Friday, April 29, 2016

Pestaño: Only a few black players excel in chess Thursday, April 28, 2016

ON March 14 1999, Maurice Ashley, born in Jamaica (March 6, 1966), beat Adrian Negulescu and became the first African American International Grandmaster. This month, he was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame and received his honor as the US Chess Championship got underway, while taking on commentating duties.
When he got the call in January that he was being inducted for his contributions as a player, coach and commentator, Ashley said tears came to his eyes. “For me to hear that I’m being inducted for everything I’ve given to the game, that I’ve done to promote the game, that I’ve done to help young people play, and for the inspiration I’ve been, has just been absolutely incredible,” Ashley told The Associated Press.
“Ashley is a great inspiration to younger black players, and to younger players of any race, that they could be a grandmaster too someday,” said Frank Brady, past president of the Marshall Chess Club.
Although blacks comprised about 15 percent of the world population, very few excel in chess. There have been about 2,000 GMs and WGMs since it was instituted by the World Chess Federation in 1950 but there are only three black GMs and one WGM.
In 2007, Pontus Carlsson, a black player from Sweden, became a GM. He was born in Cali, Columbia. When he was one year old, his entire family died and he was subsequently adopted by a Swedish couple. His adopted father was the former president of the Swedish Chess Federation who taught him how to play chess.
In 2007, Amon Simutowe, a black player from Zambia, also became GM. He took second place in the 2000 World Junior Chess Championships in Armenia.
There is also a WGM. In 2005, Tuduetso Sabure of Botswana became the first black woman grandmaster when she won the African Women’s Championship.
Aside from chess, there have been about 800 individuals and organizations who have received the Nobel prizes and only 12 have been blacks—nine for peace, two for literature and one for economics and none in the sciences.
However blacks are also “genetically superior in sports” like basketball, boxing etc.
US Championship. Wesley So didn’t lose a single game — but that wasn’t good enough to win the national title. He should have won against Chandra, who lost almost all his games. So earned $35,000.
Caruana played almost perfect chess in the entire tournament. He scored 8.5 points, one more than Wesley and Nakamura who tied for second.
In a matter of days, So will be flying to Shanghai, China, for a match with Ding Liren, ranked ninth in the world, one spot ahead of him.
So will also play in the Grand Chess Tour, a series of tournaments in Paris, Brussels, St. Louis and London featuring nine players — all ranked in the top 15 in the world — plus a wild card entry from each country. The tour carries a total prize fund of more than $1 million.
He’ll also try to defend his title at the Bilbao Masters tournament in Spain. And it’s a certainty he’ll be playing for the US team at the Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan, in September.
Starting today and tomorrow, we will witness 18 rounds of blitz chess featuring the top three finishers of the US Championship 2016 and Garry Kasparov. The tournament has the following format: It will be a four-player sextuple round robin. Each player will play against the other six times. The time control is 5 minutes plus 3-second delay (not increment) and total prize fund is $50,000.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pestaño: SAC fetes USC chess teams in sports awards

 Thursday, April 21, 2016
OUR lady journalist and my favorite player, Keith Claire Morala, sent in this twin reports.
“The University of San Carlos-BED Chess Team received a special citation in the 34th SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards held at Robinsons Galleria Cebu last April 20.
This award was given in recognition of what the young Warriors Grand Slam victory,” which refers to the back-to-back sweeping success in the 2015 Milo Olympics National Finals held in Pangasinan.
The Secondary Girls team is made up of Laila Nadera, Glysen Derotas,Jeremy Bajo, Cherry Caballes and Loisa Ranili. Jeffu Dorog, Ryan Pacres, Arvert Cadiz, Jonas Bajo and Kirk Morala represented the Secondary Boys team.
The elementary girls team was composed of Naureen Bagano, Jasia Dorog,Kirsten Sanchez, and Althea Bagano, while Raniel Perandos, Jave Peteros, Vic Gyles Derotas, Dwayne Abella, Andrei Cadiz completed the list for the elementary boys team.
All four categories were won by the USC chess teams as they represented the Visayas Team in the said categories.
The team also earned four Most Outstanding Player Awards--Nadera for the secondary girls division, Dorog for the secondary boys division, Naureen Bagano for the elementary boys division and Perandos in the elementary boys division.
Nadera also received a special citations award for her achievement in the National Age Group finals, where she seized the champion trophy and claimed a slot in the Philippine Team.
Whatever the combination of words, excellence was what these young USC Warriors has exemplified, and the result has been nothing short of spectacular.
Abella Memorial. National Master Merben Roque orchestrated his sweeping success in the 2nd Roger Abella Memorial Open Chess Tournament held at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu last April 17.
After quashing his opponents in the first six rounds, including International Master Kim Steven Yap in the sixth round, NM Roque drew his last game with Carlos Moreno III.
At 6.5 points, Roque secured his place as solo champion of the seven-round tournament.
Those who were tied at six points were Moreno, IM Yap, Rommel Ganzon, Richard Natividad, NM Elwin Retanal, and Edsel Montoya, who finished at the second to the seventh places, respectively, after the tiebreaks.
Those who made the top 10 with 5.5 points are Rogelio Enriquez, Jr., Anthony Makinano, and Kiddie player stand-out Reishi Polan.
Polan also received an award for being the Top Kiddies player, followed by Duane Borgonia and Aaron Resma with four points each.
Airene Robillos took the Top Ladies award, Laila Nadera placed second, while I finished third.
A total of 129 players took part in the tournament.”
US Championship. Wesley So is in a two-way tie for first place, reflecting a sharp turnaround from his erratic performance last year because of family problems. An unexpected visit from his estranged mother resulted in an open confrontation with his “foster” mother Lotis Key. He even forfeited a game because of a rules violation.
So’s aggressive play has been praised by experts as the most scintillating and entertaining of the tournament and after five games, he remains undefeated. He won over Kamsky, Akobian and Chandra and drew with Caruana and Shabalov. So and fellow Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana share first place atop the elite 12-player field, each with three wins and two draws.
After a rest day, his opponent will be Nakamura, who has a higher rating than him. “He’s one of the best players in the world and I have a lot of respect for him, actually,” So said. “He’a four-time U.S. champion. At the same time, I’m hoping for my first.”

Friday, April 8, 2016

Pestaño: Blondes vs. Brunettes rivalry

ONE of the greatest rivalries since time immemorial is between the blondes and brunettes. They not only compete in real life but also in movies, television, comics and sports like baseball, swimming, football, soccer and most important chess.
The rivalry is a cultural phenomenon in countries that have a significant blonde population like Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and especially in the United States.
The existence of the blonde vs. brunette rivalry in the USA dates back To 1875 when the first female professional baseball players were assigned to teams according to their hair color. In 1924 a female swimming meet listed a “blonde vs. brunette” relay race, that was “won by the blondes.”
Another recent example is the gridiron football game called Blondes vs. Brunettes powderpuff football, which started in 2005 and is now played in 16 cities around the USA to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Anson Dorrance the women’s soccer coach at the University of North Carolina divides his team into blondes and brunettes and then have them compete against each other.
He claims his “blondes vs. brunettes drill” worked with his female team because it was a “matter of pride.”
The most popular blonde vs. brunette rivalry in American culture exists in the comic book industry where Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge have been engaged in a mostly friendly competition for more than 70 years now with their high school classmate Archie Andrews, a redhead.
Three’s Company an ABC  itcom that ran from 1977-1984 also featured a blonde and brunette triangle. The blonde, Chrissy Snow, was played by Suzanne Somers and the brunette, Janet Wood, was played by Joyce DeWitt. The man in the middle, Jack Tripper, was played by John Ritter.
Blondes vs Brunettes is a Hollywood technique that extends back to before the war. Hollywood director Dorothy Arzner stated that lead women in supporting roles must always have different hair color to accentuate the contrasting beauty of each type. Blondes were usually cast as the fickle types while brunettes are cast as the more serious and emotional types.
The blonde vs. brunette chess matches began in 2011 as part of the World Chess Tournament held in Moscow. The match was hosted by the Botvinnik Central Chess Club and featured two teams of young girls, blondes dressed in light colors and brunettes dressed in dark colors .The 2011 match, which was the first in the series, was won by the brunettes. The 2012 re-match was won by the blondes who defeated the brunettes, 36.5-24.5.
A third blonde vs. brunette chess match, also held at the Central Chess Club on April 1, 2013, resulted in a tie score The traditional sixth blitz match between “Blondes” and “Brunettes” took place last March 27 in Moscow. The format was Scheveningen with eight players in each team, meaning each player played all of the members of the other team.
The Brunettes clinched a 34.5-29.5 victory. The players and their individual results are listed below.
Blondes: 1.) GM Valentina Gunina (7.5), 2.) GM Natalia Zhukova (6), 3.) WGM Irina Zakurdiaeva (3), 4.) IM Irina Vaselivich (2), 5.) WIM Alina Bivol (2), 6.) WIM Maria Fominykh (4), 7.) WFM Viktoria Zarivkina (2), 8.) WFM Yulia Dumcheva (2.5).
Brunettes: (1) WGM Alexandra Gorvachkina (4), 2.) IM Svetlana Matyeeva (4), 3.) WGM Karina Ambartsumova (7), 4.) WGM Elmira Mirzoeva (3.5), 5.) WGM Evgeniya Chasovnikova (2.5), 6.) FM Daria Pustovoytova (4.5), 7.) WFM Anna Gvanceladze (4), 8.) WFM Alexandra Zherebtsova (5).
Women with red hair are few but the strongest female of all time is a redhead, GM Judit Polgar.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Pestaño: It’s Karjakin vs. Carlsen

SERGY KARJAKIN and Fabiano Caruana met in the final and 14th round of the Candidates tied for first with 7.5/13. Everyone was looking forward to that one duel, the battle which would decide who the challenger of Magnus Carlsen would be.
If it had been a draw, there would be several scenarios depending on the results of Anand’s game against Svidler. If Anand didn’t win his game, then Karjakin would be the champion based on his greater number of wins (second tiebreak). However, if Vishy won his battle against Svidler and reached 8.0/14, then there would be a three-way tie for first, and in that case Caruana would be the champion based on a superior head-to-head result (first tiebreak) against the other two.
After Anand had drawn his game with Peter Svidler, Karjakin only needed a draw in the final round. But he nicely refuted a huge error by Caruana to decide the game in his favor, in less than four hours of play, in a game that was worth roughly half a million dollars.
Sergey is the youngest player ever to gain the GM title (at 12 years and 7 months) and has fulfilled earlier predictions that someday he will be challenging for the world crown. The sentimental favorite though was Fabiano being based in the USA and had a higher rating.
To recall, the last American to vie for the crown was Gata Kamsky in 1996 against Karpov. Earlier than that was the famous Fischer vs. Spassky match in Iceland in 1972 dubbed the “Match of the century” at the peak of the cold war. However, now in 2016, we will see the match in the USA, but between a Norwegian and a Russian player. The most popular game in America, by the way, and also for most of the world is chess.
Celebrity fans of chess include Madonna, Julia Roberts Jay Z, Kevin Spacey, Jude Law, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Gates among thousands. Tobey Maguire recently produced and starred in a Hollywood film about the famous 1972 Fischer vs. Spassky Championship match title “Pawn Sacrifice.”
The Carlsen – Karjakin 2016 World Chess Championship is going to take place in New York this Nov. 11 to 30. The format is 12 rounds and is expected to attract a global online and TV audience of more than one billion fans. They will compete for a prize fund of at least 1 million euros ($1.1m).
“I and all New Yorkers welcome the world chess championship back to New York City. What better place to be than the city where parks are often populated by chess enthusiasts,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The last world championship match, held in Russia in 2014, enjoyed record-breaking coverage with the total audience topping 1.2 billion people. Carlsen won against ex-world champion Vishy Anand. If Agon, the commercial partner of FIDE, want to keep the popularity momentum of the event, a change of policy is a must after the low visibility of the candidates. Agon prohibited the coverage of the candidates tournament on other websites on a live basis.
Sergey Karjakin went home richer by €95,000. Fabiano Caruana and Vishy Anand took home €81,500. Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian and Peter Svidler won € 36,250 and Veselin Topalov got €17,000. (Note: 10 percent of Hikaru Nakamura’s fees will be deducted for his absence in the press conference after his game against Levon Aronian.)
The closing ceremony of the Candidates 2016 was attended by the president of Russia Igor Levitin, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, head of Russia’s Olympic committee and first deputy head of the state of Duma, Alexander Zhukov, Russian deputy sports minister Pavel Kolopkov and President of Russian Chess Federation Andrey Filatov.