Sunday, May 31, 2009

2nd Subic International open: GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan is the man!

First from the Middle East, GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran

If my memory serves me correctly, no players coming from the Middle East has won a major tournament in the Philippines. So we may be seeing history here. As we have stated before, Filipinos, Chinese and Indians owns local tournaments. Not anymore. Iranian GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami finally introduced himself to local chess fans by winning the 2nd edition of Subic open that saw the participation of 17 GMs and and 14 IMs, many of them GM candidates. GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami finished the tournament undefeated as he posted 5 wins and 4 draws for a total of 7 points, half a point behind his 7 pursuers. Magahmi has a performance rating of 2698, a huge improvement from his luckluster performance at Asian Continental Championship of just 2480, finishing only at 37th place. The best finishers among Filipinos are IMs Bitoon, Sadorra, GMs Paragua and Gonzales who only manages to garnered a total of 5.5 points good for 14, 15, 19 and 20th place respectively.

With this, the Subic tournaments finally draw to a close. Now all is quiet again in the Eastern front. It's been three weeks of non stop blogging for us. Hope you will continue to follow this blog as we will continue our usual regular habit of one post per day. Have to gather more information on what's next for our Filipino players and of course for Wesley So. Hope Wesley would quickly recover from the bad tournament and regain his old form in no time.

For complete results of the 9th and final round please go HERE. Replay of the games from the top boards can be view HERE.

Again, many thanks for following!

Final Ranking after 9 Rounds

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2
1GMGhaem Maghami EhsanIRI25937,024892500
Xiu DeshunCHN24226,525522561
3IMYang KaiqiCHN24136,525352540
4GMRahman ZiaurBAN25236,524982520
5GMSandipan ChandaIND25586,524862496
6GMNguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE25886,524782486
7GMGanguly Surya ShekharIND26256,524702477
8GMGupta AbhijeetIND25706,524112420
Yu YangyiCHN24336,025622574
10IMAshwin JayaramIND24136,024442477
11GMNegi ParimarjanIND25926,024342444
12GMDao Thien HaiVIE25465,525112525
13GMDeepan Chakkravarthy JIND24825,524902502
14IMBitoon RichardPHI24795,524762500
15IMSadorra Julio CatalinoPHI24515,524512475
16FMArvind C JIND22755,524472460
17GMMegaranto SusantoINA25535,524452450
18IMTania SachdevIND24235,524152438
19GMParagua MarkPHI25295,524062420
20GMGonzales JaysonPHI24655,523912407
21IMNguyen Thanh SonVIE24485,523832394
22CMNguyen Van HuyVIE24235,523252341
Jia HaoxiangCHN23445,024272467
24IMDimakiling OliverPHI24265,024192443
Bagamasbad EfrenPHI22835,024182440
26GMLaylo DarwinPHI25095,024102425
27CMNguyen Hoang NamVIE22815,024012416
28FMPriyadharshan KIND24115,023982425
29IMNolte RolandoPHI24795,023982415
Gao RuiCHN25005,023962409
31GMKunte AbhijitIND25135,023802395
Milagrosa AlexanderPHI22275,023742387
33GMVillamayor BuenaventuraPHI24745,023172323
34IMZhang ZiyangCHN24194,524702511
Habla JonyPHI23004,524662493
Lou YipingCHN24104,524512494
Wan YunguoCHN24344,523952414
38WGMMohota NishaIND23044,523932430
39GMNguyen Anh DungVIE25184,523712384
40IMNadera Barlo APHI24004,522912314
41FMBatchuluun TsegmedMGL23914,522392264
Yu LieCHN23074,024732482
Senador EmmanuelPHI23604,024502478
44GMMurshed NiazBAN24074,024462477
45IMMas HafizulhelmiMAS24254,024222448
Olay Edgar ReggiePHI23484,024092451
Garcia Jan EmmanuelPHI22924,024082437
Wang LiCHN24014,024002421
Tejas RavichandranIND21774,023842395
Florendo Paulo JamesPHI22574,023432356
52IMIrwanto SadikinINA24474,023012307
Salcedo RichilieuPHI22034,022932318
54FMSegarra RandyPHI23164,022922321
Arroyo ChristianPHI22133,524122420
Lluch VictorPHI22603,523712383
Portugalera RicPHI22403,523552392
Lkhamsuren UuganbayarMGL20383,523402352
Legaspi RhobelPHI23583,523092324
Andador RolandoPHI22863,523082335
61IMBancod RonaldPHI23563,522742292
62FMChua Zheng Yuan TerrySIN22503,024002406
63FMSimanjuntak SebastianINA22603,023892403
Li PanruCHN21463,023762393
Morazo John RanelPHI21333,023742384
Ochoa Carl VictorPHI22763,023462382
Pascua HaridasPHI23593,023312346
Mariano Nelson IIIPHI20923,023112339
Causo DenielPHI23673,022752289
Diez AllanPHI02,522862313
71FMCastellano ChristopherPHI22952,522522288
Fernandez DandelPHI20662,023112327
73WIMNadig KruttikaIND23612,022852309
Chua AaronMAS21161,521182249

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chess is the most beloved non-contact game in the Philippines

Street chess in Manila. Photo with kind permission to Daniel Y. Go

Contrary to what some expats beleive that chess is hopeless and dying in the Philippines (which I respectfully have to disagree, I'm Manila based chess blogger, witnessing the progress first hand), a survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS) shows that chess in the country is experiencing an all time high in terms of popularity. Although billiards and bowling remains the most successful non contact/physical games for the Philippines in the international sports scene (RP has 6 world pool champs, bowling has 3 world champs), it is chess that remains the most beloved non-physical sports for most Filipinos. In a recent article by Mahar Mangahas at;

Chess is the No. 1 game. It turns out that chess is the Filipinos’ most popular game, meaning non-physical sport. Those citing it as the game they play most frequently are 15.6 percent in the country. This projects to 8.5 million adult chess players nationwide, based on a population of 54.1 million Filipino adults when the survey was done.

And no surprised that the sport is widely being played around the Metro than the rest of country where tournaments and clubs are being organized here and there like mushrooms. Not to mentioned that most of our top players, chess media personnel, are also based in the Metro.

Chess is relatively more popular in Metro Manila, where it is cited by 20 percent, than in the rest of Luzon (18 percent), in Visayas, and in Mindanao (the last two both 12 percent).

And if you think that the sport is played mainly by the 'tambay or the lower classes, then you misinterpret chess culture in the Philippines in its entirety.

The popularity of chess grows with education and socio-economic class. It is the favorite game of only 1 percent of those who didn’t finish elementary school, 10 percent of those with some high schooling, 20 percent of those with some college, and 26 percent of college graduates. Only 11 percent of class E adults, compared to 24 percent of class ABC adults, call chess their favorite game.

It was not mentioned how many Filipinos plays chess online but I'm pretty sure that the numbers would greatly surprised everyone. Chess is the undisputed non-physical sport in the archipelago and the most passionate about the sport in all of Asia. It is with these people that CH draw strength and inspiration.

Friday, May 29, 2009

2nd Subic International open round 7: Iranian GM takes lead

Top Iranian GM and 2nd seed, 25 years-old Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (2593)

You don't see this everyday in Philippine soil. Filipinos, Chinese and Indians players basically have no regards with other nationalities in local tournaments but here in Subic, Iranian GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan is now leading 74 other players with only two more rounds to play. GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsanis is best remember to many chess enthusiast as the winner of a series of exhibition matches with former world champion Anatoly Karpov that was held earlier this year in Tehran, Iran. Best Filipino performer of the tournament so far is IM Richard Bitoon who is at 13th place with 4.5 points. Even if he wins his last two games, Bitoon may not get a GM norm when the tourney ends. Hope my calculation is wrong.

For round 7 results, please go HERE. Pairings for round 8 is HERE. And for Live/Replays of the games in the top boards, you can view them HERE

Rank after Round 7

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2
1GMGhaem Maghami EhsanIRI25936,024722484
2GMSandipan ChandaIND25585,524782491
3GMRahman ZiaurBAN25235,524682492
Yu YangyiCHN24335,025812587
Xiu DeshunCHN24225,025442556
6GMDao Thien HaiVIE25465,024912507
7GMDeepan Chakkravarthy JIND24825,024772492
8GMNguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE25885,024592467
9GMNegi ParimarjanIND25925,024382452
10GMMegaranto SusantoINA25535,024342438
11IMYang KaiqiCHN24134,525352542
12GMGanguly Surya ShekharIND26254,524762486
13IMBitoon RichardPHI24794,524712504
Lou YipingCHN24104,524462506
15IMZhang ZiyangCHN24194,524452498
16IMAshwin JayaramIND24134,524302473
17GMGupta AbhijeetIND25704,524102420
18GMKunte AbhijitIND25134,523922410
19GMLaylo DarwinPHI25094,523902407
20GMParagua MarkPHI25294,523842399
21WGMMohota NishaIND23044,523582403
22GMMurshed NiazBAN24074,024862498
23IMSadorra Julio CatalinoPHI24514,024642501
Senador EmmanuelPHI23604,024462484
25FMArvind C JIND22754,024252438
Wang LiCHN24014,024112443
27IMDimakiling OliverPHI24264,024002430
28GMGonzales JaysonPHI24654,023832403
29CMNguyen Van HuyVIE24234,022902305
Yu LieCHN23073,524792488
Habla JonyPHI23003,524692508
32IMMas HafizulhelmiMAS24253,524682514
33IMTania SachdevIND24233,524542495
Wan YunguoCHN24343,524332463
Bagamasbad EfrenPHI22833,524202451
Gao RuiCHN25003,524172440
Arroyo ChristianPHI22133,524142426
Garcia Jan EmmanuelPHI22923,524132455
Olay Edgar ReggiePHI23483,523962452
40GMNguyen Anh DungVIE25183,523962405
42IMNguyen Thanh SonVIE24483,523842400
43GMVillamayor BuenaventuraPHI24743,523002305
Jia HaoxiangCHN23443,024752485
45FMPriyadharshan KIND24113,024452478
46IMNolte RolandoPHI24793,024342463
47CMNguyen Hoang NamVIE22813,024042426
Li PanruCHN21463,024012410
49FMChua Zheng Yuan TerrySIN22503,023942400
Tejas RavichandranIND21773,023892404
Milagrosa AlexanderPHI22273,023722389
Florendo Paulo JamesPHI22573,023622376
Andador RolandoPHI22863,023382382
Legaspi RhobelPHI23583,023252350
55IMBancod RonaldPHI23563,022752300
56FMSegarra RandyPHI23163,022682303
57FMSimanjuntak SebastianINA22602,524112421
Lluch VictorPHI22602,523882394
Morazo John RanelPHI21332,523712384
Lkhamsuren UuganbayarMGL20382,523452355
61IMNadera Barlo APHI24002,523312349
Portugalera RicPHI22402,523262372
Pascua HaridasPHI23592,523072323
Mariano Nelson IIIPHI20922,523042341
Causo DenielPHI23672,522982316
66FMBatchuluun TsegmedMGL23912,522932322
67IMIrwanto SadikinINA24472,522842289
Ochoa Carl VictorPHI22762,024022437
Salcedo RichilieuPHI22032,023472359
Fernandez DandelPHI20662,023352346
71WIMNadig KruttikaIND23611,522712302
72FMCastellano ChristopherPHI22951,522342273
Diez AllanPHI00,523462367
Chua AaronMAS21160,522842322

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Photo Album of 8th Asian Continental Chess Championship: and the Wesley So look alike!

Wrong folks. The photo on the left is not Wesley So but Vietnamese IM Nguyen Thanh Son! Notice the striking resemblance, eh?

After the tournament official website experienced some bandwidth problems with the photos, finally, the webmaster got everything in order again and this allows us to view the complete pictures of the players that participated at ACCC. For complete photos from the Open Section of the tournament, please see them HERE. And for the Women Section, they are over HERE. Browsing through the photos, I made a discovery. There is one Vietnamese player though, that bears striking resemblance with Wesley So, at least at first glance. That lad is no other than IM Nguyen Thanh Son. It would be nice to see these two come face to face with each other on the board. The So-Son match up.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2nd Subic International open round 4: Filipinos still struggling; Indian, Chinese still dominating

15 year old untitled Chinese player, Yu Yangyi performing at around 2770 in his last 15 games in Subic.

The 2nd Subic International Championship is not as colorful and well covered as the recently concluded 8th Asian Continental Championship also here in Subic. In fact, some Filipino chess enthusiasts are loosing interest in the tourney. With good reasons. The Philippines top 4 players begged off from the tournament and some top Chinese players returned home for their own national championship. Makes worse by Filipinos continued struggle against their foreign counterparts. Nonetheless the Asian Chess Federation is not abandoning the tournament and still offers live games of top 5 board pairings for the day. Live/replays of games can be view HERE

Going into the fifth round, an Indian and a Chinese leads the tournament, both with perfect score of 4.0 points. So far, IM Julio Sadorra remains the best performer among Filipino players, occupying the 11th spot with 3.0 points a full point behind the leaders. GM Bong Villamayor on the other hand is on the verge of falling to below 2400 Elo rating if he continue to struggle for the remainders of the tournament. Last ACCC, Bong has a performance rating of just 2375. At the ongoing 2nd Subic open, he has thus far a mediocre performance rating of just 2220. Not your usual grandmaster.

Yu Yangyi, the 15 year old Chinese prodigy who finished third place over all last Asian Continental championship continues his impressive runs with a tournament rating performance of 2847. Last ACCC, Yi has a performance rating of almost 2700. Untitled Chinese player, the current leader of the tournament, Xiu Deshun is performing as high as 3156.

Round 5 results is HERE. Round five pairings is HERE.

Rank after Round 4

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2
Xiu DeshunCHN24224,025702579
2GMDeepan Chakkravarthy JIND24824,024302445
Yu YangyiCHN24333,525962609
4GMSandipan ChandaIND25583,524452462
5GMDao Thien HaiVIE25463,524352448
6IMYang KaiqiCHN24133,025602576
7GMGanguly Surya ShekharIND26253,024692487
8GMRahman ZiaurBAN25233,024602518
9IMMas HafizulhelmiMAS24253,024462550
10GMGhaem Maghami EhsanIRI25933,024422457
11IMSadorra Julio CatalinoPHI24513,024382516
12GMNguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE25883,024382446
13IMTania SachdevIND24233,024242512
14GMMegaranto SusantoINA25533,024202424
15IMBitoon RichardPHI24793,023992445
Jia HaoxiangCHN23442,525032518
Yu LieCHN23072,524892496
18FMPriyadharshan KIND24112,524782500
19IMNolte RolandoPHI24792,524752570
Wan YunguoCHN24342,524292502
Gao RuiCHN25002,524252488
23IMZhang ZiyangCHN24192,524062520
24GMNegi ParimarjanIND25922,524062426
Lou YipingCHN24102,524052535
26IMNguyen Thanh SonVIE24482,523832416
27GMNguyen Anh DungVIE25182,523732386
28GMLaylo DarwinPHI25092,523532378
29GMKunte AbhijitIND25132,523172326
30GMMurshed NiazBAN24072,024802494
31IMDimakiling OliverPHI24262,024672571
32GMGonzales JaysonPHI24652,024312506

Wang LiCHN24012,024312506
34GMGupta AbhijeetIND25702,024272429
35IMAshwin JayaramIND24132,024262501
36GMParagua MarkPHI25292,024132419
Garcia Jan EmmanuelPHI22922,023852477
38WGMMohota NishaIND23042,022732343
39CMNguyen Van HuyVIE24232,022592282
Senador EmmanuelPHI23601,525602581
Olay Edgar ReggiePHI23481,525192524
Habla JonyPHI23001,525122518
Arroyo ChristianPHI22131,524492463
44FMSimanjuntak SebastianINA22601,524462456
45FMArvind C JIND22751,524382479
Ochoa Carl VictorPHI22761,524372449
Milagrosa AlexanderPHI22271,524102420
48FMChua Zheng Yuan TerrySIN22501,524032425
Lluch VictorPHI22601,523972413
Li PanruCHN21461,523942414
51IMNadera Barlo APHI24001,523872451
Florendo Paulo JamesPHI22571,523872400
Fernandez DandelPHI20661,523822401
Morazo John RanelPHI21331,523792416
Causo DenielPHI23671,523702426
Pascua HaridasPHI23591,523562409
57FMSegarra RandyPHI23161,523532483
Lkhamsuren UuganbayarMGL20381,523422362
Legaspi RhobelPHI23581,523232383
60IMBancod RonaldPHI23561,523222411
61GMVillamayor BuenaventuraPHI24741,523142326
62IMIrwanto SadikinINA24471,522902297
63FMCastellano ChristopherPHI22951,522182308
Bagamasbad EfrenPHI22831,024622477
65CMNguyen Hoang NamVIE22811,024462458
Tejas RavichandranIND21771,024302466
Salcedo RichilieuPHI22031,023822395
68FMBatchuluun TsegmedMGL23911,023602427
Andador RolandoPHI22861,023472463
Portogalera RicPHI22400,523952413
Diez AllanPHI00,523932412
Chua AaronMAS21160,523742387
73WIMNadig KruttikaIND23610,523652423
Mariano Nelson IIIPHI20920,523402364

Monday, May 25, 2009

Videos: Chess in RP curriculum

A late find, but since the 2009 school year will finally start one week from now, and so is the historical moment in Philippine education of including chess in school curriculum, this video worth another look. Speaking were GM Eugene Torre and GM Wesely So, throwing their full support for Department of Education and the just established National Chess Academy. A must view!

Video #1 (English) saw a grade school boy (starting 1:21) sacrificed a rook, to GM Torre and GM Gonzales delight.

Video #2 (Tagalog) has this following interview of another grade school boy:

(starting 01:47 seconds)
Question: Why do you love playing chess?
Boy: So I can check mate my opponents.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Asian Continental Championship round 11: Ganguly wins the tourney, Antonio to world cup of chess; So, Torre losses

GM Regelio Antonio, top Filipino finisher and one of the "Old Guard" of Philippine chess

As everyone among the top boards were settling for quick draws, which is quite understandable, Wesley So decided to make things a bit more complicated and enters a new and dangerous line of the Rossolimo Variation. Wesley's choice of 11.Qxc5?! against GM Le Quanf Liem was never seen before and the choice remains shrouded in mystery. But that's Wesley's style. Whether it's another idea of pawn advance on the queen side, I say only Wesley can tell. Eventually, Wesley burns the clock for the rest of the game, got into all kinds of trouble and lost the match. A sorry loss for Wesley. There is nothing more painful than loosing a game on the final day of a tournament. So has a tournament rating performance of 2568 with 4 wins, 2 losses and 5 draws.

Now, for many Wesley So fans followers, set aside the petty ramblings and make way for serious discussions. You'll do Wesley a huge, huge favor.

To wrap things up, Indian and Chinese dominance of the sports in the continent remains as strong as ever. GM Surya Shekhar of India won on tie break over Chinese GM Zhou Weiqui to claim the title. Both finished with similar score of 8.0 points a piece. GM Antonio on the other hand settled for a quick 12 move draw with GM Zhou Weiqui. Antonio finished the championship with 7.5 points good for 3rd to 8th place and more importantly, Antonio will be at Khanty- Mansiysk, Russia for the world cup of chess later this year. GM Torre was also not so fortunate as he was defeated handily by first seed, GM Krishnan Sasikiran. Torre and So both finished the tournament with 6.5 points good for 21 and 22 place respectively.

It's not over yet folks. Now let us turn our attention to 2nd Subic International Chess Tournament slated May 24- June 1. Although I really hate this follow up system by NCFP of two consecutive tournaments. More to come...

For complete results from the final round, go HERE

Final Ranking after 11 Rounds

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2
1GMGanguly Surya ShekharIND26258,025462554
2GMZhou WeiqiCHN25638,025052515
Yu YangyiCHN24337,525752582
4GMYu ShaotengCHN25047,525702585
5GMLe Quang LiemVIE25917,525452551
6GMAntonio Rogelio JrPHI25187,525292544
7GMHou YifanCHN25907,525252535
8GMZhou JianchaoCHN26357,524992506
9GMSandipan ChandaIND25587,025772587
10GMSasikiran KrishnanIND26827,025282536
11GMKunte AbhijitIND25137,025102526
12GMGupta AbhijeetIND25707,025082514
13GMNegi ParimarjanIND25927,024942502
14GMNguyen Ngoc Truong SonVIE25887,024902497
15GMLi ShilongCHN25577,024892498
16GMKazhgaleyev MurtasKAZ26267,024742481
17GMFilippov AntonUZB25847,024712479
18GMDao Thien HaiVIE25466,525532569
Wan YunguoCHN24346,525362556
20IMAl Sayed Moh Mad NQAT24966,525352551
21GMSo WesleyPHI26416,525202527
22GMTorre EugenioPHI25616,525012511
Ding LirenCHN24586,025962604
24GMRahman ZiaurBAN25236,025492558
25GMIuldachev SaidaliUZB24976,025482569
26GMMurshed NiazBAN24076,025482554
27IMToufighi HomayoonIRI24786,025472567
28GMMoradiabadi ElshanIRI25266,025432559
29GMTu Hoang ThongVIE25066,025252543
Gao RuiCHN25006,025182532
Pak EvgeniyKAZ23286,025122524
Gundavaa BayarsaikhanMGL24616,025042523
33GMDeepan Chakkravarthy JIND24826,024802497
34GMLaylo DarwinPHI25096,024772488
35GMAl-Modiahki MohamadQAT25856,024642472
36CMNguyen Van HuyVIE24236,024632483
37GMGhaem Maghami EhsanIRI25936,024582463
38GMWang RuiCHN24346,024362446
39GMMegaranto SusantoINA25536,024342440
Xiu DeshunCHN24225,525542560
41IMBitoon RichardPHI24795,525322549
42IMHarika DronavalliIND24745,525212550
43FMBatchuluun TsegmedMGL23915,525152521
44FMVidit Santosh GujrathiIND24415,525132530
45GMMahjoob MortezaIRI24985,524952514
46GMBui VinhVIE25225,524742481
47IMNolte RolandoPHI24795,524682486
48GMNguyen Anh DungVIE25185,524502462
49GMHossain EnamulBAN25315,524472453
50GMVillamayor BuenaventuraPHI24745,523962405
51IMIrwanto SadikinINA24475,025442551
52IMDimakiling OliverPHI24265,025372544
53GMGonzales JaysonPHI24655,025322548
54IMAshwin JayaramIND24135,025142534
55IMSadorra Julio CatalinoPHI24515,025112528
56IMNguyen Thanh SonVIE24485,025082528
57FMWahono AwamINA23915,025032513
Zhang ZiyangCHN24195,024782493
59GMGomez John PaulPHI25385,024732480
Garma EdgardoPHI24215,024702485
61GMParagua MarkPHI25295,024622471
62IMAkshayraj KoreIND24045,024372451
63IMMas HafizulhelmiMAS24255,024142429
64GMKim AlexeyKOR24815,023882396
Yang KaiqiCHN24135,023842395
Wang LiCHN24014,524982506
Lou YipingCHN24104,524812501
68IMHassan AbdullahUAE23224,524792488
69FMPriyadharshan KIND24114,524622479
Garcia Jan EmmanuelPHI22924,524472452
Yu LieCHN23074,524402444
72FMNovita AnjasINA23454,024842494
73FMAlhuwar JasemUAE22934,024782485
74FMAbu Sufian ShakilBAN23784,024722477
Causo DenielPHI23674,024582463
76FMHoang Canh HuanVIE23784,024552469
Jia HaoxiangCHN23444,024512460
Pascua HaridasPHI23594,024502468
79IMBancod RonaldPHI23564,024462450
Olay Edgar ReggiePHI23484,024232461
81CMNguyen Hoang NamVIE22814,023922426
Elorta DavidPHI23723,024942508
83IMKhamrakulov DzhurabekUZB25243,024812490
Chua AaronMAS21162,024002415
Celis Solomon B IiiMAC20071,023882401
86GMDzhumaev MaratUZB25520,000