Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Vibrations 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Philippines top 20 players

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Impressions from 3rd Gathering of Knights and Kings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One more time. Thank you Wesley.

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

view from the roof top of Prince Gregory Condominium.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Standings: (Master division/ 35 players)


Champion: GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr.

2nd place: NM Ali Branzuela

3rd place: IM Rolando Nolte

4th place: GM Wesley So

5th place: IM Petronio Roca

6th place: GM Darwin Laylo

7th place: IM Barlo Nadera

8th place: NM Roberto Suelo Jr.

9th place: GM Jayson Gonzales

10th place: NM Allan Macalla

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

12th place: NM Erwin Carag

13th place: NM Rudy Ibanez

14th place: NM Mirabeau Maga

15th place: FM Deniel Causo

16th place: NM Edgardo Garma

17th place: IM Ronald Bancod

18th place: NM Raymond Salcedo

19th place: IM Emmanuel Senador

20th place: IM Chito Garma

21st place: Mark Ingcad

22nd place: NM Allan Sasot

23rd place: NM Elias Lao

24th place: FM Adrian Ros Pacis

25th place: FM Leonardo Carlos

26th place: NM Julius Sinangote

27th place: NM Efren Bagamasbad

28th place: NM Andrew Vasquez

29th place: Jerry Areque

30th place: NM Alex Milagrosa

31st place: NM Ponciano Badilles

32nd place: NM Eduardo Agagon

33rd place: Rodolfo Panopio Jr.

34th place: NM Edmundo Gatus

35th place: NM Samuel Estimo


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. The format shall be:

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

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

3. The time control shall be as follows:

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

a. Direct encounter

b. Buchholz System

c. S.B. System

d. FIDE tie-break

e. Number of victories

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



Champion : P 6,000.00

Runner-Up : 4,000.00

3rd Place : 2,000.00

4th Place : 1,500.00

5th Place : 1,000.00

6th Place : 800.00

7th Place : 700.00

8th Place : 600.00

9th Place : 500.00

10th Place : 400.00

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


Champion : P 5,000.00

Runner-Up : 2,500.00

3rd Place : 1,500.00

4th Place : 1,000.00

5th Place : 800.00

6th Place : 700.00

7th Place : 600.00

8th Place : 500.00

9th Place : 400.00

10th Place : 300.00

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


Champion : P 3,000.00

Runner-Up : 1,500.00

3rd Place : 1,000.00

4th Place : 900.00

5th Place : 800.00

6th Place : 700.00

7th Place : 600.00

8th Place : 500.00

9th Place : 400.00

10th Place : 300.00

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


Champion : P 4,000.00

Runner-Up : 2,000.00

3rd Place : 1,500.00

4th Place : 1,000.00

5th Place : 900.00

6th Place : 800.00

7th Place : 700.00

8th Place : 600.00

9th Place : 500.00

10th Place : 400.00

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


Friday, December 25, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings!

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

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Anand picks Carlsen to be his second

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

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Simply "Joey"

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

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jinky Young closing in to her late father's inheritance

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wesley So confirmed he's ready for SPICE Cup 2010

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

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

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

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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

Photo from the tournament official website

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

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So long Sir Andrade

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

Arianne Caoili nearing the title in London Womens' Invitational

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

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fil-Aussie Arianne Caoili leads London Chess Classics Womens Invitational

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

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: No! What happened?

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

Q: And how do you keep fit?

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

Continue reading from Chessbase

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

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

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

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

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

Chess World Cup Official website

Friday, December 4, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

Mother and daughter

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

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tahanang Walang Hagdan Kiddie Chess Tournament

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

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

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

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


For kiddies 14-years old and below

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

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

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

Contact Persons:
Mr. Rolly Cruz

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

Registration fee: P200

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the English translation of the letter:

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

Sincerely, Vassily Ivanchuk

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

Replay of So-Malakhov game 1 with GM commentary