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