Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Vibrations 2010

Wesley So's rating chart: I'm pickin' up good vibrations...

Just two months ago, Wesley So dropped out in the FIDE ratings of the top 100 players in the world after almost a year of staying with the world's elites. It breaks the hearts of many. Two months later, he's back in the rating board with a vengeance, ranking him at no.77 in the world and beating some of the best in the business in the process. With a rating of 2656, gaining 16 points from his previous 2640, Wesley is officially the highest rated Filipino ever to achieved the feat. All 16 years of age of him.

The Philippines also barges into top 30 nations by ranking at no.29. The country's best place in many years with an average rating of its top 10 players of 2524. Norway, the Philippines rival for the spot in the top 30 is now a step ahead of us, placing them at no. 26 with top 10 players rating of 2543. One thing is for sure though. These are two emerging chess nations and the success of both Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So produced a positive effect to their respective homeland. Our neighboring chess country, Vietnam (2500) is ranked no. 36.

The Philippines (2524) is the 4th best chess nation in Asia behind China (2643) India (2635) and Uzbekistan (2540).

Back to Wesley So. I just hate to make premature comparison or prediction. It just excite one's imagination but it all seems inappropriate. Or maybe this chess blogger is just a coward. But at certain level of chess, at same age of 16, Magnus Carlsen rating back then, 3 years ago is 2690. I say that says something. It all ends there. I'm not saying that Wesley will be in the same level of what Magnus is enjoying right now or even getting close to it. What my feeling tells me at this moment is that Wesley will be among the top 50 or even top 30 players in the world a few years from now or before he turns 20. Perhaps that is safe to say at least?

I wish it will be a great year for Philippine chess. A blessed and prosperous New Year to all and let the fireworks begins!!

The Philippines top 20 players

Top 100 players
Top 100 women
Country top 100
Top 20 juniors
Top 20 girls

Monday, December 28, 2009

Impressions from 3rd Gathering of Knights and Kings

They said that when in Rome, do as the Romans do. But last Sunday at the gathering, you don't need to pretend or play incognito as a fine Romans of noble birth just to be in the company of the Knights and Kings or simply called the "Old Vanguard" of Philippine chess. The 3rd Gathering of the Knights and Kings took place last Sunday, December 27, at the roof deck of Prince Gregory Condominium in Cubao, Quezon city. No other than GM Eugene Torre supervised the one day event. The closed quarters of the venue helps the players and guest to interact more with one another, I guess. Serenades, foods, drinks, gift, and friends never lacks. Dinner was also served at around 8:00 pm. Everyone was treated with excellent sweet and sour fish nuggets.

This friendly, exhibition tournament was made special by the presence of all grandmasters who participated in the recently held World Cup of Chess in Khanty. Wesley So, Rogelio Antonio and Darwin Laylo.

Also for the first time, in person, we had the opportunity of having some informal chats with the fathers of two chess prodigies, William So, father of Wesley and Bong, father of Stephen Rome Pangilinan. Our conversation all starts with simple kind words of humility that goes like this, "Sir, aren't you the father of Wesley/Stephen?" in which we received in return: "are you the author of ChessHeroes?".

Kapmigz, and Alexis and Tony, avid supporters of Philippine chess were here too. Also present and accompanying the So father and son is Mr Reggie Tee, who will accompany Wesley instead of his father William to Corus in January next year. GM Jayson Gonzales also showed up accompanied by some of his varsity players from FEU.

The Open section, or the masters section of the 3rd Gatherings of Knights and Kings was won by GM Joey Antonio, defeating the surprised finalist and first placer after the elimination rounds, National Master Ali Branzuela. The overwhelming favorite, Wesley So ended up in fourth place after finishing the elimination with 3 wins and 2 draws, loosing the tie break points to Antonio in the process.

This event is just a friendly and exhibition tournament which means yours truly had all the privileged and enjoyment of taking photos all at my hearts content and once again, test my amateurism in photography. I actually captured over 300 photos with my DSLR in 7 hours! Such an opportunist. Hope we'll get another chance to get invited in the 4th edition of this gathering next year.

Project director GM Eugene Torre in yet another great and inspiring speech. The moment he spotted Wesley, Eugene said something witty about Ivanchuk and everyone lets out a hearty laugh.

It actually starts as a rumor. But Wesley So just arrived, with restraint humility.

Now he finaly took notice of the attentions and allow us with this one.

One more time. Thank you Wesley.

William So, Wesley's father, Meralco Chess Club president Rolly Cruz and a man who needs no further introduction, Project director GM Eugene Torre.

view from the roof top of Prince Gregory Condominium.

Tony, GM Joey, Rolly and Alexis. GM Joey tells us some bits about his recent stint in World Cup of Chess and the funny slipping incidents he had in Khanty.

Except for NM Bernardino, not one among the crowd saw it coming but IM Nolte.

GM Eugene observing the game of Paulo Bersamina with a cup of sugar free coffee.

Spot a GM among the crowd. Just sneaking in. Making sure sure he won't miss the action.

WFMs' Daisy Rivera and Sherily Cua. Be warn. Their shyness is highly contagious.

Winner of the Non Master Section, Narquinden Reyes. Nope. That envelop does not contain a vibrator as earlier joke by GM Eugene but some kind of facial massage battery powered machine that probably looks similar to vibrator GM Eugene is quite familiar with.

7 years old Stephen Rome Pangilinan who earlier this year tops the Las Vegas International Chess Festival- Susan Polgar under eight-year-old division. He settled third overall in the kiddies section of K and K.

Still fresh from World Cup, GM Darwin Laylo. Darwin finished 6th overall. Torre has some encouraging words for him, being impressed with his performance against Navarra in WCC

GM Jayson Gonzales who commits an outrageous bishop sacrifice in his round 5 game against GM Joey. It didn't work though. His FEU varsity team also accompanied him in the K and K tourney.

Believe by many as the next chess superstar in the country, Paulo Bersamina. He's the top kiddies of this tourney.

Surprised finalist and second placer, NM Ali Branzuela wearing jersey no. 53

The K and K masters section champ. GM Rogelio "Joey" Antonio. Hope he'll like it ;)

The so called "Old Vanguard". The Knights and Kings. During this photo sessions I heard someone shouted like: "They'll put our photos in the computers!" (he means the internet, I presume).

Final Standings: (Master division/ 35 players)


Champion: GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr.

2nd place: NM Ali Branzuela

3rd place: IM Rolando Nolte

4th place: GM Wesley So

5th place: IM Petronio Roca

6th place: GM Darwin Laylo

7th place: IM Barlo Nadera

8th place: NM Roberto Suelo Jr.

9th place: GM Jayson Gonzales

10th place: NM Allan Macalla

11th place: RP and US master Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr.

12th place: NM Erwin Carag

13th place: NM Rudy Ibanez

14th place: NM Mirabeau Maga

15th place: FM Deniel Causo

16th place: NM Edgardo Garma

17th place: IM Ronald Bancod

18th place: NM Raymond Salcedo

19th place: IM Emmanuel Senador

20th place: IM Chito Garma

21st place: Mark Ingcad

22nd place: NM Allan Sasot

23rd place: NM Elias Lao

24th place: FM Adrian Ros Pacis

25th place: FM Leonardo Carlos

26th place: NM Julius Sinangote

27th place: NM Efren Bagamasbad

28th place: NM Andrew Vasquez

29th place: Jerry Areque

30th place: NM Alex Milagrosa

31st place: NM Ponciano Badilles

32nd place: NM Eduardo Agagon

33rd place: Rodolfo Panopio Jr.

34th place: NM Edmundo Gatus

35th place: NM Samuel Estimo


MANILA, PHILIPPINES---GRANDMASTER (GM) Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr., reigning RP Boy 12 and under champion Paolo Bersamina, Ray Marras and Narquinden Reyes emerged winners in Sunday's 3rd Gathering of Knights and Kings (Fianchetto Invitational Chess Tournament) at the Rooftop of Prince Gregory Condominium #105 12th Avenue along Pedro Tuazon in Cubao, Quezon City.

The twelve-time RP Open champion Antonio, a sergeant at the HSSG of the Philippine Army under Commanding Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, defeated National Master Ali Branzuela in the finals (2-game match, seven minutes with three seconds increment), 1.5-0.5, to captured the Master division title and the top purse of P6,000 in the one-day event hosted by sportsman/ businessman Cesar Iligan, organized by Fianchetto Realty Development Corporation. Asia’s First Grandmaster Eugene Torre acts as the Project Director while International Arbiter Gene Poliarco serve as Chief Arbiter.

Earlier, the Sta. Mesa, Manila native Antonio, needed to beat fellow former University of Manila (UM) team mate IM Rolando Nolte for the last final berths using the advantageous white pieces in their Alekhine Skirmish to arrange a titular showdown with Branzuela, one of the mainstay of Philippine National Police (PNP). Branzuela, meantime booked his seat in the finals after topping the five round Swiss-system elimination round with 4.5 points.

Antonio, Nolte and GM Wesley So tallied identical 4.0 points each, after the tie break points was applied, Antonio landed over-all 2nd place in the elimination round followed by Nolte and So who failed to enter in the play-off match because of lower tie break.

Rounding up to the top 20 finishers were No.5 IM Petronio Roca, No.6 GM Darwin Laylo, No.7 IM Barlo Nadera, No.8 NM Roberto Suelo Jr., No.9 GM Jayson Gonzales, No.10 NM Allan Macalla, No.11 RP and US master Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr., No.12 NM Erwin Carag, No.13 NM Rudy Ibanez, No.14 NM Mirabeau Maga, No.15 FM Deniel Causo, No.16 NM Edgardo Garma, No.17 IM Ronald Bancod, No.18 NM Raymond Salcedo. No.19 IM Emmanuel Senador and No.20 IM Chito Garma in the event which attracted 35 woodpushers

Paolo Bersamina, on the other hand, the pride of Pasay City defeated Prince Kenneth Reyes, 2-0, in the finals to dominate the Women and Kiddies tiara. Stephen Rome Pangilinan, winner in this year’s Las Vegas International Chess Festival Susan Polgar under eight-year-old division settled over-all third.

In other final results, Ray Marras edged NCFP official Wilfredo “Willie” Abalos, 2-1, to pocket the Executive title while CSB top gunner Narquinden Reyes walloped Clement Valledor, 2-1, to rules the Non-Master title. MARLON BERNARDINO

Saturday, December 26, 2009

3rd Gathering of Knights and Kings (Fianchetto Invitational Chess Tournament)

The 3rd Gathering of Knights and Kings (Fianchetto Invitational Chess Tournament) will take place today, December 27 at Prince Gregory Condominium #105 12th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City. Opening rites will begin at 1:00 pm. No other than GM Eugene Torre acts as the Project Director of the said one day event. Also, International Arbiter Gene Poliarco will serve as Chief Arbiter.

Organized by Fianchetto Realty Development Corporation as primary sponsor, the 3rd Gathering of Knights and Kings will converge the old vanguards and some of the country’s best chess players for a common cause and to promote chess camaraderie and excellence among themselves.

For more information, contact Ms. Ofelia Candelario at 438-5828, 439-6921, 913-1737 or

1. The tournament shall be divided into four (4) categories, namely:

1. Titled Players (GMs, IMs, FMs, NMs)
2. Untitled Players (Men Non-Masters)
3. Women (Titled and Untitled) and Kiddies (14 Years Old & Below
4. Executives (Businessmen & Entrepreneurs)

2. The format shall be:

a. Elimination Round (5 Rounds Swiss System) to determine 1st & 2nd placers.

b. Championship Round (2-game match) between the 1st & 2nd placers.

3. The time control shall be as follows:

1. Ten (10) minutes per player, with three (3) seconds increment.
2. In case of tie, the following tie-break systems shall be applied:

a. Direct encounter

b. Buchholz System

c. S.B. System

d. FIDE tie-break

e. Number of victories

4. The FIDE Laws on Blitz Chess shall govern the tournament.



Champion : P 6,000.00

Runner-Up : 4,000.00

3rd Place : 2,000.00

4th Place : 1,500.00

5th Place : 1,000.00

6th Place : 800.00

7th Place : 700.00

8th Place : 600.00

9th Place : 500.00

10th Place : 400.00

11th – 20th Places : @300.00 ea. 3,000.00 20,500.00


Champion : P 5,000.00

Runner-Up : 2,500.00

3rd Place : 1,500.00

4th Place : 1,000.00

5th Place : 800.00

6th Place : 700.00

7th Place : 600.00

8th Place : 500.00

9th Place : 400.00

10th Place : 300.00

11th – 20th Places : @250.00 ea. 2,500.00 15,800.00


Champion : P 3,000.00

Runner-Up : 1,500.00

3rd Place : 1,000.00

4th Place : 900.00

5th Place : 800.00

6th Place : 700.00

7th Place : 600.00

8th Place : 500.00

9th Place : 400.00

10th Place : 300.00

11th – 20th Places : @200.00 ea. 2,000.00 11,700.00


Champion : P 4,000.00

Runner-Up : 2,000.00

3rd Place : 1,500.00

4th Place : 1,000.00

5th Place : 900.00

6th Place : 800.00

7th Place : 700.00

8th Place : 600.00

9th Place : 500.00

10th Place : 400.00

11th – 20th Places : Gift @300.00 ea. 3,000.00 15,400.00


Friday, December 25, 2009

Manny Pacquiao named US Sports Academy's Athlete of the Year honors

Honors is something one cannot always implement on oneself. Sometimes other people will do that to achieved such distinction. Manny Pacquaio, arguably one of the greatest boxer of any generation was just named 2009 United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year together with legendary Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbaeva.

Two outstanding international athletes, each with strong cases to be considered the best-ever in their respective sports, have been named the 2009 United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

The Athlete of the Year competition consisted of 12 male and 12 female candidates from around the world, representing a dozen countries. And as the resumes of the runners-up show, the field had plenty of tremendous candidates.

Finishing second in the men’s balloting was Swiss tennis star Roger Federer, who won his record 15th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, less than a month after completing the career Grand Slam at the French Open. In third place was another amazing 2009 performer, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Already the defending Olympic champion in the events, Bolt stunned the sports landscape at the world track and field championships by lowering his already world-record times in the 100 and 200. Bolt won the 100 in 9.58 seconds and the 200 in 19.19, lowering each mark by a stunning .11 seconds.

The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports around the globe. The Athlete of the Month is selected by an international voting committee comprised of media members and representatives of sports organizations and governing bodies.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings!

Would like to wish everyone a prosperous and blessed holiday seasons. Like to extend our deep appreciation to everyone for their trust and continued support all year round. Cheers!

And since Christmas time is all about giving and sharing...Bah! Humbug!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Anand picks Carlsen to be his second

You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. If you've been playing Farmville lately at Facebook, you know what we mean. Current world champ Viswanathan Anand picks Norwegian prodigy and future world champion himself, Magnus Carlsen to be by his side as one of his seconds in his upcoming 2010 World Championship match with challenger Vaselin Topalov of Bulgaria. Here's a report from chessdom which first brought to our attention and over here at where the source of the interview with Anand first published.

Of course, Carlsen, being an employee to his future boss will be paid a considerable sum but by actually teaming up and working with one of the greatest chess player to ever played the game and hence the experience and learning he would need to guide him through his own ambition of becoming a world champion in the not so distant future is priceless. In fact, with Anand's current status with Carlsen, Anand is also poised to become one of Carlsen's future second when his time finally comes to challenge for the throne. It maybe more of a personal benefit than mutual friendship I should say, not your usual Kramnik-Leko tandem, but anyway it's a serious team Anand is building up there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Simply "Joey"

GM Utut Antonio from the Philippines with 8.5/9 in the Blitz!

The above photo and notes is from chessbase. I know, I know that Adianto (GM Utut Adianto of Indonesia) and Antonio sounds similar but by mistakenly named Utut instead of Rogelio or simply Joey just add to the humor of this minor oversight. But what we mean is no Filipino will ever adopt the name of Utut for all the world.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jinky Young closing in to her late father's inheritance

So far, it seems that the "rightful" claimant to Bobby Fischer's inheritance is going the right track quite smoothly and as expected, so it appears. Jinky Young, Bobby's 6 years old daughter undergo a DNA testing in a hospital in Iceland where ironically, is the same hospital Bobby Fischer died. The result turn out to be positive. According to Young's lawyer Samuel Estimo, Jinky is supposed to received 1.5 million euros or 100 million pesos worth of inheritance not including the sum Jinky will received from the gross from the upcoming film about Fischer, “Bobby Fischer Goes to War” and the gold holdings deposited at the Landsbanki Islands. Full stories can be read at Frank Pestaño chess blog, Chessmoso.

“The Magistrate of Iceland will uphold Jinky’s claim, which means that she will get two-thirds of Fischer’s estate,” said Bogason.

“That is on the assumption that Ms. Miyoko Watai’s supposed marriage to Bobby Fischer will be affirmed by the Icelandic Supreme Court. Otherwise, Jinky will collect the whole of Bobby’s estate,” concluded Estimo.

In an e-mail to me dated a few days ago, Estimo said ,“In a decision dated Dec. 8, 2009, the Supreme Court of Iceland thumbed down the marriage of Japanese Miyoko Watai to Bobby for failure to submit the original copy of their alleged marriage contract after several directives to submit the same.”

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wesley So confirmed he's ready for SPICE Cup 2010

As just announced in Susan Polgar blog, GM Wesley So sent his confirmation to Polgar that he'll be participating in the A Group of SPICE Cup 2010. And yes, there will be new rules to prevent early draws that plague the 2009 tournament. At the 2009 edition, So produced eight draws in 9 games and many of them, according Susan herself, where offered by So's opponents. These new rules will be implemented. No draw offer allowed prior to move 30 and a win will score 3 points, a draw score 1 point, and loss 0 point. Other early birds in the A group are as follows; GM Georg Meier (Germany), GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway), GM Ray Robson (USA) and GM Eugene Perelshteyn (USA).

So is set to compete in the B group of Corus next January 2010 as he is automatically qualified after winning the C group last year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chess still leaves no big impression to most Asian media in 2009

Fact is, despite the success of many Asians in this sport in many international competition this year, it seems that it still produces very little effect to elevate it status from being underrated, to at least being appreciated in most Asian media (except for this one, Cnngo's Asia's Greatest Sports Hero where they honored and put Anand in the same class with Japanese Takeru Kobayashi, the world champion eater!). In this report from, Sports: Asia leaves its mark on 2009 there are no single names being mention from the sport of chess. Names such as world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand, Hou Yifan, Parimarjan Negi, Wang Yue or even Wesley So (not in the Philippines, his name can be found in both print and electronic) as well as other chess players in the region who made a huge impression around the world has been omitted and once again, "unjustly" left out in their yearly reports and accolades of notable sports development in the region for the past years.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Arianne Caoili the "Queen" of London chess classic womens' invitational

Photo from the tournament official website

With the Norwegian people paying Kasparov an undisclosed amount of (huge) sum to polish their chess prodigy, the Australian people may have been fortunate not to trouble themselves of finding a good coach for their top women player. WIM Arianne Caoili is probably enjoying a free coaching/training with no other than her lover, super GM Levon Aronian to start with. What a naughty, naughty girl this Arianne is. The title virtually in the bag with two round to spare, Caoili spare no one in the final rounds of the London Womens' Invitational and go for the sweep, posting an impressive six straight wins after a lone defeat she suffered in the third round. She tallied a total score of 8 out of possible 9. Sure there's no grandmasters participated in the event to pick up some gm norm but with that kind of winning streak and losing only to the top seed of the tourney, I say that is something really noteworthy.

On to the center stage, Magnus Carlsen, yet again, won a super tournament, adding the London Chess Classic to his resume wit a clear point ahead of Valdimir Kramnik. Carlsen is now officially the number one rank player in the world today and possibly, the best as well. Who could possibly stop this kid?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So long Sir Andrade

Farewell to boss Andrade who is set to leave for Vienna, Austria tonight. Boss Andrade is my former sports editor for Summit Publishing and a gem of an individual. Till we meet again and have a nice trip sir!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Arianne Caoili nearing the title in London Womens' Invitational

Updates from London Chess Classic Womens' Invitational where Fil-Aussie and one of the darling of women chess, WIM Arianne Caoili is currently competing and performing quite well. Caoili (2206) still comfortably holding to her lead by a full point ahead of her nearest pursuers, top seed IM Susan Lalic (2301) of England and Arlette Van Weersel (2193) of the Netherlands with two more rounds to play. So far the second seed Caoili posted a total of 6 points after 7 rounds but most notably, she scores her fourth straight wins in the tournament after losing to top seed and International Master, Susan Lalic in the third round. If what we have here is a tabloid type of a blog, one might as well call Caoili's performance thus far in London as really "hot" and "almost there" (for the title). But she's still part Pinay to term her winning streak that way :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fil-Aussie Arianne Caoili leads London Chess Classics Womens Invitational

Philippine born but now lives full time in Australia, WIM Ariane Caoili currently leads the London Chess Classics Womens Invitational tournament after three rounds in London, England. Caoili swept her first two games but was stopped by IM Susan Lalic of Engalnd in the 3rd round. It's been quite a while since we wrote something about the charismatic Miss Caoili, the lover of Levon Aronian and perhaps, the only women chess player today that can rival Alexandra Kosteniuk for the unofficial title of the "Queen of Chess" based on their performance over the board and their colorful social life outside the board. Kosteniuk is the present World Womens Champion and Miss Caoili is the Australian Womens champ and the top womens player in that country. Before moving to Australia for good, Miss Caoili represents the Philippines in many international competition including the Chess Olympiad.

Better believe it or not but two of some of the most popular chess personalities in both sexes came from the Philippines. Wesley So and Arianne Caoili.

For photos and more of her, please visit Miss Arianne Caoili's website

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chess World Cup Final: it's all about redemption for Ponomariov

Game 1 of the Boris Gelfand versus Ruslan Ponomariov begins today. Ruslan Ponomariov is gunning for his first "true" championship title since winning the FIDE world chess championship in 2002, making him the youngest champion in the history of chess. Live games with GM commentary is being provided by Chessdom.

To learn more about Ruslan Ponomariov, the interview conducted by last year remains one of the most strikingly intelligent, witty and entertaining piece of interview we've ever read from an elite chess players in years. The conversation skills of Pono shows most beautifully here. The best English translation of the interview must be the Chessbase version. Below are some of the quotes from the interview but don't miss the full article. I've read it a couple of times already and I should say the interview with Super Mario was nothing short of literary excellency. The interview is a must read for chess player and even non chess player alike! Love it!

"Probably I became world champion too early", recollects Ruslan Ponomariov, sitting in a café where we met, near his home of Poznyak, Kiev. “People expected too much from me, and I did my best to live up to this new status. But it was not so simple. Today, chess does not have a single dominant player, even if he is world champion, as was the case in the days of Karpov or Kasparov. Even the slightest details are important, and if something goes wrong, your rivals will pounce on it. Yes, nowadays, I am in the shadow a bit, but chess is my profession. I still work a lot at it. After all, you know yourself that if you don’t train and stay at your best, you can't achieve anything.

Q: A lot of celebrities not only visit gyms, but also go to beauticians and hairdressers, etc. What about you?

A: Just after I became world champion, I decided that I should start looking the part. I went to a Moscow salon called “Dolores”, the female proprietor of which is a “world champion hairdresser”. I paid about 100 dollars just for an ordinary haircut. Then I went back to my hotel, went to bed, and next morning, it all needed doing again – my hair was all over the place. Ever since, I have stuck to an ordinary barber.

Q: And how would you prefer to spend your hard-earned cash?

A: I have a dream – to travel around the Mongolian steppes on horseback. One of my friends at the institute of physical culture travelled in the Antarctic and brought me back a souvenir coin. Listening to his stories of the ice and penguins, I also yearned to see the Antarctic. I have already found out that this pleasure would cost me about 10,000 Euros.

Q: You would not be frightened of freezing to death out there?

A: Cold is nothing to be frightened of. Last December, I got some frostbite on my ear. The doctor said I would have to rest for a month and take antibiotics. But just then I went to a Christening and some friends persuaded me to go down an ice-hole with them.

Q: No! What happened?

A: Up to then, I had never tried swimming in winter. Of course, I was a bit nervous. But when the priest blessed this ice-hole, in the shape of a cross, I got into the water with the others. It was great, and the next day, my ear had recovered completely. A month later, I was in Spain. Of course, there it is much warmer than in Kiev, but even so, it was quite cold, but I did not deprive myself of the pleasure of bathing in the Atlantic Ocean.

Q: And how do you keep fit?

A: Ten years ago I took up football, but I soon decided that it was too violent – I broke my leg, so that was the end of that. Jogging has always struck me as boring, so I bought a bike. But after going round all the districts of Kiev, I got bored with that too. Besides, our capital is not very cyclist-friendly, in the way other European cities are – there are no dedicated cycle lanes, so you have to spend your whole time trying to avoid ending up beneath the wheels of a car. Therefore, nowadays I go to the gym and swimming pool, and do exercises with 5 kg weights every day.

Continue reading from Chessbase

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Malakhov, Pinoys sentimental favorite to win the world chess cup?

A certain flu has downed yours truly for the past days making it hard to update this blog in a regular basis. We're still recovering at this moment. Our apologies.

At the chess world cup, there's one match yet to be decided and that is between former FIDE World champ, Ukranian Ruslan Ponomariov and last year quarter-finalist of the same event and Wesley So's 4th round tormentor, Vladimir Malakhov of Russia. Boris Gelfand earlier advances to the final by defeating another chess prodigy, 19 year old Sergei Karjakin, 2-0. I don't know about this but Malakhov is my sentimental favorite to beat Ponomariov in their tie break rapid match, aren't you? Of course, being the guy who thwarted the hopes not only of Wesley So to reached the quarterfinals but of the whole Filipino chess community as well, seeing Malakhov advancing to the finals, or even winning the cup may give Wesley an additional boost of confidence after his impressive run in the world cup. Doubters of So may even finally embraced the fact that there's a new kid on the block.

Erroneous. Also I committed some mental lapses in my previous post. I fail to notice that I used the term "ex-living" partner instead of "ex-live in" partner in description of Ms Marilyn Young, the late Bobby Fischer's companion whom he bore a daughter named Jinky. Again my apologies especially to Ms Young if she happen to read our recent post.

Chess World Cup Official website

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fischer's ex-live in partner and daughter visits Bobby's tomb

For details about Bobby Fischer's ex-live in partner, Marilyn Young and their daughter Jinky's visits to Iceland, please check our previous post here.

Article and photos forwarded to us by NM Marlon Bernardino. Note: The owner of these photos may still holds the copyright.

On a snowy and windy afternoon last December 1, Jinky Young, the late Bobby Fischer´s Filipino child, finally linked up with her father in a small cemetery in front of the Laugardaelir church in Selfoss town, southwest Iceland.

Braving the distance from far-away Philippines and the minus 8 weather of Iceland, Jinky took
leave from school to visit her father´s tomb with her mother, Marilyn Young. The last time they saw Fischer was in September,´2005 in Reykjavik when the chess legend had a 3-week rendezvous with them. Fischer took mother and daughter around central Reykjavik, and rode with them in buses, his preferred means of transportation. Jinky had a grand time with her dad after she missed him during Fischer´s 8-month stay in a Japanese airport prison.

Mother and daughter

With Fischer's former confidante, GM Eugenio Torre and Jinky's lawyer Samuel Estimo

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tahanang Walang Hagdan Kiddie Chess Tournament

As previously announced in ChessWindows blog, a chess tournament for 14 and below will take place this coming Sunday, Decemeber 6, in Cainta Rizal. So if your child or student is willing to share their Sunday for a cause, please do come at the said tournament.

The Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Inc., in cooperation with the Meralco Chess Club, will hold the Tahanang Walang Hagdanan (TWH) Kiddie Chess Tournament on December 6 (Sunday) at 175 Aida St., Marick Subd. Cainta, Rizal.

Proceeds of this event will benefit our poor and handicapped brothers and sisters at the TWH center who were severely affected by typhoon Ondoy.

Let us join hands in making TWH people feel the Spirit of Christmas.


For kiddies 14-years old and below

December 6, 2009
Sunday 9am-4pm
175 Aida St., Marick Subd. Cainta, Rizal

Champion - P2,000 plus medal
2nd - P1,000 plus medal
3rd - P500 plus medal

Special awards
Best Grade School - P200 plus medal
Best Female - P200 plus medal
Best Male - P200 plus medal
Best Player of Cainta - P200 plus medal

Contact Persons:
Mr. Rolly Cruz

Resty Tagorda, TWH Research and Development Office
655-0055 loc.831

Registration fee: P200

Chess World Cup: On the contrary folks, Malakhov sends Wesley home

Although we personally had our doubts that Wesley So would even reached the semi finals even after beating the favorites of the world cup such as Ivanchuk and Kamsky in round 2 and 3, it still surprises us that So should received such a crude beating at the hands of Malakhov in the rapid tie break games, going down against the Russian, 0-3. So plays quite good in rapid, true. But perhaps, it was not Wesley himself, right? It's the man who defeated him, the ice cool Russian Vladimir Malakhov! We're all talking about experience against brute talent at the start of round 4 and we say Malakhov's experience, who reached the quarterfinal of this event in 2007, exhibits more profoundly in his playoff games against one of the most popular participant in chess world cup. I thought Wesley excel in tactics and opening preparation, so his opponent. But it was Malakhov's excellent time management and psychological gambit against the young So that proved to be decisive.

The world cup, in my opinion, is Wesley's greatest achievement by far since winning the tough Dubai Open two years ago when the then 14 years old boy bested out more than 30 Gms. Of course there was the Corus C but he was the top seeded there.

Nonetheless, Wesley will return home fully accomplished and deserves a hero's welcome making his legion of fans proud of the new found sports hero's dramatic run in world cup. Boy, he nearly sent Ivanchuk into premature retirement.

Notes posted on Susan Polgar's blog following Wesley So's defeat:

as I said before, Wesley has enormous natural talent. But unless he will improve his weaknesses and enhance his various areas of strength, he will have a hard time now that the elite players will seriously prepare when they play him.

Karjakin and Radjabov both faced similar problems in spite of their early success. They had to work hard to overcome "the wall". I do not want to go into details about his weaknesses in public for the obvious reason.

His success in the World Cup can be a both a good and bad thing. The good thing is he now knows that he can hold against the best of them. But the bad is he is no longer a "surprise" to the top players. So in order to consistently have success against top level opponents, he needs proper coaching and assistance.

Only Wesley can decide how far he wants to go in chess.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chess World Cup R4: So-Malakhov a cute draw, Ivanchuk changes his mind

Perhaps the most competitive game Wesley So ever encounter since the first round game 2 loss against Guseinov. I thought White looks pretty solid in the opener but black, according to Peter Doggers of ChessVibes: "Malakhov’s drawing combination was cute."

The best draw was So-Malakhov; a Slechter / Chebanenko hybrid that was slightly better for White all the time, but in the ending there was no way to make progress. Malakhov’s drawing combination was cute.

Kind of thinking why the two players wasted a lot of energy when it was obvious that the game is going nowhere a few moves after the 3oth. Wesley avoided the possible perpetual in the 53rd and that might probably irked the pride of Malakhov and probably the reason why the two battle it all out till the end.

In the meantime, constructive criticism works well for Vassily Ivanchuk. As we have predicted earlier, he has taken back his words of quitting chess after a sudden outburst in post game interview following the defeat he suffered at the brain of Wesley So in Round 2. Ivanchuk should thank Kamsky that he'll still keep his job.

Here's the English translation of the letter:

Please forgive me, my fans, friends and colleagues in arms and many chess fans for an emotional interview. I was very upset after the defeat, but in any case I’m not going to quit chess! And I want to refute what appeared in the media about my resignation…

Sincerely, Vassily Ivanchuk

Ivanchuk never mentioned to whom he was defeated but anyway, apologies accepted Chukky.

Replay of So-Malakhov game 1 with GM commentary

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mark Paragua fund raising simultaneous match

Last Saturday at MERALCO Ortigas, Pasig City, GM Mark Paragua conducted a 16 board fund raising simultaneous games for the benefit of the RP Paralympic chess team scoring 14 wins and 2 draws courtesy of Alexis Elinon of PARA and Ronnie Dellota of MERALCO. In the opening ceremony, 6 specially made Paete chess sets and 1 standard plastic set were turned-over to the PARA Chess Team. GM Mark with Spawn2 presided in the ceremony.

The proceeds of the GM Mark simul were given to the 5 PARA players as advance Christmas gift according to Meralco Chess Club president Rolly Sol Cruz. The next event is on Dec 12, a team tournament featuring MERALCO, BW, PARA and Binan Chess Club.

PARA's Alexis Elinon has been the most consistent of the players who participated in the three simul games he joined by far, posting an impressive record of 1 Win and 2 Draws. He defeated GM Eugene Torre and level his games with GM Jayson Gonzales and GM Mark Paragua.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chess World Cup, r3: Wesley So wasn't lucky against Kamsky!

"I got lucky all the time, you know...but I guess the more I practice, the more I got lucky." -Filipino pool legend, Efren "Bata" Reyes

I won't be surprise if Vassily Ivanchuk has already been thinking on calling off his earlier announcement of "retiring" from serious chess after suffering a humiliating (and tormenting) loss to a "lower rated" and "unknown" opponent in the name of Wesley So in round 2, even going beyond of saying that his young opponent "played very badly" in that two games they played. Yeah sure. Wesley So even said so. By I say an honest man won't go beyond of discrediting a 16 year old boy who spends 6-8 hours a day of his young life studying chess. Where's the word of encouragement there? But now, seeing his fellow elite grandmaster downed by the same boy in their game 1, round 3 match up, he might be having some second thoughts of giving up chess altogether. Even if Wesley So losses his remaining games to Kamsky, the result would be the same. Wesley shows that he can play in top level competitions and luck won't be much of a part to Wesley's success from thereon. Peter Doggers of ChessVibes wrote after So's game 1 win against Kamsky:

Like against Ivanchuk, So defeated Kamsky using the French Defence. However, this time So wasn’t lucky; he simply played a very good game. He already surprised Kamsky in the opening (15…Qb5 was new) and when the American didn’t go for 22.Nxa4, 23.Ra1 and 24.Rxa7, So got the upper hand. 24…f6! was very strong and 31…d4! killing.

Of course, we're referring to a post game interview with Wesley So who are very direct in saying that he admire Ivanchuk and got "lucky" to win their mini-match up. So said in the interview: "Honestly I was lucky when playing against Ivanchuk, - starts So. – I admire this chess player and I know that he plays much far better than me. In first game he was in time trouble and maybe that is why I was lucky."

Here it again Wesley from our Pinoy pool legend and arguably, the greatest pool player that ever played the game, Efren "Bata" Reyes: "I got lucky, you know...but I guess the more I practice, the more I got lucky."

Amen to that...

Official Website

Friday, November 27, 2009

GM Mark Paragua fund raising simul games at Meralco

GM Mark Paragua, the first Filipino to breached the 2600+ FIDE rating will be holding a fund raising simultaneous exhibition match for the benefit of RP Paralytic chess team on Saturday, November 28 that's tomorrow, Saturday, 9:00 am at MERALCO Lopez basement canteen, Ortigas, Pasig city. The entry fee is P500 including snacks and drinks. For reservation and details, please visit Meralco chess club blog or inquire through email to Mr. Rolly Sol Cruz, president of Meralco chess at Walk in participants are also allowed as long as there are available slots left, of course. This is going to be the fourth of fund raising simul event for the benefit of RP paralytic chess team after the successful staging of simul matches conducted by GM Rogelio "Joey" Antonio last August, GM Eugene Torre last September and GM Jayson Gonzales in October.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chess World Cup, round 2: Wesley So lays out Ivanchuk

Many thought that Vassily Ivanchuk will go berserk in the second game of his first round 1 match with Wesley So. Ivanchuk has a lot of pride in him as a chess player but it looks like he plays quite tentatively in game 2. Perhaps nerves got into him again. As a result, Wesley So held on to his lead and win their match up, 1.5 - 0.5, resulting in one of the biggest upset in 2009 Chess World Cup and the biggest single match victory for the 16 year old So by far. Wesley So will have the Chess World Cup defending champion and Rogelio Antonio round 1 tormentor, Gata Kamsky in the third round. Some notes from Susan Polgar about Wesley's win against Ivanchuk.

The more games the talented Wesley plays against world class opponents, the better and more confident he gets. After losing to Guisenov in the second game of his first round match, he reeled off 3 straight wins in the rapid playoff to advance to the second round. Then he went on to pull off the biggest upset of the 2009 World Cup so far by beating Ivanchuk 1.5-0.5. Well done Wesley! With proper training, experience, and opportunity, I have no doubt that he will be an elite player for years to come.

The So-Kamsky round 3 duel will be available with live grandmaster commentary courtesy of GM Christian Bauer through Chessdom. We would like to say our thanks to our friends over there at chessdom for continually sending us the information every now and then.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chess World Cup R2: Wesley So upsets Ivanchuk

It's a pity that there's no live coverage with grandmasters commentaries on the Ivanchuk-So match up. Wesley So just defeated one of the biggest name in chess today and the favorites to win the world cup, Vassily Ivanchuk (2739) in a stunner that shook the entire chess community. Highly regarded as the best player never won a championship, Ivanchuk is Wesley's biggest name in chess he has defeated by far, and he did it with black pieces! Peter Doggers of ChessVibes wrote the following in his blog after Wesley So's victory:

...Vassily Ivanchuk, the favourite to win this World Cup according to the ChessVibes visitors, against super-talent Wesley So. It seemed that the Ukrainian was totally outplaying his Pinoy opponent, but when he couldn’t find the knockout blow he should probably have taken the draw. Instead, in terrible timetrouble already, Chuky decided to play on but then lost in the ending.

Surely, big Chucky didn't expect Wesley to be this good. He won't spent much time a-thinking over Wesley's moves if they weren't worth the effort of every neurons in his brain. Wesley opted for the French this time that saw Ivanchuk chose the exchange variations. You can watch the replay of games with computer analysis at chessbomb-chessdom live arena which provides real time live games of the championship. Wesley So just needed a draw in their second game to finally moved on to the next round and look, white pieces he'll be handling. It would be quite interesting what would be the opening push Wesley will employ today. Will he go for the sweep? That is asking to much but who knows ;)

Chess World Cup official website

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wesley So advances into the 2nd round, will face Ivanchuk

Wesley So easily made it through the second round by sweeping (impressive!) his three rapid tie-break matches against Gadir Guseinov of Azerbaijan, 3-0 of the currently held Chess World Cup in Russia. To some, the sweep wasn't so much of a surprise since Wesley has been excellent in blitz game both in over-the -board and online chess. He was once rank among the top blitz player in ICC.

GM Darwin Laylo however, failed to move on to the next round as GM David Navarra also sweep his last two games after two consecutive drawn games. Nevertheless, the effort of GM Darwin Laylo far exceed my expectation. He lost his game one against Navarra but it was a fighting effort nonetheless as he succumb to severe time trouble which resulted in series of blunder moves in the end. The second game against Navarra, Laylo defeated him in just under 30 moves. Antonio earlier lost to defending chess world cup champ Gata Kamsky, 1.5-05 in round 1.

Moving on to the next round, Wesley So will be facing one of the true elite chess player at the moment, GM Vassily Ivanchuk, considered by many as the best player never to win a world championship. This is going to be the fourth time, if my memory serves me right, that So will be pitied against a 2700+ opponent. So defeated Ni Hua of China in 2008 Dresden Olympiad, his first 2700, drew against Alexei Shirov, also at Dresden and then drew with Sergei Karjakin in an Asian team championship tournament in UAE. If I missed something here, please let us know. At the moment I could hardly content my excitement with the So-Ivanchuk match up. This one should be in a "pay-per-view" live games. But thankfully, there's no such thing as that for chess, at least not in four or six years time.

Complete round 2 pairings is available at the official site in PDF format. Check them out here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chess World Cup day 1: Wesley So delivers, Antonio and Laylo defeated

No wash out for Filipino participants in day one of Chess World Cup. Early morning reports/results shows Wesley's win over Guseinov. The delay of retransmission from So-Guseinov live games leaves many with long, suspenseful and disappointing night. The live transmission suddenly interrupted during the opening salvos, and consequently, broke down after black's 11th move of a Kings Indian opening. By midnight, it's very clear that there is no point of waiting for everything to get back to "normal". In fact, I begun to think by that moment that the So-Gudeinov game is actually a pay-per-view match up! Anyway, chessbomb is still in its beta process and set backs like this is quite darn common. Let us allow them to make some improvement overtime. But I say what a situation for bad luck to come when you have the popular Wesley So playing on board, and he actually won! You can replay the game through the 11th move here. With the win against Gadir Guseinov (2625), Wesley So (2641) scores his first victory over an opponent rated above 2600 since Corus C this year. Things looks good for Wesley. I believe that he just needed a draw in the second game to advance to the next round.

As expected, GMs Rogelio Antonio and Darwin Laylo did not fare well with the favorites. Gata is just to much for Antonio's Caro-kann, Antonio's pet opening for decades. In fact, Antonio could write a book about the Caro Kann but it's just the classy Kamsky who this time shows him a thing or two about the opening to add to his arsenal. The game lasted for 42 moves but the game was pretty much over starting move 31 as he is still way way behind in development. You can watch replay of Kamsky-Antonio game with computer analysis here.

GM Darwin Laylo (2707) performed much better against David Navarra (2552) though, who opted for another Scandinavian but the result is still the same. Defeated by a stronger and world class players. Series of weak moves under time pressure simply cost him the game. The Navarra-Laylo game can be replay here, also with computer analysis.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 1 of Chess World Cup...definitely, maybe

Day one of Chess World Cup begins today in frozen land of Khanty Mansiys, Russia. The Philippines will be sending three players; So, Antonio and Laylo, the third most in Asia behind regions powerhouse China and India. GM Rogelio Antonio, in his round 1 match with ex world championship contender and defending Chess World Cup champ, Gata Kamsky of USA, will be featured in Chessdom in a real time live chess game using the critically acclaim new chess engine for viewing live chess games powered by chessbomb. Getting featured in a real time live chess game with grandmaster commentaries is the first time in Antonio's career.

For GM Joey Antonio, there is no such thing as "nothing to lose" here. As we know, he is scheduled to set a new world record for simultaneous chess in January 22-23 next year dubbed "1 vs. 600: Pinoy Ironman". If he loses badly, certainly the credibility as well will be hurt even in the caliber of player such as Kamsky. If Antonio puts up a decent games against Kamsky, which he really can, or even pull an upset, not impossible but probable, not only the win will make Antonio an instant celebrity, GM Joey's credibility to tackle such an historic event where every physically fit GMs in the world will have no problem about of duplicating and surpassing, anytime, anywhere, would surge considerably and the world record breaking attempt won't be too much of a hype but will consequently turn out as an event that deserves serious attentions from the global chess community. Two defeats in round 1 against Kamsky is somewhat unacceptable. A fighting draw and a loss is about okay. But moving to the next round of CWC is what we're looking forward. The last time these two met was at the 2005 HB Global Challenge in Minneapolis, USA. Antonio somehow managed to eked out a draw against Kamsky.

We have already discussed So and Laylo's chances against their respective opponents in round 1. Please check our previous post here. The consistency of Darwin Laylo will be tested and whether Wesley So is fully recovered after SPICE Cup and his deserving place among the elite will once again be revealed. At his time, it is Antonio who will play more part in Chess World Cup. So how's Antonio's chances of getting pass Kamsky?

...definitely, maybe.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Justice for Jinky

Eight days ago, Chessbase just released a report regarding the battle of Bobby Fisher's two former lover/companion, Japanese Witoko Watai, the lawfully wedded wife to Fischer, and his Filipina live-in partner, Marilyn Young, whom he bore a daughter named Jinky. This is in regards of to whom the estate Fischer left in Iceland after he passed away in January of 2007 should be rightfully awarded. In a letter by Marilyn sent to chessbase, she was quoted of Torre saying: "Bobby will turn in his grave if the inheritance of his daughter Jinky will not be awarded by the Icelandic court," GM Eugene Torre said. "I had seen with my two eyes how Bobby lovingly took care of her daughter Jinky during her infant days in Baguio,". Then they also released some compelling photographs of Fischer with both Marilyn and Jinky and a couple of Fischer's note as well to back the claim.

But we have everything here back home together with all necessary evidence. Frank Pestaño wrote the following in his chessblog, chessmoso about this issue.

I have been following this drama since the very start thru an Icelandic contact, Alfred Gudmundsson, who is married to a Cebuana, Mae, and Samuel Estimo, Jinky’s lawyer.

Unfortunately, Alfred, who was a very good man, passed away.

I immediately sent an e-mail to NM Samuel Estimo, and he informed me that Jinky’s claim is still valid.

Jinky, her mom Marilyn Torre and Sammy will be joining a shoot for a documentary by BBC HBO on the life of Bobby on either Dec. 6 or 7 in London, and then will proceed to Iceland.

Bobby, in an interview, claims that he was never married to Watai (Bobby was in jail in Japan then and the marriage would have set him free). Also Eugene Torre claims that Bobby never wished to marry Watai but only wanted her as a companion.

In Iceland, Jinky is sure to be DNA-tested and Marilyn has agreed as she is sure of Bobby’s paternity. I have a picture of Marilyn and Jinky, together with Bobby.

Jinky is closed in finally getting her justice.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So, Antonio, Laylo off to Russia tomorrow

GMs Wesley So, Rogelio Antonio and Darwin Laylo- their baggage are all ready and will be flying tomorrow for Khanty Mansiysk, Russia to compete in the 2009 Chess World Cup. After weeks of tension and suspense that the Philippines might fail again to send a representative to an important international competition, I say everybody can now heave a sigh of relief.

For the chess world cup, what we have here is three different generation of chess players. Antonio, 47, one of the "Old Guard" of Philippine chess, is living up in an old school but still very effective style of playing. Darwin Laylo, 28, who bridges the old school and the tech savvy new generation of chess in the country, is over all, more of an independent type of player. Then Wesley So, 16, a certified computer savvy and is very vocal in admitting that all his secrets to his success is mostly through the guidance of Fritz programs alone, belong to this group of young Filipino chess players who rely on the perfection of the machines. Of the three, and in a personal note, it is okay to say that it is Wesley who has the best chance of making it to the second round. There is no bad news though, if ever So and Antonio will ever meet in the second round should they both get past their opponents. Especially Joey Antonio who is up against Gata Kamsky.

Report by NM Marlon Bernardino

THE Philippine Chess Team is schedule to leave the country today, Thursday, with one mission to perform well in the prestigious 2009 World Chess Cup slated on November 20 to December 15 in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.

Supported by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., the RP chess team is composed of Grandmasters Wesley So, Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr., and Darwin Laylo. Off the three, 15-year-old So, the highest-rated Filipino player with an ELO of 2640, is seeded 59th in the 128-player event is the first time in World Chess Cup, formerly World Chess Championships.

So, will have GM Gadir Guseinov of Azerbaijan, 23, is seeded 70th with his ELO of 2625 as his first opponent.

If So, the youngest Filipino GM, succeeds in his first-round match, he will face either GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine or GM Alexei Bezgodov of Russia in the second round.

However, the bad news is that the Bacoor, Cavite kid So is possible to face compatriot Sta.Mesa, Manila born Antonio in the third round if both of them will progress.

“Magkasama kami ni Wesley (So) sa bracket at posible kaming magtapat sa third round kung pareho kami mananalo sa 1st at 2nd round. Pero gaya ng una ko ng nasabi, (may) 30 percent (ang) chance manalo kay Kamsky, pero lalaban tayo,” said Antonio, who is fresh from an impressive outing in the recently concluded Asian Indoor Games blitz chess competition.

“Sana ipagdasal n’yo po kami,” added the pride of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro Antonio, who is also aiming to break the current Guinness simultaneous chess world record held by Iran’s GM Morteza Mahjoob on January 22 and 23,2010 at the historic Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila as dubbed 1 vs. 600: Pinoy Ironman.

The 12-time national open champion Antonio, sergeant from HSSG in Philippine Army under the baton of Commanding Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, toting an ELO of 2574, will be the underdog against defending champion GM Gata Kamsky of the United States who topped the 2007 edition at the expense of Spanish GM Alexei Shirov.

The former Russia stalwart Kamsky who defected in the United States in 1989 reached a peak rating of 2746 and is the top board player for the United States with an ELO of 2695.

Antonio first met Kamsky in the 2005 HB Global Challenge in Minneapolis, USA. The game, where Antonio employed his pet line caro-kann defense, ended in a draw.

Should Antonio pull an upset this time against Kamsky, he will face the winner between GM Emil Sutovsky of Israel and GM Zhou Weiqi of China in the second round.

Laylo, meanwhile, will test the mettle of GM David Navara of Czech Republic. “[May] 25 percent naman ang chance natin kay Navara,” said Laylo in a recent interview.

It shall be recalled that Antonio first seeing in action in the World Chess Championships in1999 losing to eventual runner-up Armenian GM Vladimir Akopian in their second round matches was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA while the Marikina City native Laylo also bowed in the second round against French GM Etienne Bacrot in the last edition.

Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) chief, said he is confident that the three Pinoy pawn pushers will give a good performance.

“Umabot lamang sa fourth round magandang achievement na po ito,” said Pichay.

Top seed GM Boris Gelfand of Israel opens his bid against International Master Andrei Obodchuk of Russia in the knockout matches organized by the World Chess Federation.

The players, most of whom advanced through worldwide qualifiers, will play two games each on Nov. 20 and 21 with the winner gaining the second round on Nov. 24. Tie-breaks, if necessary, will be played on Nov. 23.

The total prize fund is USD $1,600,000

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kramnik wins Tal Memorial, Carlsen is the new number one

He's definitely back. Fans of Vladimir Kramnik should savor this one since Kramnik rarely played serious rated tournaments lately and nothing could be more sweeter than winning the strongest tournament of the year, the 2009 Tal Memorial. His game against Morozevich is a must see and the video of Ivanchuk (video below) wearing a mouth cap in his match against Carlsen is a must watch. Precaution is the best medicine, right? Kramnik was undefeated with three wins and six draws but it seems many are more interested with Carlsen having officially rank no.1 in the world in live rating chart with 2805,5 surpasing Vaselin Topalov just by a hairline with 2805,1. Wondering how far this 18 year old Norwegian phenom could climb in the ratings. 2850? 2860?

After Tal Memorial, all the players who saw action in the event will stay in Moscow for a couple more days to compete in the World Blitz Chess Championship that will take place from November 16-18. Live games with analysis are also available at chessdom

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Manny Pacquiao makes boxing history

Are you experiencing a guilty pleasure like I do? The Philippines may have been unfortunate for having boxing as the country's most revered sport today, but have all the fortune and was blessed for having Manny Pacquiao as it's ambassador of the sport. I always think that if it weren't for Manny's easy going and humble disposition, the sport may in fact do more harm than good to the country. I say Manny's lovable personality just makes up for the violence of the sport this country now represents.

And so there you go Manny Pacquiao, one, if not the all time great; the first boxer in history to win seven division title in seven different weight classes, just defeated the larger and stronger Puerto Rican, Miguel Cotto in one of the most brutal beating ever inflicted by a fighter to his opponent I've seen in years. By the end of the fight, Cotto's face was unrecognizable. If you rarely watched the sport, I doubt if you can stomach it. But it's boxing. It's a different dimension from chess or golf. Nevertheless, by going through hell for 30 minutes, Cotto will take home no more or less than $ 10 million for the fight. And Pacquiao, oh...the guy just earned well, around $20 million and of course the glories and marbles to back it.

Let us set aside chess for a moment. Right now, you are the man Manny!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Filipino kids are some of the luckiest in Asia

Speaking of Filipino youth...

We, the grown up people may still nursing the embarrassment we suffered by failing to send any delegation to the World Youth Chess Championship. But our kids, who are supposed to be in Turkey right now and representing the country at WYCC may not be as devastated as we might think. Here's some interesting result. A recent survey released by Cartoon Network revealed that Filipino youth are one of the luckiest kids in Asia. Lucky for what? Here's an excerpt from Yahoo! Philippines' Rich, middle-class Pinoy kids are 'recession-proof' - survey. Read on...

"Filipino kids are the luckiest in terms of the proportion that receive pocket money...there are no signs of the economic downturn affecting Filipino kids in terms of what's in their pocket.

...Filipino children are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and "recession-proof"...Turner Asia's Research team estimates that 3.7 million Filipino children in the areas surveyed have a grand total income of P12,000 a year each (from pocket and gift money), amounting to a collective amount of P42 billion.


The survey found that Filipino children living in urban areas have more access to technology - especially at home - than in previous years.

Notably, internet usage has grown significantly since 2007, according to Morris.

The survey showed that 6 out of 10 (63%) of children in areas surveyed have used the internet in the past month, with 32% of children having internet access at home. This is a 37% growth in internet usage since 2007.

Further, 47% of children surveyed said they own computers, compared to 42% in previous years. Of the children that use the internet, 76% visit cyberspace at least weekly, while 26% go online daily.

The survey also showed 84% of children have access to mobile phones at home, whether or not they own the unit.

Now that leaves us grown up people to figure out for ourselves how it is to be lucky and happy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Paragua has backed out from simul world record attempt. GM Antonio was recall

As early as yesterday, it is already announced that GM Mark Paragua has just backed out from his attempt of setting a new world simul record this coming December. With good reasons. Mark has been struggling with serious chess lately. The organizers then issued that they need to make another recall from the "Old Guard". Eventually, it is GM Rogelio Antonio who heed the call. Although Paragua, 25, is a lot younger than Antonio who is 47, GM Joey is still one, if not the fittest and physically conditioned chess players the Philippines has up to this day. The said simul record will now be dubbed "1 vs. 600 Pinoy Ironman" (Pinoy is a slang for Filipino) and will take place next year, January 22-23, 2010. The last time I saw GM Joey was at PGMA and Pichay Cup and quickly, you have this impression that the man is indeed is in top physical shape to take up this huge challenge. Flat bellied with well rounded arms to show off. He's in the army, for starters, and makes jogging a regular habit and a certified gym buff. On a personal note, I think Antonio has a better chance of performing better than Mark.

Expect for more updates soon.

Marlon Bernardino reports

...GM Mark Paragua is initially considered to try and break the current Guinness simultaneous chess world record held by Iran’s GM Morteza Mahjoob. But a spate of poor performances in big tournaments from the first Filipino to breach the 2600 mark doubts many if he’s really up to the task.

“We’re no longer talking of personal glory here,” Paragua said in Filipino. “GM Joey will have a better shot to break the record.” Antonio readily accepted the challenge. “My game has been pretty sharp recently. I hope I’ll be up to the task and make our country proud,” said the Sta, Mesa, Manila born Antonio, the pride of Calapan, Oriental, Mindoro.

The twelve time national open champion Antonio mowed a strong field in the blitz team competition of the 3rd Asian Indoor Games last week in Hanoi, Vietnam, posting 8.5 points in nine games while Paragua only came up with a measly 4.0 points.
The former University of Manila standout is also the best Filipino finisher in last month’s PGMA Cup and Pichay Cup.

Antonio, the country’s second ranked player behind GM Wesley So, is the first of three Filipinos to qualify in the World Cup 2009 (FIDE World Chess Championships) slated on Nov. 20 to Dec. 15 in Khanty, Mansiyk, Russia. The other Filipinos to qualify are So and GM Darwin Laylo.

His record breaking attempt will be held at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Jan. 22-23, 2010. The event will be dubbed 1 vs. 600: Pinoy Ironman.

Supporting the event organized by Touch of Gold Enterprises is Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA), Manila Sports Council (MASCO) Chairman Niño dela Cruz, City of Manila, Filway Marketings Inc. CEO/ President Hector "Chito" Tagaysay, g4 chess club and Meralco Chess Club.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

World Youth Chess Championship begins today

One of the most important chess tournament for the youth begins today in Kemer-Antalya, Turkey. The championship will run from November 11 till the 23rd. Chessdom just released the participants to World Youth Chess Championship. This year's WYCC will boast of more than 1500 players from 89 countries. All in all, over 2600 people are expected to arrived in Kemer-Antalya.

As everyone maybe well aware by now, we failed to send any delegation here. Please check our previous post. A discussion is taking place there and feel free to vent all your feelings here. Bear in mind that last year, at the World Youth Chess Olympiad, also in Turkey, the Philippines finished 3rd overall behind perennial powerhouse India and's just so frustrating.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chess Federation of Canada website was hacked!

If you think that all official chess organization website is safe for visiting, better think again. In a recent security advisory by google safebrowsing, the "official" website of Chess Federation of Canada, ( has been reported as an attack site and was officially banned by Google due to safety reasons. The site is no longer available for public viewing on the popular browser. Hackers could possibly be behind this, or not. Not sure. But according to google safebrowsing page, the website has this security problems:

What is the current listing status for

Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this web site may harm your computer.

Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 411 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 24 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2009-11-07, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2009-10-28.

Web indeed is such an eerie place to horse around. Browse smart and stay safe everyone.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Video of Mikhail Tal's last days

The strongest chess tournament of the year, the 2009 Tal Memorial is currently being held in Moscow, Russia in honor of former world champion, Mikhail Tal. For starters, GM Eugenio Torre scores a couple of wins against Tal way back in the 70's and 80's. But ever wonder what the great Tal looks like in his latter days? Here's a rare video of him playing blitz game against the youthful Gary Kasparov.