) and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov(5570 Kirsan). There is also 17612 Whiteknight, named after a chess piece, and 26661 Kempelen, named after the maker of the Turk, a chess automation.
Other chess players, who are amateurs astronomers are Hans Moritz Bruehl , Paul Morphy, Dr. John Nunn, David Levy, Wolfgang Pauly (1876-1934 – chess problemist and credited with the discovery of a comet), Fred Reinfeld (wrote a book on astronomy).
The universe is almost beyond comprehension. Astronomers estimate that the observable universe has more than 100 billion galaxies. A recent German super-computer simulation estimates that the number may be as high as 500 billion. Our own Milky Way is home to around 300 billion stars.
According to the “Bubble Theory” our universe is just one bubble in a frothy sea of bubbles.
Common observational wisdom among astronomers is that there are 17 billion Earth-sized planets in our galaxy alone.
The implicatons of this discovery are astounding. Simply put: If there are 17 billion Earth-sized worlds in our galaxy, it’s clear that the Universe has the potential to be teeming with life, some of whom maybe billions of years more advanced.
On Aug. 15, 1977, Jerry Ehman witnessed a startlingly strong radio signal from an artificial, extraterrestrial source, but it has not been detected again.
In 2015, “remains of biotic life” were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia, when the young Earth was about 400 million years old. “If life arose relatively quickly on Earth ... then it could be common in the universe.”
Last year , Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced a well-funded effort, called the Breakthrough Initiatives to expand efforts to search for extraterrestrial life.
According to scientists such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking,  it would be improbable for life not to exist somewhere other than Earth.
There are two incredible events in the future that are fraught with dangers. The first would be contact with extra terrestrial intelligence that might be hostile and artificial robotic intelligence (AI). The short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all. Both are expected to happen in 100 years.
If you want to scan the universe using top of the line telescopes, you can do so using the internet. Contact Global -Rent-A-Scope Network.