Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For Good Measure

I made a bold prediction yesterday that this two good buddies will be more than happy to end their game in a draw because of their close bonding as a friend, in fact the tournament is already decided no matter what the out come of this one. Unfortunately for GM Laylo, Wesley was in no mood for truce and defeated Darwin in the final round of the tournament. So had the white pieces and Laylo had the black pieces.

CH congratulates GM Wesley So

Final Standings

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1GMSO WesleyPHI26278,00,03,538,00
2GMANTONIO Rogelio JrPHI25197,00,04,035,75
3GMTORRE EugenioPHI25606,50,03,030,25
4GMGOMEZ John PaulPHI25395,52,02,024,00
5IMBITOON RichardPHI24735,51,53,029,50
6GMLAYLO DarwinPHI25045,51,52,526,75
7IMSADORRA Julio CatalinoPHI24455,51,02,025,75
8GMPARAGUA MarkPHI25375,00,02,524,75
9GMGONZALES JaysonPHI24684,00,51,519,00
10IMNOLTE RolandoPHI24884,00,51,518,75
11GMVILLAMAYOR BuenaventuraPHI24713,50,01,515,25
12IMDABLEO RonaldPHI24323,00,02,517,25

Monday, March 30, 2009

When a fierce civil war erupts

Below is the replay of game between the controversial match of Antonio and So. Antonio is playing the white pieces, while So had the black pieces.

As predicted, (and clamor to embarrass NCFP) by many Filipino chess kibitzer around, the game ended, well, in a draw. And many are delighted, even celebrated with the result. Filipinos cursed soccer simply because many games ended in boring 0-0 score. A draw. To be honest with everyone, I was totally against the idea of replaying the game between Antonio and So. I knew from the very start that it would create a huge rift between NCFP, players and fans. But sometimes I couldn't help but wonder, do really people who are lambasting the game to be replay really benefited by this results? On the other side of the argument, do anyone of them who are in favor of replaying the game feel cheated by the results the same way as the chiefs of the NCFP who ordered the game to be replay? NCFP acted only on what they believe is good for chess in the country the same way Antonio and So acted on what they believed is good for themselves. I mean just the two of them. Antonio, So, NCFP, and Filipino fans, we are all carried by our emotions, setting aside reasons and we consequently cheated and hurt one another. This is one of the biggest, fiercest civil war in chess I've ever witness. It's a pity. I feel bad for Wesley, for goodness sake, he's just fifteen years old, a mere boy and now look at him, he may one day build an incurable ego prone to most celebrities with huge followers. This is really bad for Wesley, somebody must explain to him that what happen was but an accident, that it was the rule and not to hurt or challenge his status as the premier chess player in the country. Now that Wesley So, Antonio and Pinoy kibitzers get their wish for a drawn game, I greatly fear that critics of Philippine chess from every corner of the planet would hit at us hard and branded Filipino chess fans as the biggest defender of quick draws on the planet and the most fanatical as well. At the moment we are, but I believe that there are always time for maturity to be develop. In fact chess in the Philippines is just being re-born. In the meantime I want everyone to take sometime to read this:

"...The duty of its citizens, then, appears to me too plain to admit of doubt. All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of the war and to restore the blessing of peace. They should remain, if possible, in the country; promote harmony and good feeling, qualify themselves to vote and elect to the State and general legislatures wise and patriotic men, who will devote their abilities to the interests of the country and the healing of all dissensions. I have invariably recommended this course since the cessation of hostilities, and have endeavoured to practise it myself...."

Robert E. Lee, letter to Governor Letcher
"Recollections And Letters Of General Robert E. Lee",

Wesley So wins Battle of GMs with one round to spare

GM Wesley So may have lost his fighting form in the latter rounds of the tourney by allowing four draws in five games, after five consecutive wins, the result of the tournament will be the same. So is the back to back winner of the most colorful chess event in the Philippines with one more round to play. Wesley will be pitted against one of his best buddies in the circuit, GM Darwin Laylo in the final round. I don't expect a battle tomorrow between this two, perhaps they would be just more than content of crossing the 30 moves rule (Sofia style) of course, before anyone can be allowed to offer a draw to his opponent.

Round 10 on 2009/03/30 at 1500
112GMANTONIO Rogelio Jr½ - ½GMPARAGUA Mark11
21IMSADORRA Julio Catalino½ - ½IMDABLEO Ronald10
32IMBITOON Richard½ - ½GMSO Wesley9
43GMLAYLO Darwin1 - 0GMGONZALES Jayson8
54GMVILLAMAYOR Buenaventura½ - ½IMNOLTE Rolando7
65GMGOMEZ John Paul0 - 1GMTORRE Eugenio6

Rank after Round 10

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1GMSO WesleyPHI26277,50,02,532,25
2GMANTONIO Rogelio JrPHI25196,00,02,527,25
3GMTORRE EugenioPHI25606,00,02,025,25
4GMGOMEZ John PaulPHI25395,51,51,522,25
5GMLAYLO DarwinPHI25045,51,02,024,75
6IMSADORRA Julio CatalinoPHI24455,50,51,523,75
7IMBITOON RichardPHI24735,01,03,027,00
8GMPARAGUA MarkPHI25375,00,02,522,75
9IMNOLTE RolandoPHI24884,00,01,517,00
10GMGONZALES JaysonPHI24683,50,00,516,25
11GMVILLAMAYOR BuenaventuraPHI24713,00,00,512,25
12IMDABLEO RonaldPHI24322,50,02,013,25

Chesspatzer blog and Philippine Chess Chronicles

I've introduced here lately some of Philippine chess blog for you to consider. Namely Malibay Chess Club, ChessPhi, Chessph (I wish Chessph had opted for different name), and Philippine Chess Chronicle. Another chess blog of interest is Chesspatzer blog. It is being run by a Canadian based Filipino somewhere in Montreal. One particular interest is his great passion for ICC and is always up to date about the latest games and results of Filipino masters hanging out on ICC. He's also blogging about North American chess. I also noticed that Philippine Chess Chronicles is making a sort of come back after 3 months of lay off. With the absence of official Philippine chess website, these are the backbones of Philippine chess on the web. These are the hungry artists.

In the meantime, back to battle of GMs. Though there are still two more rounds to play, it is not very hard to conclude that Wesley will win this thing for the second straight year. And how dominant this kid thus far. He was held to draw by determined IM Julio Catalino Sadorra yesterday though I personally feel that Wesley shows some inaccuracy. We will try to get the PGN of the Torre-Villamayor match up as soon as we can. Two seasoned veteran going up against each other always held of great interest to me.

Round 9 on 2009/03/29 at 1630
15GMGOMEZ John Paul0 - 1GMANTONIO Rogelio Jr12
26GMTORRE Eugenio1 - 0GMVILLAMAYOR Buenaventura4
37IMNOLTE Rolando½ - ½GMLAYLO Darwin3
48GMGONZALES Jayson1 - 0IMBITOON Richard2
59GMSO Wesley½ - ½IMSADORRA Julio Catalino1
610IMDABLEO Ronald0 - 1GMPARAGUA Mark11

Rank after Round 9

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1GMSO WesleyPHI26277,00,01,026,75
2GMANTONIO Rogelio JrPHI25195,51,01,022,75
3GMGOMEZ John PaulPHI25395,50,00,019,50
4IMSADORRA Julio CatalinoPHI24455,00,51,020,50
5GMTORRE EugenioPHI25605,00,50,017,25
6IMBITOON RichardPHI24734,51,51,020,75
7GMLAYLO DarwinPHI25044,51,00,518,75
8GMPARAGUA MarkPHI25374,50,51,017,25
9IMNOLTE RolandoPHI24883,50,50,513,50
10GMGONZALES JaysonPHI24683,50,50,014,25
11GMVILLAMAYOR BuenaventuraPHI24712,50,00,08,75
12IMDABLEO RonaldPHI24322,00,01,09,50

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Short on draws, still remember the SAD?

"I know that with perfect play, God versus God, Fritz versus Fritz, chess is a draw" - Nigel Short

That's Nigel at his most wittiest. Simply because there are no perfect play, mortals never plays with gods, and machine sympathized with his fellow machines (Rybka hit us hard), chess after all is a decisive game.

SAD stands for Severe Acute Drawitis. Five years ago, Nigel Short invented this catch phrase to slam quick draws and even go beyond of describing that "those afflicted with SAD display an uncontrollable urge to offer or accept premature peace proposals." On the other hand, in defense of quick draws, for the sake of argument of course as I'm a chess purist, I would rather watch Manny Pacquiao vs Ricky Hatton fight to a smart draw for twelve rounds than rampages of wild power punches in a lower classes that results in early knock outs.

That's why I'm clamoring for more rapid tournaments to be held in the country for our Masters. You want decisive and exciting results? Bring more rapid tourney in the Metro and all your problems about draws will ends.

Full details from this incident between So and Antonio can be read at GMANews.TV and Chessdom.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Susan Polgar's sense of humor

Oh Susan, you must be kidding us!

The moment my eyes laid on Susan Polgar blog new header foreground, they grow twice it's normal size then my lips follow through, twitched a little and it suddenly broke into a clench smile. No way. Never in my wildest dream that Susan would adopt such strange design to one of the most popular chess blog in the web. The Alien vs Predator playing chess? She maybe a predator at the chessboard, but no, it's not Susan. I thought it was kinda teen age choice, reminds me a lot of friendster, myspace and multiply but anyway, it's definitely looks cool and it would appeal a lot with the younger ones.

"Battle of GMs" round 5 and 6. So still in the lead

As everybody may very well know by now, seasoned veteran GM Rogelio Antonio was the first player to stop the onslaught of GM Wesley So after scoring five straight victories in the well publicized Battle of GMs in Dapitan City. Anyway below is the highly entertaining game between GM Jayson Gonzales and GM Wesley So during their encounter in round 5 which Wesley won. White is Gonzales and black is So. White lost on time but black still has the edge when white's flag fell. I still have not fully acquainted myself yet with this new chess diagram viewer which is first brought to our attention by chesspatzer blog. chesspublisher's site is down so I have to look for other option to replay the games. Heck, I look like a complete idiot in every inch trying to tweak this one out. But this is much better than put up with java because of the space constraint. Enjoy!

Round 5 on 2009/03/27 at 0900
13GMLAYLO Darwin½ - ½GMANTONIO Rogelio Jr12
24GMVILLAMAYOR Buenaventura1 - 0IMBITOON Richard2
35GMGOMEZ John Paul½ - ½IMSADORRA Julio Catalino1
46GMTORRE Eugenio½ - ½GMPARAGUA Mark11
57IMNOLTE Rolando1 - 0IMDABLEO Ronald10
68GMGONZALES Jayson0 - 1GMSO Wesley9

Round 6 on 2009/03/27 at 1630

112GMANTONIO Rogelio Jr½ - ½GMSO Wesley9
210IMDABLEO Ronald½ - ½GMGONZALES Jayson8
311GMPARAGUA Mark½ - ½IMNOLTE Rolando7
41IMSADORRA Julio Catalino½ - ½GMTORRE Eugenio6
52IMBITOON Richard½ - ½GMGOMEZ John Paul5
63GMLAYLO Darwin½ - ½GMVILLAMAYOR Buenaventura4

Rank after Round 6

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1GMSO WesleyPHI26275,50,00,015,50
2GMANTONIO Rogelio JrPHI25194,00,00,511,50
3GMLAYLO DarwinPHI25043,50,00,09,25
4GMGOMEZ John PaulPHI25393,50,00,06,75
5IMBITOON RichardPHI24733,01,00,09,75
6GMPARAGUA MarkPHI25373,01,00,09,00
7IMNOLTE RolandoPHI24883,01,00,06,75
8GMTORRE EugenioPHI25603,01,00,06,00
9IMSADORRA Julio CatalinoPHI24452,51,00,07,25
10GMVILLAMAYOR BuenaventuraPHI24712,50,00,05,75
11GMGONZALES JaysonPHI24681,50,00,03,50
12IMDABLEO RonaldPHI24321,00,00,02,50

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hold on, let us make it clear

Although the Battle of GMs do not have an official site, I listed below some of the major media links that provides full coverage of the "Battle Of GMs" for your enjoyment. These sites are usually one day or even two days delayed in publishing the results, if you can put up with that, but they provides complete details of the results of the tournament. Please allow me to kindly reminds you that this blog is non monetized and 100% free of any commercial ads to make it very clear, sirs, I'm not being paid for giving you updates about the tournament nor I have any business venture with any chess organizations, sites et al, nor I am asking for any donations from anyone. I have a full time job and a freelancer.






Malibay Chess Club and Chessph blogs

Chessph, an 18 days old chess blog and the latest of a handful of weblogs that covers and supports the development of chess in the Philippines introduced me to Malibay Chess Club Blog lately. I've already visited the MCC site about four or five months ago but I never thought that it's scope of interest would expand to the size that it goes beyond the matters of their club. And to the administrator of chessph.blogspot.com, CH wishes you all the best in the world.

Now that the clan is steadily growing there is no need to post in this blog everyday, I'm quite exhausted ;) take it over guys!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Battle of Grandmasters round 4: four for four for So!

Four had tried, but none prevails. You heard it right, it's four for four for So. And many had foresaw it. Though I'm betting my candy that Wesley could finish the tournament undefeated, there is one alarming fact that I noticed. The Philippines has only Wesley So and no one else. I hope I could be proven wrong but it really turning out to be. Anyways, Norway has only Magnus Carlsen, right ;)

Round 4 on 2009/03/26 at 1500

112GMANTONIO Rogelio Jr1 - 0GMGONZALES Jayson8
29GMSO Wesley1 - 0IMNOLTE Rolando7
310IMDABLEO Ronald0 - 1GMTORRE Eugenio6
411GMPARAGUA Mark½ - ½GMGOMEZ John Paul5
51IMSADORRA Julio Catalino1 - 0GMVILLAMAYOR Buenaventura4
62IMBITOON Richard½ - ½GMLAYLO Darwin3

Rank after Round 4

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1GMSO WesleyPHI26274,00,00,07,00
2GMANTONIO Rogelio JrPHI25193,00,00,04,50
3IMBITOON RichardPHI24732,50,50,05,50
4GMLAYLO DarwinPHI25042,50,50,04,00
5GMGOMEZ John PaulPHI25392,50,00,02,50
6GMPARAGUA MarkPHI25372,00,00,03,50
7GMTORRE EugenioPHI25602,00,00,01,75
8IMNOLTE RolandoPHI24881,50,00,03,00
9IMSADORRA Julio CatalinoPHI24451,50,00,02,25
10GMGONZALES JaysonPHI24681,00,00,01,75
11GMVILLAMAYOR BuenaventuraPHI24711,00,00,00,50
12IMDABLEO RonaldPHI24320,50,00,01,25

Andaya's literary venture on chess journalism

As I've stated before, chess journalism in the Philippines is experiencing a big crisis. But here's an interesting article about Wesley So by one of the country's premier chess journalist, Ed Andaya "Now, here's a player to admire". Although I find it too iconic, almost reaching the level of fanaticism, it's the literary touch, the diversion to the usual one-sided and stagnant kind of chess journalism we had in the country that caught my attention and draw me to read the entire article. It's just exactly the another kind of chess journalism that I'm looking for all these years. It was a breath of fresh air. Good to see that Mr Andaya is not afraid of bridging the line of two opposing force that is the facts of journalism and the complexity of literature.

YOU'RE now the second-best chess player in the country if you're last name is Torre or Gomez or Paragua or Antonio or Laylo or Gonzales or Villamayor.

Or whatever.

You're now the second-best chess player in the country, and playing the thinking man's game, you 've missed the winning combination at endgame under time pressure, while he breezesd through it almost effortlessly.

You're the second-best chess player in the country and you thought you're popular enough, and when the girl next to you finds out you're a player and she asks you if you know him.

And ask you what's he really like?

And how young he really is?

And how good he really is?

You're the second-best chess player in the country, and when you arrive at the tournament, everybody tells you how exciting it will be because he will actually play here this week.

And, you're the second -best chess player in the country and nobody even cares anymore when was the last time you actually won a major tournament.

Or where you came from.

Or where you live.

Or where you studied in college.

Or when you learned to play chess?

Or, for that matter, what's your favorite chess opening.

"...It's just Wesley So now.

The rest of you are there as mere supporting cast, just like in the countless Fernando Poe and Robin Padilla movies where the others are there simply because the script calls for it.

In a country with a long and rich history of this royal game, chess is now a two-letter word and it is spelled S-O.

And this is the way it's going to be for many more years to come.

Now, it's your move.

Please read the rest of of the article at journal.com so this blog won't end up as a copy paste one :)

"Battle of GMs" round 2 and 3. Dapitan, a Waterloo for Torre

Eugene Torre, Asia's first grandmaster and one of the most successful player ever to come out of Asia, may had somehow finally came to terms with the fact that in round 3 in Dapitan at the "Battle of GMs", he lost to a fifteen year old kid that virtually sealed off his name for good among the immortal of Philippine. We all know Napoleon Bonaparte. He conquered most of Europe. He fought many great battles but ironically, he was best remember by one, humiliating defeat at the battle of Waterloo, his last chance for glory, against a young and upstart military commander, the Duke of Wellington. Yet this defeat assured Napoleon the everlasting fame. Eugene Torre, the great that he is, will be somehow be assured of greatness, despite the defeat, because of a young super talent that may someday would challenge for a world championship. Cheers for GM Eugene Torre everyone, cheers!

Round 2 on 2009/03/25 at 0900
112GMANTONIO Rogelio Jr½ - ½IMNOLTE Rolando7
28GMGONZALES Jayson½ - ½GMTORRE Eugenio6
39GMSO Wesley1 - 0GMGOMEZ John Paul5
410IMDABLEO Ronald0 - 1GMVILLAMAYOR Buenaventura4
511GMPARAGUA Mark½ - ½GMLAYLO Darwin3
61IMSADORRA Julio Catalino½ - ½IMBITOON Richard2

Round 3 on 2009/03/25 at 1630
12IMBITOON Richard½ - ½GMANTONIO Rogelio Jr12
23GMLAYLO Darwin1 - 0IMSADORRA Julio Catalino1
34GMVILLAMAYOR Buenaventura0 - 1GMPARAGUA Mark11
45GMGOMEZ John Paul1 - 0IMDABLEO Ronald10
56GMTORRE Eugenio0 - 1GMSO Wesley9
67IMNOLTE Rolando½ - ½GMGONZALES Jayson8

Rank after Round 3

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1GMSO WesleyPHI26273,00,00,04,00
2IMBITOON RichardPHI24732,00,50,02,75
3GMANTONIO Rogelio JrPHI25192,00,50,02,25
4GMGOMEZ John PaulPHI25392,00,00,01,50
5GMLAYLO DarwinPHI25042,00,00,01,50
6GMPARAGUA MarkPHI25371,50,00,02,00
7IMNOLTE RolandoPHI24881,50,00,02,00
8GMTORRE EugenioPHI25601,00,50,01,25

GMGONZALES JaysonPHI24681,00,50,01,25
10GMVILLAMAYOR BuenaventuraPHI24711,00,00,00,50
11IMSADORRA Julio CatalinoPHI24450,50,00,01,00

IMDABLEO RonaldPHI24320,50,00,01,00

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Philippines "Battle of GMs" day 1 results. Villamayor, no more the mentor

Round 1 only saw 2008 Singapore Open chessfest winner IM Richard Bitoon upsets GM Mark Paragua. If my memory serves me correctly, GM Bong Villamayor has never won a single game against Wesley in their four previous encounter, loosing three straight in the process. Not being very nice to his many time coach and mentor in international competitions :)

1. W. So vs. B. Villamayor 1-0
2. E. Torre vs. R. Nolte 1/2 - 1/2
3. J.P. Gomez vs. J. Gonzales 1- 0
4. M. Paragua vs. R. Bitoon 0-1
5. R. Antonio vs. J.C. Sadorra 1-0
6. D. Laylo vs. R. Dableo 1/2 - 1/2

Scores as of Round 1

GM SO 2.0

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2009 Philippines "Battle of Grandmasters" begins today.

All roads lead to Dapitan for the 2009 Philippine "Battle of GMs". And so the country's own version of Linares tournament will begin today. Two Filipino GMs however beg off from participating in the competition. Former Asian Junior champion, GM Nelson Mariano II who are now based in Singapore and Philippines newly installed GM, Joseph Sanchez, now based in France. Because the tournament will be held in the far away south, in Zamboanga del Norte in Mindanao, the information we will post here will be based mostly from the chess journalist who were there to cover the event but of course the usual personal comments from this blog will be provided as well. We wish Mr. Andaya and the rest of Filipino chess journalist all the best and Pinoy chess enthusiast are clamouring for something new and creative in chess journalism in the country.

The "Battle of GMs" is being sponsored by Phoenix-Petroleum.

Round 1 Pairings (men)

1. W. So vs. B. Villamayor
2. E. Torre vs. R. Nolte
3. J.P. Gomez vs. J. Gonzales
4. M. Paragua vs. R. Bitoon
5. R. Antonio vs. J.C. Sadorra
6. D. Laylo vs. R. Dableo

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Philippines vs Asia?

During the opening and closing ceremony of the highly successful staging of 1st Barley Essential Rapid Tournament in Gateway Mall Quezon Ciy, it was mentioned by QC councilor Antonio E. Inton, Jr. that the city of Quezon is proposing a chess competition that will pit the best of Filipino chess players against "some" of the best players of Asia sometime this year and the event will be billed as "Quezon City, Philippines vs Asia". The said competition, according to councilor Inton is also aimed at increasing the sports tourism industry in the city. Though there will be no Anand, Wang Yue and other top GMs from that powerhouse nations, expect the top GMs from Indonesia, the Middle East, Vietnam and of course players from China and India to send "some" of their best in the country. Hope these will push through. Yes, please bring them over here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wesley So wins 1st Barley Essential Rapid Tournament

Breaking news: just a few hours ago, Wesley So raised the elegant trophy of the first ever Barley Essential Rapid Chess Tournament. Wesley posted 7 wins with only 2 draws. Below are the top ten finishers.

1. GM Wesley So 8.0
2. IM Oliver Barbosa 7.5
3. GM Bong Villamayor 7.5
4. GM Mark Paragua 7.5
5. GM Darwin Laylo 7.0
6. Jan Emmanuel Garcia 7.0
7. Raymond Salcedo 7.0
8. Julius Joseph De Ramos 7.0
9. Emmanuel Senador 7.0
10. Edsel Montoya, 7.0

Barley Essential Rapid Chess: Day 1

Day 1 of this huge chess tourney attracted no less than 700 players and fans (my estimation) at Gateway Mall.

Biggest news of the day. I lost my cannon camera on a FX taxi. Genius! It's just a cheap and old one anyway :)

Here's a quick observation.

9:45 I arrived at the playing hall in Gateway Mall, Cubao Quezon City. The tourney was supposed to begin at 10:00 am. Immediately spotted GM Jayson Gonzalez, tournament director. He was all over the place. From time to time he was seen chatting to his varsity players from FEU (my alma mater), the UAAP grand slam team champion. They were all proudly wearing their gold and green uniform.

10:45 GM Eugene Torre arrived, one of the tournament organizers. He was sporting his trademark black leather shoes, pants and coats. From behind he looks more like a rocker than a chess player to me . Some Filipino IMs and NM were arriving one by one and starts to kibitz. I don't think they hardly understand each other. It's all confusion there. Pity. GMs So, Antonio and Gomez still nowhere to be found.

11:00 There was no sign that the tournament will begin anytime soon. Lots of players still filling up their registration form. I thought that I came too early, and I am. GMs Darwin Laylo and Mark Paragua also arrived. They were in separate groups. Learned that GM Joey Antonio was not participating.

11:10 Wesley So finally arrived, accompanied by his ever watchful father. Everybody took a moment to get a glimpse of their hero. William So, Wesley's dad received equal or even more attention with the seniors, media, organizers and politicians. Wesley approach GM Laylo, they shook hands and join Laylo's group in kibitzing. Some of our IMs and NMs starts to praise Wesley and even replay the position from one of his game at Aeroflot. Again confusion erupts. Pity. Boy, Wesley looks totally confused. He was knitting his eyebrows all the time. It was obvious that he doesn't know what on earth they were telling to him.

11:15 Wesley's dad was interviewed by ABS-CBN crew, then it was his celebrated son's turn next. Believed me, I was as close to Wesley as the interviewer but I never catch a single words from Wesley. He speak sooooo low make worse by the noise of the playing hall. All through out the interview, Wesley sits with his knees joint together and was toying with his shirt button.

12: 20 Learned that Congressman Mat Defensor was the last VIP's to arrived. But as soon as he arrived, the opening ceremony begins. The MC apologize for the delay on what she describe as "technical" difficulties. Funny. Witness one of the longest opening ceremony in any chess tournament. Couldn't blame why GM Laylo would let out a long yawn during intervals of the speeches. GM John Paul Gomez also arrived. The playing hall is all packed up with people now. Chess is back in the Philippines!

12:45 pm Time for launch . Spotted Laylo and Paragua lined up for KFC chickens. This may surprised you but Wesley and his dad opt for Burger King! Interesting. I'm a frustrated vegetarian but I just treat myself with a handful of vegetable and shrimp tempura and some rice.

1:30 The game starts. Wesley's opponent arrived 7 minutes late, and this is a rapid tournament. Everbody thought that the poor guy just simply lost his nerved. As expected, So destroyed his opponent. Except for Mark Paragua who lost his round 2 assignment, no major upsets in Day 1.

5:30 pm I consumed 6 bottles of distilled waters during the course of the tournament only to found out at the end of the day that the organizers provides free distilled water. Genius!

more later...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Barley Essential Rapid chess starts today

Yours truly is heading to this beautiful place. This will be one of the biggest tournaments in Manila in terms of participation. I'm not joining though I'd love to, but I will blog later about the tourney. This is a two day event. If you want to mixed up with the big boys, there is an open division. Also the kiddies division, the top finishers in the 14-under boys and girls, 12-under boys and girls, 10-under boys and girls and 8-under boys and girls will also get cash prizes and Barley products. Other category such as top seniors, top executive, top boys elementary, top girls elementary, top boys high school, top girls high school. So if you want to catch up, hurry!

For details contact Chi Nazario at tel. 496-9137 and cell 0926-6301973.

Se you all there!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wesley So now no.7 in Junior world rankings, no. 88 in the world

ChessPhi's latest calculation on the progress of GM Wesley So's meteoric rise, the projected FIDE April ratings of the top junior players in the world shows that GM Wesley So now climb to no. 7 in the rankings. It is interesting to see that So remains the youngest junior among the top ten and second in the top twenty behind Hou Yifan of China. Wesley So also finally barge into the rankings of the top 100 players in the world. So is currently rank number 88 in the global live ratings.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Barley Essential Rapid chess: A prelude to 2009 Philippine Battle of GMs

Oh yes! They will rock Manila first before they march to Dapitan City for the "Battle of GMs"! GM Wesley So, GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr, GM Mark Paragua, GM Bong Villamayor, GM Darwin Laylo and GM John Paul Gomez will be the top guns when they battled in the Barley Essential Rapid Open on March 21-22 at Gateway Mall, Araneta Center in Quezon City. This tournament will act as a tune up games to flex their neurons before a fierce civil war erupts on March 24 in Dapitan City. Yours truly will certainly be there, no I will not do a live blogging, that would be too ambitious on our part! That won't happen, not anytime soon. But we will try to take some clear photos, and if we get a chance, ask some questions from some of our chess heroes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The chess all-star games that is Amber

Strange occurrences at Amber. Former leader of the tournament after two rounds and defending champion Levon Aronian, blundered a piece on his 17th move, thinking that his black-squared bishop was placed on f8 instead of e7!

17...Qxe5?? 18.Rxe5 1-0.

Strange! Though Amber parades some of the biggest names in chess, Amber is definitely not your usual tough, competitive chess tournament. Amber chess fascinates me more than it impressed me. For one, Amber is just an equivalent to an NBA All-Star Game. NBA have the three point shoot out, slam dunk etc. Amber chess on the other hand boast of fascinating blindfold matches.

However, it is always a sight to see these elite GM's make a fool of themselves in blindfold games even once in while :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Study first, play later?

Excerpt from ManilaStandardToday.com

GRANDMASTER John Paul Gomez is torn between two priorities. And he has little time to accomplish both....Gomez, the country’s 10th grandmaster, said he will have to make a lot of choices and sacrifices in order to pursue his dreams of becoming a Super GM and a full-pledged mechanical engineer.

“I am still checking my schedule. It may be too late because most of my batchmates will start enrolling in review centers by April. If it happens, I may skip some tournaments”

Young players these days can learn a thing or two from Gata Kamsky - in some area. Study first, play later. Although one cannot argue the fact that unless you reached 2700 level, you are based in Europe and most importantly, have strong sponsors to back your ambition to become a professional chess player, you'll hardly earn a living by choosing chess as a profession, alone. That's a sad fact. On the other hand, John Paul is already up there, he worked himself very hard to become a grandmaster and there is nothing more satisfactory than enjoying a lifelong glory of being one of the few 2600 players this nation of 90 million populace ever produced. And perhaps behind Wesley So and Eugene Torre, he is the most recognizable chess figure among the young people today. I personally think that in two or three years time, he may become the second highest rank player behind So. We understand Gomez dilemma but if he is really determined to pursue his goal of breaking the 2600 mark, he should do it as fast as he can otherwise, he should think about his study first and forget of becoming a 2600 player inside five years time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fil-Am chess champion challenges Filipino community in a simultaneous mattches (for a cause)

If this blog happens to have Filipino-American readers or just stumbled upon here and you live around the New York City area, you may want to spare some $25 and take a shot at Fil-Am chess champion Nonoy Rafael in a simultaneous games on March 28. Rafael was the 2007 NYC Inter-Bank League Team MVP, NY Open Champion, five-time De La Salle University Champion, NCAA Board 1 Gold Medalist, Philippine Junior Finalist. According to a Filipino American community newspaper, the AsianJournal.com, the event is aimed:

"to promote and benefit the GILAS Project...a private/public partnership led by Ayala Foundation, aimed at wiring all Philippine public high schools to the Internet. The goal is to build PC labs in all 6,300 public high schools in the Philippines. Over 2,100 schools have been connected, serving over 1,000,000 students meet the challenge of the 21st century."

Nonoy added,

“There's almost a two-decade of hiatus in my competitive chess career primarily due to change in priorities in my life, family and career. However, I never really left the game...Indeed, I was actually still playing chess during my spare time on-line which is very convenient nowadays and saves a lot of my busy time. Also, I was a team captain and tournament directors of various Fil-Am chess activities in the area.”
Please continue reading the whole article HERE

This is a welcome news. The Philippines produced another chess hero. In fact this is the first time that I heard of a Filipino chess player living abroad getting involved in a charity related work for the benefit of his people back home. So why don't you people out there in the area support the event?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Manila 2018?

There are reports that Manila already announced its interest to bring the 2018 Asian Games here in the country for the second time. Although these reports remains unconfirmed at this moment, I already read in local newspapers about the rumors that Manila is dead serious on its bid to host the 2018 Games. The last time Manila hosted the games was in 1954 where the Philippines finished second over all in medal standings behind power house Japan. I also remember that two years ago the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) aired its desired to staged the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Cebu but unfortunately, for no apparent reason, the proposed bidding didn't happen.

Manila 2018 anyone? To be honest...I like the idea ;)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Joseph Sanchez is the 11th Filipino Grandmaster

A Grandmaster and two International Masters for the Philippines have been approved at the 1st Quarter Presidential Board 2009 which was held in Istanbul, Turkey from 5 to 8 March 2009. GM Joseph Sanchez officially became the countries 11th grandmasters. Joseph Sanchez earned his 3rd and final Grandmaster norm during the 23rd Cannes Chess Festival in France where he finished in joint third place and with performance rating of 2635. The Philippines also produced two new IMs; Virgilio Vuelban and Kim Steven Yap.

It was indeed a long and grueling journey for the 38 year old Sanchez. Great to see that his effort and patience had finally paid off. Cheers for GM Joseph Sanchez!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mamedyarov still fighting it

If there is really one thing that chess fans and media reacted against Mamedyarov was the simple fact that Shak has no direct proof at all with his earlier claim that Kursunov was getting some help from Rybka or any chess computer program when he was defeated by Kurnosov. Now Mamedyarov's team saw this and intelligently (intelligence is not always synonymous with truth) show to the public some of his gathered "evidence" to back his claim that indeed, Kurnosov cheated during their game. So Kursonov is still in deep water just when we thought he has already gotten out of it. Below is excerpts from GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov open letter first brought to our attention by Chessdom.com

"After the end, I once again carefully reviewed the games with GM Kurnosov played up to round 6 and afterwards as well. As a result there are facts. In the second round in the game Onischuk - Kurnosov, Onischuk applied a novelty on move 13 and after this move until the end of the game (27 moves total), Kurnosov makes moves strictly from hte first line of Rybka and wins in a beautiful style.

Two rounds after he again has black and again it is a Gruenfeld in the Moiseenko - Kurnosov game. Moiseenko makes a novelty on move 12 and again until move 25 Kurnosov plays the first line of Rybka. But in this game he could not win as Moiseenko had a very simple position without risks. But I also think that the latest position of the black could play to win...

In the 6 th round, against me Kurnosov plays again and wins playing on the first line of Rybka. In all the three games, very few moves were made on the second line of Rybka. In my game and Onischuk's game we sacrificed pawns, and in such positions the computer needs several moves to build good defence and wins thanks to counterattack."

It was indeed a very strong claim. All these were somewhat "convincing" evidence that Kurnosov was getting help from Rybka during their game. Notice that the presented evidence were gathered days after that tragic day which is kind of clumsy on Mamedyarov's part. But then, Mamedyarov might have been carried by his emotions and diverted a bit from the facts we are really after...

"Thus, in the 8th round after Kurnosov was under close scrutiny of judges and chess fans, he played at a very low level and suffered a defeat. And it seems to me that this is clear indication that Kurnosov used a computer program, leaving the tournament hall practically after every move and having such confidence in himself declining a draw offer at move 14 against me in a practically equal position."

Again this is a very reasonable claim but I do not think many chess fans will actually bite it for obvious reason that fans are simply not interested about Kurnosov's actions and attitude to support his claims. I don't have the cunning of lawyers to perceived details in every angle but it is clear to see that Mamedyarov is in defensive. A very unusual situation for an accuser. However, Kurnosov should start drafting now his one final letter to clear his name because I do not think that this problem will be ever resolved.

That said good luck to both Grandmasters.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

UAE-Linares Tournament will be good for Filipino chess enthusiast

Starting next year, we'll see Linares super GM tournament being shared again by two separate cities, Linares, of course being the traditional home, and in some place(s), in United Arab Emirates. The move of bringing this so called "Wimbledon" of chess to the middle east, particularly in UAE will no doubt, benefit Filipino chess enthusiast in the region. Thanks to a billionaire businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim, who also happens to be the president of UAE Chess Federation, Filipinos in the region will get a chance to see first hand how top level chess tournament with top level players are being organize and play. There are hundreds of thousands overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in this oil rich country and I will bet that there are more Filipinos playing chess in this Arab state than all active UAE chess players combine. As we know, UAE is one of the best place to play chess in Asia and proves to be on it's way of becoming the world's next chess hub, tournaments and money wise.

"We pay the expenses of the players and the prizes, I think around 2 million euros (some 2.5 million dollars) Sulaiman Al Fahim told Deutsche Presse-agentur dpa in an interview in Dubai posted in the guardian.co.uk

We saw how the dark horse Grischuk wins Linares so don't be surprise if we suddenly found every egotistic GMs in the top twenty rankings begging or fighting for a seat in one of those eight available chairs in UAE for many years to come.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Beware of new worm threat called Koobface

Here's a warning to all but most importantly I'm addressing the many Filipinos who are some of the most passionate people (and careless too) when it comes to social networking. Friendster, Myspace, Multiply, Facebook etc. they're hording there. Typically very friendly, Filipinos usually have this very bad habit of collecting stranger friends in their networking sites like collecting stamps and they unwittingly put themselves and other people's security at risk. I myself keeps an account just for my very closest friends and family, but aside from that one (sorry I won't reveal it at the moment :) there's nothing else, and I know how to make my PC safe. Hear this one folks: according to Yahoo tech latest malware report:

"the worm's agenda is to transform the victim's computer into a zombie and form botnets for malicious purposes. Koobface attempts to do this by composing a message and sending it to the user's friends. The message contains a link to a Web site where a copy of the worm can be downloaded by unsuspecting friends. And the cycle repeats itself. "

"Many computer users have been conditioned not to open an attachment from an e-mail or click a link found within, but won't think twice about checking out a hot new video linked to by a trusted friend on Facebook,"

No amount of updated anti virus soft wares can truly protect us from this malicious people lurking on the web except for us to be very smart and alert all the time.

Linares round 13: No grandslam for Anand; Ivanchuk, close to winning his fourth

In the penultimate round of the Linares Super GM tournament, Alexander Grischuk caught the world champion Vishy Anand off guard by his "novelty" but somehow the Indian GM managed to find a way to escape with a draw. With the result, Anand can finally kiss his hopes goodbye of being the only players in history to win the event for three consecutive years. Other interesting match up saw Ivanchuk defeated the skidding Levon Aronian to join Grischuk in the lead with 7.5 points, half a point ahead of Carlsen with 7.0. Ivanchuk is the three time winner of Linares, the last time and most probably not the last he got hold of the coveted throphy was on 1995 a full point ahead of Anatoly Karpov.

I've just noticed this; Anand and Ivanchuk are both 39 years old (Ivanchuk will turn 40 later this month) but physical comparison suggest that Anand looks very fresh like he's still in his late twenties and Ivanchuk, looks totally worn out and he looks like he's already in his late fifties. Something to do with traditional Indian spiritual connection and strong family bond which Ivanchuk is struggling for most of his life?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

ChessHeroes is one year old! My power, my pleasure, my pain

Exactly 365 days ago, I started this chess blog. CH came to existence as a mere writing exercises, humbly meant for a small number of chess lovers from my small community but it is now heading to a more ambitious path, so it appears. Now for my own bragging rights. For a year, I'm posting almost non-stop (we have already 376 entries, an average of 1.07 post per day!) despite having a back breaking 8-5 office job, it is still very much alive and kicking. You will see me blogging at home, at the office (during break time), at the cafe and coffee shop, practically everywhere, when time allows. Friends and families are getting jealous of my laptop, some are getting worried. And I couldn't blame them. Recent research and studies reveals that keeping a regularly updated blog is one of the most unhealthiest of lifestyle. An alarming article from NYTimes.com backs that theory. And I couldn't agree more. Yup, your CH author is also one hell of a stressful individual! My sleeping disorder and chronic back pains grew even worse. Mind you, CH is a free blog. It is now totally free of any commercial ads. Yours truly is also a proud member and strong supporter of Animal Welfare movement in the Philippines ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Alas! But these young men are the future leaders of my country

Here's a preview of some of the future leaders of my country I love and served. I've already seen this on TV but you can still catch up the full stories at ABS-CBNNEWS.com

"The group of naked men, reportedly numbering 24 and reportedly all belonging to APO fraternity, ran through the University Belt area carrying placards. They were reportedly protesting a host of issues, among them the rising cost of tuitions in universities...

"Authorities reportedly let the naked runners continue with their protest while curious male and female onlookers reportedly had fun watching and taking pictures with their cameras and mobile phones."

This is unreal. This can't be happening in my country. Now I shouted out, what on earth do these young, "educated" men think they are doing in the streets of University Belt in Manila? Why the #*@%! they have to parade in the streets with their ugly genitals all bare for everyone to see? Can somebody explained to me a more logical and reasonable explanation to this? I'm confused. If they have any problems with their school superiors, they should do that inside their own campus and not in the streets of 10 million plus populace of the city! Could you believe it, thousands of shocked children and women (some of them screaming in wild frenzy, their boyfriends I presume, oh boy) witness first hand on what could be the worst manifestation of the so called "Freedom of Expression" in recent years. For the authorities why are you allowing this to happen?

Sorry for my sudden outburst, you see this blog is pretty tame but such acts should not be tolerated and disciplinary actions they rightfully deserved must be impose!

Quote of the day: "These 2700 players, they are so lucky!"

Just came across with this short, witty and cocky remark from chessbase by GM-elect and current world youngest GM, Anish Giri. On Saturday Anish came close of defeating 2009 Aeroflot newly installed champion, GM Etienne Bacrot on the Bundesliga Games, but consequently, Giri lost the game. When asked what went wrong, Anish just simply replied:

"I was winning after the opening, just winning. And I even saw the winning line. But then I found another way to win which was even better, except that it lost. These 2700 players, they are so lucky!"

Now that's what makes a prodigy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Attention all jobless Filipino chess players

Yesterday I was browsing the Manila Bulletin Classified Ads at our office (yes, eight out of ten employees are looking for new jobs somewhere else during working hours!). Are good chess players automatically qualified for this job? Better prepare your resume now :D

(glass chess pieces at the foreground)

Good positions do not win games, good moves do!

Acquire Asia Pacific Philippines, Inc. provides a winning combination! Business strategies are anchored and moved by strong and passionate minds. That is why hiring the right people is always our challenge.

Be a player and not just a piece. You definitely have a place on the board. Make that move today and be the grandmaster tomorrow!


Now how cool was that? ;)

My Generation

Just joining the argument...

I am now somewhat convinced that Kurnosov may very well have used a computer...for his pre-game preparation, which would have been absolutely legal in any tournament. That is the closest thing to reality, if Kurnosov does indeed used computer to defeat Mamedyarov. Nowadays, especially in top level competetions, battle is usually fought off the board even before two strong players could face each other. Many games had decided off the board. The Topalov-Kamsky match is still fresh to be forgotten. Just to think of our Wesley So who probably one of the best young talents out there who are well versed in computer pre-game preparation. So could sometimes blitz to his first 15 to 20 moves in under 3 minutes. Now is So then have to be considered a cheater? Talking 'bout my generation...