Monday, June 29, 2009

Palmdale Chess photos, results and impressions

It may not be a perfect day to play chess. Scorching hot during mid day and heavy downpour during early afternoon. Nevertheless, it was a very exciting day for everyone. The tournament was held on the covered court of Ramon Magsaysay high school in Cubao, Quezon City. The one day event saw the participation of 175 very energetic and lively non master chess participants. Majority from this number were no more than 20 years old. Kids as young as 4 years old could be seen completely ignoring their parents standing on the sidelines in sheer determination to win. After the opening rites, all our GMs who graced the event were very courteous and accommodating to the fans. GM Eugene Torre and GM Rogelio looks younger than ever. GM Jayson Gonzales were always to be seen with his players from FEU. GM Mark Paragua likewise drift from board to board to kibitz. Also woman's world 10 ball champion Rubilen Amit showed up to received his medal of recognition from the city. It is also interesting to see Asia's first IM Rodolfo Tan Cardoso supporting the event. But hey, I wasn't aware that UP tenor, Christopher Castellano who sings the national anthem beautifully is a FIDE master himself!

Camaraderie before hostilities.
Notice each others faces. They convey different expressions.

These two were spotted playing a rare one on one simul game! Actually there were no shortage of chess boards and clocks but chairs! But eventually somebody gave them chairs moments later.

These two players actually had to stand up to breath some fresh air. The two are the only moving element in this animated blitz exchanges. The rest were frozen, holding their breath.

The boy on the right is just four years old, so said his mom. Unfortunately, he was checkmated by his more experienced opponents a couple of moves later. It's not easy to play chess in worm's-eye view, right? The closest thing to blindfold chess.

When it rains, comes heavy wind. But some players, like this two kids came up with brilliant ideas of placing rocks on their Eureka to hold them in place.

Below is the full report of tournament organizer and sports journalist, NM Marlon Bernardino

+63 (919) 849-3648
email address:

QUEZON CITY, Philippines---STA. FE, Romblon native Jayson Visca, Philippine Airforce bet Allan Cantonjos, Ateneo de Manila University stand-out Jan Emmanuel Garcia and University of the Philippines (UP) top women player Rida Jane Young led over the weekend winners in the just concluded 1st Palmdale Import and Export Co. Rapid Chess Tournament at the Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School (RMCHS) along Edsa, Cubao, on Sunday.

Visca toppled fellow Romblonian and RP executive champion Dr. Jenny Mayor while Cantonjos, playing under the wing of Philippine Airforce commanding general Lt. General Oscar H. Rabena crushed top seed Raymon Salcedo in the seventh and final round to share the top honors in the non-master class after tallying identical 6.5 points apiece in the one-day affair,sponsored by sportsman/ businessman Fernando “Kuya Nanding” Reyes, FDR International, XT2000 Orange Oil and Diana Secret for anti aging treatment in close cooperation with Filway Marketings Inc.CEO/President Hector Tagaysay and Dickies vice president Dody T. Arcaya.

Aside from Trophies, the duo (Visca and Cantonjos) received P3,000 each after split the combined prized of P6,000 for the 1st and 2nd placers, in the event organized by RP and US Chess Master Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr., which is aims to promote chess in the grassroots level and discover future world class chess players.

Dasmarinas, Cavite pride Ivan Gil Biag and College of St. Benilde ace Narquindel Reyes notch 6.0 points to received P750 each for 3rd and 4th placers after split the combined prizes of P1,500.

Biag, on the other hand took the third place trophy after the bucholz tie break was applied in the event supervised by International Arbiter NM Erwin Carag, NM Rudy Ibanez, local arbiters Gatz Luz and Raul Cruz.

Atene de Manila University whiz kid Jan Emmanuel Garcia took the trophy plus the top prize of P2,000 as clear first place winner in the kiddies division 14 year old and below class while University of the Philippines star player Rida Jane Young bring home P2,000 champions purse plus trophy as she dominated the Womens class.

Over-all, the three division tournament was attracted a total of 175 woodpushers on account of 100 non-master players, 29 Womens pawnpushers and 46 kiddies players.

Highlight of the event prior to the tournament proper, honoring Quezon City long-time resident grandmasters Eugene Torre, Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr., Mark Paragua and Jayson Gonzales as well Womens World Billiards Champion Rubilen "Bingkay" Amit after bringing honor and glory for the country enroute receiving their medals and a give pack from Timelife Books and Dickies as being role model in the field of sports. Quezon City councilors Bayani Hipol and Bong Suntay, Nerie Dela Fuente of Palmdale Import and Export Co., and Asia's First IM Rodolfo Tan Cardoso graced the opening rites. UP Musician Tenor and Fide Master Christopher Castellano sings tremendous the national anthem.

Other awardees that includes Austin Jacob Literatus of Davao City, Cherry Ann Mejia of Taguig City, Paulo Bersamina of Pasay City and Samantha Glo Revita of Rosales, Pangasinan, who won the coveted gold medal in the 2009 ASEAN + Age Group Chess Championships in Vietnam. Harold "Henrysky" Mariano (Coach of the Year), Chess Arbiters Association of the Philippines (CAAP), Ramon Magsaysay Chess Club.

The one-day event also supported by RMCHS Cubao Principal IV Dr. Josefina Perlado, GM Mark Monera Magadan of MPC Aluminum and Glass Trading, Barangay Alabang chairman Victor Ulanday, Dr. Alfredo Paez, Dr. Bong Perez, Marikina Chess Federation headed by Johnny Gaudia, g4 chess club led by Joel Pineda, Mr. Jun Balgan, Chess Arbiters Association of the Philippines (CAAP), Hi-tec shoes, Jubilant Advertising and local officials from Quezon City. NATIONAL MASTEER MARLON BERNARDINO.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Off to Cubao for Palmdale

Off to Cubao this morning for Palmdale chess. Hope to catch up in time for Pichay and Torre speeches. One shouldn't miss what Torre has to say these days. The weather is quite good. Cloudy but just fine.

It should be fun.

By the way, today is GM Nelson Mariano II birthday!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

IM Oliver Barbosa's incredible stamina

The next time you see IM Oliver Barbosa and you want to know what's his secrets to his success in his US campaign, make sure you don't forget to ask how he managed to keep his little frame of body in top shape. You may want to ask him what foods he eats in between tournaments, how many hours he jogged each day and everything one need to know about physical and mental conditioning. Goodness me, I don't care what kind of openings, strategy or psychological warfare (if he's doing that, but I doubt) he's using against his opponents. All I want to know is how he keeps himself healthy and fit! Oliver captured and co shared 17 title to date in a span of just 3 months. I'm pretty sure he had join over 20 tournaments not just 17. He couldn't possibly win them all in straight fashion right? Sure, some of them were blitz and rapids but boy, you need to be one heck of perfectly fit individual to achieved what he has done...thus far.

I got to talk to this guy when he returns home. I must.

From an email to us by sports journalist, NM Marlon Bernardino:

(0919) 849-3648

MANILA, Philippines---FILIPINO International Master Oliver Barbosa won his 17th title in the US chess circuit on Tuesday, after ruling the 2nd Annual NY International Chess Championships at the Marshall Chess Club in New York, New York, USA.

The Taytay, Rizal native finished 6.5 points on account of five wins, three draws and a loss in nine outings, the same output of GM Georgi Kacheisvili, GM Zbyneil Hracek, GM Alexander Stripunsky, and IM Samuel Shankland.

Former Asian Junior Champion IM Renato Naranja wound up into a tie for 33rd placers along with eight others in the group of 3.5 pointers in the 55 players tournament.

Barbosa, playing under the banner of NCFP president Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr., and New York Immigration lawyer Geronimo "Gerry" Albano will next see action in the tough 37th Annual World Open Chess Championship on July 1 to 5 at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel in Downtown, Philadelphia.

Last week, the top player of University of the Philippines (UP) also scored back to back wins at the “June St. John's Masters” last June 16 and the “Get Ready for June 25th Tonight Chess Championships” last June 18, both held at the heart of Big Apple.

According to RP artists champion Albert Rivera (Barbosa spokesman), other victory of Barbosa in his three-months campaign in the United States from April to June were that includes Original 4 rated Games Tonight, New York, New York (April 9), Marshall CC Saturday Game 60, Marshall Chess Club, New York (April 11), Marshall CC Sunday Game 60, Marshall Chess Club, New York (April 12), 10 Grand Prix Points Tonight , New York, New York (April 16), Original 4 rated Games Tonight, New York, New York (April 23), 10th Bowyer Memorial GP , Atlantic Beach, New York (April 25), 10 Points Older Tonight, New York, New York (May 7), PCC 05109 Swiss in Forest Hills, New York (May 10), Original 4 rated Games Tonight, New York, New York (May 21), NY May Open, New York, New York (May 24), Polgar Chess May 2009 G90, Forest Hills, New York (May 26), Original 4 rated Games Tonight, New York, New York (May 28), Original 4 rated Games Tonight, New York, New York (June 11) and 6th Annual George Washington Open (June 14) in Sterling, Virginia. NATIONAL MASTER MARLON BERNARDINO

Wesley So, no problem in round 5

Wesley So, playing the top board for Qingdao Bank for the second time won his fifth round game against Wang Chen of Chongqin Communication in the ongoing Chinese Chess League in Beijing, China. It's not easy to get information from the tournament official website since everything is written in Chinese and you have to use Babel fish to translate the page but be warn, it will drain all your energy. You will need to use your logic, common sense and rational thinking to the fullest.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson Live in Manila 1996

I have to be honest, I was never a big fan of Michael Jackson. I respect the guy for his achievement and contribution to music but never really into the man. Point is, we had lost a genius. And a true genius he was. May he rest in peace.

The late great Michael Jackson performing live from his History World Tour, Manila concert in 1996. Enjoy and be enthralled!

1958 - 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Palmdale Chess

In case some of you are still unaware of this one day chess event. I'm off to Cubao on Sunday but still in the the crossroads on either to join or observe (so I can blog).

crossing my finger for a nice weather...

mobile no: + 63 919 849 3648

No less than National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr., is invited to grace the first-ever Palmdale Import and Export Co. Rapid Chess Tournament gets underway on Sunday (June 28) at the Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School (RMCHS) along Edsa, Cubao (opposite of Nepa Q-Mart).

Tournament organizer RP and US Chess Master Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr., said Pichay, also the chair of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), will give his inspirational message to the participants of the three-division event (kiddies 14 years old and below, womens and non-master),sponsored by sportsman/ businessman Fernando "Kuya Nanding" Reyes, FDR International, XT2000 Orange Oil and Diana Secret for anti aging treatment, which aims to promote chess in the grassroots-level.

" We expect around 200 chess players to participate," said Chief Arbiter Erwin Carag, a certified International Arbiter of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and a strong National Master in the country.

Sunday morning's program will start the registration at 9 a.m. before Pichay will give his inspirational message at 11 a.m.

Pichay along with Asia's First Grandmaster Eugene Torre, an alumni of RMCHS Cubao campus, 2009 Khanti, Mansiyk World Chess Championships (World Chess Cup) qualifier GM Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr., GM Jayson Gonzales and GM Mark Paragua will do the traditional ceremonial moves. GMs Torre, Antonio, Gonzales and Paragua are long-time resident of Quezon City.

Also invited to grace the opening rites are Quezon City Mayor Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte, Vice Mayor Herbert "Bistek" Bautista, 3rd district rep. Matias Defensor, 4th district rep. Nanette Castelo Daza, 4th district councilors headed by Bayani Hipol, Janet Malaya, Edsel Lagman, Bong Suntay, Vincent Belmonte and Barangay Kaunlaran chair Teresa Atentar.

FREE LUNCH TO ALL PARTICIPANTS in the said three division tournament (Non-Master, Kiddies 14 years old and below, Womens). Registration fee for the non-master category is P300 while for the kiddies (14 years old and below) and womens divisions are P200 each. For details: please call / txt IA/ NM Erwin Carag, 0921-228-8167 and NM Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr. 0919-849-3648 or email at,

The breakdown of cash prizes as follows:

(Non-Master division) 1st-P4,000, 2nd-P2,000, 3rd-P1,000, 4th-P500, 5th-P500, 6th to 10th placers (Give aways products: Dickies and Time Life Books), Top Senior (50 years old and above); Top Juniors (20 years old and below);Top Executive; Top Unrated; Top journalist; Top Artist; Top Ramon Magsaysay Student (Give aways products: Dickies and Time Life Books).

(Kiddies 14 years old and below division) 1st-P2,000, 2nd-P1,000, 3rd-P500, 4th to 5th-P250 each, 6th to 10th-Time Life Books, youngest participants-Time Life Books.

(Womens divisions) 1st-P2,000, 2nd-P1,000, 3rd-P500, 4th to 5th-P250 each, 6th to 10th-Time Life Books.

The organizing committee also would like to thank the following chess friends for their support: RMCHS Cubao Principal IV Dr. Josefina Perlado, Filway Marketings Inc.CEO/President Hector Tagaysay, Dickies vice president Dody T. Arcaya, GM Mark Monera Magadan of MPC Aluminum and Glass Trading, Dr. Alfredo Paez, Dr. Bong Perez, Mr. Joel Gaudia, Mr. Victor Ulanday, Mr. Joel Pineda, Mr. Jun Balgan, Chess Arbiters Association of the Philippines (CAAP), Marikina Chess Federation, g4 chess club and Hi-tec shoes. NATIONAL MASTER MARLON BERNARDINO
My Name is Mr. Almario Marlon Q. Bernardino Jr., a resident of 29 Batay Street, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines. I am a Filipino chessplayer, who gained sports recognition here in the Philippines and abroad. I am a national master (NM) under the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and a USCF under the United States Chess Federation (USCF). Right now, I am also a sports journalist and radio commentator, who covers events and competitions in the fields of chess, billiards, volleyball and boxing, to name a few.

IM Oliver Barbosa tie for first at MCC in New York

IM Oliver Barbosa finished tie for first place at the Marshall Ches Club in New York just hours ago. Please visit the official tournament site HERE for details. The MCC is the toughest tournament he had joined thus far in his US campaign. Last year, GM Mark Paragua rules this very same tournament. Please check my last year post HERE.

White: IM Oliver Barbosa (PHI)
Black: Jaan Ehlvest (USA)
Round 4
2nd Annual Marshall Chess Club New York

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 0-0 5. Bg2 d5! (still one of the most underrated opening variation, the Neo Gruenfeld, in my opinion.)

6. d4 cxd4 7. 0-0 c6 8. a4 a5 9. e4 Nfd7 10. Be3 Na6!? (Where now, Black's light squared bishop?)

11. Qe2 Nb6 12. Ne5 (now no more pin for the Black's light squared bishop and getting rid of it for good by trading it for white's knight (...Bxf3) at proper moment).

12...Be6 13. Rad1! (black keeps his extra pawn but white has completed his development quite harmoniously. )

13...Nb6 14. f4 Ra6 15. Kh1 Qc8 (preparing to trade his light squared bishop)

16. Qf2 (followed by d5)

16...Bh3 17. Bxh3 Qxf3 18. d5 Bxe5 19. fxe5 Nd7 20. Bc5 Nxe5?! (black ignore the trade between the bishop and knight on c5 as black still wants to keep his c4 pawn and stick to his earlier plan of posting his knight on d3.)

21. Bxe7 Nb3 22. Qe2 Re8 23. d6 Rb6 24. Rd2 Rb3 25. Nd1 Qe6 26. Ne3 Rxe7 (black wants to transposed the game into an early endgame battle.)

27. dxe7 Qxe7 28. Nxc4 Nxc4 29. Rxd3 Rxb2 30. Qg4 31 Ng5? (the final blunder. Perhaps black is in time trouble here otherwise he could possibly have lose his temper.)

31. Qc8! Kg7 32. Rd8 Kh6 33. Re8 Qg5 34. Rf4 f5 35. Rxe5 1-0

final position

Rating Nation Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Rd 9 Total Prize!
1 GM Zbyneil Hracek 12650689 2664 2659 2604 CZE W34 L33 W19 D9 W42 W10 W11 D5 D2 6½ $2,000
2 GM Alexander Stripunsky 12715435 2623 2631 2556 USA W53 D17 W44 W33 D5 D4 W22 D3 D1 6½ $2,000
3 GM Giorgi Kacheishvili 12746489 2622 2621 2613 GEO W26 D43 D9 W17 L30 W18 W12 D2 W5 6½ $2,000
4 IM Oliver A Barbosa 12774447 2509 2537 2425 PHI W38 W23 W42 W6 D22 D2 L5 D8 W15 6½ $2,000
5 IM Samuel Shankland 12852765 2481 2517 2446 USA W14 W20 D22 W10 D2 W30 W4 D1 L3 6½ $2,000
6 GM Jaan Ehlvest 12514557 2673 2653 2606 USA D24 W36 W13 L4 W33 D12 D9 W22 D8 6
7 GM Sergey Kudrin 11257585 2626 2610 2563 USA D36 W32 D15 W20 L11 W14 H--- D9 W18 6
8 GM Jesse Kraai 12442362 2531 2539 2488 USA W27 D15 W43 L22 W21 D9 W17 D4 D6 6
9 IM Lev Milman
GM Norm! 21012681 2472 2507 2462 USA W39 D19 D3 D1 W43 D8 D6 D7 W16 6
10 IM Leonid Gerzhoy 13291380 2402 2440 2420 CAN W40 W12 D33 L5 W49 L1 W13 D16 W17 6
11 IM Jacek Stopa 13485890 2532 2528 2471 POL W37 D44 D17 W24 W7 D22 L1 L15 W28 5½
12 IM Dean J Ippolito 12445752 2521 2519 2443 USA W29 L10 W37 D15 W44 D6 L3 W19 D14 5½
13 IM Irina Krush 12543137 2474 2463 2452 USA W45 D21 L6 L30 W28 W34 L10 W38 W23 5½
14 Mackenzie Molner 12662506 2415 2421 2384 USA L5 D39 W54 D19 W29 L7 W37 W30 D12 5½
15 Igor Sorkin 12684250 2392 2419 2345 ISR W47 D8 D7 D12 H--- H--- W33 W11 L4 5½
16 GM Leonid G Yudasin 12542077 2638 2587 2550 ISR W35 L42 L24 W53 D34 W20 W30 D10 L9 5
17 IM Justin Sarkar 12561884 2427 2438 2410 USA W28 D2 D11 L3 W24 W19 L8 W27 L10 5
18 IM Jay Bonin 10098327 2408 2402 2369 USA D32 D24 D27 D29 W37 L3 W39 W21 L7 5
19 Siddharth Ravichandran 14138151 2356 2367 2303 IND W41 D9 L1 D14 W27 L17 W36 L12 W30 5
20 Adam S Maltese 12578045 2356 2366 2222 USA W51 L5 W38 L7 W52 L16 H--- H--- W31 5
21 Kassa Korley 12832679 2206 2237 2120 USA W52 D13 H--- H--- L8 D43 W44 L18 W34 5
22 IM Marc T Arnold 12770589 2433 2457 2408 USA W31 W49 D5 W8 D4 D11 L2 L6 U--- 4½
23 FM Daniel A Yeager 12876648 2378 2361 2372 USA W48 L4 L30 L37 W31 W29 D28 W39 L13 4½
24 FM Darwin Yang 12945617 2318 2329 2231 USA D6 D18 W16 L11 L17 L28 D31 W45 W38 4½
25 Valentin Goikhman 14225550 2309 2296 2209 ISR L49 D31 L32 W51 L36 D38 W47 D37 W39 4½
26 IM Raymond Kaufman 20058328 2299 2304 2276 USA L3 D28 D31 D38 W54 L33 D42 W36 D27 4½
27 FM Ilye Figler 12713319 2276 2289 2319 USA L8 W47 D18 D52 L19 W35 W43 L17 D26 4½
28 Jeffrey Haskel 12744467 2216 2241 2131 USA L17 D26 D36 W35 L13 W24 D23 W42 L11 4½
29 Adithya Balasubramanian 12932453 2259 2249 2212 IND L12 D52 W40 D18 L14 L23 L41 B--- W50 4
30 FM Ryan Harper 12922807 2223 2249 2206 TRI L42 W35 W23 W13 W3 L5 L16 L14 L19 4
31 Allen J Weiss 12706217 2210 2214 USA L22 D25 D26 D36 L23 W48 D24 W41 L20 4
32 Andrew C Wang 12846588 2111 2124 USA D18 L7 W25 L44 L39 L47 B--- W35 D36 4
33 Marc R Esserman 20008479 2441 2446 2391 USA W54 W1 D10 L2 L6 W26 L15 U--- U--- 3½
34 FM Jon Jacobs 10098068 2314 2304 2307 USA L1 W45 L49 W48 D16 L13 L38 W46 L21 3½
35 WIM Iryna Zenyuk 12846035 2311 2275 2305 USA L16 L30 W46 L28 W47 L27 D40 L32 B--- 3½
36 FM Alec Getz 12805454 2295 2289 2229 USA D7 L6 D28 D31 W25 D44 L19 L26 D32 3½
37 Parker B Zhao 12787319 2284 2285 2301 USA L11 W50 L12 W23 L18 W40 L14 D25 U--- 3½
38 Alexander Barnett 12657899 2268 2264 2239 USA L4 W46 L20 D26 H--- D25 W34 L13 L24 3½
39 IM Renato C Naranja 13024036 2245 2244 2295 PHI L9 D14 W41 L43 W32 W42 L18 L23 L25 3½
40 Aleksandr A Ostrovskiy 12881112 2080 2082 2061 USA L10 H--- L29 D45 W51 L37 D35 H--- D41 3½
41 Nelson M Farber 12813964 2012 2024 2001 USA L19 D53 L39 H--- H--- D46 W29 L31 D40 3½
42 Grigory Braylovskiy 12588419 2437 2419 2358 USA W30 W16 L4 D49 L1 L39 D26 L28 U--- 3
43 FM Elliott J Liu 12661521 2405 2391 2353 USA W46 D3 L8 W39 L9 D21 L27 U--- U--- 3
44 FM Jake Kleiman 12683681 2383 2370 2326 USA W50 D11 L2 W32 L12 D36 L21 U--- U--- 3
45 Vitaly Zaderman 12570422 2249 2220 2214 USA L13 L34 D47 D40 D48 H--- H--- L24 D51 3
46 Leonard B Chipkin 10119031 2099 2083 2059 USA L43 L38 L35 D55 D50 D41 W51 L34 D48 3
47 Dale M Hammer 12503139 2064 2065 2215 USA L15 L27 D45 H--- L35 W32 L25 D50 H--- 3
48 Edward A Frumkin 10136580 2037 2036 2034 USA L23 H--- D53 L34 D45 L31 D50 D51 D46 3
49 IM Alex Lenderman 12787646 2630 2599 2434 USA W25 L22 W34 D42 L10 U--- U--- U--- U--- 2½
50 Andrew Hellenschmidt 12593461 2060 2042 2024 USA L44 L37 D55 L54 D46 D51 D48 D47 L29 2½
51 Bora Yagiz 12661990 1993 1983 1910 USA L20 B--- L52 L25 L40 D50 L46 D48 D45 2½
52 IM Daniel Fernandez 20058682 2420 2394 2369 USA L21 D29 W51 D27 L20 U--- U--- U--- U--- 2
53 FM Gregory Markzon 12057550 2289 2276 2203 USA L2 D41 D48 L16 B--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 2
54 Andras A Erdei 12532583 2228 2220 2159 HUN L33 H--- L14 W50 L26 U--- U--- U--- U--- 1½
55 Anatoly Ostrovskiy 12890679 1868 1877 1969 USA U--- U--- D50 D46 U--- U--- U--- U--- U---

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chess and Go: two of the best games in the world

Photo from wikipedia

Below is a reader's interesting response from section, Question of the Month where readers of that site are encourage to ask questions that is related to chess. May question of the month run like this:

Is chess the world’s best game?

Many would agree that chess is the best game in the world even for the non-playing one. Basketball, football, boxing etc usually associates themselves with chess. But those who are familiar with the traditional East Asian board game of Go may usually find that our beloved chess is not really that far ahead. This chess blogger too know the basics of go but not good (or credible) enough to present which is best of the two. But not being bias, I would still give chess the advantage over Go in the philosophical aspects of man vs man, faith and self...but not that much. This guy would help for the explaining:

Bart Spencer (Japan) writes: NO. QED.

But Go is a different game, and so in a way cannot compete. It is through this lack of competition that I cannot choose between them. For Go is like water, a flowing attempt to surround the surrounder, and a battle wherein all exchanges will lead to one thing for one, and another for the other. Who has the most? Who is the surrounder, and who is surrounded? The rules of Go are simple: Capture territory by placing stones on the board one at a time. But the stones themselves are alive, and can be killed if they are surrounded. From this simplicity comes a game that can be learned faster than chess, and the first game played in minutes. Yet within this simplicity comes such complexity that it is said the perfect game of Go has never been played, and no game of Go has ever been repeated.

There also exist several mundane reasons for my choice. Chess is not “played out,” and there is always more for us mortals to learn; only Garry Kasparov need cry. But there are computers that can defeat all but the best in chess, and it seems that soon we humans will be unable to compete. This is sad, and adds a slight note of sterility to the game. It is also amazing, and brings its own unique flavor. All in all, however, I much prefer the old contests, with Botvinnik disappearing for months at a time, only to reappear with a new choice of opening system, deeply studied, again to crush his competition. The fact that this study is now “aided” makes it that much more sharp, yet seeing a game wherein the first novelty occurs at move twenty-five is for my part rather depressing.

Go is a game with so many positions, it cannot be played well by computers, and in fact an above-average player can beat the most sophisticated machine. In this, Go has life, and does not threaten to be “solved” in any complete way soon. Chess may be solved in the next decades. In addition, the handicap system in Go allows me (a definite amateur) to play an equal game against anyone up to master level, simply by adding stones to the starting position. The more the player towers over me in strength, the more stones I get. And it does create an equal game. To remove a knight in chess is to change the nature of the starting position, and really changes the contest. To add even nine stones will change the game far less in Go, allowing players of all levels to easily connect on the board. In conclusion, chess has by no means left my heart, and will remain there. It captured me as a child, and will continue to fascinate me into my old age. But there is a new sheriff in town, and in this town, there are no deputies. In a contest between incomparables, there can be no second. There are two best games in this world, and chess happens to be one of them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pinoy chess etiquette

Let us review how Filipino chess players will fare to proper chess etiquette and rules provided from one of Susan Polgar's column at "General chess etiquette and various tournament formats"

• It is considered rude and inappropriate for a player to eat or have a meal at the playing table.

In the Philippines- many tournaments organizers actually provided free fruits like bananas for the players to munch on as needed. Some even provided pancit bihon (Filipino fried noodles) kept in styrophones! Several players ate during the rounds (and even during games), but this didn't seem distracting players especially in long games.

• Basic refreshment such as water is OK.

In the Philippines- yes of course organizers provides free distilled bottled waters too.

• Refrain from singing while playing. You may think you're Josh Groban, but do not perform while playing chess.

In the Philippines- Many are humming some popular tunes but just under their breath. But those who opts for Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston songs can really distract you.

• When you chew gum, chew quietly. Don't annoy your opponent by chewing loudly or blow bubbles.

In the Philippines- yes many chew gums but never heard or seen one blow bubbles. I myself usually chew mint gums to release tensions.

• Smoking at the playing table is not allowed.

In the Philippines- definitely not.

• There should be no communication with your opponent until after the game, except to resign, offer a draw, or announce J'adoube (means adjusting your pieces).

In the Philippines- No problem with that also.

• Don't make a draw offer to your opponent after every move once it is refused or rejected.

In the Philippines- Unless you are facing a master, this rarely happens. I know one master who are notorious for this kind of rude behavior. "tabla nga yan e hindi ka ba nakaka intindi ng chess?"

• Don't listen to an MP3 player during the game.

In the Philippines- Many are doing this nowadays specially with the youth and teenagers. But nobody seems to be bother.

Although the following are not rules, it is recommended to do the following:

• Try to show up to your game in a timely manner. It is considered rude to be tardy.

- In the Philippines- this one of the biggest problem. This blogger once face a city official in an open tournament who was late for nearly an hour. Being a politician, the arbiter didn't start the clock and wait for the mayor before we start the game.

• Don't adjust the chess pieces with each move. It is quite annoying for your opponent.

-In the Philippines- again this is trivial things over the board and seems no one is being bother about this.

I would add "When making a move, make sure to place the piece in the center of the square."

• It may sound too basic to even mention, but don't cough or sneeze at your opponent.

-In the Philippines- nobody is doing that here.

• Shake hands before and after the game. It is customary.

In the Philippines- Some never offer their hands after a match. Some are just to shy, excited or uncomfortable doing that. But mostly, they forgot.

• Have you ever seen the sign: "No shirt, no shoes, no service"? The same rule holds true in chess. Proper attire should be worn while playing.

-the biggest problem for some Pinoy chess players. It is a common sight in tournaments to see players in their slippers, shorts and plain basketball shirts. Proper attire are some of the things Filipinos should be aware of, I should say.

• Don't whistle while you are playing. It is annoying and distracting to your opponent.

Some are whistling because their are tense. But it last for just a couple of seconds.

• No trash talking before, during, or after the game. Be courteous.

-In the Philippines- No problem with that.

• Don't do anything to annoy your opponent or other players who may be sitting next to you.

-In the Philippines, being a tropical country and most tournaments are being held outdoors, some players can have suffocating body odor. This is quite annoying, of course. But aside from that, Pinoy players are all business on the board and very courteous indeed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chess and real life time management

Lately, the USCF or United States Chess Federation has been the site of interest for this blogger, owing to successful campaigns by our Filipino players based in the US, particularly Enrico Sevillano and Rogelio Barcenilla among others. Browsing the archives, I came upon this one informative and insightful article by GM Joel Benjamin in his regular column, Ask GM Joel which I want to share with everyone. It's all about time management during actual chess games, and since chess imitates and represents life in many aspects, including real life time management, the article is worth reading not only for improving our games but more importantly on how we can apply what we learn from playing serious chess on our every day life. Here's an excerpt from the article GM Joel on Time Management:

Dear Joel Benjamin,

...I am 11 years old and in sixth grade... When I play the higher rated players I often lose on time because it takes me five to ten minutes to evaluate the position and more time to calculate my moves. Is there any way to see all of these things quicker and still see them thoroughly without taking as much time?


GM Joel Benjamin: You want your thought process to be as efficient as possible. It should go something like this:

1) Examine your opponent’s move to see how it affects the position (does it threaten something, or prevent your plans?).
2) Look for “candidate moves.” This process doesn’t have to exhaustive and should take less than a minute. Two to four candidates should be enough for most moves. Analyze the ones that look best to you, and try not to jump back and forth too much. Don’t feel you have to spend a lot of time (if any at all) on choice #4 if the first option looked really good after a bit of analysis.
3) Make your decision and do a final check for safety before playing your move.

Please read the complete article by GM Joel from the USCF website.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

IM Oliver Barbosa's US campaign

Now we see the reason why IM Oliver Barbosa has not been very active in local chess scene since Barley Rapid Open chess championship last February where he finished tied for second behind So and missing major tournaments like the prestigious Asian Continental championship in Subic. The guy is campaigning in the US for a series of tournaments where competition are somewhat less tougher but raining with prizes. Recently, he was crowned the overall champion in the 6th Annual George Washington Open International Chess Championships held from June 13-14 in Virginia, his 14th title in three months according to the article by veteran chess journalist Marlon Bernardino from and Hope to see IM Barbosa to bring home more goodies from his US campaign.

While his 14th US chess title was won in Virginia, Barbosa’s 13 other triumphs were all clinched in New York.

He won at the Original 4 rated Games Tonight (April 9), Marshall CC Saturday Game 60 (April 11), Marshall CC Sunday Game 60 (April 12), 10 Grand Prix Points Tonight (April 16), Original 4 rated Games Tonight (April 23), and 10th Bowyer Memorial GP (April 25).

Barbosa went on to succeed at the 10 Points Older Tonight (May 7), PCC 05109 Swiss in Forest Hills (May 10), Original 4 rated Games Tonight (May 21), NY May Open (May 24), Polgar Chess May 2009 G90 (May 26), Original 4 rated Games Tonight (May 28) and Original 4 rated Games Tonight (June 11).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

John Paul Gomez rules Palawan Open

Curiously, only one GM would want to re-visit the most beautiful island in the entire archipelago.

Photo from Wikipedia

GM John Paul Gomez, the third rank player in the country behind Wesley So and Eugene Torre had just won the less publicized Palawan Baragatan Open in Puerto Princesa. Barely. Gomez actually had to share the top spot with two others, IM Richard Bitoon and IM Rolando Nolte. I was surprise that only one GM participated in the event considering the decent amount of cash prizes that was at stake here. Not to mention the beauty of the place. Sole winner could take home nearly a quarter of a million pesos or P220,000. Gomez, Bitoon and Nolte divided the top prize and each will received P 73,000 in cash. Not bad! You can enjoy three days Safari from the island in less than P10,000. Would love to see their photos with spitting monkeys and giant bats about the size of a full grown cat. That would be a sight to see.

Full story from

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bareev vs. Sevillano annotated game (home edition)

The annotated game below is from the final round and the most decisive of the Las Vegas International Chess Festival between GM Alexei Bareev and IM Enrico Sevillano which saw IM Enrico Sevillano came up with a huge and crucial victory against GM Evgeny Bareev, who was occupying the second spot going into the final round of the tourney and one of the top ten players in the world during the nineties.

This is the result of two days labor from yours truly, but would like also to send my warm appreciation to FIDE Master R. aka 2k night, for the enlightenment he provides on Sevillano's knight move on the 25th (25...Nd5).

There are two popular operating system we usually employ in our everyday life. The Professional and the Home edition. The annotated game below is the "Home Edition".

Las Vegas International Chess Festival
Round 6
White GM Bareev, Evgeny (2686)
Black IM Sevillano, Enrico (2557)

The game demonstrate how a humble, weak looking isolated pawn can support the assault of its superior towards victory.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 (The Modern Benoni Defense. IM Sevillano's favorite or "pamatay na opening" (killer opening) if we will allow to use the term the six years old Stephen Rome's Pangilinan to defeat his opponents. The Benoni however is not advisable choice for beginners to study with. Black will opt to fiancetto his king's bishop to g7 playing for a counter attack on the queenside and the semi-open e-file. White on the other hand, will play for a central initiative.

4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 (This is the fianchetto variation of the Benoni. Black will try to unbalance the position and gain active piece play at the cost of allowing White a pawn wedge at d5 and a central majority. White usually plays for a central break with e5, black will undermine this by the push...c5 and if the bishop on g7 stays unchallenged, will give black playing chances.)

7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5 (the variation white was following has the higher winning percentage according to my opening data base, showing white with 63.4% winning percentage and with performance rating of 2593)

8...Nfd7 9.a4 (during actual games, giving up the b4 square to black brought white no problems at all but Sevillano will use this all important square to his advantage latter in the game. All other possible variations like 9.Bd3, Bd2, and Nf3 appears to favor white considerably.)

9...Qh4 10.g3 Qe7 11.Nf3 O-O 12.O-O Na6 (That's right kids. Black is now setting his eyes on the b4 square. An ideal outpost for black's knight.)

13.Re1 Nb4 (black still has huge loosing percentage in this variation, again, according to my opening database with mere 39.2 % winning percentage for black. Black should be careful. If properly executed by white, the all important b4 square will pose no threat at all with white's plan.)

14.Be3 (Interesting. 14. Bf1 followed by 15.Ra3 or 15.h3 seems better)

At this point, we will rely on human psychology as we follows the moves more than depending on chess computer program in search for tactical possibilities. This blogger is after the drama, doubt, pride, fear, ego etc that represent top class chess game, meaning we will not suggest which is much better move nor present winning variations.

14...Nf6 (Double edge. It allows the black's knight and light squared bishop to come into play.)

15.Bd2?! (now white obviously overlooked black's follow up move of ...Ng4. Mental lapses in the earlier part of the game are proven to be costly.)

15...Bg4 (pinning the knight on f3 but it also forced the white king away from its comfort zone early in the game.)

16.Kg2 a6 17.Bf1 Qd7 18.Qb3 (bailing out of the annoying pin for good.)

18. Bh3+ (black begins the attack on the whites kingside to freed black's queenside. The exchange of light squared bishop after the kings retreat will favor black in his attempt to gain grounds on the queenside, following the pawn exchange there.)

19.Kh1 Bxf1 20.Rxf1 b5! (If the white light squared bishop was still planted on f1, the ensuing exchange of pawns will not be possible.)

21.axb5 axb5 22.Rad1 Qb7 (black's knight on f6 can use the square d7 left by queen for maneuvering towards the queenside. Black's queen will stay and haunt on the queenside anyway so why not place it where it can be more active and allow other pieces to move more freely?)

23.Bc1 Rad8 24.Rfe1 Rfe8 25.Kg2 Nd3! (black is inviting white to exchange one of his rooks for his knight and a pawn. Try figuring it out yourself, using psychology over pure calculation before going on to the next moves. Computers will rarely make this kind of move. It's all psychological. Thanks FM R!)

26.Rxd3?! (so white is undeterred. Interesting part here was that, Bareev spent less than 10 seconds to decide for this move. Either Bareev's tactical instinct may have failed him this time or he simply anticipated this move, the result was it keeps black strong. Now the cockiness of human nature when facing such "insulting" move finally comes into the picture, I presume. However, 26.Qxb5 Nxe1 Rxe1 Qxb5 etc or 26. Qxb5 Qxb5 27. Nxb5 Nxe1 28. Rxe1 Nxe4 and black regains the pawn with huge positional advantage for black. On the other hand, moving the threatened rook on e1, will cost white precious time and tempo.)

26...c4 (obviously, the only move.)

27.Qd1 cxd3 28.Qxd3 b4! (Good move. This bold push of an isolated pawn into enemy territory looks ambitious but the move not only pushed the knight back to it's most inactive place at d1, the b4 pawn also allow black's bishop on g7 to lord and rain terror along the a1-h8 diagonal by protecting the c3 square, parrying any attempt by white to challenge the fianchetto bishop at g7, the only piece that can challenge black's dark squared bishop. The white's bishop at c1 can no longer hope of ever maneuvering to c3 via d2 square unless white captures the b4 pawn or force the b4 pawn away from guarding c3. This is key for white. Note that blacks' bishop dominance along the diagonal is supported by this lone, sickly looking pawn. Keep in mind that the b4 square was once occupied by knight who used it as an outpost to forced white to make a difficult decision of giving up one of his rook.)

29.Nd1 Rc8 30.Bd2 Nd7
(knight will jump to c5 as the fianchetto bishop on g7 will now plays a big part for the rest of the game who has an unexpected defender way on the other side of the board that is the mighty b4 pawn!)

31.Re3? (May not be the best of choice. Black looks to be over protecting the b3 square. As we have stated earlier, Black has no intention of pushing his b pawn from its ideal position. In fact black will gave everything to keep the b4 pawn on its place (by...Rb8) if it came under attack but white is in bad position to execute a good and quick plan to pressure the b4 due to whites pieces poor coordination in the queenside. On the one hand, giving white the benefit of the doubt, white probably chose this rook move to make sure that a piece will first put in front along the e-file and not his queen once her highness were forced to retreat at e2, the only rational square for black queen after blacks' knights occupation of c5.

31...Nc5 32.Qe2 Re7 (an interesting choice by black to double his rook on the e-file. Perhaps black is worried about white's connected passed pawns on d5 and e5 once an exchange of pawns occures there?)

(Black may have not expecting this or he would not be thinking of doubling his rooks in the first place. On the other hand, White felt that there is no need anymore to protect the b2 pawn and thinks that by delaying black's intention of doubling his rook on the e-file was what matters most to save his game. Interesting choice for both players.)

33...Bxb2 (black is more than happy with this offer. Forget the battery on the e-file)

34.e5 dxe5 35.fxe5 Qxd5 (white's hope for his two connected central passed pawn is now officially over. Black may also have lost all his fighting spirit.)

36.Bxb4 (the b4 pawn has already done its job. Time to let it go. If you are a sentimentalist kind of chess player, it would be sad to see this humble b pawn to be thrown away after playing a big part for black. But white's e5 pawn can pose more threats than the advance of black's b4 pawn for possible promotion.

Bd4 37.Bxc5 Bxc5 38.Ne4 Re6 39.Rc3 Kg7 40.Neg5 Re7 41.Qc2 Rxe5 42.Rd3 Be7 0-1

The final position

Sevillano wins the game and eventually, the tournament!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Remembering the 1992 Manila Chess Olympiad: still one of the best ever?

It was 17 years ago today..

The Philippines hosted the 30th edition of Chess Olympiad that took place from June 7 - 25 1992 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila. It's still considered by many as one, if not the most successful staging of the biennial meet in the history of the sport. Top three teams were Russia, Uzbekistan and Armenia respectively. Top Individual performers were Vladimir Kramnik, Garry Kasparov and Joel Lautier.

The host country the Philippines finished in 31st place. Then IM Rogelio Antonio and Eric Gloria emerges the top performers among Filipinos. Antonio scores 8 points in 12 games while Eric Gloria posted 6 wins in 7 games earning him the silver medal for 1st reserve board, half a point behind gold medalist, then FM Vladimir Kramnik (8 1/2 out of 9) who celebrated his 17th birthday at the closing day of the Olympiad.

The historic PICC in Roxas Boulevard. Site of 1992 Manila Olympiad

The Philippine (team A) is composed of GM Eugene Torre, IM Rogelio Antonio, IM Rogelio Barcenilla, IM Ricardo De Guzman. Reserves were IM Enrico Sevillano (1st) and Rodrigo Atotubo (2nd).

The game Garry Kasparov vs. Predgag Nikolic was voted as the best game of the Olympiad.

Another interesting game of the Olympiad is this one. The game between perennial rival, Alexey Shirov and Vassily Ivanchuk. Brutal counter-attacking at it's finest. Two things that are often overlook in the game of chess, that is patience and timing. Love it!

  • The Philippines, the host nation did not put all of their strongest player in "A" team. Two strong IM were seeking for their GM norms as members of "B" and "C" teams. Those were IM Rico Mascariñas and IM Rubén Rodríguez respectively. Unfortunately they both failed.
  • In 2003 Florencio Campomanes, former FIDE president and mastermind of the idea of Manila Olympiad was convicted of graft and sentenced in 2003 to serve one year and ten months in jail in Manila. The court ruled that he failed to account for government funds of $238,745 entrusted to him to run the Olympiad hosted by the President Corazon Aquino. In 2004 the anti-graft court reduced the sentence to a 6,000 pesos (ca. $150) fine without imprisonment on compassionate grounds because of his advanced age (76).
  • Campo did not accept the ruling of the lower court by appealing to the Supreme Court to clear his name of the allegations against him. The Supreme Court set aside both decision and resolution of the anti-graft court and deemed it "unnecessary to rule on the other issues raised by both parties." In the Supreme Court decision promulgated on December 19, 2006, the high court ruled that Campomanes, not being a public officer, had no criminal liability in the case.
  • The 1992 chess Olympiad in Manila was the first to have multiple teams from the former Soviet Union. Instead of one USSR team, there were 12 teams from the former Soviet Union out of the 102 teams. They took the Gold, Silver, and Bronze and none of these ex-Soviet Union countries had a minus score.

Important Note: some of the information I gathered about the Manila Olympiad came from my old collection of chess books and magazines like Chess Asia Magazine: Manila Olympiad Edition and the The Complete Games of the 1992 Manila Chess Olympics among others. They are now rare and prized possessions of this blogger. Some information (the trivias) are the result from extensive and careful research I've done through the web such as and not solely from the author of this blog.

Yours truly was just 13 years old back then but had the opportunity to get a glimpse of Kasparov, Anand and other top players at that time as they plays friendly games with politicians, children and sports personalities at famous Luneta (Rizal) chess park.

The Philippines successfully hosted Asian Continental Championship for two straight years. Now, let us bid again for the right to host the coming Chess Olympiad! If we did it in the pass, surely we can do it again!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Young Filipino chess prodigy Stephen Rome Pangilinan issue a challenge to Manny Pacquiao! (Really?)

Six years old Stephen Rome Pangilinan, now fast becoming one of the most popular chess prodigy after Wesley So is now getting the attention of local media these days. Sadly, this interview with Stephen appears to throw a cheap shot at Pinoy boxing hero, Manny Pacquiao who probably never heard who Pacquiao is. In the interview (Tagalog) Stephen briefly talks about the Las Vegas chess festival where he emerges champion in Susan Polgar boys under 8, finishing the tournament with perfect score of 5 out of 5. Stephen even added (so the video claims, though we heard nothing. Where's the challenge then? Could be another ABS-CBN hype against Pacquiao) that he wants to face Manny Pacquiao , no not in the ring but in a friendly chess match in the near future. It is a well known fact that chess is one of Pacquiao's favorite past time and not a good friend of ABS-CBN.

Also in the video was a short interview with IM Enrico Sevillano.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chess and Alzheimer's animation video

I'm sure that many of us have already heard about the health and mental benefits of playing chess, especially with the old people. Playing chess is indeed, Alzheimer's enemy! If you're still skeptical, here's one strong proof. Enjoy!

Ch3ss -

Monday, June 8, 2009

IM Enrico Sevillano joint winner of Las Vegas International Chess Festival Open tournament

Another Filipino does it again! Barely a week after IM Rogelio Barcenilla achieved his third and final GM norm, making him the 12th GMs the country ever produced, California based Pinoy International Master Enrico Sevillano shows once again how Filipinos fare strongly in their campaign abroad by winning the tough 2009 Las Vegas International Open together with Armenian born GM Varuzhan Akobian. The tournament is the biggest for Sevillano, after last years US Open where he also tied for first place with three others. The chess festival saw the participation of 17 GMs and 14 IMs. A total of 89 players saw action. Sevillano posted 4 wins, 2 draws with no defeat ahead of other notable battle hardened veteran GMs like Loek Van Wely of the Netherlands, Tigran Petrosian and Gabriel Sagrissian of Armenia, Jaan Elhvest of USA, Evgeny Bareev of Russia among others. Both Akobian and Sevillano will receive $4,641.00. For full report and final standings please go to the tournament official website.

We will be seeing the Philippines 13th GMs anytime soon.

J.S. Bach, Mozart to improve chess playing?

I'm sure many of us have heard about the so called "Mozart Effect", a popular but debatable theory suggesting that just by listening to the music of Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart (Piano sonata in D K.448) it can actually help to improve one's cognitional and spatial thinking even for just a short period of time. Browsing the web, I also found out that there's another research going on about this theory (thus remain inconclusive) that by listening to Johan Sebastian Bach's finely crafted prelude and fugues for fifteen to twenty minutes can be an ideal brain warm up before the start of a mental work out that requires quick and short term thinking. And this come with the likes of blitz chess. How so? Bach's prelude and fugue for instance exhibits precise calculation, tempo, strict patterns and judgment to make the musical piece perfectly written. Same rules as chess. It is not clear however whether by listening to this music for longer period of time has a cumulative effect. No wonder why Fritz, Chessmaster and other computer chess program chose the music of Bach to be their musical theme.

Nonetheless, my own theory is that unless we are at least appreciative to this kind of musics, (if we are not into classical altogether), it will produced little or no effect at all.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

GM Bong Villamayor: Yes we can!

GM Villamayor, training director of NCA, spearheading the establishment of National Chess Academy through NCFP-DepEd chess in school program.

If some of us are still baffle, confuse or tormented by the recent NCFP-DepEd tandem and still viewing the program in blurred picture, I say it's about time to finally hang up our gloves on this issue and let's accept the fact that there are times that other opinions and insights are better than ours if not matters most. Now let us hear what the experienced and the patrician of Philippine chess has to say. Here's a good example from an interview conducted by F.A. Buenaventura of Philippine Chess Chronicles blog to GM Buenaventura "Bong" Villamayor who, together with GM Eugene Torre was tapped by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to oversee the establishment of NCA or National Chess Academy in response to DepEd's need for chess experts to teach chess enthusiast in the communities. Also in the interview, Villamayor talks about his chess career spanning nearly three decades. His surprised discovery of chess, his stint in Singapore and his eventual return to the country. A must read!

PCC: Optimism is in the air for the coming school year because of the Chess in the Schools in the Philippines, do you really believe it will provide chess the necessary development in the grassroots?

Yes because once chess is implemented in schools, awareness will grow and more kids especially in the provinces will be able to learn and play. And with the tie-up of the DEPED-NCFP, activities for the interested will increase. Respective local groups can be more motivated in doing and helping out.

PCC: What are the pitfalls you can see ahead?

Villamayor: Well let’s say, if we don’t define each other’s role and they become overlapping, conflict of interest will emerge and this is not good for the whole program.

Please read the rest of the interview with GM Villamayor by the Philippine Chess Chronicles HERE.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

GM Rogelio Barcenilla is the Philippines 12th grandmaster

Meet the newest Filipino grandmaster, GM elect IM Rogelio Barcenilla.

US based Filipino chess master and former two time Asian Junior Champion, former World Junior third placer and many-time Olympiad team member, Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla earned his third and final grandmaster norm in Mesa, Arizona making him the 12th grandmaster in the history of Philippine chess. One may recall that the 36 year old Banjo, as he is fondly called, is married to Woman National Master, Lilibeth Lee who are now both based in Arizona. Before Barcenilla gets his final and long overdue GM norm, I considered Barcenilla as the best IM the Philippines has ever produced.
IM Rogelio Barcenilla of the Phillipines won over GM Zviad Izoria to earn his third and final GM norm!

Surprisingly, IMs Barcenilla and Lenderman's stellar scores of 7/10 and 7.5/10 were not enough to win the tournament. GM Timur Gareev topped the field with a fantastic 8/10 score.

Read the rest of the story from USCF website
You can also join the lively discussions regarding Barcenilla's success at Pinoy Chess forum

CH wishes to extends its congratulation to GM elect, Rogelio Barcenilla! Cheers!

2009 SPICE Cup update (Group A)

Here's the group A latest update for 2009 SPICE Cup slated September 19-29 in Texas where our own Wesley So has confirmed his participation.

There will be an A and B group in this year's SPICE Cup. Group A will be at least a category 16 (average FIDE rating of 2626 and above) event or perhaps even a category 17 (average FIDE rating of 2651 and above) event. This will break the U.S. record of last year's SPICE Cup of category 15.

Confirmed players for group A (6-player DRR) so far are:

GM Wesley So 2650 - PHI (#7 junior under 20 in the world)
GM Yuriy Kuzubov 2630 - UKR (#8 junior under 20 in the world)
GM Varuzhan Akobian 2618 - USA (2008 SPICE Cup Co-Champion - 2-time Olympiad Bronze Medalist)

(Other players have already been tentatively confirmed with 2 potential players over 2700!)

All ratings listed are FIDE ratings.

Source Susan

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chess in RP curriculum is not all about producing masters

Don't get our government wrong. Chess in RP is not all about producing GMs nor about Wesley So.
Photo courtesy of

One of the common misconceptions about the inclusion of chess in school curriculum in the Philippines is that some people thinks that the NCFP (National Chess Federation of the Philippines) and DepEd (Department of Education) move will eventually hampers the progress of GM Wesley So nor it will produce (overnight!) chess masters. That is not the case. First of all, Philippine chess is not all about Wesley So. This is a democratic nation where all have the rights for fair share of learning and personal development. By laying out and asking what is good for Wesley So and Philippine chess that is beyond my country's resources is not in the province of this blog. Another thing. Some argue that NCFP and DepEd's program is not the the wisest of moves in producing future Grandmasters. First and foremost, the NCFP and the DepED main objective is to help the children enjoy the mental and emotional benefits of playing chess. For the benefits of playing chess with children, please read THIS and THIS. If the program of the DepED eventually results in young chess champions, then that's good. NCFP will be more than ready to help this kids. That's a plus for our country. But the government's program is not necessarily centered on that objective. Let us break this issue into pieces.

  • chess is just a part of Physical Education subject in school like badminton, volleyball, basketball etc. It doesn't mean that by taking these sports, one should excel in any of them or take them as a profession, right? This is not a communist nation.
  • It is not the sole aim of DepEd to produced more GMs, rather than to promote and develop discipline, rational thinking, and sportsmanship among young people same as playing other academic sports in school.
  • chess in school is not about serious competition or tournaments. Just part of Physical Education subject.
  • NCFP alone does not need to spend millions of pesos for this program. If there were any, it should not be concentrate on Wesley So alone.
  • chess in school is cool. Children will definitely enjoy it!
  • This blogger strongly believes in the importance of education over chess.

If there's one thing this blogger learned from chess blogging for just over a year is that there is more to life than playing or writing about chess. Fighting and arguing for what is good for chess, for what is good to a chess prodigy or for what is good in Philippine chess in general for the sake of national pride is a complete waste of time and energy. Let chess teach us what is good for us other than the other way round. We should not be a slave of chess but let chess be ours.