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.