Friday, November 26, 2010

Silver that shines twice than usual

Man, we fought mighty China today. No chance. It was never close. No surprise. But they deserve all the merit. We still belong there on top, among the best in Asia.

After beating India in the semis (proving that their 5th round win against the 2nd seed India is no fluke) to reach the finals, the Wesley So led RP chess team lost to host nation and 1st seed, China, 0.5 - 3.5 in the battle for gold medal. Still the silver finish by the Philippines remains one of their best international performance in many years. They came here in Guangzhou seeded sixth and has beaten the 2nd, 3rd and 4th seeded teams in the process. But still, for many, the silver finish will always be cherished as the team who have beaten a team fielded with all of India's best player had to offer with the exception of the current world champ, Vishwanathan Anand who begged off from participating in the event. India bags the bronze medal nonetheless by defeating the game Iranian team, 3.5-0.5 Gutsy old veteran GMs Eugene Torre and Rogelio Antonio came up with surprising results to help the team reach the finals (Honestly, I'm not sure if it's a good or bad sign for chess in the country).

By the way, Joey Antonio didn't play in the gold medal match. He was down with a flu and was reportedly have to fly home immediately for medical examination. Whether it's due to bad climate or food he had eaten, we can never tell. They're in China where unexpected things can happen at any moment.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reevaluating ChessHeroes blog

Promotion from work means more obligation not to mention that we're currently conducting an intensive research work on something that will take years to finish. Fact is, our multi tasking skills has failed us to the degree that we literally forgot to update this blog for over two weeks, which is quite unforgivable for those who are following CH regularly. As Garry Kasparov once said in his well received book about business strategy, How Life Imitates Chess, the sport should be a means of transport and not a final destination to better and improve our life other than playing or writing about chess. No wonder why he retires early from playing serious chess to devote his time and effort on other things he believes is necessary for his self improvement and in people in general by entering politics. For now all we can say is we apologize for the inconvenience and we will "rehydrate" CH as soon as everything goes back to normal.

So far, there's not much to talk about Philippine chess, except of course, about controversies. It was as if the sport also came into unexpected hiatus. At the ongoing 16th Asian Games, the Wesley So led team still yet to bag a medal for chess and is not doing fine in the Men's team either. Ex world champ Rustam Kasimzhanov of Uzbekistan won the Men's individual gold while Vietnam has already won a silver medal in chess courtesy of GM Le Quam Liem also in the Men's Individual. GM Hou Yifan took the gold in Women's Individual.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Garry Kasparov: world technology is moving very slowly

You may have probably purchased a new Apple II, or a new iphone and think it's cool to have one of those "state-of-the-art", "space age" gadgets and suddenly you think that current technology is advancing very rapidly in a pace that is quite unimaginable. But ex world chess champ and arguably the greatest mind in chess history think otherwise. So as many other. Kasparov believed that today's technology is experiencing an all time low in progress for the past hundred of years. And he may have a point.

“We are surrounded by gadgets and computers like never before. They are better each time; a little faster, a little shinier, a little thinner. But it is derivative, incremental, profit margin-forced, consumer-friendly technology — not the kind that pushes the whole world forward economically.”

He thinks the problem is that we’ve replaced the drive to innovate by focusing on making incremental changes to existing technologies. Kasparov drew from his own experiences facing off against more and more powerful chess-playing computers, until finally experiencing defeat at the hands (algorithms) of IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997. That was an unfortunate loss, not only for him, but for science as well because progress on building a smarter chess computer effectively ended after that, he said.

Excerpt from

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A win that matters

It will end in a victory one way or the other. Fortunately, it ends in a victory and Wesley is good to go again. It was like having your first taste of glass of water after spending some time in the desert . After 10 consecutive draws he has fought in SPICE Cup, So finally got his first win in the history of the tournament courtesy of hard headed defending champion, GM Eugene Perelshteyn. Wesley's campaign really starts with that victory. He's a consistent player once off to a good start. I know Wesley is feeling that one victory, his confidence is back (so is the fans), and Wesley So is in very good position to redeem Philippine chess.

Wesley So will be facing another American prodigy in the third round, GM Ray Robson, US youngest grandmaster. The two youngsters will face each other over the board for the first time and definitely, the highlight match of the SPICE Cup. Young players tend to be more intimadated by fellow young player compare when facing an older and higher rated player so this match should be more interesting than others. The two will battle twice this tournament and we hope they will not all end in draws.

Hope a good performance by Wesley here in SPICE Cup will inspire this blogger again to update this blog in a regular basis :)

Susan Polgar chess blog is regularly updating the tournament while offers live games of the tournament with cool computer analysis.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So, Gomez co winners of the 2010 NCFP training tournament for the Asian Games

sIt's two bird in one stone for Wesley So. He tied first with GM John Paul Gomez and got some needed sparring partners as preparation before he fly off to Texas USA for the 2010 SPICE Cup tournament. Incidentally, the tournament also acts as a preparation for the rest of the team for the coming Asian Games in Guangzhou, China starting November 12.

The Philippines is still haunted by the 50th place finish in the recently held Chess Olympiad in Khanty Manysks, Russia and winning a medal in the Asian Games will surely bring back the passion and inspiration the country badly needs for the sport.

It is good to see IM Oliver Barbosa in the line up. You don't hear about him very often but his immunity to pressure is his major weapon and that is the reason why he is very successful of bringing down many top rated GMs in any given time and situation. They can use Barbosa a lot.

So, at 17 the country’s highest-rated player with an ELO of 2674, and Gomez finished with identical scores of 17 points on four wins, five draws and one loss in the 10-round robin tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) as part of the players’ preparations for the coming Asian Games in Guangzhou, China...

“This is good training ground for our players, especially for Wesley, in time for next month’s Asian Games in Guangzhou,” said NCFP president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay.

Pichay said the week-long tournament was divided into two parts -- standard (long game) and rapid (25 minutes plus five seconds increment) -- to give the players enough exposure to the format to be used in the Asian Games.

Pichay also adopted the format being used in the SPICE (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) tournament in Lubbock, Texas which discourages quick and uneventful draws by giving three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss.

Read the full article at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

World Youth Chess Championship begins today

The 2010 World Youth Chess Championship is set to begin today October 20 in Halkidiki, Greece, and will run till 31. The Philippines will be represented by FM Haridas Pascua in the Boys Under 18 category. Wesley So has other commitment and he will be participating in the six man, 2010 SPICE Cup and So maybe on another level to mixed it up with WYCC aspirants. will be the official page of the championship and will have all the coverage that feature live games, PGN and round by round report.

Ironically, but in many cases, the top seed of this championship won't be a grandmaster (there are only five grandmasters here) but an international master from India, S P Senthuraman (2535). We know very little about this kid but that doesn't made sense since he's from India and India is in the fore front of countries that is producing future chess superstars. By the way, does my eyes deceived me that there are no Chinese players competing in both the Under 18 Boys and Girls category? Interesting.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

European Chess Club Cup 2010

They call it the chess version of the "European Champions League". For good reason. The European Chess Club Cup will field 24 players rated over 2700+ that will compete for their respective clubs comprised of players imported not just in Europe but from every corner of the planet, mostly from Asia and arguably no other tournament boast of the best selection of team anywhere else. No Filipinos yet have made it to play for a major chess club in Europe before like ECCC but other Asian countries like China and India are actively involved. Excerpts from

24 players over 2700 ELO will participate in the 2010 European Chess Club Cup. Top rated participant is GM Levon Aronian (2783) who will play on board 1 for MIKA Yerevan. A few days are left before the start of the competition, for now a total of 135 GMs, 57 IMs, 47 FMs, and 243 titled players have signed up for the strongest club event of the year, equivalent to the Champions league in football.

The strongest team is the newly formed SOCAR Azerbaijan with average ELO of 2732. Five of their top boards are in the 2700 club - GM Mamedyarov, GM Grischuk, GM Shirov, GM Radjabov and GM Vachier-Lagrave. The team is completed by the ex world champion GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov and the Azeibarjan stars GM Mamedov and GM Safarli.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2010 SPICE Cup puts on a record

For two straight years, GM Wesley So will be participating in the tough SPICE CUP at Texas Tech University, USA. So's performance last year produced neither bad nor impressive result, though some were disappointed. Wesley drew all his games, most of them were but short draws. But a year had passed and So aged a year and has somewhat improve his games so we can expect a different So we saw from last year.

According to Susan Polgar's blog, this year's edition of the 2010 SPICE Cup will be the highest rated international invitational tournament in U.S. history to date with an average FIDE rating of 2631. There will be two section to be competed here. The A Group, where the big boys are, and the B group where the emerging talents will compete each other for a chance to play in the A group in the future.

GM Zoltan Almasi (HUN) 2707 (#1 in Hungary on the current LIVE rating list)
GM Alexander Onischuk (USA) 2688 (#3 in the U.S., former U.S. #1 and Champion)
GM Wesley So (Philippines) 2668 (#1 in the Philippines)
GM Georg Meier (Germany) 2659 (#2 in Germany)
GM Ray Robson (USA) 2539 (Youngest American GM)
GM Eugene Perelshteyn (USA) 2528 (winner of 2007 SPICE Cup)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wesley So turns 17 today.

GM Wesley So turns 17 today, October 9. No other player since the days of GM Eugene Torre that captured the imagination of Philippine chess other than Wesley.

CH wish Wesley So a happy birthday and we sincerely hope for more of his success in the coming years. Cheers!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Olympiad aftermath, emotions should be checked, analyze the final match.

Just days after the Philippines fell to it's "worst" place finish in the chess olympiad, both writers and fans alike started to voice out their feelings and opinions on what went wrong. Emotions are high. Some started pointing fingers on who's really to blame for the setback of our RP Men's team. Many agree that it is the NCFP and it's leaders themselves who should be accountable for everything while many claims that chess players in the Philippines are pampered by chess fans and is a far cry from the players of old that used to be the number one chess nation in Asia, a powerhouse chess nation so good that it actually placed 7th over all in 1988 Thessaloniki Olympiad. We are proud nation. It sounds inspiring. But look around us and we will see that things have changed all around us since then. Study history. Nothing is permanent. What goes up must come down. Truth is, no domination last forever. Even the once mighty Roman Empire has to collapse in the advent of other emerging superpower of the day. There is nothing wrong of being proud of our glorious past and it hurts a lot to remember of beautiful things gone by. But that's the reality and reality really hurts.

Fact is, despite landing in the fiftieth place, the Philippines still placed fourth over all in Asian ranking and slightly ahead of Vietnam who finished in 52 place and the country where Magnus Carlsen was born, Norway, who finished in 51st position. Just look around and you'll be enlighten. Breaks of game plays a major part too.

Here's my take. Final round is very crucial. Remember that going into the final round against the 48th seed Estonia, our men's team is placed 31st and is in very very good position to improve it. I was thinking. What if Richard Bitoon never lost his final game? Say the team won that one by a point, say courtesy of Bitoon, which he really can. The Philippines may even landed among the top 25 and that will going to be one of our best finish since Thessaloniki Olympiad! If that happens, are we going to see people blaming each other for finishing the olympiad above expectations? Are we going to clamor for a change? For new leadership? Surely not. But you see folks, Bitoon, very unfortunate, lost his final game and the team plummeted to 50th place. Even a draw would probably put us among the top 30, still, one of our best finish since Thessaloniki! Again, are we going to clamor for the so called change?

You see folks, we lost by a hairline, probably caused by last minute mental lapses. If there's someone who should be blame here, it is no other than Richard Bitoon himself because that one loss caused a lot. Lucky for me, I do not blame the guy. There's so much pressure on him. He's a last minute replacement for Antonio and the only IM in the team and we look after our RP team as heroes not deserving of any single criticism. Another thing, our men's team rarely faced a nation well above seeded than us and perhaps, a little bit more of a push for the team would give a different result.

As of today, we are the number one pool producing players in the planet (Americans used to be), same as professional boxing. We are the best in this sports. But we are not going to stay there for long. Again, history will show us. Unfortunately, and let's face fact, chess is not as marketable as other exciting sports as pool and boxing. Financing a chess program is a risk. That is quite understandable. But again, there is always great ideas to convinced more sponsors that chess can bring money too if they invest on this mental sport.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

2010 Chess Olympiad Final Round: Philippines vs Estonia

The final round of the 2010 Khanty Manyisks Chess Olympiad will be played today. In the Open section, Ukraine still holding to the lead and the Philippines is currently holding the 31st spot. They have a very good chance of improving their position and lands among the top 30 against the 48 seed Estonia tonight. Live games of the final round provided by Chessdom/Chessbomb will be available for viewing and complete pairings and results at International Chess-results Server.

Two new Pinoy Chess Grandmasters, GM Rogelio Barcenilla and GM Roland Salvador

In what many believed as a long over due conferment of the title, Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla can finally be call a grandmaster after years of efforts and waiting to established his status, he he is now officially a grandmaster.

The journey is not not an easy one. I remember the time when GM Banjo and your truly is on the process of information gathering on the web to provide more testimony when he gets his first ever GM norm in a tournament in Indonesia, I think. That's the part when I became aware that providing evidence for his first ever GM norm is one of the barrier for the final conferment of the title. Though little help we could only provide about the event, we are truly glad for GM Banjo that he finally received what he deserved, of becoming a chess grandmaster and all the benefits that comes with it.

Likewise, another foreign based Filipino master, GM Roland Salvador also earned the title of a grandmaster. GM Salvador currently lives in Italy. Recently he won a very tough tournament there, the International Chess Tournament Fermo-Porto San Giorgio where many seasoned grandmaster veterans of Europe participated.

Congratulation to our new chess grandmasters, GM Barcenilla and GM Salvador. Cheers!

Excerpt from Positive News Media Philippines

"I'm thankful to Cong Pichay (NCFP President/ Chairman Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr.)for all the help he provides to Philippine Chess despite all the troubles and controversies that hits the federation he never backdown which is a good sign of a very good leader so keep up the good work Cong. Pichay. I'm looking forward on playing big tourneys sa Philippines again. I just need to schedule it ahead of time." said Barcenilla in an email Friday.

Salvador, who hails from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, earned his third and final GM title during the 11th edition of the International Chess Tournament Fermo-Porto San Giorgio held from August 21 to 29 at the Astoria Hotel, Fermo, Italy.

The Italy-based Salvador, a former top player of Rizal Technological University (RTU) under the wings of its president Dr. Jose Q. Macaballug and head coach Olympian NM Mauro Yasay in the mid-1990s, was declared winner on best tie break score and he doubled the celebration by fulfilling his third and final GM norm by virtue of the 7/9 FIDE rule.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 Chess Olympiad r8: Bulgaria vs Philippines

Our regular 8-5 job and those threats imposed of beating deadlines made it close to impossible to update this blog in the past week but we're back on blogging. Though quite inactive from blogging, we still have some time to check in the results of the ongoing chess olympiad happening in Khanty-Manyisks, Russia. Giant chess websites like Chessbase, Chessdom and Chessvibes, each provides and showcase different angle of covering the event is enough to keep everyone informed about the olympiad while other chess blogs gives the Olympiad a fair and balanced observation.

So far, the progress of the RP men's team remains a drag. The level of competition is getting tougher and tougher as years goes by and lower seeded team is pulling off surprises here there. The RP men's team is currently placed 40th and landing in the top 20 seems bleak and is facing the Vaselin Topalov led Bulgarian team in the 8th round. Topalov was shocked by Mark Bluvshtein of Canada in the previous round. The rest of the Canadian team got inspired by the win and pulls off the biggest surprise of the day by holding their ground against the 8th seed Bulgarian team 2:2. The loss by Topalov is the biggest upsets so far in the ongoing olympiad.

The 52nd seeded Philippine women team on the other hand is placed 32 on the standings of the Women's section with Russia, Georgia and India on top of the leader board.

Ukraine, (thanks to amazing Ivanchuk) is on top of the standings, with Russia 1, Hungary and Azerbaijan is very much still there to stop Ukraine.

Important links:

Rank after 7 rounds (Open)

Round 8 team pairings (Open)

Rank after 7 rounds (Women)

Round 8 team pairings (Women)

Live/replays of games through chessdom-chessbomb

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chess Olympiad round 2: Spain vs the Philippines live.

The Philippines vs Spain round 2 match up will be featured live through with computer analyst as reported by Board one battle will pit Wesley So against Alexei Shirov. This will be the second time So and Shirov will face each other. In the last edition of the Olympiad in Dresden, So and Shirov game resulted in a draw. In round 1 the Philippine team swept Korea 4-0 while Spain defeated Algeria 3.5-0.5. An informative live "minute by minute" updates are also being provided by Chessdom.

The official site of the Chess Olympiad is having some problems for accurate reporting so visiting other chess sites first like is a must to get full and correct results of the games.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Philippines vs Korea Sunday Showdown

Our Philippine chess team in Khanty-Manysk Chess Olympiad needs some inspiration. Well, here's some bits of sports update from our other athletes competing abroad this weekend.

The Cecil Mamiit led Philippine team pulls off a big surprise in Korea by beating the hometown players 3-2 in Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I. It was a come from behind win for the team as they were down 0-2 on the first day of the competetion. The Philippines will stay in Group 1 and is well within striking distance of being promoted to the World Group of the Davis Cup.

The Philippine Smart Gilas basketball team however lost by a hair line to South Korea's Seoul Samsung Thunder in the finals of the Asian Club Men’s Basketball Invitational, 83-82. It is still a good result after all as the Philippines earns berth in Olympic qualifying event.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A note from Kirsan Ilyumzhinov?

Well, I'm not sure about this one. But the administrator of FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov Facebook page just leave a note here on ChessHeroes blog regarding my previous post Ilyumzhinov's plan of acquisitions of land near "Ground Zero", a mere publicity stunt?.

Dear Des,

You can just ask me directly at my Facebook page. But I'd like to tell you that I believe that this plan can be a true breakthrough for chess and my efforts to make this game not only a sport but also a solution for political and religious conflicts around the world.

Best of luck,

Well, the FIDE boss looks like he means this one.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ilyumzhinov's plan of acquisitions of land near "Ground Zero", a mere publicity stunt?

A Chess Center near Ground Zero? Really? A grand scheme indeed. But Ilyumzhinov's "plan" of buying the site near where the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City used to stand can be another one of those strategical moves to get more public support in Ilyumzhinov's candidacy for re-election as FIDE president. Dylan Loeb McClain of New York Times Chess blog, Gambit, hints that Ilyumzhinov might be only playing a mind setting strategy to the chess community rather than being serious about his intentions of acquiring the place as Ilyumzhinov didn't clearly specify if the financing of the proposal will come from his own purse or from FIDE treasury. Mr McClain wrote:

It is possible that Mr. Ilyumzhinov is hoping that by offering more money he will get the center’s owners to sell. Or, it may just be a publicity stunt to insert himself into the international debate and thereby raise his profile. He is involved in a bitter campaign for re-election to FIDE against Anatoly Karpov, the former world champion.

If this is really the reason behind the plans, expect a fall out of negotiation to acquire the land anytime soon. But mission accomplished for Ilyumzhinov just the same. Ilyumzhinov has already voiced out his intention to the public that he is dead serious of bringing chess into wide audience, with or without a chess center in New York.

Friday, September 17, 2010

FIDE wants to acquire the "Ground Zero"

To be honest, I don't like the idea of having the land of where the twin towers used to be to be occupied by something that is not co-related with the September 11 terrorist attack in New York City. (Oh yeah, let sentimentality hit me this time real hard!) Since it is a landmark, a memorable, historic ground, chess hasn't something to do with 9-11 terrorist attack. So when first informed us that the land where the twin towers used to stand, I wasn't that much excited even if one day, it becomes a major chess hub.

One thing is for sure though and it just show you how powerful Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is. What the FIDE boss wants, he must get it. And if ever FIDE acquired the land, there is no doubt that it will promote chess around the world to the highest level. But I personally believe that the "Ground Zero" doesn't belong to chess. Build a mosque, a museum, a library or even a park but a chess center is out of this.

FIDE has requested the New York authorities to sell the land of the Twin Towers to create a chess center, announced FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov at a press conference on Thursday.

"We turned to the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, who is also owner of this land, with a proposal to buy it for $10 million. We are now waiting for an answer and are ready to send our representatives," said Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Last week's proposal for "Ground Zero" by Donald Trump is 7,5 million dollars, while earlier a proposal for $100 million dollar Muslim center at 200 meters from the land has also been made. The future name of the FIDE construction is supposed to be "World Chess Center".

Copy of the official letter here

Thursday, September 16, 2010

NCFP next move against Antonio maybe too personal

Although we find no wrong on the side of NCFP (National Chess Federation of the Philippines) to implement disciplinary actions to players if they decide to follow against the rules of the federation, no matter what their status are, but the plan of NCFP to drop Antonio from the patronage of PSC or Philippine Sports Commission and consequently, deprive him of monthly allowance of P20,000 and other benefits is eyebrow raiser. A long term ban maybe quite understandable but dropping him from the wings of PSC altogether, it maybe tells a different story.

Perhaps this was NCFP own aggressive response to the threat posed by Antonio to file cases against Pichay and other top officials of the NCFP and the issue is becoming very personal and unprofessional to both party, to say the least. If Antonio is still hard bent to sue Pichay and take him to court caused by his own fault, then he might one day find himself jobless, a thing we wish would not end that way. Antonio was quoted as saying:

“Joey came home to defend himself when he learned that he was banned. He could have opted to stay in the US but he came home. But the NCFP has already closed the door on him,” said Estimo.

The former team captain of the RP team to the Chess Olympiad said Antonio was denied due process, as needed to be followed, when the NCFP leveled the ban without hearing his side.

“I think there’s politics behind this. I feel like I am being singled out. I passed through the proper channels for my US trip. It was Mr. Pichay himself who signed the recommendation to the PSC. Now, why am I being banned for missing the tournaments here,” said Antonio.

Read the full story at

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

With or without GM Antonio, the team moves on and is ready for the Olympiad.

With or without GM Joey Antonio in the line up, the Philippine chess team for the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia is ready for the challenge. As everybody knows by now, GM Antonio was dropped from the team for some disciplinary actions after committing some bad decisions of not playing in two major FIDE sanction tournament in Manila as part of the team's preparation for the Olympiad.

It's a tragic outcome. When all his teammates were here in the country preparing for the Olympiad, he's nowhere to be found and was competing in tournaments in the US where he was mostly the top seed. Not the kind of preparation the team needs. They need him to be around. Discuss things, strategies etc. We felt sorry for GM Antonio's decisions and he owe his teammates, NCFP, and Philippine chess fans an apology. As the saying goes, great power comes great responsibility. And he has some responsibility to be observed.

Still, we wish GM Antonio all the best of luck in his endeavor and a reconciliation with the NCFP should be made sooner than later for the better of chess in the country.

Despite missing the services of one of its most dependable players, the RP chess team remains optimistic about its coming campaign in the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

With RP’s top Grandmaster Wesley So manning Board 1 and the unsinkable Eugene Torre providing leadership and experience, the Filipino chessers are eyeing a Top 20 finish for their modest goal in the Sept. 19 to Oct. 14 biennial event featuring the world’s best players.

The presence of Antonio could have readily boosted the Filipinos’ chances, but Pichay said his exclusion in the team was for the best interest of everybody.

Read the full article at

Monday, September 13, 2010

Using Chess for Succes in Web Design.

Here's a great news for chess players and fans who are thinking of starting a chess blog or site of their own. These days, it is very difficult to do almost about everything without having a personal online sites like blogs, social networking etc, as we are dependent on it as a major form of communication, either to meet new friends and followers or by earning some money. Well, fortunately for us who loves chess and know its principles, you can now use this knowledge to your advantage for creating and designing a website. You don't need to be a master in chess, though surely it will help, to established a website and gain a wide audience.

I remember GM Eugene Torre on how he keeps reminding the young kids to use their understanding of chess to enhance and improve their life. Well, this blogger is a believer that chess is just a tool more than an obsession for the game. Chess is more than a sport. Learning to incorporate your knowledge of the game to real life and established yourself into a better person and produced success makes you a grandmaster as well.

Excerpts from Very good article. Two thumbs up. I gave it ten out of ten stars.

The business of building websites is one of constant change, adaptation and strategy. The way designers and developers build websites is often informed by the methods of others and their own trial and error. In light of this, we can draw a number of parallels — some philosophical, to a certain extent — between Web professionals and one of the oldest and most popular board games of all time (counting traditional and digital games). This game is chess.

So many useful lessons can be learned from chess. If you haven’t played it before, visualizing what we’ve gone over might be hard, but the fundamental principles of the game — how the pieces interact and the role of strategy in the big picture — should not be ignored. The game actively promotes logical thinking and strategy — both useful skills.

Always Move Forward

Pawns can only move forward. They can get a quick start; players have the option of moving the pawns up to two spaces on their first move and subsequently moving them one space at a time. When you work on projects in a business environment, the principle of moving forward without back-tracking is an inspirational perspective. If you cease to constantly drive your ideas forward, they can become stagnant; progress is critical to a website’s development.

Here are some tips you can use to adopt this mindset:

* Don’t get stuck using deprecated practices when structuring website code.
* Examine your community to determine needed features for future upgrades.
* Change a website’s interface only if it would benefit the user experience.

Be Willing to Sacrifice

The ideal of giving something up in exchange for a greater good is realized by pawns, which, though limited in function, are plentiful and can protect others. In design, shielding the end user from issues that can damage the usability of the website is a worthwhile sacrifice. Having to let go of something that took time and energy is always unfortunate, but knowing when to say goodbye could mean the difference between success and failure.

Here are some tips for internalizing this attitude:

* Ensure that your Web layouts are flexible enough to meet the needs of various devices.
* Weigh the benefits of features against their pitfalls before eliminating them.
* Content is more valuable than design; never dilute its quality for eye candy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Where is GM Bong Villamayor?

Wondering why GM Bong Villamayor suddenly disappeared from local chess scene? Here's why. GM Villamayor is currently based in Singapore (he was previously based there prior to his return to the country) where he joins another Filipino grandmaster, Nelson Mariano III as a trainer/coach of a chess school called ChessKidz. GM Nelson Mariano himself first founded the ChessKidz.

Just recently, GMs Villamayor and Mariano together with their students sally forth from their school to compete in their first ever overseas field trip in Malaysia for the Merdeka Open Team championship where they emerged as the over all champion. Here's the result and video from the ChessKidz school provided to us by GM Bong Villamayor himself.

ChessKidz official website

Final Results of our 1st Chesskidz Overseas Field Trip in the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Merdeka Open Team Championships 2010:

Chesskidz Men's Team - Over-All Champion

Bd.1 GM Nelson Mariano II
Bd.2 GM Bong Villamayor
Bd.3 Nelson Mariano III (overseas- Chesskidz Student)
Bd.4 Steve O'Reilly (Chesskidz Student)
Bd.5 Joel Hicap

Chesskidz Under 10 Team: 34th Place Overall /70 Teams Open Category
- Our Chesskidz Under-10 Team finished 34th place out of 70 teams (each team is composed of 5 players: 4 regular and one reserve) with a performance of 4.5/9 match games (4 wins, 1 draw, 4 losses).

They also placed tie for 2nd in U-12 category, tie-break 4th overall in U-12.
Shawn Foo snatched the Gold Medal in Board 5 scoring 4/4 - a 100% performance.
Chesskidz U-10 Team

Bd.1 Krystal Soh (Team Captain) (7 years old)
Bd.2 Tommy Tan (9 years old)
Bd.3 Matthew Lau (9 years old)
Bd.4 Sarah Koh-Caleb (9 years old)
Bd.5 Shawn Foo (Gold Medal) (9 years old)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Philippines new chess grandmaster, IM Roland Salvador

Reports has it that the Philippines will have a new chess grandmaster, Italy based IM Roland Salvador. That makes Salvador the 12th grandmaster the country has ever produced by far.

by Marlon Bernardino

Final Standings: (Open Division, 103 players)
7 points---IM Roland Salvador (PHILIPPINES)
7 points---GM Vladimir Epishin (Russia)
7 points---GM Peter Prohaszka (Hungrary)
7 points---GM Viesturs Meijers (Latvia)
7 points---GM Alberto David (
6.5 points---GM Manuel Leo Hoyos (Mexico)
6.5 points---IM Roberto Mogranzini (Italy)
6.5 points---Valerio Raineri (Italy)

MANILA, Philippines---ROLAND SALVADOR is the Philippines newest chess grandmaster.

The San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan ace Salvador, who is currently based in Italy formally earned the elusive GM title during the 11th edition of the International Chess Tournament Fermo-Porto San Giorgio was held August 21 to 29 at the Astoria Hotelin Fermo (5 minutes from Porto San Giorgio on the sea) in Italy.

Salvador, a former top player of Rizal Technological University (RTU) under the wings of it's president Dr. Jose Q. Macaballug and head coach Olympian NM Mauro Yasay in the mid 90's was declared winner on best tiebreak score and he doubled the celebration by fulfilling his third and final GM norm by virtue of the 7/9 FIDE rule.

Salvador, GM Vladimir Epishin of Russia, GM Peter Prohaszka of Hungrary, GM Viesturs Meijers of Latvia and GM Alberto David of
Luxembourg tallied identical 7 points apiece in nine outings but the former (Salvador) enroute the coveted championships trophy with a superior quotient in the event which attracted 103 players.

"Inaalay ko po sa bayan ang pagkapanalo ko dito sa Italy chess at pagkuha ng 3rd at final GM norm. Naging inspirasyon din po natin si President/ Chairman (NCFP) Pichay (Prospero) na patuloy na sumusuporta sa local at international tournament para lalong mapalakas ang chess sa Pilipinas kasama na ang pagdaraos niya (Pichay) ng malalaking torneo sa bansa. Hope sa future event po natin dito sa Europe ay matulungan din tayo ni President/ Chairman Pichay," said Salvador in an exclusive interview of this writer yesterday.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) President/ Chairman Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr. lauded Salvador latest feat in a seperate interview yesterday.

"He deserves this... I'm really happy for him (Roland Salvador). "This proves once again that the Filipino can be at par with the world's best woodpushers," said Pichay.

The undefeated Salvador, earlier beat Jon Arana Garate, Valerio Raineri, Rubern Bernadi and GM David, respectively. He settled a truce with IM Branir Certic of Serbia in the fifth, toppled IM Paolo Vezzosi of Italy in the sixth and drew his last three remaining games against Epishin, Prohaszka and Meijers, in order.

With his impressive performance here in Fermo-Porto San Giorgio in Italy , Salvador raised his Elo rating points 2498 to 2511, enough ELO rating points for a grandmaster status after breaking the Elo 2500 mark. Salvador achieved his 1st GM norm in 2004 in Bratto, Italy and picked up his 2nd GM norm in 2006 in Genova, Italy.

He will soon join the ranks of RP's elite group of GMs which includes Eugene Torre, the late Rosendo Balinas Jr., Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr., Buenaventura "Bong" Villamayor, Nelson Mariano II, Mark Paragua, Wesley So, Darwin Laylo, Jayson Gonzales, John Paul Gomez, Joseph Sanchez and Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla.

However, Salvador and Barcenilla needed to discussed their full-pledge GM title status in the upcoming FIDE Congress coincide the World Chess Olympiad in Khanty Mansiyk in Russia on Sept. 21 to Oct. 3.

Friday, September 3, 2010

1st Campomnes memorial Cup: Jun Zhao takes the cup, photo presentations

When everybody is talking about Le Quang Liem, Wesley So, and Anton Filipov as the favorites to win the first ever staging of the Campo memorial, another unheralded young Chinese player in the name of Jun Zhao suddenly emerged out of nowhere to win the biggest tournament to be held in the country in years. The just 11th seed Zhao actually piled up similar output of 6.5 points as that of Vietnamese grandmaster and top seed Le Quang Liem who pulls off a dramatic 9th and final round win against Chinese Jianchou Zhou, the co-leader of the tournament prior to the final round. But superior tie break points enable Zhao to take the Campo cup. Zhao was undefeated with five wins and four draws. He produced an impressive 2800 performance rating and at one time, was performing at 2990. Zhao and Liem will split the $19,000 first prize. Wesley So and Darwin Laylo finished the tournament with 5.5 points good for 7 and 8 place respectively.

In the Women section, WGM Yang Shen emerged as the sole winner with dominating performance. Shen tallied 7.5 points scoring 6 wins with just 3 draws. Jenny Rose Palomo and WFM Shercila Cua emerged as the best Filipina competitors, finishing in 7 and 8th place respectively.

Emmanuel Emperado captured the Challengers Cup with 8.0 points out of possible 9.

The 2nd stage of the Campo memorial will be held in Vietnam next year.

Final Rankings after 9 rounds
Round 9 results

Important Note: ChessHeroes is a free, non profit blogsite. All the photos here are not intended for commercial purposes neither do I sell any of them. However, if you wish to re-post them, please feel free to use the photos providing that we follow responsible publishing ethics as Campomanes cup is a major and memorial tournament.

1st Campo Cup winner. GM Jun Zhao. He was nearly caught by Liem at the end.

The ice cool top Vietnamese grandmaster, Le Quam Liem. He doesn't show much facial and body expression. In fact it is nearly impossible to read his mind to get a hint if he's confident or dissatisfied the way things is going. He just sat right there. Very little movement unless he makes his move or write them down.

Sorry third placer, GM Jianchou Zhou. A draw with Le Quam Liem in the final round would probably assure him of co-first place finisher but Liem has different things in mind.

NCFP President Prospero Pichay Jr. He too has some ideal pose in mind to face the photographers.

Scrambling to see the pairing list. The arbiter kept yelling to the players in a authoritarian tone to hurry to their respective boards as the game was about to begin but how could you expect to have them properly organize if you provide them with just one small white board for all the parings list of the open, women and challengers section? There are more or less 200 of them squeezing to see the pairing list, not to mention the curious onlookers, journalist etc.

Top seed, GM Le Quang Liem and an unfamiliar Indian woman player. They never seemed to mind the disorder and just happy to have their pictures taken :)

Such is the shock and awe of having to face a super grandmaster in the first round!

Kazakhstan's number one. GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev.

Top seed WGM Xue, Zhao (2462). She placed solo second behind Shen.

GM Merab Gagunashvili (2596), from Georgia

India's no 5. GM Chanda Sandipan (2637). Produced a result below everyone's expectation, finished 23rd over all.

GM Tamaz Gelashvili (2605) also from Georgia.

The stare. Winner of the 4th PGMA Cup last year and the 6th Prospero Pichay Cup. Another great tournament for him. Finishing a decent six place over all.

A new Humpy Koneru in the making. 16 year old Indian girl prodigy, WIM Rout Padmini upset Asia's first ever grandmaster, Eugene Torre in round one. Padmini actually was a bit tense before the start of the game as she is facing a chess legend of Asia. she finished 21st over all.

GM Eugene Torre. Still fighting it despite being inactive in major chess tournament.

GM Sharavdorj. One of only two Mongolian grandmaster.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1st Campomanes Memorial R6: Chinese players leading the Open and Women Section

GM Jun Zhao (2586)

Chinese grandmaster and tournament 11th seed Jun Zhao, is currently leading the 1st Campomanes Memorial after 6 rounds with 5.5 points, a full point ahead of the chasing pack of 9 players with 4.5 points. Zhao will be facing Wesley So (4.5) in the seventh round.

WGM Shen Yang (2435)

On the women section, 2nd seed WGM Shen Yang has 5.0 total point and is enjoying a half a point lead over Vietnamese WIM Thi Nu Y Hoang. WFM Catherine Pereña and WIM Cristine Rose Mariano are the best performer so far among Filipina participants with 3.5. The former, just celebrated her 25th birthday yesterday August 31 with a draw against Hoang.

Important links to the tournament:

Standings after 6 rounds

Round 6 results
Round 7 pairings
Replay of all games from round 1 (Open)
Replays of all games from round 2 (Open)

Monday, August 30, 2010

1st Florencio Campomanes Memorial Chess Tournament

Inside the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The 1st Florencio Campomanes memorial tournament is currently underway at Ninoy Aquino Stadium here in Manila. Three rounds have already been played and two Chinese grandmasters are holding the top of the leader board with perfect 3.0 points, GMs Jianchou Zhou (2668) and Jun Zhao. There are three categories being played. The Open, Women's, and Challengers. This is a $100,000 tournament, making it one of the richest elsewhere where the winner in the Open section will received a pay check of $10,000.

We are present in the opening ceremony last Saturday and no other than the FIDE boss himself, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov graced the ceremony with other top ranking chess officials such as FIDE Secretary General, Ignatius Long and National Chess Federations of the Philippines boss, Prospero Pichay Jr as well as local some sport leaders and Campo's children.

We have taken lots and lots of pictures from the opening day and we will post the rest of the pictures here as soon as we've done selecting and editing them, a thing that occupied us for most of the time since Saturday night, also some detail and honest observation from the opening day so better watch out for that in the coming days. For the meantime, here's important links of the 1st Campo memorial.

Rankings after round 3
Round 1 to 3 results
Round 4 pairings

Here he is. The most powerful man in chess is in the house. Never been this closed to a man of such status in chess. Not to mention that he is a multi millionaire and the president of Republic of Kalmykia!

Upon his arrival, he was greeted by local sport officials while acknowledging the applause from the crowd and players.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anton Filipov bags Pichay Cup, Florencio Campomanes starts Saturday

2nd seed GM Anton Filipov emerged as the sole winner of the just held 6th Prospero Pichay Chess Open, half a point ahead of 2nd placer and top seed Murtas Kazhgaleyev of Kazakhstan and Tamaz Gelashvili of Georgia. Filipov garnered a total 7.o points out of possible 9.0 and was undefeated with 5 wins and 4 draws. Filipov has a tournament performance rating of 2701. This is the second major international chess tournament Filipov won in the Philippines. Last year, he also won the 4th President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Cup. GM John Paul Gomez emerged as the highest Filipino finisher with 6.0 points, good for 4th place finish. Anton Filipov pocketed $6,000.

Two days from now, the much anticipated first leg of the 1st ever Florencio Campomanes Memorial Tournament will kick off also here in Manila, at Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Money wise, with funding amounting to $100,000, the Campo memorial is among the richest tournament to be held in the country. The complete list of participants has yet to be announced in the mainstream media at this moment but expect a much stronger cast of participants compare to the Pichay Cup.

6th Prospero Pichay Open important links:

Final Rankings after 9 rounds
Round 9 results
Replay of all games

Union Human Resource and Development (HRD) Ministry of India questioned Anand's nationality: Is he an Indian or Spanish?

Vishwanathan Anand is a chess personality where personal controversy rarely plays a major part in his career. The Union Human Resources Development Ministry of India delayed the plans of conferring an honorary doctorate to current world champ and possibly the greatest sportsman India has ever produced as the HRD questioned his nationality. Anand lives permanently with his wife in Spain. Excerpt from article Anand unfazed by controversy surrounding his citizenship at

Reacting to the controversy, Vishwanathan's wife Aruna said they were not disappointed but irritated at the developments.

"I don't think we are disappointed, it is just that it is irritating to answer these questions. Anand has always had an Indian passport and is still an Indian passport holder. So restating the obvious is a bit irritating.

"I was asked to send a copy of Anand's passport which I did. That is the only piece of information I have. I don't know what transpired between them. Every time you look at him win, you see an Indian flag right behind him that proves that he had an Indian passport and I don't understand from where this is coming and why it has been made an issue.

"Receiving a doctorate degree while being in Hyderabad would have been nice but I think that moment has passed," she said.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

6th Prospero Pichay Cup International Chess Championship

The 6th edition of Prospero Pichay Chess Open is already underway and is currently being held at Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila. After two rounds, 7 players are sharing the lead with perfect 2.0 score. There are total of 9 GMs seeing action here and the championship offers a total cash prize of $30,000 and $6,000 goes to the winner.

The Pichay cup is the first of the two series of major international chess tournament in Manila. Right after the Pichay Cup, the much awaited $100,000 1st Florencio Campomanes Memorial tournament will take place at the same venue on Aug. 28-Sept. 3.

As we know, Wesley So is not competing as he is participating in "Rising vs Experienced", in the Netherlands.

We don't have the time to check on the venue for the Pichay Cup but the Campomanes Memorial is something we should not miss. Hope to dropped by for the Campo Mem. and hopefully, take some good photos and scribe some detailed notes. For the meantime, here's some important links of the tournament.

Ranking after 2 rounds
Round 2 results
Round 3 pairings

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jinky Young's lawyers questions Fischer's DNA test

Too bad, our knowledge and understanding about this DNA testing kind of thing is very limited and only accessible in the hands of the very few expert individuals who dedicated most of their life in science. But as a lawyer, and every lawyer should be, I see no reason why Estimo's should not press on the case despite the set backs where after all, they're the ones who requested to have the DNA samples of Fischer to re-examine. Estimo and the Young won't take this risk if they knew it would seal their own fate. I myself won't take the initiative of undergoing a drug testing if I knew I'm into illegal drugs when one are not really required to have a testing to clear your name or gain something in the process.

Excerpt from and Manila Standard Today:

Lawyer Sammy Estimo said the exhumation “was not done the normal way” and he raised a question on whether the body from which seven tissue samples were taken was that of Fischer...

“The exhumation of Fischer was not done the normal way. His coffin should have been brought up,”

Bogason wrote in his report to Estimo that “when the necessary preparations for the forensic doctors had been done and the lid of the coffin of Bobby was ready to be opened, a big tent was erected to seal of any possible view of the exhumation.”

The experts reportedly opened the lid of the coffin and took seven different samples from the remains of Fischer for DNA testing.

“After the experts had done their job, the lid of the coffin was replaced and thus the coffin itself was never removed or lifted to the surface,” Bogason reported.

Estimo said that the coffin should have been opened when it was brought to the surface. “This was to make sure that the seven tissue samples that were taken from the alleged remains in that coffin were that of Fischer’s. The procedure undertaken borders on the doubtful because the lot where Fischer was buried belongs to the family of Gardar Sverisson.”

Sverisson is said to be a close friend of Miyoko Watai, one of the claimants to the estate of Fischer, and allegedly has complete access to the area.

But Estimo said putting their case to rest is easier said than done.

“Indeed, the procedure undertaken borders on the doubtful. The lot where Fischer was buried belongs to the family of Gardar Sverisson, a close friend of Miyoko Watai, one of the claimants to the estate of Bobby,” said Estimo.

“He had complete access to the area, and in fact, Fischer was buried there in front of the church in an early January morning without the church pastor knowing it. Who knows what could have taken place there between the date of burial and on the days before the exhumation?”

Estimo said there could be other means to pursue the case but did not categorically say if he would push on.

“I never knew that this DNA matter will be the end of this case. What I know is there are alternative remedies, failing which, there is still the Supreme Court to go to,” he said in his e-mail to the Young’s lawyer in Iceland, Thordur Bogason.

“I will not stop talking to the media, and I will continue making stories about this unless you email to me the twin documents,” added Estimo of his request for a copy of the DNA results.

Estimo said as it is, the Targs may end up with the Fischer estate, but added that if only the chess icon managed to write his last will, it should have been a toss-up between Young and Watai, the women he loved most.”

Estimo's point and that of Bogason, was done through a lawyer's instinct of fighting back and retrieving one's pride. And I have to admit, it's a good one. A very good one. But Jinky's lawyers hypothesis might have been too late to salvage the case no matter how credible their point is. If they feels that there's something "fishy" going on, perhaps, they should have presented this "questionable" procedure and ask for postponement of the testing and wait another day.

Unfortunately, the way we see it, the case is closed, ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

DNA test: Bobby Fischer is Not Jinky Young Dad

First, the brought the news and the Iceland Review Online confirmed that the nine year old Filipina girl, Jinky Young, is not the daughter of the late Bobby Fischer after DNA testing was conducted in Reykjavik, Iceland on Tuesday. With this development, Jinky Young is out among the claimants of Fischer's estate amounting to roughly $2 million.

"I can confirm that the result of the DNA report excluded Bobby Fisher from being the father of Jinky Young, and therefore the case has come to a close," said lawyer Thordur Bogason, who represents Jinky.

With Jinky out of the picture, it boils down to other "legitimate" heir to Fischer's estate, Japanese woman Myoko Watai, who claims to be Fischer's wife and a couple of his low profile nephews.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Two Filipino in the 11th UK Open International Memory Championship

Two Pinoy with super memory will compete in the 11th Open International Memory Championship in London, England on August 26. Dubbed as the "Philippine Mental Team", they are composed of Roberto Racasa, a "Kristo" in cockfighting and Johan Randall Abrina, a nurse. ABS CBN has a video report, though it is in Tagalog, it's not very hard to see on which category this two gifted Filipino will be competing.

I'm not sure what role Marlon Bernardino will be playing in the "Mental Team" but he's also in the video wearing the same yellow Accel Pilipinas team uniform.

I google it and fortunately, there's an official website for this event on .

The UK Open International Championships will now be staged in London on Thursday and Friday August 26/27 – the same we we had all planned to be in China. This will be a two day event to International Standards and arbited by Phil Chambers.

Already current reigning World Champion Ben Pridmore has registered, along with past World Champion Andi Bell. Boris Konrad, the President of MemoryXL will also be there along with competitors from the Philippines, Turkey, Netherlands, USA, Wales, Sweden and Norway. The competitor registration fee will be 40 pounds to cover the cost of translations and printing of papers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2010 US Open Tournament: IM Julio Catalino Sadorra tied 2nd to 5th.

US based Filipino International Master Julio Catalino Sadorra finishes tied for second to fifth place with three other players in the recently held 111th US Open Chess Tournament, 3-8 of August. Sadorra represents the state of Texas where he is currently based. GM Mark Paragua finishes tied for 6-23rd together with another long time US based International Master, Enrico Sevillano and Juaquin Banawa. This year's edition of the US Open saw the participation of over 400 players, with just 8 grandmasters.

US Open has always been severely criticized in the past due to lack of fundings and poor management, reasons why many top grandmasters shy away from participating in one of the oldest chess tournament in the world. Days after the start of round 1 of the 2010 US Open, Dylan Loeb McClain of New York Times Chess Blog criticized the lack of determination on the part of USCF to attract more top international and local players to compete in the tournament.

Which country has the bigger, stronger national open championship: the United States or the Czech Republic? The Czech Republic, and it is not even close.

The Czech Open, which ended Sunday, had 310 players and 39 grandmasters. The U.S. Open, which began Saturday, has three grandmasters and 160 players.

The reason that the Czech Open was bigger was that most of the players were from other countries. For example, the winner, Anton Korobov, who was the top seed, is from Ukraine. And the players who tied for second through sixth were from Ukraine, Russia (2), Sweden and India. The U.S. Open simply does not attract many foreign players.

2010 US Open final standings

US Open Official Website

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Frank Pestano on Vietnam chess

"Flattery will get you everywhere." -Mae West

Here's a very interesting take by Franko Pestano about the surging of chess in Vietnam and consequently, in the world scene. Just like many of us, Pestano wonders how the Vietnamese done it for their chess in such a short span of years. He came up with this simple solution. It's all about investment.

My own little take here is, with the help of a little bit of flattery as well. For years, many Filipino English sports writer wrote so many good things about their Vietnamese counterpart just to shake the shoulders of our own sports official to revive chess in the Philippines. You flatter the organizations and programs first and not the players and the players, the organizations and the country will all get the benefit in the end. You see, the Philippines is a second world country, compare to Vietnam who is still a third world country and all that flattery from other nation, (more particularly from their neighbor country, the Philippines), inspire them to spend and risk materials and time for their players.

Vietnamese too love reading stories and article from other nation on how they put an effort on something they know they can excel about and they are not even aware that other country are actually envying them! Same thing with pool in the Philippines. We love reading stories from the US about Efren Reyes, Amang Parica, Django Bustamante and how America envy this tiny country on the investment and programs we made for pool to discover and develop new world class players that the very flattery itself is enough to make us the power house in pool!

Perhaps Filipino sports writers, some of the most influential and most read in Asia also played a major part in the insurgence of Vietnam chess in the region? Perhaps. Yes, perhaps.

THE Philippines and Vietnam have the same budget for chess—5 million. The big difference is that the amount for the Philippines is in pesos, while for Vietnam, it’s in US dollars. Yuck!

Vietnam adopted the old Soviet model and offers a monthly allowance to children as young as four who excel in tournaments.

The result? Two of their brightest talents made waves in the last two major tournaments.

Le Quang Liem, only 19 and is ranked higher than Wesley So at No. 55 in the world, tied for first at the Moscow Open in February. He followed that up by snaring the Aeroflot Open, the strongest Open tournament of the year. That qualified him for the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany, an elite event.

“Chess clubs are spread throughout the political structure of provinces and cities,” said Casto Abundo, deputy president of the Asian Chess Federation. “Each club has its own budget at its disposal and concentrates on the development of the youth. They are now harvesting the fruits of their labor.”

...The coach of Vietnam’s national chess team, Mikhail Vasyliev, a Ukrainian, said the Vietnamese government’s approach to chess works because “efforts are directed at the most promising players from a young age, rather than at those children whose parents have the money to pay for classes.”

Read the full article, Vietnam Chess Factory at

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fischer's Friend

For anyone who are interested writing about the late Bobby Fischer's life, here's the people one should always bear in mind. They will be a great source about Fischer's over all honor and stigma. All the comments though about him by his friends just simply canonized him but so much negative things have been marked against Fischer that for some of us who doesn't really know who the real Bobby Fischer was, it was a breath of fresh air. He may not be as bad as we might think of him, well, I'm just being objective and fair even with the dead people. Excerpt from Dylan Loeb McClain New York Times Chess Blog, Gambit:

“All of them are unhappy about the fight over his estate and about the recent procedure to extract D.N.A. from his remains to perform a test to determine if he is the father of a nine-year-old Filipino girl.

"He was a very nice and caring person,” Einarsson said. “At the same time he was very stubborn. We always took him for what he was.”

Saemundur Palsson, a former chief inspector in the Icelandic police, who served as Fischer’s bodyguard during the 1972 match, had a falling out with Fischer some months before he died. But, he still describes him as “nice” and “a good man.” He said that before they argued, they often ate and went swimming together. “He called me ‘Bro’ all time,” Palsson said, adding, “I miss him.”

Dr. Magnus Skulason, a psychiatrist, who also served on the committee that worked to free Fischer, said that he did not get to know him well until he was hospitalized near the end of his life. Then he kept him company, as Fischer did not want to be alone.

Dr. Skulason said that when they first met, Fischer, knowing of his profession, joked that “he was so normal that he was almost boring.” After getting to know Fischer a bit, Skulason said, “He was not crazy. Not at all. He was very hurt about being outlaw from his own country.”

Skulason said Fischer certainly had issues. “He had a fear of authorities, maybe because of his mother’s political activities,” he said, and added, “He was unprepared to become so famous at an early age.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No Philippine representative for World Junior U-20

According to our chess friends and sources, Paulo Bersamina and Aices Salvador failed to fly to Poland in time for the World Junior and Girls U-20 that will start today due to Visa problems. We're still clarifying everything and know exactly what really happens but it's really a very sad affair that we will miss another major chess event for our junior players.

Monday, August 2, 2010

World Junior and Girls U-20 starts August 2.

The World Junior and Girls Under 20 starts August 2 in Czarna, Poland. The country will be represented by 12 year old Paulo Bersamina in the junior division and 19 year old Aices Salvador in the girls division. Wesley So skipped this years edition of World Junior as he will compete in the Rising Stars vs Experience in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on August 12. Bersamina (1984), the youngest participant in his division is seeded 120 while Salvador is seeded 52 (2050) in the girls division.

One player to watch in the Junior division is the 13 year old Illya Nyzhnyk (2540) of Ukraine, one of the youngest player to attain the title of International Master at age 11. No 2700+ rated player is competing in Junior division but familiar young players such as GMs Andreikin, Negi, Safarli are some of the favorites.

WJG U-20 Official website

List of players, Junior.

List of players, Girls

Friday, July 30, 2010

WGM Sukandar Irene Kharisma and FM Ramnath Bhuvanesh shares Brunei Invitational IM Tournament

Indonesia's WGM Sukandar Irene Kharisma and FM Ramnath Bhuvanesh of India shared first place in the just held Brunei Invitational International Master tournament with undefeated record of 7 wins with just 2 draws. Not a major tournament, but for the 18 year old and 8th seed Irene, she just showed that she can now mixed it up with the big boys.

First seed Pinoy IM Oliver Barbosa lost his 9th and final round game against the co winner of the tournament, FM Ramnath Bhuvanesh to finished tied 4th-5th place.

For final standings, you can check then out here: You can also download the games here:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chess for a Cause, notes and photo impressions.

For everyone who attended last Saturday in Meralco for the double simul by GM Eugene Torre and GM Jayson Gonzales, I say maybe if you suddenly came across with your math teachers way back in grade school at some part where you least expected them to see and then asked you, as a good student, if you still remember what "common denominator" is, chances are you will find yourself in all kinds of trouble on what you are going to say. But setting aside mathematical facts and theories regarding common denominator with those of real life, Farlex Dictionary defines "common denominator" a commonly shared theme or trait, a belief, attribute, etc., held in common by members of a class or group. At the Chess for a Cause organized by Meralco Chess Club, what you have here are two chess grandmasters, chess club presidents, sponsors, foundation board members and some 50 players who converge under one roof for one day of charity works for the benefit of disabled people under the caring of the foundation group called TWH or Tahanang Walang Hagdanan (House With No Steps). I bet your math teacher won't bother you again asking you what common denominator is, should you ever crossed path again.

GMs Torre and Gonzales split the 50 players double exhibition simul match in two. Torre draw his game with Paul Benjamin Casiano, Raul Sol Cruz, Jr, Kim Zafra and Sonny dela Rosa. While Gonzales draw with Julius Gonzales and Raymond Dagang. Anyone who score a win and even managed to obtain a draw against the GMs will automatically received a medal. Free snacks and lunch were also served for guest and participants.

10:00 am. GM Jayson Gonzales was the first to deliver an inspirational and encouraging speech. He reiterates his determination to break the record for the largest number of participants and win percentage to get into history book in the Iron Mind 1 vs 600 on September 11-12. Talks briefly about Philchek (Philippine Chess Academy) and it's project which he founded.

GM Eugene Torre as always, in every tournament or exhibition games he attended where he is to give some opening words, keeps reminding that what we learned from playing chess, the strategy, patience and discipline it teaches us, should be applied in real life as well.

Rolly Sol Cruz. Meralco Chess Club president. No he didn't relate to us about his experience on how he survived typhoon Ondoy last year but he did tell us on how the idea came up for Chess for a Cause with Ms Angel Villafuerte, TWH PR/Resource Development Director of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan (House With No Steps Foundation).

Some of the players of the Tahanang Walang Hagdanan.

10:30 am the game begins. I saw one boy munching a piece of cake and his hands is all mess with crumbs. GM Torre shook the boys' hand just the same. Torre posted 21 wins and 4 draws in more than three hours of playing.

GM Jayson Gonzales on the other hand, is all business. He's blitzing board after board. He needs that kind of speed and accuracy, or more for his record breaking attempt against 600. He looks a lot fitter than the last time I saw of him.

GMs Torre and Gonzales both have their own ratio of supplies though, while on the go. Water melons, papayas, bananas and Gatorade for refreshment. Torre never touch a morsel from his fruits nor gulped a drink or two till there's only a couple of hard headed players left on the boards.

Patiently reminding a girl not to make a move until he circles around and came back on her board.

Asking for divine intervention. Well, actually, just his normal chess stance.

Tony Navarro also sponsored a couple of young promising chess players for this simul that includes ASEAN 8-U Julius Gonzales.

At around 12:30 pm all of GM Gonzales boards were all cleared with just two draws. That quick.

The score sheet of 8 year old ASEAN U-8 Silver medalist, Julius Gonzales who salvage a well played 24 move draw against GM Jayson Gonzales. It was actually Julius who offered a draw against the well conditioned grandmaster and GM Gonzales, partly surprise, just looked at the kibitzers around, smile broke unto his face and accept the boys' offer.

GM Jayson Gonzales and Julius Gonzales. Who's got lucky this time?

1:00 pm. GM Torre still in the thick of the fight with just 9 or 10 casualties out of 25.

GM Eugene is one of the most animated player I've ever seen when conducting a simul games. Another thing. He takes less pride on showing his body motion when he thinks he's in some kind of trouble. I noticed it many times in the past. He blows air out from his mouth, shook his head, scratch his nape and on this occasion, rest his hands on his head as a sign of resignation. And he's in the group of non master players amidst noisy crowd.

This is the game against Kim Zafra, one of the last of the two boards that keeps on fighting. Torre is obviously in mental stress here and spending a lot of time for his next move. A rare sight in simul games. Then somebody joked from among the crowd enough for everyone around to hear. "Napapaisip..." (got himself a-thinking) GM Eugene, cool as he always is, just took a deep breath and calmly replied, "Huh, wala ako ma itira eh." (I can't find a good move to follow.)

Just move aside Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. We're promoting healthy, eating habits here while playing chess.

The final move that ended in a stale mate in favor of Mr. Zafra. A lucky escape for him. He's a piece down. The final game ended at around 2:00 pm.

Father and son. Two survivors with lots of stories to tell. One of typhoon Ondoy and Raul, his son, of GM Eugene Torre.

Small gift of gratitude from Ms Angel in behalf of Tanang Walang Hagdanan Foundation. GM Eugene thanked Ms. Angel for the gift and assure her of his time should in case they need his service again. After GM Eugene left, I myself approach Ms Angel, shook her hands and thanked her for the kind invitation and likewise assure her of my service the next time around.

Now everybody say chess...