Saturday, January 30, 2010

Corus Chess 2010 round 11: Battle of Prodigies, Wesley So mated by Anish Giri

Wesley So used to be the most dominant and feared under 16 chess player in the world but that distinction suddenly put to a hold by no other another fast emerging prodigy from Europe, 15 year old Dutch champion, GM Anish Giri. Wesley So's defeat at the hands of Giri in round 11 has to be his first lost to an opponent much younger than himself in a long, long time. One need to do an intensive research to find out who was the last player, prior his loss to Anish, to ever defeated So. So may yet to be a grandmaster then, or even an international master. The other last prodigy So ever met was GM Hou Yifan of China at the 2nd Subic Individual championship last year. That game ended in a draw. Hou was then just 14 and Wesley was 15. Wesley has long been mixing up with the big boys with much success and how does it feel to be defeated by another boy prodigy must be psychologically tormenting for So. Just like any other teen age boy, he can take a lose to a grandmaster older than him but not to another child prodigy like himself. The final position of the So-Giri game is somewhat unimaginable in the caliber of So. He was mated. It's painfully humiliating for Wesley. One can feel it. But the loss to Giri may not come as a surprise to many who are following the progress of Anish Giri as well. Just like So, Giri is also one of the youngest grandmaster in history, at number twelve ever, and I've heard that a great team was formed to supervised Giri's preparation and to work closely on his progress compare to So who has only his manager to accompany him here. Wesley So should evaluate his future of forming up a team/second after this tournament.

In the 12th and penultimate round of the tournament, So will be facing yet another prodigy, Englishman David Howell, who holds the distinction for being the youngest grandmaster the United Kingdom has ever produced. Howell is half Asian by the way. His mother is originally from Singapore.

With Giri's win against So, Giri is closing in for the title of Corus B with two more rounds to play. If ever Giri wins the Corus B, he will be the youngest participant ever to be promoted to Corus A next year.

Replay the So-Giri game with GM Bong Villamayor commentaries

Chess Corus 2010 official website

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

GM Buenaventura Villamayor exhibition simul games

Last Saturday, January 23 2010, GM Buenaventura "Bong" Villamayor conducted a 28 board, exhibition simultaneous games held at Meralco basement canteen in Ortigas, Pasig City. The simul was composed with the participation of mostly elementary and highschool casual and varsity students and some of the top players from RP Paralympic team. After nearly four hours of playing and showing no sign of exhaustion from the previous night he had of commenting the game of Wesley So at, GM Buenaventura ended the exhibition games in quite a fashion by sweeping all his 28 boards clean.

The said event performed by GM Buenaventura was the fifth wave in a series of charity related simul games done by Filipino GMs organized by Meralco Chess Club and its current president, Rolly Sol Cruz. GM Rogelio Antonio, GM Eugenio Torre, GM Mark Paragua and GM Jayson Gonzales also conducted their own charity simul games last year for the funding of RP Paralympic teams participation in international competitions as well as purchasing new materials like pre-made chess pieces and boards designed specifically for blind chess players.

The late lunch we shared with GM Buenaventura after the simul was one of the most informative and engaging conversation I had about the general status of chess in the Philippines and the possible future of GM Wesley So in his chess career as a professional. One can easily notice that GM Bong is a gifted conversationalist as well.

Armed only with a bottle of energy drink

GM Bong against Rudy Sarmiento, one of the blind player gold medalist from RP Paralympic team

One by one they are resigning with their parents closely following every move of their children

I played against a grandmaster and put up a good fight!

Signing autographs and sharing contact information with chess clubs officials after the games.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Battle of Brass Bands 2010

As Wesley So is making a sort of breakthrough in Corus B in the last three rounds (my apologies, we hardly noticed it), winning two straight games after five consecutive draw and a quite draw against Ni Hua of China, yours truly, being a member of Comite de Festejos or simply, a festival officer, was thoroughly occupied in helping co-organizing a major brass band competition in celebration of my hometown fiesta (festive) in Tanay, Rizal the Philippines. The event, which took place last January 24, 2010 in Tanay Park saw the participation of ten brass bands from all over Calabarzon Area, that is Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon provinces. The competition was won by the highly energetic and the crowd favorite, the BK 77 brass band from Dasmarinas, Cavite, just a town separated from where Wesley So was born, in Bacoor, Cavite. Second placer was Band 69 from Paete, Laguna (a place where you will find some of the finely crafted chess pieces and board in the country) and third place goes to band from Gen. E. Aguinaldo, also from the province of Cavite.

A bigger and better competition is set for next year, January 24. So if you're living just around the Metro Manila area and want to enjoy a truly entertaining festive and band competition, why don't you dropped by my home town, just an hour and half drive east of Manila.

I took some amateur photos here. Nonetheless hope everyone will like it :)

Lovely majorette from Carmona, Cavite. I think I'll have a majorette for a girlfriend...

Not so fast, though. Reasons why...

Young ladies from Paete, Laguna. Looking for some finely crafted chess pieces in the country? Go to Paete. The home of the master curvist in the country.

Brass Bass player from Dasmarinas, Cavite. From here, in 30 minutes drive, you'll reach Wesley' So's birth place of Bacoor.

I spotted this one. An aristocratic looking young man from Cavite. Cavite is home to many Filipino revolutionary heroes during the Filipino revolt against the Spanish rule in 1896.

But really. If you happen to know this lady, send this chess blogger a message and end my misery :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Corus Chess 2010 R5: Wesley So scores his first win

For grandmaster Wesley So, notching his first victory after 5 rounds in the Corus 2010, B group, against Romania's Livieu-Dieter Nisipeanu is like finally finding an oasis in the middle of a vast, barren desert. With mounting pressure from fans with his five consecutive draws, the win is definitely a refresher, made more sweeter as his victory came from no other than the 2nd seed of the group and long time Romania's number one player that is Nisipeanu. Wesley So had already faced the top three seeded players and some of the biggest names in Corus B, a category 16 tournament. The win moves Wesley in tie for fourth place with 3 1/2 points, half a point behind the 2nd place Ni Hua and l'Ami (4.0) and a point and an a half with the current leader, 15 year old Anish Giri (5.0) who has gone so far with 5.0/6.0 and with a performance rating of 2926.

Wesley So wins a pawn in the 17th move of Reti opening and he never looks back. White was backing with his pair of bishops against So's pair of knights. But the knights maneuvers towards the white king proves to be more decisive. Wesley So picks up two more pawns in the ensuing moves until Nisipeanu, under severe time trouble, commits his final mistake after the 35th move (35...Bf1) by shielding his king from a rook check with his bishop instead of simply capturing the black's knight on f2. So will be facing 13th seed, GM Dimitri Reinderman in the seventh round and is currently occupying the last spot in the group.

Standings after 6 rounds

1. A. Giri 5
2. Ni, E. l'Ami 4
4. D. Howell, A. Naiditsch, W. So
P. Harikrishna 3½
8. P. Negi 3
9. E. Sutovsky, T. Nyback 2½
11. A. Muzychuk, L. Nisipeanu 2
13. V. Akobian, D. Reinderman 1½

Important links

Replay of Nisipeanu-So game with GM Villamayor analysis.

Corus 2010 official website

Real time live games from Corus 2010 with computer and grandmaster analysis.

Friday, January 22, 2010

GM Bong Villamayor fund raising chess simul

GM Buenaventura Villamayor, who is currently performing live commentaries for the games of GM Wesley So in Corus 2010 for will take some time out from his busy schedules to mingle and personally socialize with chess fans via simultaneous exhibition chess games tomorrow, January 23, 9:00 am at Meralco basement canteen, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. The participation fee (which include snacks) is just P300 for adult and P100 for kids. Kids from those of public schools is free of charge. You can bring your own chessboard, if you like, but not necessarily. For details and reservation, please contact Rolly Cruz at or Alex Gabriel at cellphone no. 639088733570.

Proceeds of the simul will go for the benefit of RP Paralympic chess team and chess workshops from public schools.

From Meralco Chess Club:

GM Bong has agreed to play in this 5th edition of MERALCO Chess Club's fund-raising simuls. This will give opportunity to the RP Paralympics Chess Team (Alexis Elinon, Rudy Canonigo, Rudy Ssarmiento, Francis Ching, Abe Peligro, Melchor and Gigi Bilog) and a few kids from public schools such as Carlo Caranyagan, Gil Ruaya, Renato Cruz, Jenny Espada, Saltorio siblings, and Ramon Magsaysay HS to play with a grandmaster.

Previous winners are:
Alexis of PARA has won in the GM Torre simul and earned draws in the GM Gonzales and GM Paragua simuls.

Paulo Bersamina of Zamora Elementary School and MERALCO Chess Club has a draw with GM Torre.

Gil Ruaya of Taytay National HS earned a draw with GM Paragua.

Joanah Saltorio of NU earned a draw in the GM Gonzales simul.

Earl Cabugao and Rhal Sol Cruz of La Salle and MERALCO Chess Club earned draws with GM Antonio.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Alexandra Kosteniuk joins live game commentators team for Chessdom

The women grandmaster who defeated both Anand and Carlsen at the 2009 World Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow has joined the live game commentator and will start her duty this coming Linares chess 2010 on February. Kosteniuk was quoted as saying, "Both to promote chess and to cooperate with your top website, I will gladly join the Chessdom commentators team, " shared Kosteniuk. "I will now participate in Gibraltar Chess Festival and other events and come back to join during Linares 2010." The video below is between the king and queen of chess at the present, Vishwanathan Anand and Alexandra Kosteniuk. The win of Kosteniuk against Anand in this game is far more convincing than her win against Carlsen so you don't want to miss this one out. Although impressive with her result against two of the best chess player in the world, Anand and Carlsen, Kosteniuk eventually finished the championship in 22nd place with 12.5 points to Carlsen 31.0 (the eventual winner of the championship), and Anand 28.0 to finished second behind Carlsen

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Corus Chess 2010 Round 4: Wesley So accepts Negi's hints of draw

The game Negi-So last night tells us a bit more about the important role the color of pieces Wesley will be handling in this tournament. In the four games Wesley So played so far in Corus, Wesley was handling the black pieces three times and was able to hold his ground. The only game So was holding the white pieces was against Akobian and he was attacking, pressing and came close to a victory. Here's the picture. Wesley So will handle the black pieces 7 times in the 12 rounds he will playing here in Corus. So by going through four games with all ended in draws, Wesley "equal" his chances for a good position with 8 more rounds to play although he remains a full point behind the leaders, Ni Hua and Anish Giri.

I thought that Negi, although he was handling the white pieces, hinted to Wesley for "fair" play instead. Obviously shaken by So's 11...h5, he burns a lot of time in his 12th move (h3), and it looks like he did it to defend other than attacking or improving his position. GM Villamayor noted after Wesley's push of his h pawn, "This h7-h5, is consistent to the plan of controlling h2-b8 diagonal...the fight on these squares e5 and f4 are crucial for both sides, plus g4 is available for the black knight. White should start looking for active play, if not then black's initiative will grow..." After white's 12th move one kibitzer even pointed out that Negi is playing for a draw and Wesley So should gladly accept it. He did. What ensued then was quick exchanges of pieces to reach a quick endgame. This may arouse a debate but the result is just the same. The game ended in a draw and for sure, Wesley wasn't the one who hinted about it.

Today is rest day and all the games resume tomorrow, Thursday January 21. Wesley So will face Indian grandmaster and ex prodigy himself, Pentala Harikrishna in round 5 with the white pieces.

Important links:

For complete details, standings and pairings, please visit Corus Chess 2010 official website

Replay of Negi-So game with GM Bong Villamayor commentary

Real-time live chess games from Corus at chessbomb

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Corus Chess 2010: So-Akobian, draw (In which Akobian must have known what Aikido is)

Nothing close to scoring Wesley So's first victory after three rounds of Corus B than what we saw in the 3rd round against American Varuzhan Akobian last night. Akobian simply make use of Wesley's excitement over his huge time advantage to his own advantage, Aikido style, and force the game in a virtual blitz game going into the final exchanges before the draw was agreed after white's 33rd moves. What GM Villamayor truly saw in this game is the winning chances Wesley missed. Villamayor wrote:

Wesley could have gotten a huge advantage after 25.Rxc4, maybe he missed something in his calculations and probably tempted by Akobian's time shortage and executed the unclear 25.Re3 scheme...

The crucial part of white came from 25th Re3...which was should be 25. Rxc4, which could have gained the dangerous c-pawn by black and head for a pawn advantage heavy piece endgame.

The final position we see Q vs. 2Rs is very difficult for white to this point black's Rd7 consolidates the is very difficult to create any breakthroughs.
We have to give credit to Akobian's stiff resistance...he played resourcefully after Wesly's 25.Re3 in time trouble...

Wesley barely escape with a draw in his first round game against the top seed Naiditsch, a quite 23 move draw in the 2nd against L'Ami and now the lost opportunity in the third round may suggest that Wesley has yet to unleash the true potential that he has. But fans of Wesley should be happy nonetheless to see that he is slowly forming up as shown in the Akobian game. Today's game will be the battle of Asian prodigies. Wesley's next opponent will be India's Parimarjan Negi (16), as you may probably know, he is the second youngest grandmaster in the history of chess. This game should be explosive!

Important links

For complete details, standings and pairings, please visit Corus Chess 2010 official website

Replay the So-Akobian with GM Villamayor commentary

Real-time live chess games

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Corus Chess Round 1: Iron chinned Wesley So earned a hard fought draw against Naiditsch

Many times in the past, we heard chess fans about hating draws. But there also some rare occasions that fans love to see a a game ended in a draw...quickly. Ironic, isn't it? Naiditsch maybe one of the most hated chess players in Corus B for keeping everyone awake late that night but let us put ourselves in the situation Naiditsch was in, in the early and middle part of the game. He has nothing to lose, position and material wise and so Naiditsch made Wesley earn every ounce of his end game knowledge to earn his draw, just looking for "one more time" to find a hole and eventually trap Wesley and force the issue via rook and king mate! It's possible, if Wesley let go his guard. But Naiditsch was mistaken. Wesley knows his endgame.

Replay the game with live commentary by GM Villamayor here

The game was painfully slow and uneventful (okay, no thanks to Naiditisch). GM Bong Villamayor actually left the live arena at chessbomb where he is commenting live the game of Naiditsch-So sometime in move 80, I believe, not because he get's bored of the game, but according to him, "it's very difficult to reach the desired winning position (for Naiditsch...)" This is actually the first time that a live game commentator, as far as we know, abandon an ongoing game he is commenting. And who could blame him? The game dragged on for 111th move and lasted for 7 hours and it was getting on 3:00 am in the morning! Many are getting impatient and some hinted about the 50 move rule, it maybe reasonable but that won't happen since Naiditsch is pushing for a win having the advantages for nearly the entire game. He's just simply coudn't find a way to knock the iron chinned Wesley out with one final blow. Wesley is just that stubborn. You have to admire Naiditsch persistence there and likewise, you have to admire So's stiff resistance despite the odds.

Wesley So will be facing Dutch GM Erwin l'Ami in Round 2 on what is left of the energy he spent yesterday. The game will start at around 8:30 in the evening. I made a wrong calculation about the exact time the games will begin. Not 10:00 PM, as I previously posted but 8:30 PM, Manila time.

Group B: Round 1 results

Ni Hua - Erwin l'Ami ½-½

Emil Sutovsky - Dimitri Reinderman 1-0

Tomi Nyback - Liviu Nisipeanu 0-1

Anish Giri - Pentala Harikrishna 1-0

David Howell - Parimarjan Negi ½-½

Anna Muzychuk - Varuzhan Akobian ½-½

Arkadij Naiditsch - Wesley So ½-½

Round 2 pairings, Group B: Sun. Jan. 17th

Erwin l'Ami - Wesley So

Varuzhan Akobian - Arkadij Naiditsch

Parimarjan Negi - Anna Muzychuk

Pentala Harikrishna - David Howell

Liviu Nisipeanu - Anish Giri

Dimitri Reinderman - Tomi Nyback

Ni Hua - Emil Sutovsky

Important links:

Replay the Naiditsch-So game at Chessdom with GM Buenaventura Villamayor live comments

Real-time live chess games from Corus at chessbomb

Photos from Corus at ChessBase

Video from Corus at ChessVibes

Corus Chess 2010 official website

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Corus Chess 2010 starts today

And so the much anticipated 2010 Corus Chess invitational tournament has finally arrived. Tonight, at around 8:30 pm (Manila time) all the games will start in what promises to be one of the most publicized and well covered chess tournament this year. You won't believe the media attention will throw upon this one. The line up of participants from A group to C are nothing short of spectacular. In Group A, names such as Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Leko, Shirov, Short and Nakamura stands tall among the rest of the pack, each belongs to different chess generation and sporting different styles of playing from one another. With the exception of Kramnik and Leko, of course, which holds very similar philosophy in chess. My bet? I love Anand to win Corus A but I think Kramnik will show something good here. Oh, Magnus, Magnus.

In Group B, a whole bunch of very popular and promising prodigies such as So, Negi, Howell and Giri could easily make this group as the most "over-rated" yup, you heard it right, "over-rated" invitational chess grouping this year. Don't be surprise if many fans will follow Corus B with the same number of following like many major "invite only" tournaments such as Linares, FIDE Grand Pix, Amber, Bilbao etc. It's very hard to pick in this group but I love Negi and So's chances here, based on their recent performances. Aren't it excites you the very thought of seeing Wesley in the same group as Carlsen next year? I am. But let us see.

Then don't forget the C group as well. What you have here competing is the most promising prodigy to come out of both the North and South American continent since Bobby Fischer and Hikaru Nakamura. We're talking about the 15 year old super talent from the US, GM Rey Robson. Also faces that's quite familiar with Filipino chess fans such as Li Chao of China and Abhijeet Gupta of India, two frequent visitors in the country when major tournaments are being held here, will also compete for the chance to get promoted to B group next year.

One special note is the inclusion of GM Bong Villamayor to chessdom live games commentators. Tonight, he'll be commenting live the game of Naiditch-So.

Corus Chess 2010 official website

Corus A, round 1

S. Karjakin - V. Anand
L. Dominguez - V. Kramnik
P. Leko - A. Shirov
F. Caruana - V. Ivanchuk
S. Tiviakov - M. Carlsen
J. Smeets - H. Nakamura
L. van Wely - N. Short

Corus B, round 1

Ni - E. l'Ami
E. Sutovsky - D. Reinderman
T. Nyback - L. Nisipeanu
A. Giri - P. Harikrishna
D. Howell - P. Negi
A. Muzychuk - V. Akobian
A. Naiditsch - W. So

Corus C, round 1

R. Robson - S. Swaminathan
R. Swinkels - A. Gupta
M. Muzychuk - N. Grandelius
S. Kuipers - K. Lie
Z. Peng - R. van Kampen
B. Bok - L. Chao
D. Vocaturo - S. Plukkel

Friday, January 15, 2010

Alexandra Kosteniuk beats Magnus Carlsen

This video from womens grandmaster and current Womens' World champ, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk official website captured the moment when at the World Blitz Chess Championship held last November 16 in Moscow, Magnus Carlsen (2801) commits a horrendous blunder against Kosteniuk (2507) after white's 43rd move, loosing a rook. Actually, Carlsen lost the game by touch-move rule. No other than her highness Alexandra Kosteniuk relates proudly the game who appears to have established a studio (or a throne) of her own, set up a camera or cameraman/woman just for this very special occasion. There are lots of replays and slow motion and yes, even "super" slow motions here to savor the moment of her victory like those slow mow knock out punches we've seen in many Manny Pacquiao thrown in boxing. Anyway, that was quite understandable since not many had succeeded in defeating Carlsen in the past, much a woman!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GM Buenaventura "Bong" Villamayor, a Filipino live chess game commentator

Coach GM Buenaventura Villamayor and GM Wesley So at the 2008 World Youth Chess Olympiad where the Philippines finished 3rd overall behind powerhouse India (1st) and Russia (2nd)

ChessHeroes is very pleased to announce that GM Buenaventura "Bong" Villamayor will be one of the live commentator for Chessdom in the games of Wesley So in Corus B this coming January 16-31 2010 at the De Moriaan Community Centre in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. Last night we personally received an email from GM Bong confirming that indeed, he will give some of his time (they're hectic ones!) to comment live for the games of Wesley So at Chessdom.
Hi Des,

I wish to inform you that Chessdom and I have cooperated to have a Filipino live commentator at Corus 2010 since my time is very much available on the evenings following the games of Wesley So. I will do my best to be of service to our countrymen. This will be my contribution to our chess community; we all hope that GM Wesley So again succeed in his quest for excellence!


Bong Villamayor

Wish you all the best of luck GM Bong and we will follow you till the wee hours of the nights. Would like also to send my appreciation to chessbomb for giving this blogger a "VIP seat" at chessbomb live arena. Don't know what to expect from that one, but I'm pretty sure it would be cool.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

IM Ricardo De Guzman wins Burger Open Chess Championship in San Francisco

So we're hearing some good news again from IM Ricardo De Guzman. It's really been quite a while since we heard anything about the now California residents De Guzman. Though not making waves like other Pinoy US based IMs like Rogelio Barcenilla, Enrico Sevillano and Anthony Young, it is great to hear that some of our veteran players like De Guzman is still very much active in playing tournaments abroad. We hope to hear more from him in the future.



MANILA, PHILIPPINES---FILIPINO International Master (IM) Ricardo “Ricky” de Guzman continued his winning ways in the US shore as he emerged over-all champion in the just ended Burger Open Chess Championships at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco, California, USA last January 9, 2010.

The Cainta, Rizal pride De Guzman, who is best to remember for winning the 1981 Asian Junior Chess Championships in Dhaka, Bangladesh who was awarded an outright IM title, finished undefeated with a total 4.5 points on four wins and a draw to Evan Meyer Sandberg in the fifth and final round in the event which attracted 38 players from Northern California.

De Guzman, who is now based in Hayward, California, earlier brought downed Tudor Muntean, Zachi Baharav, Dante Argishti and Rohan Agarwal, respectively.

Monday, January 11, 2010

If there were an award for game of the millennium, it would belong to chess --Jim Celone

Not getting enough of chess? Here's another one. This article is very cute and inspiring. I'm that nerd enough to understand everything Jim Celone has to say about the almost endless benefit of chess. That's the reason why writing about chess is more fun and worthy to burn one's time in a sleepy afternoon more than any other sport. (I think boxing writers these days are some of the most stressed writer/journalist in the world) Just like what Mr Bobby Ang said, chess should make one a better person (did I get them right?). Excerpt from section, Skittles Room

To the players, the game is like an unfolding drama…. The players live through the emotions of an exciting story…. Chess has a powerful aesthetic appeal. The best chess games are works of art. They are the products of original and creative thinking…. The beauty of chess is as compelling and pleasure giving as any other art form. The endless opportunities for creating new combinations in chess are perhaps comparable to painting or music.

An intriguing phenomenon that links mathematics, music and chess is the fact that child prodigies have been known only in these three fields. That children have never produced a masterwork in painting, sculpture, or literature seems only natural when we consider their limited experience of life. In music, chess, or mathematics, that experience is not needed. Here, children can shine, because native gifts are the dominant factor. Aesthetic sensitiveness and ability to think logically are certain inborn qualities. How, otherwise, could Mozart have composed a minuet, and actually written it down, before he was four years of age? How could Gauss, before he was three years old, and before he knew how to write, have corrected the total of a lengthy addition he saw his father do? How could Sammy Reshevsky play ten games of chess simultaneously when he was only six?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

1st ever Battle of Asian Grandmasters?

It's 2010 and one of our New Year's resolution aside from voting wisely is not to get "caught" again in another media hypes. We're still yet to recover from the embarrassment of the so called "Wesley So vs Eugenio Torre one million pesos chess challenge" and the so called world record breaking simultaneous event (against 600!), the "serious" bid of the country to host the 2012 and 2014 Chess Olympiad, then of our failure to send a delegation for the all important world youth chess championship held in Turkey. Remember? Digging into the archives of this blog, I can't help but grin and scratch my head. So much have been said and nothing happens.

But anyway, on to the topic, I say we heard it already last year and we're hearing it again this year. The so called "Battle of Asian Grandmastes" as reported by Marlon Bernardino below first brought to our attention by no other than Quezon City Hon. councilor Anton E Inton Jr during the inauguration of the first Barley Rapid chess tournament held last February 2009 at Gateway Mall also in Quezon City. I was on the spot when I heard it announced. Of course everyone was excited and in fact it drew a lot of applause from the players and fans alike who were present in the playing hall. For starters, you will find here our last year's post regarding the proposed tournament that originally billed as "Quezon City, the Philippines vs Asia" an exhibition chess tournament where the best of Filipino masters will try to pit their skills against the strongest players the organizers could possibly get from all over Asia. That post of ours proves we're not lacking in information about these issues. The said tournament should have been taken place at the end of 2009. As we know, 2009 is over and no such tournament took place.

Although we are disappointed that such event didn't happen, it is always great to hear that there are still many people who are bent on hosting such events here in the Philippines. We are still blessed for having chess supporters, few they are, but still blessed just the same. Better have than never. Everything starts in a dream anyway. Our point here is, with the Philippines, who is also hosting big tournaments this 2010 like 2010 Asian Continental Individual men’s and women’s championships on April 20-30 and the ASEAN age-group chess tournament on June 4-13 both at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center, how come it will be possible to host the Battle of Asian Grandmaster after this events will remain to be seen.

But to shed some light, at the last 3rd Gathering of te Knights and Kings, GM Joey Antonio himself reiterated that the 1st ever Battle of Asian Grandmaster is already in the work and will likely happen later this year. You've got a shed of hope there.



MANILA, PHILIPPINES--- Buoyed by the success of the staging of the Battle of the Grandmaster in Manila (2008) and Dapitan City (2009), a bigger and better chess tournament in the works before the year end.

This was bared by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. in an interview of this writer on Friday at the Synchopados Restaurant in Malate in the celebration of Christmas Party hosted by Pichay.

Dubbed as “Battle of the Asian Grandmaster”, the Filipino crazy chess fanatics will chance to see the participation of the invited foreign Asian grandmasters.

“It’s like an Asian Games,” said the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) chairman Pichay as also the newly appointed Presidential Political adviser.

But before the hosting of the first-ever Battle of the Asian Grandmaster, the country will host the 2010 Asian Continental Individual men’s and women’s championships on April 20-30 and the ASEAN age-group chess tournament on June 4-13 both at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center.

Pichay also will send GMs Wesley So, Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr. and Darwin Laylo in the forthcoming Aeroflot International chess tournament set next month in Moscow, Russia. The triumvirate also the Philippine representative in the 2009 World Chess Cup in Khanty, Mansiyk, Russia. In this prestigious event, the 16-year-old So, upset heavyweights Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and Gata Kamsky of the United States. MARLON BERNARDINO

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Street chess fighters

Ugly fighting incidents such as chess fights do happens in most chess parks all over the country, particularly those who are regulars of Rizal Park and Quezon Memorial Circle where Mafias literally run the chess parks. Better believe it or not, a fist fight over a simple game of pustahan or game betting for mere 20 pesos even from among the crowds can break any minute. Some years ago, we personally witness one dispute when a middle aged man chess hustler got irked after failing to employ his dirty tricks, throws a chess piece into the chest of his opponent who's still wearing his high school uniform! Fortunately, we haven't heard occurrences like this for quite a while and not as violent as this chess dispute in Bridgeport USA when a man stabs his opponent as reported from

A man was seriously wounded after he was stabbed in the stomach with a plastic snow shovel during a dispute over a chess game.

Ronald Swinton, 46, of Somers Street, is charged with stabbing his neighbor and one-time friend, Robert Spears, 39, of Wood Avenue, with the shovel when he came to his door Tuesday night, police said.

"These guys were fighting over a chess match that took place several weeks ago," said Detective Keith Bryant, police spokesman. "It's a bowl of beef stew."

Swinton contended that Spears owes him money for the game, Bryant said, while Spears claims he won fair and square.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More photo impressions from 3rd Gathering of Knights and Kings

For the record, this chess blogger is experimenting on something and immediately got hooked on an art called photography. We just have new passions around. I've visited Rizal Park and Quezon Memorial circle lately, two places that can be easily called (street) chess capital of the Philippines and we took some nice shots there. Hope we can improve overtime. In the meantime, I just added here more photos from the recent 3rd Gathering of Knights and Kings held last December 27. We're glad that many of our masters are very cooperative and so we dedicate this photos to no other than these people.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Game of the Year: Morozevich vs Vachier-Lagrave

Dylan Loeb McClain who keeps a chess blog for New York Times called "Gambit" just pick the game between Alexander Morozevich vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave as 2009 game of the year. Game viewer with analysis is available at that site. The game was from the 8th round from the Biel International Chess Festival. Vachier-Lagrave went onto win the tournament and Morozevich placed second. The game was one of the rarity we've seen this years in which a certain defeats converted to a victory trough sheer guts and optimism which Maxime showed best in this game. This may not be the most sound nor perfect game last year, in fact, it looks ugly, but it certainly one, if not the most entertaining and suspenseful game in top level competition in 2009. McCain writes:

Morozevich, who is very creative, launched a brilliant attack from the White side of a Sicilian Defense and should have won in spectacular fashion. But Vachier-Lagrave, rather than throw in the towel (which he could have done at several points), just kept playing, trying desperation moves. Morozevich missed several wins and finally threw away his advantage entirely.

Vachier-Lagrave then found a brilliant way to seize the initiative (despite having a rook trapped in the corner and his king in an awkward position hemming in his rook). Finally, after 76 moves, Vachier-Lagrave trapped Morozevich’s king and he resigned.

Replay the game Morozevich-Vachier-Lagrave with analysis (requires java)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rogelio Antonio, Darwin Laylo also reached their all time highs

We were so immersed on Wesley So and his recent return into the top 100 that we failed to notice or pay attention to two Filipinos currently occupying the no.2 and no.3 spot in the national rankings that also made quite a progress of their own over time and reached their all time highs as well in FIDE rating points. We're talking about World Cup of Chess veterans, GM Rogelio Antonio and GM Darwin Laylo, who also deserves the limelight that Wesley So is enjoying at this moment especially GM Antonio who will turn 48 next month and it all clear that his passion and stamina for the game never dwindles through the passing of time, if we will allow to use the basis of my argument, of course. Antonio just shed -2 from his previous and all time high rating of 2574 he recorded last November of 2009 while the 29 year old GM Darwin Laylo also recorded his highest rating ever this January of 2556.

Thanks to Tony Navarro for quickly pointing this one out to us.