Monday, August 31, 2009

How about chess software instructors?

Wesley So may have all the reason for not having a personal and proper human instructor these days. Human instructor vs chess software as personal trainer? According to one of the world's leading chess instructor, Bruce Pandolfini, (yes, he even admitted to himself) the advantages of having an excellent chess software as a personal trainer over the traditional face-to-face human instructor is limitless. Here's some of his points, excerpt taken from

...a face-to-face human instructor, regardless of his or her ability, can’t take the place of excellent software. The software is faster. It’s more organized. It generally has larger databases to draw upon. It doesn’t make trivial mistakes based on oversight or forgetting. It’s tireless, and never shows up late, inebriated, or with the flu. It’s willing to help you at any time of day or night. It doesn’t mind doing the same things over and over, till you get it right or for your satisfaction. Its feelings are never hurt no matter what you say or how badly you act. You don’t have to pay for it again and again. You buy it and you own it. There are no human instructors like that.

But again, I say it all boils down on the capacity and ability of an individual to not only properly operate a computer chess softwares manually, but on how skillful and well versed he or she is on the programs to make the most out of these chess software. Now how about start introducing chess software instructors?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The campaign in Malaysia continues

So the campaign in Malaysia for our chess players continues. We're talking about the 29th Merdeka Open Chess Team Championship. Last year, a team led by GM Darwin Laylo and IM Julio Catalino Sadorra won this very same event. Check my last year post here. GM elect, Ronald Dableo is also competing, representing the Marfori team. But so far, a team led by GM Rogelio Antonio, the Tagaytay Team Astro, Marfori Philippines is currently the best performer among Philippine team representative here, in 4th place as reported by NM Marlon Bernardino:

Standings after five rounds:
17.5 – INA-RTCC
15.5 – Caviaga Lubricant
14.5 – Penang
14.0 – Tagaytay City, Team Astro, Marfori Philippines
13.5 – IRI-MAS, Calamba City, Jakarta Chess Club, Johor
13.0 – Perak Junior
12.5 – MISC Bhd, Ipoh Linau Bali, Astro
12.0 – The Four Seasons, Sarawak, Sabah, Roschach

KUALA Lumpur, Malaysia --- Tagaytay City survived a roller-coaster ride in the last three rounds to stay within striking distance of the leaders after five rounds of action in the 29th Merdeka Open Chess Team Championship at the Ballroom, CitiTel Hotel here.

The GM Rogelio Antonio-led squad stumbled against an all-Indonesian team on Saturday, 1-3, but racked up five points in the next two rounds against fellow Filipino bidders Marfori Philippines, 3-1, and drew with fifth-ranked Team Astro, 2-2, yesterday to bring their total to 14 points, just 3.5 points adrift of solo leader INA-RTCC, who had 17.5 points going into yesterday’s sixth round.

Antonio, a sergeant at the HSSG of the Philippine Army under Commanding Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, led Tagaytay’s assault against the Ronald Dableo-led Marfori Philippines, scoring the full point against IM Oliver Dimakiling at the top board.

Samson Lim, a former varsity chess player for UST, scored the other full point against Daneil Causo, while GM Darwin Laylo and Willie Abalos settled for draws against GM-elect Ronald Dableo and Winston Silva, respectively.

Against Team Astro, it was Lim who pulled through, winning against Muhammad Abdul Haq after Laylo dropped his match against GM Iuldachev Saidali of Uzbekistan at Board 2, and Antonio and Abalos drew with GM Dzhumaev Marat, also of Uzbekistan, and Tham Tick Hong Jax of Malaysia, respectively.

Marfori Philippines kept pace with Tagaytay with identical 14 points, bouncing back from the loss to Tagaytay with a 4-0 drubbing of Calamba B led by Rustum Tolentino and Roehbel Legaspi.

In the sixth round, Tagaytay City faces Penang (14.5), an all-Malaysian team backstopped by Tam Kahi Boon and Ng Tze Han. Penang is coming off a 2.5-1.5 win over Calamba City.

INA-RTCC takes on Caviaga Lubricant (15.5) at the top board, while SMS-Gold (15.0) tests the mettle of Bhayangkara Police R.I. (15.0) on Board 2.

“Tiyagaan na lang ito. May four rounds pang natitira. Maraming pang pwedeng mangyari,” said Antonio, who last Saturday won a side blitz tournament, where he topped a field of more than 50 players.

The 47-year old Antonio emerged tied with Iran’s Ghaem Maghami Ehsan with 9.5 points, but won the solo title per tournament rule.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kasparov - Karpov official website, great, but language remains a barrier

I just checked out the official website of Kasparov-Karpov match. Good thing that the site have already provided links in English, just wondering who will be the official international media partner, if there's any, that will cover the event but it looks like chessdom has already booked a place in the Noticias Internationales links. There's another interesting short documentary about the rich history of the Kasparov - Karpov rivalry in the past, but unfortunately, those were still in Spanish. Of course you can still use popular language translator tool to translate an article or the whole page like Yahoo! babel fish and Google Translate, but using those online software translators demands that all your logic and reasoning should be at their best to take it's "effect" on you. Good luck. Below is a sample comparison.

Yahoo! Babel fish interpretation:

After 25 years of its first confrontation they become to find face expensive. The great combat, student against teacher. Two ways to understand the sport. Two ways to understand the life. The battle of two styles. -Garry Kasparov

Google Translator:

After 25 years of their first meeting they meet again face to face. The great battle, student against teacher. Two ways of understanding the sport. Two ways of understanding life. The battle of two styles. -Garry Kasparov

Viva Google!

Negi captures DATMO 2009. Dableo maybe the next Filipino GM (but there should be a lot more work need to be done).

The 2nd youngest GM in history, 16 year old Indian GM, Parimarjan Negi, receiving his trophy .
Photo from Malaysian Open Blog

Almost but not quite for Emmanuel Senador as he lost to Indian GM, 16 year old Parimarjan Negi in the 9th and final round. There's never any shame in losing to a player as strong as Negi, the second youngest grandmaster in the history of chess. Senador was in fine form throughout the tournament and played a nice steady game against Yu Yangyi in the 8th round. With the victory against Senador, Negi wins the 6th Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Open 2009 via superior tie break over Filipino IM Ronald Dableo who upsets Indonesia's number one, GM Susanto Megaranto. Both Negi and Dableo finished the tourney with identical score of 7.0 points out of 9. GM Darwin Laylo halve the point with Iranian number one GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami to finished tie for 3rd to 11th place. In the last past two editions of DATMO, Chinese GM Li Chao dominated this event. Now it belongs to a young Indian GM in the name of Parimarjan Negi. He could be staying there for quite sometime.

Prior to the final round, reports circulating around chess communities that Dableo needs to win his game against Megaranto to secure his third and final grandmaster norm. Let us see if Dableo breached the 2500 points barrier needed to become a full pledge grandmaster. Dableo's current FIDE rating is just 2417 (pardon me, I don't know his current live rating). Surely, this will improve after DATMO but there should be a lot more work need to be done. CH will thoroughly clarify this development first after the smoke of the tourney completely cleared. Emmanuel Senador on the other hand may finally get the title of International Master after his great performance and his first GM norm in the process. All this need final clarification, though.

On the other side of the tournament, Filipinos dominated the AmBank Chess Challenge by occupying the top three spot. Samson Lim Jr, Rodolfo Panopio Jr and Roel Ablegas all finished the challenge with 7.0 points but going down to superior tie break points, it was Samson Lim who emerges the champion.

Final standings is HERE

DATMO 2009 top 15 finishers

1. GM Negi Parimarjan (IND) (2590) - 7 points (BH=49.5)
2. IM Dableo Ronald (PHI) (2417) - 7 points (BH=48)
3. GM Ghaem Maghami, Ehsan (IRI) (2589) - 6.5 points
4. Senador Emmanuel (PHI) (2372) - 6.5 points
5. GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (VIE) (2592) - 6.5 points
6. GM Laylo Darwin (PHI) (2494) - 6.5 points
7. GM Schebler, Gerhard (GER) (2486) - 6.5 points
8. Yu Yangyi (CHN) (2510) - 6.5 points
9. GM Iuldachev Saidali (UZB) (2518) - 6.5 points
10. Xiu Deshun (CHN) (2515) - 6.5 points
11. GM Li Chao b (CHN) (2634) - 6.5 points
12 GM Megaranto Susanto (INA) (2534) - 6 points
13. GM Nguyen Anh Dung (VIE) (2474) - 6 points
14. FM Mok Tze-Meng (MAS) (2343) - 6 points
15. Yu Lie (CHN) (2340) - 6 points

AmBank Chess Challenge 2009

Champion - Samson Lim Jr (PHI) - 7 points
Second - Rodolfo Panopio Jr (PHI) - 7 Points
Third - Roel Abelgas (PHI) - 7 points
Fourth - Jax Tham (MAS) - 6.5 points
Fifth - Tan Kok Liang (MAS) - 6.5 points
Sixth - Nor Ilhamuddin (MAS) - 6 points
Seventh - Izz Saifuddin (MAS) - 6 points
Eighth - Cheah Cheok Fung (MAS) - 6 points
Ninth - Fadli Zakaria (MAS) - 6 points
Tenth - Ooi Li Tao (MAS) - 6 points

Best Lady - Renitha Narayanan - 5 points
Best U-16 - Tan Jun Feng - 5 points
Best U-12 - Tan Li Ting - 5 points

Friday, August 28, 2009

English Translation of Kasparov-Karpov promo video

Yeah, we're a former Spanish colony but these Spaniards makes our life a bit harder for us once again, even in chess :) But thankfully, Peter Doggers popular chess blog ChessVibes, finally came up with this lucid English translation from Spanish of the promotional video of the upcoming Kasparov-Karpov rapid and blitz return match this coming September 21-24 in Valencia Spain. Although a history buff myself, I find that some of the content of the video were quite irrelevant, with the K-K match. But since the Kasparov - Karpov is also about the rich history and tradition of chess in Valencia, supposed to be the birth of modern chess, the video nonetheless deserves everyone's attention. Finally, we got a panoramic view of the event:

From the video we learn that in the year 1475, a period of economical and cultural wealth in Valencia, the three poets from Valencia Francesch de Castellvi, Narcis Vinyoles and Bernat Fenollar wrote the poem Scachs d’Amor, which is in fact a manuscript. It tells the story of the fight between Mars and Venus, and an “arbiter of honor” (Mercury). Influenced by the queen Isabella the Catholic, they created a new form of playing chess in honour of the queen, and this meant the birth of a new piece in chess: the Queen. On May 15th, 1495 for the first time a book was published with the rules of this new, modern way of playing chess which is still basically the same as how we play it today. We will return to this fascinating discovery in more detail in a separate article.

A bit more than five centuries later, the game of chess returns to its origin: Valencia. To celebrate this anniversary, two of the most important Russian grandmasters in the history of chess will meet at the chess board: Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.

In the morning of the first day, Monday, September 20th, there will be an official press conference with the players held in the Lonja de Valencia, a building that represents the medieval period of Valencia.

In the afternoon there will be a welcoming festival in the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, a place that represents modern times and current Valencian activity. Both players will give simultaneous exhibitions.

The next days, Tuesday and Wednesday September 21-22, the players will play four rapid games of 25 minutes on the clock and on Thursday, September 23 they will play eight blitz games of 5 minutes each. On Friday there will be a closing ceremony.

Continue reading from

DATMO 2009: Emmanuel Senador currently on top

First thing first, please allow me to make a bit of correction. I earlier stated that Chinese player, Xie Deshun is the one who had a performance rating of nearly 2800 in his first 10 or 12 games in the last edition of Subic International Chess Championship. But it is actually Yu Yangyi, the 15 year old prodigy from China where Emmanuel Senador defeated in the 8th round to take the solo lead in the ongoing DATMO 2009.

According to the website, Senador, handling the black piece, "... successfully thwarted Yu Yangyi’s fierce attack against his king. After several exchanges, the endgame favoured Emmanuel and the win was never in doubt (That's usually happens in most chess games I should say :).

GM Darwin Laylo on the other hand settled for a draw against Vietnamese GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and IM Ronald Dableo upset GM Ziaur Raman to secure their place just half a point behind Senador with 6.0 points with eight others. Emmanuel Senador will be pitted against another prodigy, 16 year old GM Parimarjan Negi of India, the second youngest GM ever behind Sergey Karjakin. Darwin Laylo on the other hand will have 2nd Subic International championship title holder, GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran in the 9th round while Dableo will tackle Indonesia's no.1, GM Susanto Megaranto.

Round 8 results
Round 9 pairings
DATMO 2009 website

Standings after 8 rounds

6.5 points
Senador Emmanuel

6 points
GM Negi Parimarjan, GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan, GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, GM Laylo Darwin, Yu Yangyi, GM Li Chao, GM Iuldachev Saidali, IM Dableo Ronald, GM Megaranto Susanto

5.5 points
GM Schebler Gerhard, Xiu Deshun, GM Nguyen Anh Dung, WIM Muminova Nafisa, WIM Zhang Xiaowen, IM Bitoon Richard

Thursday, August 27, 2009

IM Oliver Barbosa joins SPICE CUP group B

IM Oliver Barbosa will be joining the SPICE Cup group B, a category 11 event with an average rating of 2501 according to Susan Polgar's blog. Barbosa, who has been enjoying much success in the US, capturing 20 titles to date will be seeded 9th in a group of 10 participants, 3 of them are grandmasters. GM Wesley So likewise will be competing in Group A. Wesley will be the second seed after Pashikian, Arman (2650) of Armenia was replaced by GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (2585) of Norway. The SPICE CUP chess festival will take place September 19-29.

A Group – Category 16 (6-player DRR) – Average rating: 2630.17 – Average age: 20

GM Dmitry Andreikin 2659 - Russia (#6 junior under 20 in the world - Russian Junior Champion) 19

GM Wesley So 2644 - Philippines (#7 junior under 20 in the world - #1 in the Philippines - member of the 2008 Filipino Olympiad team.) 15
GM Varuzhan Akobian 2636 - USA (#6 in the U.S. - 2008 SPICE Cup Co-Champion - 2-time Olympiad Bronze Medalist) 26
GM Yuriy Kuzubov 2631 - Ukraine (#8 junior under 20 in the world - #12 in Ukraine) 19

GM Rauf Mamedov 2626 - Azerbaijan (#5 player in Azerbaijan - member of the 2008 Azerbaijani Olympiad team) 21
GM Jon Ludvig Hammer 2585 - Norway (#2 in Norway behind Magnus Carlsen - member of the 2008 Norwegian Olympiad team) 19

This event will break the U.S. record by a big margin. Last year's SPICE Cup was a category 15 event with average rating of 2605.5. This year's average rating will be over 2630!

B Group – Category 11 (10-player RR) – Average rating: 2501.7

IM Gabor Papp 2562 - HUN (GM norm - Texas Tech Student in 8/2009)
IM Davorin Kuljasevic 2547 - CRO (2 GM norms - Texas Tech Student in 8/2009)
GM Eugene Perelshteyn 2541 - USA (2007 SPICE Cup Champion)

IM Ray Robson 2527 - USA (2 GM norms - Winner of the 2009-2010 Samford Fellowship)

GM Andre Diamant 2526 - Brazil (2008 Brazilian Champion)
IM Ben Finegold 2513 - USA (2 GM norms)
IM Gergely Antal 2487 - HUN (2 GM norms - Texas Tech Student)

GM Amon Simutowe 2473 - ZAM (#1 player in Zambia, first African GM, board 1 of Zambian Olympiad team)

IM Oliver Barbosa 2454 - PHI (One of the top young Filipinos - Winner of 20 U.S. tournaments in the past year)

FM Danny Rensch 2386 - USA (2 IM norms)

All ratings listed are FIDE ratings.

SPICE Cup Open and SPICE Cup Scholastic Open are once again two of the events which are a part of the SPICE Cup Chess Festival.

Just as last year, the SPICE Cup will be held on campus at Texas Tech University and is co-organized by SPICE, Susan Polgar Foundation, and Texas Tech University.

Kasparov - Karpov 2009 Valencia official video presentation

Chessdom just release this official video presentation from Valencia organizers of the much anticipated exhibition rematch between two former world champion and arguably, the greatest rivalry in chess, Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. The match will take place from 21-24 of September in Valencia, Spain. The video was done in Spanish (that's okay, as long as the actual coverage is not!), and I should say that it's more of a photo presentation (microsoft powerpoint style) than the title it indicates of being a video presentation. No interview, no video clips from the past or anything, whatsoever. But it's nice to have this one anyway.

Actually, I expected the video presentation to be more like this...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stalking US based Pinoy masters: IM Ricardo de Guzman 8th US title

It's been quite a while since I heard anything about IM Ricardo De Guzman. Back then, I believe that De Guzman will be the first chess player from Rizal (now it shifted to Oliver Barbosa from Taytay) to become a grandmaster.

Anyway, we know that he is already based in the US but know nothing about his progress in chess, and so it is great to know that he has already claims 8th US title by far. Thanks for the update coming from NM Marlon Bernardino through emails, it is now possible to stalk our players who are based abroad.

FILIPINO International Master (IM) Ricardo “Ricky” de Guzman continued his winning ways in the US shore as he emerged over-all champion in the 1st Central California Open Chess Championships last August 23 in Fresno, California.

The Cainta, Rizal pride De Guzman, who is best to remember for winning the 1981 Asian Junior Chess Championships in Dhaka, Bangladesh who was awarded an outright IM title, had a better tie break over USCF master (United States Chess Federation) Garush Manukyan enroute the coveted Central California Open Chess title. De Guzman and Manukyan, both tallied 4.5 points in five outings in the 36 player’s field event.

Among de Guzman wins over Hayk Manvelyan, Dann Krystall, Christian Tanaka and Joseph Ebenezer, respectively. Armenian IM Andranik Matikozyan salvaged a draw with de Guzman in the second round.

Other de Guzman’s chess title in the United States that includes Pafnutieff 09 at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco, California last August 8, Bagby 09 at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club last July 18, Addison 09 last June 20 at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club, Stamer Memorial Chess at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club last June 14, Wilkerson 09 at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club last March 8, 2009 Hans Ponschmann Memorial at the New Fremont Chess Club in Fremont, California and Henry Gross 2009 at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club last February 7. MARLON BERNARDINO.

DATMO 2009: Laylo, Senador, half a point behind the leaders

In the sixth round Emmanuel Senador Senador held his ground against 2009 Subic bay titlist, GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran to earn a draw (not bad considering Maghami's calibre) while GM Darwin Laylo defeated an untitled, upstart player from China, Jia Haoxiang to pose within striking distance behind the leaders with 4 1/2 points. Senador will face in the seventh round the 15 year old Chinese prodigy, Xie Deshun. Deshun who, at one time had a performance rating of nearly 2800 in the last edition of Subic International Open championship. Erstwhile co-leaders IM Ronald Dableo falters a little after series of draws but remains a point behind with 4.0 points. Leaders of the tournament, GM Negi Parimarjan of India and Vietnamese GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son both with 5.0 points will battle it out for the lead.

For complete details...

Round 6 results
Round 7 pairings
DATMO 2009 tournament website

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Ironman equivalent of Linares chess, a huge success

Allow me to use the term "Linares" over "Wimbledon" this time to describe a premier sports tournament for the sake of chess. Many people may not be aware that the Philippines recently hosted one of the biggest Ironman championship this year, the Ironman Philippines 70.3 at Camarines Sur. If you'll compare the participants who joined the event to those of chess, it is safe to say that the Philippines hosted for the first time the true "Linares" tournament in Ironman competetion. Most of the top athletes of the sport were here, both women and men world champions. The Philippines will be hosting the event again for the next two years as part of three years contract signed with World Triathlon Corp. Now here it from the champion himself, Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand:

That basically sums up my trip here to the Philippines. The Weather was hot, the people were great and had warm personalities and this place is amazing. Plus I hate it in cold weather when I can’t feel my toes after the bike, so bring on the heat.

My experience here has been wonderful, we have been treated like rock stars, the venue for the race was beautiful and the event was put on at a world class level which is an amazing achievement for an inaugural race.

IM Enrico Sevillano add more goodies

Another goodies won for US based Filipino IM Ikong Sevillano. Not as tough though as his previous tourney he bags so far this year but a sweet tournament victory for him just the same.

Just wondering what's the latest update with other US based Pinoy chess and taekwondo grandmaster, GM Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla. Hope he'll drop us a message again and update everyone about the development of his career since he snatched his third and final GM norm earlier this year.


FILIPINO International Master Enrico “Ikong” Sevillano scored 6.5 points captured the crown in the 2009 SCCF (Southern California Chess Federation) State Championship in Los Angeles California last August 23.

The Cebuano native Sevillano, protégé of sportsman NM Matias “Bombi” Aznar defeated Alexandre Kretchetov, Tianyi He, IM Jack Peters, Ali Morshedi, Elliot Liu and Robert Reynolds, in order. Sevillano’s only draw came from Tatev Abrahamyan in the sixth and penultimate round in the eight players, invitational field, using a single round-robin format.

Tianyi He (5.5 points) and Alexandre Kretchetov (5.0 points) came in second and third respectively.

New DATMO 2009 unoffical website (or blog) , launched

Fans and bloggers come center stage. This site comes more handy than the previous one that go stagnant after round 1 of the ongoing DATMO 2009 KL chess open. It may irk the official website, having push into the background but hey this one is more up to date than the "official" site. I think it would be time to migrate with the "unofficial" one. You'll get all the info you need there about the tournament without being too rhetoric with this blogger :)

DATMO 2009 "unofficial" website

Results after round 4
Round 5 pairings

Monday, August 24, 2009

Datu Arthur Tan Malaysian Chess Open 2009. Filipinos off to a hot start

GM Darwin Laylo drew his first game assignment against Iranian WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan at the start of Datu Arthur Tan Malaysian Open. But other Filipinos who are participating in the event scored some victories here. IM Oliver Dimakiling, IM Ronald Dableo, IM Richard Bitoon, Rustum Tolentino, Emmanuel Senador, Daniel Causo, Ric Portugalera, all won their first round game while FM Leonardo Carlos and Rhobel Legaspi on the other hand also drew their game. 12 GMs are seeing action here, where Laylo, the lone Pinoy GM entry, is the 15th seed, (FIDE ranking points).

More details coming up, in the meantime, for everyone's convenience, I provided useful links below:

Tournament official website
Round 1 results
Round 2 pairings
Replay of Games (not available yet)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Alfredo Base, 47

Honestly, I do not personally know the man. Don't even know what he looks like. His name just sounds familiar to me. All I know is that there's a certain individual named Base who plays chess but that's all. Nonetheless, together with all Philippine chess communities, ChessHeroes sends its condolence to the people who loves him.

Base, US Chess Master, Writes 30
ref: Mr. Winchell Campos

LOS ANGELES—Alfredo Base, a former member of the Philippine Army chess
team, passed away last August 19. A US Chess Master residing in Los
Angeles, Base was 47.

Base, a strong master who once held an Elo of 2310, teamed up with
National Masters Fernie Donguines and Antonio Calvo to form a solid
team for the Philippine Army before migrating to the United States
where he reportedly he did not have a family.

Nobody has claimed his remains, which is still connected to a life
support system in order to preserve his organs. His has lost brain

His body remains at the ICU Room 6328 of Kaiser Permanente Hospital in
Los Angeles. Reports indicate that he is a native of Butuan City and a
search for relatives has been conducted by friends. Should nobody
claim the remains, the life support system will be unplugged by
Saturday afternoon, (early Sunday morning in Manila), and legal
interment proceedings will be administered by the hospital.

Philippine relatives can get in touch with Base’s church mate Jennie
Irving, telephone no. 310 735 7745, or email
Kaiser Permanente Hospital is located at 1526 N. Edgemont St., Los
Angeles, CA 90027, telephone number 323 783 4011.

You can also keep on touch with Base close friend and chess benefactor Carson City based Oscar Sibal 562-619-0130.

Doply Doplon Designing Graphic Exhibit at CCP

Digital Artwork of Doply Doplon

Although your truly is a full time CAD Designer myself, few can deny that the Philippines still produce some of the finest digital artists in Asia, and their talents are in utter demands here and abroad. One good example is our very own and world renown graphic artist, Dopy Doplon. I'm a big fan of his designs. He's like a rock super star in this genre. This guy can weave magic in digital designing. His works by the way will be on exhibit in celebration of CCP's 40th Anniversary. The exhibit runs from 20 August - 20 September at Pasilyo Guillermo Tolentino (3rd Floor Hallway). Got to see his designs. Today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

So who will be the the 5th member?

Another interesting read from Bobby Ang's column, Chesspiece, from BusinessWorld Online. Predictions on who will be the last member to be included in the final list of five players that will represent our country in 2010 Khanty-Mansysk Chess Olympiad got more and more intriguing. I haven't thought much about it until I read a reader's response from the column of Mr Ang. All I can remember is that NCFP president Prospero Pichay earlier made a bold statement that our Olympiad team should be an all grandmasters team no more than 30 years of age. Not so sure if any changes will happen. If not, names of our young top GMs like So, Gomez, Paragua and Laylo would mean an automatic inclusion, and that leaves a hole to complete the youthful team. Thing here is that the Philippines does not have a grandmaster below 30 aside from the players mentioned. Now the last spot for the team leaves to our promising young IMs, if any of them has yet to achieved their final GM norms by the time the 2010 Olympiad begins. Truth is, I can only think but three from our young players who has the best chance to qualify for the final slot and complete the "magic five". Of course there may have some qualifying tournaments for the last slot but I like the chances of this three:

IM Oliver Barbosa. His succesful stints in the US is intimidating but we are not sure if he will be available for next year Olympiad, if ever he decided to become a permanent in USCF circuit. We will see.

IM Julio Catalino Sadorra. Sadorra has a better resume compare to Barbosa and experience wise, has a slight edge. But just like what Bobby Ang said, Sadorra can win or lose to anybody. He remains a dark horse in Philippine chess.

IM Oliver Dimakiling. Is another worthy candidate but Sadorra and Barbosa is just a step or two ahead of him.

Friday, August 21, 2009

IM Oliver Barbosa 20th US title

IM Oliver Barbosa is enjoying a reasonably good tournaments in the US since he left the country about half a year ago. I wasn't sure if he returns to the country in between tournaments but anyway, winning 20 tourneys, most of them with the participation of many veteran US (expats, mostly) grandmasters...I'll give him two thumbs up. He is suppose to be back next month, perhaps momentarily, before leaving for the US of A again? And why he should not? Apples are there.

FILIPINO International Master Oliver Barbosa scored back to back victories to claim his total 20th US Chess title in his four months campaign.

Barbosa, who hails from Taytay, Rizal and backed up by NCFP president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., and New York Immigration lawyer Geronimo “Gerry” Albano won the Original 4 Rated Games Tonight last August 13 and the August St. John’s Masters last August 18, both held in Big Apple.

In the Original 4 Rated Games Tonight, the former University of the Philippines’ (UP) former Board 1 player defeated American GM Michael Rohde in the final round to finish perfect 4.0 points. In the August St. John’s Masters, Barbosa ended his game again to GM Rohde in a fighting draw to scored 3.0 points in four outings and create a six-way tie for first that includes GM Rohde, GM Leonid Yudasin, IMs Mackenzie Molner, Justin Sarkar and Raymond Kaufman.

According to reigning Philippine Artists Champion Albert Rivera, spokesman of Barbosa, said that his friend (Oliver Barbosa) will arrive the country next month. MARLON BERNARDINO.

Writer's note: article sent to us through email by NM Marlon Bernardino himself.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some worst case scenario for chess arbiters

Since a major chess arbitration seminar is set to take place this coming September (scroll down this page) in Quezon City, here's a piece of note that may interest both wannabe and well experience arbiters alike. Only few can argue with the fact that chess is one of the most difficult of games to implement proper rules because most of the time, during the game, the players were basically left on their own. The arbiters usually plays the part of a "barangay tanod" more than a referee, I guess you know what I mean. Like the tanod, they're usually there to respond when problem breaks between the players. I often observed that some arbiter here in the Philippines, are there, more to pacify and make alegrohan (amends) with the players, especially with boys and girls, than to implement rules, I should say. Although not a bad approach, this may somewhat reduce the competitiveness of the game. So I beleive this issue should be among the list of lessons in the upcoming seminar other than according to article such as such.

The following are tricky questions. If your an arbiter, what would you do? Check this one out, this is a MUST READ for everyone:

Scenario: What does it mean “to declare to resign”? Let’s examine the following: A player proposes a draw to his opponent in front of the arbiter and after this proposal the two opponents shake hands. Does it mean the end of the game? Or should the arbiter ask the players to write the result on the scoresheets and only then accept the result as final? Can a verbal declaration of resignation be accepted as a final result? Can a player ignore a clear verbal declaration and pretend that it was misunderstood?

Now, even if you're not an arbiter and just a casual player, try to come up with an opinion of your own before reading the following. See if yours will match.

Arbiter: I know it sounds very bureaucratic, but to avoid all kinds of misunderstandings arbiters are advised to ask the players to confirm the result by writing the results on the scoresheets and to confirm it by signing the scoresheets. This procedure also benefits the players, and it should be done before the players begin to analyze the game.

Let me share with you one of my experiences. I saw two players analyzing their game. I went to their board and asked the result, because it was not written on the scoresheets. Each player claimed to have won. The player of the white pieces told me that White sacrificed an exchange and it looked winning; therefore, Black resigned. During the analysis White demonstrated that the sacrifice was unsound and that Black was in fact winning. The player of the black pieces said that immediately after White had sacrificed the exchange, the player of the white pieces saw his mistake and resigned.

Whom should I believe? Playing another game was no option and declaring the result 0-0 was unfair to the player who told me the truth. I saw only one option: I convinced the players to agree to a draw, although I was completely sure that the player of the white pieces told me the truth. I based my opinion on the body language of both players: the player of the white pieces was a young boy who started to cry, while his opponent remained very cool and told me that there was no proof that he was lying. I tried to find witnesses, but there were none available. The next day someone came forward and told me that the player of the black pieces had really resigned. I asked him to confirm it in written form, but he refused. Probably I should have followed my intuition.

Excerpt from An Arbiters Notebook of

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August and September non-master chess tournaments

A number of non-master and rapid chess tournaments notification that is set to take place this August and September has been been piling up in my inbox lately. So here it is. Just pick your choice. We are not receiving any "official" or "formal" invitation from the organizers and chess clubs of this said tournament, just notification. But anyway, I guess that is one sure way of promoting future non or commercial tourney ;)

My apology to those I missed to include here, some of them were already held...or canceled.

1st PSC (Pineda-Santos-Camer) individual three division rapid chess tournament

A total of 200 woodpushers are expected to show their stuff in the 64 square board when the first-ever 1st PSC (Pineda-Santos-Camer) individual three division rapid chess tournament gets underway on Sunday, September 13, 9 am at the Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School (RMCHS) along Edsa Cubao (opposite Nepa Q-Mart).

This was bared yesterday by event coordinator RP six-time executive champion Dr. Jenny Mayor, “We expect at least 200 chess players will participate in the three division rapid chess tournament on September 13,” he said.

The one-day event, which aims to discover future world class players in the grass roots level is supported by Filway Marketings Inc.CEO/President Hector “Chito” Tagaysay, Dickies Vice President Dody Arcaya, CDC Holdings Inc. thru Mr. Vic Bayani, Mr. Pacifico Madrono of Eureka Chess set, Mayor Dental Clinic, Chess Library, Meralco Chess Club, Cebuano sportsman Matias “Bombi” Aznar, Marikina Chess Federation head Johnny “Joel” Gaudia, Barangay Alabang chairman Victor Ulanday, Dr. Alfred Paez, Dr. Bong Perez, Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School (RMCHS) chess club, g4 chess club and billiardphilippines.

Among the early entries that includes players from Meralco Chess Club, La Immaculada Concepcion School (LICS), University of the East, Marist School Marikina, National University, Rizal Technological University, Far Eastern University and the Philippine Airforce Chess Team.

The champion in the non-master division gets P6,000 plus a pair of new shoes in the event bankrolled by Sydney based Angelito “Anji” Camer, Texas based former two-time Olympian member WNM Cristina Santos and China based Joel Pineda.

The runner-up will be receiving P2,000, the third place will bring home P1,000 while 4th to 5th placers pocketed P500 each.

Sixth to 10th placers including category winners for the Top Juniors (20 years old and below);Top Executive; Top Unrated; Top journalist; Top Artist; Top Womens, Top Ramon Magsaysay Student, youngest participants will received give aways.

P2,000 each awaits for the champion in the Kiddies 14 years old and Womens division. Registration: (Non Master) P300, (Kiddies /Womens) P200.

For inquiries, please contact event coordinator Dr. Jenny Mayor (0919) 478-2209, chief arbiter NM Erwin Carag (0921) 228-8167, deputy arbiter NM Rudy Ibanez (0919) 358-0444, Mr. Gatz Luz (0929) 621-6890, Ka Milo (0910) 444-8444 or visit Mr. Raul Cruz at the Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School (RMCHS) along Edsa Cubao (opposite Nepa Q-Mart).


A two-day Chess Arbitration Seminar will be held on September 5-6, 2009 at the Ramon Magsaysay (Cubao) High School, Cubao, Quezon City. This was originally scheduled this August 22-23, 2009 but was later reset in order to accommodate more participants. Organized by the Ramon Magsaysay Chess Club, Inc., invites all teachers, coaches, trainers, amateurs, professionals and individuals who want to learn the basic skills of officiating and arbitration in chess. Well-known International Arbiters composed of IA Gene Poliarco, IA Erwin Carag and National Arbiter Rudy Ibanez of the Chess Arbiters Association of the Phils.(CAAP) are the primary lecturers and facilitators of this seminar which will tackle arbitration, coaching and organizing. Registration fee is P1,000 inclusive of material handouts and snacks. Seminar proper will start at 8:00 am,

For details, please contact the following: Rey Colitoy (0917-5380022) / Ferdie Reyes (0918-4873785) / Raul Cruz (0929-2066627) / Alfredo Chay (0919-4512384) / Gatz Luz (0929-6216890) / Milo Samaniego (713-6811).

JOIN !!!

7TH Leg of the 2009 Philweb – Human Plus

National Executive Grand Prix

Active Chess Championships

When : Aug. 22, 2009 (SAT) 1 PM


Group A: 2000 & Above latest NCFP Active Rating (SWISS SYSTEM) and Executive NMs and FMs

Group B: 1999 & Below latest NCFP Active Rating (SWISS SYSTEM 5, 6, or 7 rounds depending on the number of participants)


Group A & Group B: 6 or 7 Rounds Swiss System

Champion: Php 5,000 plus trophy & 20 Grand Prix points

2nd : Php 2,000 plus trophy & 19 Grand Prix points

3rd : Php 1,000 plus medal & 17 Grand Prix points

4th : Php 500 plus medal & 17 Grand Prix points

5th : 16 Grand Prix points

6th : 15 Grand prix points

7th : 14 Grand Prix points

… and so on up to 20th place

Registration Fee:

Group A: Php 1,000

Group B: Php 700


FREE Lunch & Merienda

Contact Persons:

Jun Balgan 09267650650

Atty. Quirino Sagario 09293143740

Dr. Jenny Mayor 09194782209 / 704-9775

Rate of Play is 25 minutes per player.

Top 8 in Group A & Group B will advance to the Grand Finals in a 9 rounds Swiss System affair. Big cash prizes and home appliances await the winners.

Strict guidelines for new Executive applicants will be enforced.



Special thanks to DAR Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, BARIE Director Nelia Manahan & DAREA President Nanette Pascual.


THE 2009 National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP)-Kadayawan Chess Open Chess Championships gets underway on August 29 to 30 at the Gaisano South Citimall, Illustre Street in Davao City.

The free registration two-day Swiss System tournament with alloted 30 minutes time control to both players to finish the game is open to all country’s chess players according to NCFP Region 11 coordinator James Infiesto.

The champion here will be receiving P5,000 plus trophy, the runner-up gets P2,500 plus medal, the third place will bring home P1,500 plus medal and the fourth and fifth placer also likewise to receive P750 each plus medal.

Special Awards (Medals Only) for the Best Elementary Student for Boys and Girls; Best High School Student for Boys and Girls, Best College Student for Boys and Girls; Top Female; Top Executive; and Top Senior.

For inquiries, please register at Sports Development Division-City Mayor’s Offive (SDD-CMO), Mezzanine Floor, City Hall Drive, Davao City, tel no. 227-8074 or at Bonjee Entertainment Services, 4th Level Gaisano Mall of Davao, J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City, 225-8399 for complete details.

Upset of the Year?

Oh, Joy!

This is definitely one, if not the biggest upset of the year, in any sports perhaps. The electricity it spark around the sporting world is unbelievable. Not only Korean golfer Yang Yong-eun became the first Asian-born player to capture a major title, he defeated the great Tiger Woods in the process. Wow!

CHASKA, Minn. - Y.E. Yang shook his fists and shouted with joy over a victory felt around the world. Equally stunning was the sight of Tiger Woods, standing over the final putt of the PGA Championship with nothing at stake.

Yang showed everyone how to beat him, from the stars who had failed so many times over the last dozen years, and perhaps to an emerging generation of golfers in Asia, the fastest-growing golf market in the world.

Full story from NBC Sports

Monday, August 17, 2009

Darwin Laylo keeps 2nd Bernabe chess cup

GM Darwin Laylo is making statements why he is one of the top, if not the top Filipino performer recently, here and abroad. The two time World Cup qualifier GM Darwin Laylo successfully defended the 2nd Mayor Florencio Bernabe Cup through superior tie break, edging GM Mark Paragua and GM Wesley So in the process. The three will share the top prize of P30,000. Not bad for a two day event. In the eight round, So was held to a draw by NM Ronald Llavanes and that may have caused him the title. Honorary FIDE president Florencio Campomanes was also around, gracing the opening rites. Last month, Laylo also won the Victory Mall National championship in Caloocan city. and the Asian Zonal 3.3 in Vietnam

With some 300 participants took part in these two day event, this maybe one of the biggest this year.


Final Standing/ rankings in order (300 participants):

8.0 points---GM Darwin Laylo, GM Mark Paragua, GM Wesley So

7.5 points---Merben Roque, NM Ronald Llavanes, IM Chito Garma, Roel Abelgas

7.0 points---IM Richard Bitoon, Rustum Tolentino, Jerry Areque, Nazario Ubanan, Emmanuel Emperado, Mc Do,imigue Lagula, Harrison Maamo, Ali Branzuela, Deniel Causo, Ryan Dungca, Rodolfo Panopio

6.5 points---GM Bong Villamayor…

SAN ROQUE, MARIKINA CITY native Grandmaster Darwin Laylo has retained his Bernabe Chess Cup title after winning the tie break points over runner-up GM Mark Paragua of Quezon City and third placer GM Wesley So of Bacoor, Cavite at the just concluded 2nd Mayor Florencio Bernabe Cup Parañaque Chess Open 2009 at the SM Sucat Activity Center-Building B, Sucat, Paraňaque City, on Sunday.

The triumvirate (GMs Laylo, Paragua and So) tallied 8.0 points in nine outings to split the combined P65,000 purse for the top three finishers. The National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) sanctioned tournament headed by its president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. is attracted by 300 players and supervised by NAPCA chief Boyet Tardecilla in close cooperation with Barangay Don Bosco Chess Club headed by Dr. Bong Perez.

In the final round, Laylo crushed Nazario Ubanan of Cagayan de Oro City, Paragua demolished Harrison Maamo of Davao City while So defeated Rustum Tolentino of Cagayan de Oro City.

GM So could have been alone in the top but a surprising draw with Philippine Airforce bet NM Ronald Llavanes in the penultimate round cost him the solo championship. The Bicol pride Llavanes, playing under the banner of AFP Commanding General, Philippine Airforce LT. General Oscar Rabena finished into a tie for 4th to 7th placers along with Merben Roque of Cebu, IM Chito Garma of Manila and Roel Abelgas of Binan, Laguna.

Another GM entry Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor of Mauban, Quezon finished at 19th to 35th placers in the company another PAF bet Allan Cantonjos of Gingoog City and two youthful Jan Emmanuel Garcia of Manila and Marie Joseph Turqueza of Quezon City, among others.

No less than FIDE (World Chess Federation) honorary president Florencio “Pocamps” Campomanes led the opening rites along with NAPCA chief Boyet Tardecilla and Barangay Don Bosco Chess Club headed by Dr. Bong Perez.MARLON BERNARDINO

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Interview with Segey Karjakin better half, WIM Katya Dolzhikova

Photo from Jermuk FIDE GP

Truth is, elite grandmasters are sometimes notorious for the high rates of broken/troubled marriage. Ivanchuk, Shirov, Kasparov just to name a few. Not because these people are womanizer. Grandmasters rarely are. It's just that high ego that usually associated with elite chess players. But of course we won't wish the same thing will happen with the newly weds, GM Segey Karjakin (19) and WIM Katya Dolzhikova (20). They're an almost perfect match. Sharing the same passions and interest, that is one mark for happy marriage life that could last a lifetime. Anyway, the couple is still in their honeymoon stages so expect some supernatural and cozy things from this interview conducted by that woman on the left, Lilit, from Jermuk FIDE GP to Sergey's better half, WIM Katya Dolzhikova:

- How would you describe Sergey, how is he in real life?
- Sergey is very romantic and full of care. When I am in a trouble, he always encourages me. He is optimist, always has a good mood and I am very happy when I am near him.

- How do you like to spend your spare time?
- We love poetry and often enjoy spending our free time reading classical Russian literature and poetry. For example, we recently read Pushkin’s Evgeny Onegin. Also we love music. I play the piano and guitar, and Sergey is learning to play the guitar as well and soon he will play …
One interesting addition: when we began dating, sometimes Sergey called me on the phone and we would play blind chess. Not surprisingly, those games ended with Sergey’s victory.

- How do you picture your future family? With many children or is one is enough? And would you like your children to be chess players like their parents?
- I would love to have a girl and a boy; I think one is not enough. It would be great if they become chess players, but Sergey doesn’t think so.

Full interview and photos from FIDE GP Jermuk website

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New and rare, luxury chess set for Pacquiao

Pacquaio's passion for chess is well known. Now a chess set fit for the kings will finally come handy with the pound for pound king as reported by Abac Cordero from

Nazario pulled off a big surprise when he gifted Pacquiao with a rare 1856 chess set, made in Russia, which he bought in an antique store in Orlando for $1,050. Pacquiao, a chess buff, said he’d have a special chess board of narra wood with ivory trimmings made.

“Hindi ka na mananalo sa akin (This time you can’t beat me),” Pacquiao told Nazario who, this early, had announced that next year’s In This Corner party will be held at The Manila Hotel.

Your truly is searching the web to see how the chess set looks like but unfortunately, I can't find any. That maybe a very rare one indeed.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Awakening

The Philippine basketball team, even when playing at their best may never, at least for some years to come, be in par with the rest of our Asian basketball counterpart. No hurling of criticism this time. It's just a fact. There's always next time, as they said. As we've stated before, Filipinos love basketball but basketball does not loves us in return. We lost to the Jordanian team, fair and square 81-70 hours ago in the quarterfinal of FIBA Asia Championship. It's over. No basketball in the Olympic games for us. So sad. We are a basketball nation. So sad.

Now let's get back to chess.

Moment of truth for Team Pilipinas

This is it. It's make or break for our Team Pilipinas-Powerade basketball team in the FIBA-Asia Championship. The RP team will clash in their knockout quarterfinals series against Middle East powerhouse Jordan today. If they passed the Jordanian, we're a win away from the finals, hence, our return to the Olympic in London on 2012. Although I still have some doubts about our chances, but if our shooting continue to improve as we had shown the last three games, who knows?

The moment of truth has come. A loss is a rude awakening and victories is a start for something good for basketball in the Philippines.

All the best of luck to our Team Pilipinas.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Make it 18 for IM Oliver Barbosa

Sports journalist and National Master Marlon Bernardino, as usual, just brought this info to our attention. It may come almost two weeks late (for internet users that's quite an ages) but thanks anyway for the wave of information he's providing us through emails. For complete results and final standings, please visit Marshall chess club official website.

FILIPINO International Master Oliver Barbosa bagged his 18th title in the United States chess circuit by topping the Marshall Chess Club Saturday game 60 minutes Chess Championships at the Marshall Chess Club in New York, New York last August 1.

Barbosa, who hails from Taytay, Rizal finish perfect four points.He beat William Wijaya, Sam Barsky, GM Michael Rohde and IM Jay Bonin, respectively.

After this event, Barbosa, University of the Philippines’ (UP) former Board 1 player seeing in action in the 10th Grand Prix Points Tonight in New York last August 6 settled joint fourth along with three others with 3.0 points in four games of play.

Barbosa also participated in the 15th annual Northeast Open Chess Championships in Stamford, Connecticut last August 9. Barbosa settled 2nd to 4th placers in the company of Siddharth Ravichandran and Alec Getz after tallying 4.0 points apiece. GM Alexander Ivanov won the event with 4.5 points in five outings. His only draw to Barbosa in the final round.

Barbosa’s US chess campaign is supported by NCFP president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., and New York Immigration lawyer Filipino Geronimo “Gerry” Albano.MARLON BERNARDINO

No Schumacher comeback. F1 shouldn't celebrate

Photograph: Luca Ghidoni/Getty Images

For days, it creates quite a buzz. People are about to see another second coming of a god, a racing god. Arguably, the greatest car racer the world has ever known has made a declaration late last month that he will make a comeback to replace the injured Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa. The most expensive and technologically advance sports in the world has been in a downturn both in popularity and controversy since Schumacher's retirement in 2006. The supposed return of the sports most celebrated racer excite not only racing enthusiast but general public as well. Except for F1 drivers, perhaps. He was supposed to race in the European grand prix in Valencia on 23 August. But a freak motorcycle accident he suffered last February leave a painful injury on his neck. And the result, Schumacher called off his return from retirement:

"The consequences of the injuries caused by the bike accident in February, fractures in the area of the head and neck, unfortunately have turned out to be still too severe," said Schumacher. "That is why my neck cannot stand the extreme stresses of Formula One yet. These are the clear results of the examinations we did in the course of the past two weeks and the final examination [Monday] afternoon."

He added: "I am disappointed to the core. I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret, it did not work out."

People who run, sponsored, and race F1 shouldn't celebrate. Though Michael is not like a noontime show host who has the guts to defy everyone of what a great loss he would be to local showbiz industry if challenge, Michael Schumacher could only be the answer for the revival of formula racing. But alas, it won't happen. Not anytime soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

110th US Open: Enrico Sevillano in 45-74th finish

With 6.0 points, IM Enrico Sevillano finished tie from 45-74th place in the recently held 110th US Open championship in Indianapolis USA. Sevillano actually started strong, winning his first 3 round games but a series of draws and a loss in the 8th and penultimate round caused him to end up in a more respectable finish. The tournament saw the participation of 256 players, 10 GMs and 15 IMs. Six tied for first with a total of 7.5 points but GM Dimitry Gurevich took home the title.

Final standings is HERE

FIDE Jermuk Grand Prix: Aronian, Filipinos sentimental favorite?

Are you rooting for Levon Aronian to win the GP? I won't be surprise if Levon Aronian is the sentimental favorite for most Filipino chess fans to win Jermuk. Of course the Barong Tagalog outfit he wore during the final day and awarding ceremony in Mainz Chess Classic endear many Filipino chess fans, not to mention his romantic involvement with half Filipina, WIM Arianne Caoili of Australia.

The coverage of the FIDE Grand Prix, no matter how controversial they may seemed to many, remains superb compare to other chess super tournament. For some reasons that the GP were being covered in plain English. Then there's a game by game commentaries and of course, live games. Sometimes, if allowed, they also provide live web cams inside the playing hall.

You can watch live games HERE. Games usually starts at around 6:00 pm, Manila time. Very convenient time indeed.

Jermuk Grand Prix official website

Monday, August 10, 2009

2009 SPICE CUP Group A: Wesley So, 3rd seed

So the line up for The 2009 SPICE Cup Group A group has been finalized. The category 16 the SPICE CUP organizers has been brewing to perfection for nearly a year will now have all the bragging rights in the world! According to Susan Polgar blog, this year SPICE CUP will boast an average rating of 2643.5, making this event one of the strongest chess tournament to be ever held in US soil, rating/statistic wise. GM Wesley So is one of the early bird to confirmed his participation in the said event. Wesley will be the 3rd seed here. The SPICE CUP chess festival will take place September 19-29.

Confirmed players for group A (6-player DRR - Category 16):

GM Dmitry Andreikin 2659 - Russia (#6 junior under 20 in the world - Russian Junior Champion)
GM Pashikian Arman 2650 - Armenia (#4 player in Armenia, the country which won the last 2 Olympiad)
GM Wesley So 2646 - Philippines (#7 junior under 20 in the world - #1 in the Philippines)
GM Rauf Mamedov 2645 - Azerbaijan (#5 player in Azerbaijan)
GM Yuriy Kuzubov 2635 - Ukraine (#8 junior under 20 in the world - #12 in Ukraine)
GM Varuzhan Akobian 2626 - USA (#6 in the U.S. - 2008 SPICE Cup Co-Champion - 2-time Olympiad Bronze Medalist)

FM Danny Rensch of Arizona has confirmed his participation in the SPICE Cup B group. I was so impressed when I read a story about him. That is why I decided to invite Danny to give him an opportunity to earn his third and final IM norm.

B Group - Category 11-12 (10-player RR):

IM Gabor Papp 2558 - HUN (2 GM norms - Texas Tech Student in 8/2009)
IM Davorin Kuljasevic 2547 - CRO (2 GM norms - Texas Tech Student in 8/2009)
GM Eugene Perelshteyn 2537 - USA (2007 SPICE Cup Champion)
GM Andre Diamant 2519 - Brazil (2008 Brazilian Champion)
IM Ben Finegold 2513 - USA (2 GM norms)
IM Ray Robson 2496 - USA (1 GM norm - Winner of the 2009-2010 Samford Fellowship)
IM Gergely Antal 2479 - HUN (2 GM norms - Texas Tech Student)
FM Danny Rensch 2392 - USA (2 IM norms)

All ratings listed are FIDE ratings.

SPICE Cup Open and SPICE Cup Scholastic Open are once again two of the events which are a part of the SPICE Cup Chess Festival.

Just as last year, the SPICE Cup will be held on campus at Texas Tech University and is co-organized by Texas Tech University, SPICE and the Susan Polgar Foundation.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A lunch with a Grandmaster

Last week, after the simul matches conducted by GM Rogelio "Joey" Antonio at MERALCO basement canteen, our good friend, Rolly Sol Cruz, president of one of the most stable chess club in the country, the MERALCO Chess Club, had all the goodness to ask this blogger, to join a lunch with GM Joey Antonio. For a moment, I hesitated. Actually, that was only the five or six times I saw GM Antonio in person, but I never talked to him personally. And for nearly half an hour, knowing that it might not happen again anytime soon, I felt compelled to bombard him with questions. And I got more than what I expected. Some need to be publish and be heard, and some need to keep in private. But one particular moment I would never forget was when Rolly Cruz mentioned about the column wrote by Mr Bobby Ang (Don't confused him to Bob Ong as I sometimes do) for businessworldonline titled What Now GM Antonio? (if my memory serves me correctly about the correct title) In the said article, Mr Ang is very vocal in his criticism against Antonio's US campaign last year where he won dozens of them. Bobby Ang dismisses the tourney he participated as mediocre in comparison with other Filipino chess players competing at that time and that Antonio does not deserves all the praises he's receiving. After Rolly Cruz brief statement about Bobby Angs column, Antonio, for about half a second, looked at everybody's eyes then lower them directly into his plate and mumble something under his breath, but never elaborate. My ear didn't catch what he said. But it was obvious. Rolly may have noticed this and so the topic ended there.

Over all, it's too early for me to judge the character and personality of GM Antonio. I don't know what is his personal relationship with other chess players as well and I might be branded of being bias on his side just because of the privilege of having spoken to him for the first time. But he seems very accommodating with the chess fans, that's all I can say. During the course of conversation, here's some of GM Rogelio Antonio's thoughts I would like to share with everyone:

  • Planning to stage, together with our top GMs, the first ever "pay per-view" tournament, probably later this year, where fans can watch GMs in action, live.
  • Wesley So will be among the top ten players in the world in the near future. He has no doubt about it. He even admitted that it is Wesley who is responsible alone for the revival of chess in the country.
  • Popularity of chess in the Philippines is reaching an all time high.
  • Prefer blindfold chess over simul games. He did an exhibition blindfold chess in the past.
  • Want to try another blindfold exhibition matches next! (Want to take on him anyone?)

One thing I forgot to ask him. Is NCFP really dead serious in its intention to bid the hosting of the chess olympiad in the country for the second time?

My deep appreciation also to Mr. Norlito Bersamina, father of ASEAN U-11 Gold Medalist, Paulo Bersamina, for the free meals and drinks he provided us! Thank you sir.

Malibay Chess Club blog has some details and photos from last week fund raising simul.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sports writing and other stories

It was Thursday, I am meeting my former sports editor at Rockwell. He was to throw a despedida treat for his former staff, seven in all, but only three (somehow) managed to see him, perhaps for the last time. My ex-editor is set to leave for New Zealand next week to stay there for good. He's a sports editor but is never a big fan of chess (they don't sell well, he said blankly). His only interest in publishing are basketball and pool. Both he plays badly but good enough to be called a hobbyist when playing badminton. He can sometimes put up with chess articles, but they are more of a fillers.

As I was hurrying towards his office, so I presume, since its been years the last time I've been there, I heard someone shouts at me "sir, sandali san kayo pupunta? bawal dyan!" I was so disoriented and humiliated and was close to shouting back "t*ng *na mo dito ako (dati) nag ta-trabaho!" :)

On a "visitors" reception hall, I found myself waiting for an appointment. Right, an appointment, for a despedida, and not supposedly invited. Odd. A receptionist sits on the desk. Another odd thing happens. As I shift in my seat, the leather upholstery makes a sound that could be mistaken for a fart. I therefore shift in my seat again, two or three times, making the same sound deliberately in order to demonstrate that I had not inadvertently farted. The secretary looks up inquiringly. She may be just thinking I am uncomfortable. She may, on the other hand, be thinking I have farted, and not once but three times.

It was a great day for eating chankonabe anyway.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Photo of the Day

At the awarding ceremony in Mainz

Looks familiar ba? You're right. Levon Aronian is wearing the Philippine national costume, the Barong Tagalog. His chosen outfit may had something to do with his charming Filipina-Aussie girlfriend, WIM Arianne Caoili.

Photos and details from

Monday, August 3, 2009

Remembering the Opera Game of Paul Morphy

Many argue (this time, they are not Pinoy kibitzers) that the so called Opera Game between Paul Morphy and two strong amateurs, Duke Karl of Brunswick and a French aristocrat was played sometime in August in 1858. The claim, however, that it was played in August will remain, well, a claim. But it definitely played sometime in 1858. Anyway, unlike other famous games in history like Kasparov's immortal, Fischer's the Game of the Century etc where many have heard of, many have argued, many have quoted, and few can interpret, the Opera Game, as long as one holds basic knowledge of chess, one won't find it worth arguing just to appreciate the beauty of this game. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Torre, to supervise Filipino GMs preparation for the World Cup

GM Eugenio Torre didn't make it to the line up of Filipinos who competed in last year Dresden Olympiad. But knowing his value for Philippine chess, NCFP president Prospero Pichay nonetheless appointed him to be a non-playing team captain for our players in Dresden. This year, he finds himself in almost same position. But this time, Torre will supervise Filipino GMs (Antonio, Laylo, and So) preparation for World Chess Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from November 20 to December 15 as reported by Perry Legaspi of GMANews.TV

And to ensure that the three Filipino GMs will be at their best during the tournament, National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president and chairman Prospero “Butch" Pichay tapped Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre’s services to help in their preparations.

“Eugene’s long experience in international competition will surely help a lot," Pichay said.