Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Weekender
By Mr. Manny Benitez, 24 June 2007

Wesley wins again!

NO doubt about it: Wesley So is the Champion of Champions! The 13-year-old wunderkind from Bacoor, Cavite has added another feather in his cap—the title of “Champion of Champions”—within a mere six months of getting his first national title, a feat never achieved before by a Filipino player

Already, he wears three national crowns: the 2006-07 Pichay Cup National Open Champion, the 2007-08 National Junior Champion, and now Shell’s “Champion of Champions!”

Just recently, too, he swept off the boards all 18 opponents, kids and grownups alike, in a simultaneous exhibition at the Meralco headquarters on Ortigas Ave., Pasig City.

Wesley won his national open title only six months ago, in mid-December of 2006, and he did it against the strongest players in the country today.

They included all five grandmasters - Joey Antonio, Eugene Torre, Mark Paragua,
Bong Villamayor and Nelson Mariano II—as well as top-rated international masters like two-time national open champion Darwin Laylo, former zonal champion Ronald Dableo and So’s fellow Turin Olympiad veteran Oliver Dimakiling, whom he defeated in. the finals of Shell’s Battle of Champions last Wednesday.

Pilipinas Shell launched this week’s inaugural Battle of Champions to mark the 15th anniversary of the country’s most popular chess series in the grassroots, the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championships for juniors (20 years old and younger) and kiddies (14 years old and younger), which kicked off yesterday at SM Manila.

The Battle of Champions drew 21 players, all former Shell champions that included four IMs, two Fide masters and six national masters. With a rating of 2519, IM So himself was the top seed, followed by his fellow finalist, Dimakiling (2491).

Only four former Shell champions could not join the battle royale as they were all abroad: GM Paragua, who is campaigning in the US circuit, GM Mariano, who teaches chess in Singapore, the country’s newest IM, Julio Catalino Sadorra, who is based in Singapore, and IM Roland Salvador, based in Italy.

The former Shell champions who entered the fray were IMs So, Dimakiling, Dableo and the first Shell champion, Idelfonso Datu; FMs Sander Severino and Julius de Ramos; NMs Oliver Barbosa, Rustum Tolentino, Jake de la Cruz, Cedric Magno and Edgar Eggie Olay; and non-masters Kim Steven Yap, Rodel Alsado, Ivan Gil Biag, Deniel Causo, Bryan Jose, Edsel Montoya, Shelder Nebato, Karl Victor Ochoa, and last year’s kiddie king, Jan Emanuel Garcia, at 11 the youngest combatant.

Those eliminated on the first day were Magno, Montoya, Yap and Ochoa.

On the second day 12 were knocked out and the four left to fight it out on the third day were So, Dimakiling, Barbosa and Dableo.

In the end only So and Dimakiling were left, and the two fought it out in a best of two duel, both ending in draws and extending it to a third, sudden-death game where So, playing Black, forced a draw again to claim the win under the rules of engagement.

O. Dimakiling – Wesley So
Rd. 1, Champions final, Megamall 2007
Torre, London and Colle (A46)

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 c5 4.e3 cxd4 5.exd4 Be7 6.Bd3 0–0 7.0–0 b6 8.Nbd2 Ba6 9.c4 Nc6 10.Qa4 Bb7 11.Rac1 h6 12.Bh4 Nh5 13.Bg3 Nxg3 14.hxg3 Bf6 15.c5 a6 16.Ne4 b5 17.Nxf6+ Qxf6 18.Qd1 Nb4 19.Bb1 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Rfd8 21.a3 Nc6 22.Be4 Rac8 23.d5 exd5 24.Qxd5 Qxb2 25.Rfd1 Ne7 26.Qd3?? Best was 26.Qd6 Nc6 27.Qd5, with equal chances, says Fritz Qf6 26...d5! was best 27.a4 bxa4 28.Qa3 ½–½


RP a poor third in Asean Age-Group contests in Pattaya

THE 27-man Philippine contingent has come back home with 42 medals—a poor third to Vietnam, which gathered 143, and Singapore, which had 52.

These figures were taken from the Vietnamese website because the official Asean website excluded the Blitz contests (see pages 4-6).

What our boys and girls brought home from Pattaya, Thailand:

* Standard - 15 medals, broken down as follows: three individual gold, two silver and two bronze, plus two team silver and six team bronze.

*Blitz - 16 medals, broken down as follows: three individual gold, one individual silver and four individual bronze, plus one team gold, two team silver and five team bronze.

*Rapid - 11 medals, broken down as follows: two individual gold and one individual silver, plus three team silver and five team bronze.


Eric Gloria critically ill

IM Eric Gloria is critically ill and is in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a Singapore hospital.

This was told to Weekender contributor Ignacio Dee by GM Joey Antonio, who flew back yesterday from Thailand where he served as head coach of the Philippine contingent to the Asean Age-Group Championships.


Paragua to play in World Open, Antonio calls off trip to US

MARK PARAGUA will be the only Filipino grandmaster to play in the World Open after all.

This was learned last night as No. 1 Filipino GM Joey Antonio revealed that he had called off his trip to the United States because of lack of funding.

Antonio, who coached the boys and girls team that competed in the Eighth Asean Age-Group Championships in Pattaya, Thailand, said the Philippine Sports Commission had disapproved his request for funds for his US trip.

He had planned to compete in the cash-rich World Open, which begins tomorrow in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

GM Paragua is now in the US, where he finished second to American GM Alexandor Ivanov at the 12th Bradly Cup in Windsor, Connecticut last week.

At stake in the World Open, which has several sub-events for different categories of players, are cash prizes amounting to $400,000.


FEU’s Arroyo first, QMC’s Macky 2nd
By Oscar Gonzales and Marlon Bernardino

FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY’S Christian Arroyo slipped past his two scoring peers on tiebreak to top the inaugural Letran-Calamba National Non-Masters Active Chess Championship held last Sunday in the home city of the national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, whose 146th birth anniversary was celebrated last Tuesday.

Arroyo, Macapagal “Macky” Paguital of the Quezon Memorial Circle Chess Plaza and Allan Cantonjos, who also occasionally plays at the QMC plaza, finished in a tie with 6.5 points each from seven rounds.
Paguital took the second slot and Cantonjos the third under the tiebreaking formula adopted by the organizers, the Laguna Chess Association headed by Dr. Alfred Paez and the Colegio de Letran-Calamba.

Arroyo, a member of the FEU Tamaraws chess team under IM Jayson Gonzales as head coach, is from Cagayan de Oro City, Paguital from Davao City and Catonjos from Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental. They evenly divided the first, second and third prizes totaling P18,000.

Another FEU team member, Ronna Reigner Senora, received the Best Lady player award. She comes from General Santos City.

Ms Senora won the award after edging out Charmaigne Casimina.

Both Arroyo and Senora trained under IM Gonzales, who also was the coach of the Philippine team that won top prizes at last year’s Asean Age-Group Championship in Indonesia, and assistant coach of the women’s team in the 2006 Turin Olympiad that for the first time topped Group C.

Other special-category winners: Rommel Ortillo (Top Letran Male Player), Rochell Espina (Top Letran Female), Austine Philip Redondo (Top Letran High School), Dr. Jenny Mayor (Top Executive), Apolonio Regalado (Top Senior), Ervil Villa (Top Laguna), Vicente Vargas (Top Unrated), Christian Nanola (Top Kiddie), and Jayson Mercado (Top Junior).

Four other players shared the fourth to seventh prizes, according to chief arbiter Joel Hicap, an engineer by profession. He named the four as Ali Branzuela of Parañaque City, Raymond Salcedo of Zamboanga City, Jony Habla of Novaliches, Quezon City, and Roel Abelgas of Cavite.

They each finished just half a point behind the three top prizewinners.

The top 30 players and their scores: 1-3. Christian Arroyo, Macapagal Pguital and Allan Cantonjos, 6.5 each; 4-7. Ali Branzuela, Raymond Salcedo, Jony Habla and Roel Abelgas, 6.0 each; 8-13. Ervil Villa, Jayson Salubre, Harrison Maamo, Jose Nino Ocampo, Vicente Vargas and Jenny Mayor, 5.5 each;

14-30. Rodolfo Panopio, Lyndon Sombilon, Richie Jocson, David Elorta, Christopher Rodriguez, Lourecel Hernandez, Ryan Dunca, Rene de Chaves, Rhoebel Legaspi, Roberto Biron, Clement Valledor, Jayson Mercado, Roland Barbon, Edilberto Labuac, Allen Gandia, Allan Macala and Dindo Panghulan, 5.0 each.

The tournament was held on the third floor of St. Martin de Porres Bldg., Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Brgy. Bucal, Calamba City in Laguna.

Dr. Rizal was born in Calamba and studied at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros before proceeding to the Ateneo and later to the University of Sto. Tomas.

To treat his mother’s failing eyesight, the young Rizal specialized in ophthalmology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. The cottage where Rizal lived has been declared a shrine to honor and perpetuate the memory of his stay in Heidelberg.


Golden but lean harvest of medals

THE 27-man Philippine contingent came back home this weekend from the eighth Asean Age-Group Championships with only a handful of medals to show and more than a mouthful of complaints about getting a raw deal in Pattaya, Thailand.

Charges that the Filipino boys and girls had been treated unfairly appeared to be confirmed by the results posted on the official website: the three gold medals won in Blitz by under-14 champion Haridas Pascua and under-12 vice champion Vince Angelo Medina, individually and by his team, were not included in the official tally.

Earlier, in the medals tally at the end of the nine-round Standard event but before the Rapid event, it was reported that the Philippine team had garnered four gold medals, two silver and three bronze for a total of nine medals.

But when the tournament ended, the official tally posted on the same website showed that the Philippines had only two gold, three silver and three bronze, or only eight in all despite the addition of two medals from the Rapid event—the gold won by under-18 boys champion Paulo James Florendo and by under-16 girls champion Kimberly Jane Cunanan.

As posted on the official website, only two Filipinos won the gold in the Standard event—under-8 girls’ champion Samantha Glo Revita and under-14 boys’ champion Pascua.

Two silver medals in the Standard event were won by under-12 girls’ champion Brena Mae Membrere and under-12 boys’ vice champion Vince Angelo Medina.

Two bronze medals were also won in Standard—by under-8 girls vice champion Marie Antoinette San Diego and by under-18 girls’ champion Aices Salvador.

No results were posted from the Blitz event, most likely due to the protest lodged by Philippine delegation head Willie Abalos and coach GM Joey Antonio, who both denounced an allegedly illegal ruling made by a Vietnamese arbiter.

The Vietnamese awarded the win to his eight-year-old female compatriot at the expense of San Diego when in fact both girls had run out of time. Under the rules, it should have been declared a draw. As a result Marie Antoinette had to settle for a silver.
In an 11th-hour decision, however, tournament officials awarded San Diego awarded the draw and the gold.

If the Blitz medals had been included, the Philippines should have come back home with five gold, six silver and 11 bronze medals.

The bronze medalists in Blitz were Cunanan, under-14 girls champion Chardine Cheradee Camacho; under-16 boys Emmanuel Eumer Songcuya, Joel Pimentel Jr. and Angelo Joshua Nuestro; under-18 girls Aices Salvador and Susan Grace Neri, and under-12 girls’ Brena Mae Membrere and Ma. Leonora Daylo.

It was just as bad, or even worse, in the reporting of the results of the last event, the Rapid.

The official website said there were only seven rounds and that the only Filipinos to win medals were under-18 boys champion Florendo (silver) and under-16 girls champion Cunanan (bronze).

A report published in the Inquirer, however, said Florendo and Cunanan each won the gold after nine rounds. This was confirmed only when the Philippine contingent flew back on Friday to Manila.

Because the Philippines was credited with only eight medals from Standard and Rapid in the tally as posted on the official website, it landed the third slot, behind Vietnam, which had a whopping total of 51 medals (20 gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze), and Singapore with 12 medals (three gold, three silver and six bronze), as posted on the website.

Ironically, most of the coaches and trainers of the Singaporeans are Filipinos.

Behind the Philippines were India (three medals, one in each category), Myanmar (two medals, both silver) and Indonesia (two medals, one silver and one bronze).

One gold medalist who could not go to Thailand was under-12 champ Jan Emmanuel Garcia. Jem won the gold last year in Indonesia.

Garcia, who was last year’s Shell Kiddies active chess king, competed in the “Battle of Champions” organized by the multinational oil company at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City earlier this week.

The most impressive individual performance in Pattaya was that of 13-year-old schoolboy Haridas Pascua of Mangatarem, Pangasinan.

The national under-14 boys’ champion swept through the nine-round Standard event undefeated and conceded only one draw to score 8.5 points, a full two points ahead of his closest rival from Vietnam.

In Blitz, he won the individual gold and in the Rapid (also known as Active) event, he won the silver after struggling through the first four rounds, making up for it only in the last three rounds.

This was not reflected, however, in the official posting.

Thanks to reader John Manahan, the Weekender was able to get some games up to the fourth round of the Standard competition, where in the third round, Haridas, playing Black, bungled his opening and lost a rook early on.

Pretending to have lost interest in his game, he kept wandering around the tournament hall watching other games and returning only to his board to make his reply.

This probably lulled his Singaporean rival to complacency because in mid-game complications, he suddenly unleashed a fierce assault on White’s king, causing his rival to make mistakes and eventually resign in the face of impending checkmate.

Daniel Chan Yi Ren – Haridas Pascua
Rd. 3, Standard
Sicilian Pelikan and Sveshnikov (B33)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Nd5 Nxd5 8.exd5 Ne7 9.c3 Ng6 10.Qa4 Bd7 11.Qb4 Bf5 12.Qc4 Rc8 13.Qa4! Qd7? Better but still awkward was 13...Bd7 14.Qxa7 Rb8 14.Nxd6+! Bxd6 15.Bb5 Rc6 16.dxc6 Qc7 17.cxb7+ Ke7 18.Bc6 Bc2 19.Qa6 19.Qb5 was more precise: 19...Bd3 20.Qxd3 Qxc6 Bc5 20.0–0 20.Bd5! seems even better, says Fritz: 20...Rb8 21.Qc4 Bb6 22.Qxc7+! Rd8 21.Qb5 Qb6 22.Qxb6 Bxb6 23.b3 Kd6 24.Bb5 Kc7 25.Ba6 Rd6 26.Ba3 Rf6 27.Rac1 Be4 28.c4?? Bd4! 29.Bb4? Nf4 30.c5?? Rg6 31.Rfe1 Rxg2+ 32.Kf1 Bf3 Missing the mating line: 32...Rxf2+! 33.Kg1 Nh3#! 33.Rc3??

After 33.Rc3??
A blunder. Black could now mate the king via 33…Rxf2+! 34.Kg1 Nh3#!; if 34.Ke1 Ng2#! 0–1

Nguyen Hoai Nam – Haridas Pascua
Rd. 2, Standard
Queen’s Pawn Opening, Torre Attack (D03)

1.d4 c5 2.c3 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bg5 d5 5.e3 Bd6 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.0–0 0–0 8.Nbd2 Qc7 9.Qc2 c4 10.Be2 b5 11.Bh4 Rb8 12.Bg3 Bxg3 13.hxg3 Bb7 14.Nh4 g5 14...Ne4 may be tried 15.Nhf3 h6 16.Nh2 Ne4 17.g4 Ndf6 18.f3 Ng3 19.Rf2 Kg7 20.Nhf1 Bc6 21.Nxg3 Qxg3 22.b4 Rh8 23.Nf1 23.e4 dxe4 24.fxe4 Nxg4 25.Bxg4 Qxg4 should keep the balance Qc7 24.Nd2? Best was 24.g3, says Fritz h5! 25.e4?dxe4?? Allows White back into the game: 25...hxg4 should win, e.g., 26.e5 g3 27.exf6+ Kxf6 26.fxe4 Nxg4 27.Bxg4 hxg4 28.e5 g3 29.Rf6 Rh2 30.Nf1 Rxg2+ 31.Qxg2 Bxg2 32.Kxg2 Qc6+ 33.Kxg3 Qh1 34.Rd1 Qh4+! 0–1

Haridas Pascua – Nguyen Van Hai
Rd. 4, Standard
Queen’s Indian (E15)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Nf3 b6 5.Nc3 cxd4 6.Qxd4 Nc6 7.Qd3 Bb7 8.e4 Be7 9.Bg2 Nb4 10.Qe2 d5 11.exd5 exd5 12.a3 Nc6 13.0–0 d4 14.Rd1 0–0 15.Nb5 Re8 16.Qc2 a6 17.Nbxd4 Nxd4 18.Rxd4 Qc8 19.Rd2 Be4 20.Qb3 Bc5 21.Re2 Qg4 22.Bf4 Nh5 23.h3 Qg6 24.Ne5 Nxf4 25.Rxe4 Nxh3+ 26.Kh2 Qh5? Best was 26...Qf6 27.Ng4 Qg5, reducing White’s lead 27.g4! White surges on Qh4 28.Qxh3 Qxf2 29.Nd3 Bd6+ 30.Kh1 Qf6 31.Rf1 Qg6 32.Qh5 Rxe4 33.Qxg6 fxg6 34.Bxe4 Re8 35.Bd5+ Kh8 36.Kg2 h5 37.Re1 Rd8 38.Ne5 Kh7 38...Bxe5 offered the last chance for counterplay 39.Nf7 Rd7 40.Re8 g5 41.gxh5 g6 42.h6 1-0

Haridas demonstrated his mastery of the game again in Blitz, winning the individual gold.

Inspired by his example, Vincent Medina also played magnificently, winning the individual gold and helping his teammates win it collectively—the only Filipino team to do so.

Unfortunately, however, there was no record of the games and the results were not even officially acknowledged by the official webmaster.

As in any other competition, there were disappointments from those expected to turn in better results but failed to come up to expectations.

Marie Antoinette, Aices mate their rivals

Strangely enough, it was the youngest girls, playing for the first time away from home in an international event in a strange land, who delivered the goods.

On the whole, they performed much better than the better-trained, more experienced female champions.

National under-8 girls’ champion Samantha Go Revita and her vice champion, Maria Antoinette San Diego, both won the gold in in the Standard version of the game.

San Diego got the gold just before she and her compatriots left Pattaya for Manila.

Little Marie Antoinette created the biggest sensation in the first few days when she mated three of her foreign rivals—one after the other in a row!

The only other female player who managed to mate her opponent was national under-18 champion Aices Salvador who, like Marie Antoinette, won the bronze in her age group. But Aices was able to deliver checkmate only once.

Dharsha Raja Jawahar – Marie Antoinette San Diego
Rd. 2, Under-8 Girls, Pattaya 2007
Sicilian Defense (B50)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 e6 5.d3 Be7 6.0–0 0–0 7.Bf4 Nc6 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.Bxc6 Bxc6 10.Re1 Re8 11.d4 cxd4 12.Nxd4 e5 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Bg3 Rb8 15.b3 Bf8 16.Qf3 Qa5 17.Re3 d5! 18.Na4 18.Bh4 Re6 19.Rd3 should keep the balance Nxe4! 19.Re2 Nxg3 20.hxg3 g6 21.Qf6 Bg7 21...Qc7 was best 22.Qxc6 Rec8 23.Qd6 e4 24.Rd1 Rd8 25.Qc5 Qa6 26.Red2 d4! 27.c3 d3 28.Qc4? 28.Qe3 should be played, e.g., 28…Qc6 29.Qxa7! Qxc4! 29.bxc4 Rdc8 30.c5 Rc6 31.Nb2 31.f3 Ra6 32.fxe4 Rxa4 33.Rxd3 Be5 favors Black Rxc5 Fritz says 31...Bxc3!? seems even better: 32.Nxd3 Bxd2 33.Rxd2 exd3 34.Rxd3 Rb1+ 35.Kh2 Rxc5! 32.f3 Bxc3 33.Na4 Bd4+ 34.Kh2 Rh5#! 0–1

Marie Antoinette San Diego – Hoang Minh Thu
Rd, 3, Under-8 Girls, Pattaya 2007
Ruy Lopez (C80)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.Re1 Nf6 6...Nc5 7.Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 should equalize 7.Nxe5 Nxe5 8.Rxe5+ 8.d4! was best Be7 Equalizing 9.Nc3 0–0 10.Re1 b5 11.Bb3 d6 11...d5 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Bxd5 Qxd5 14.Rxe7 keeps the balance 12.h3 Qd7 13.d3 b4 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 c6 16.Bf3 Re8 17.Bd2 a5 18.Bg4 Qc7 19.Bg5 Bxg4 20.Qxg4 Bxg5 21.Qxg5 Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 Qd8 22...d5 23.Qe7 Qxe7 24.Rxe7 equalizes 23.Qxd8+ Rxd8 24.c3 24.Re7 was better bxc3 25.bxc3 h6 26.Rb1 Re8 27.Rb6 Re1+ 28.Kh2 Re2 29.Rxc6 Rxa2 If 29...Rxf2 30.a4! 30.Rxd6 a4 30...Rxf2 31.Kg3 Rd2 32.d4 restores the balance 31.c4 a3? 31...Rxf2! may be tried, e.g., 32.Kg3 Rd2, with equal chances 32.Ra6 Ra1 33.d4 33.Ra8+ was better a2 34.c5 Kf8 35.d5 Ke8 36.d6 Kd7 37.Ra7+ 37.g4 should be tried Kc8?? Missing the chance to equalize by 37...Kc6 38.c6! Kb8 39.Ra5 39.Rb7+ was most decisive: 39...Ka8 40.d7 Rh1+ 41.Kg3, with tremendous advantage Kc8 39...Rc1 offered a slim chance to avoid mate: 40.d7 Rd1 41.Rxa2 Kc7 40.Ra8#! 1–0

Marie,Antoinette San Diego - Huynh,Thu Truc [B75]
Rd. 4, U-8 Girls, Pattaya 2007
Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack (B75)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f3 d6 8.Bc4 Qc7 9.Bb3 Bd7 10.Qd2 a6 11.0–0–0 0–0–0? 12.Qf2 12.Bxf7 may be tried, e.g., 12…Rdf8 13.Ne6 Bxe6 14.Bxe6+ Kb8 15.Kb1!, and White surges ahead Rde8? 13.Nde2?? 13.Bxf7 was strongest, e.g., 13...Ne5 14.Bxe8 Rxe8 15.Bg5! e6 14.Kb1 Kb8? Best was 14...h6 15.Bb6! Qc8 16.Rxd6 Ne5 17.Ba7+ Ka8 18.Qb6? g5 Missing 18...Nc6! 19.e5 Nxe5! 19.Rhd1 h5 20.a3 g4 21.f4 Nc4?? Black falls apart, says Fritz, suggesting instead 21...Nc6 22.e5 Bf8 23.Rxc6 Bxc6 24.exf6 Bh6 22.Bxc4 Qxc4 23.e5 Nd5 24.Nxd5 25.Nc7#! 1–0

Aices,Salvador - Tran,Le Tu Uyen [B08]
Rd. 1, Under-18 Girls, Pattaya 2007
Classical Pirc Defense (B08)

1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 Qd7 8.e5 Ng8 9.0–0 d5 10.Bd3 Ne7 11.Re1 0–0 12.Bf6 a6 13.Qd2 Nbc6 14.Ne2 Kh7 15.g4 Ng8 16.g5 Bxf6 17.gxf6 Qd8 18.Kh1 Nxf6 19.exf6 Qxf6 20.Qf4 Kg7 21.Qg3 Nb4 22.Nf4 Kh7 23.Ne5 Nxd3 24.Nfxd3 b6 25.Re3 Qg7 26.Rg1 Bb7 26...g5 gives White greater advantage 27.Nf4 Rg8 28.Rf3 Raf8 29.Qh3 Qh8 30.Nxe6! fxe6 31.Qxh6+!! Startling but accurate Kxh6 32.Rh3+ Kg7 33.Rxg6#! 1–0

Monday, June 18, 2007

Latest Weekender Report
by Mr. Manny Benitez, Sunday, 17 June 2007

Big thanks to Mr. Manny Benitez for the Weekender report I have received yesterday.

Filipino chess addicts especially in the UAE will be more than happy to take a peek on the latest chess news and activities both locally and globally right at their fingertips.

Lets all take a look at the latest Weeekender report.

Wesley, Jem set for Battle of Shell Champions

THE country’s youngest but most promising young stars, IM Wesley So, 13, and Jan Emmanuel “Jem” Garcia, 11, are among the favorites when the Battle of Shell Champions kicks off tomorrow at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

So, 2003 Shell kiddies king, is the reigning national junior and national open champion while Garcia, 2006 kiddies champion, won the 2007 national under-12 crown with a perfect score of 9.0 out of nine last month.

Among the other Shell champions that the two will face are IMs Oliver Dimakiling, Idelfonso Datu and Ronald Dableo, as well as outstanding NM Oliver Barbosa.

With IM So (2519) as the top seed, 21 former champions have accepted the invitation to the three-day “Battle of Shell Champions” festival, which gets under way today on the ground floor of SM Megamall’s Atrium A.

Next in rank according to their ratings were IMs Dimakiling (2491), Datu (2457) and Dableo (2453).

Following them were NM Barbosa (2421) and FMs Sander Severino (2405) and Julius de Ramos (2315).

Non-masters Kim Steven Yap (2246) and Jem Garcia (2241) stand behind them among the rated players, followed by 11 unrated players, including four national masters who have been inactive: NMs Jake de la Cruz, Victor Lluch, Cedric Magno and Edgar Reggie Olay.

The unrated non-masters are Rodel Alsado, Ivan Gil Biag, Deniel Causo, Bryan Jose, Edsel Montoya, Sheider Nebato and 2006 junior champion Karl Victor Ochoa.

Former champions who did not join the tournament were GMs Mark Paragua and Nelson Mariano II and new IMs Julio Catalino Sadorra and Roland Salvador.

Sadorra lives in Singapore and Salvador in Italy.

Antonio wins Singapore joust, Sadorra runner-up
By Marlon Bernardino

TOP Filipino GM Joey Antonio has won the first Thomson Community Club Championship in Singapore on tiebreak points over his compatriot, new IM Julio Catalino Sadorra, for a Filipino 1-2 win.

The country’s No. 1 player dropped by the island city state on his way to the United States where he plans to compete in the cash-rich World Open to be held in historic Valley Forge in Pennsylvania later this month.

Valley Forge is where the American Revolutionary Army under General George Washington spent the winter of 1777.

Antonio flew to Singapore from Bangkok after escorting the Philippine contingent of young players competing in the ongoing Asean Age-Group Championships in Pattaya.

From Singapore, the Filipino GM will fly to the US for the prestigious World Open, which gets under way on June 27 and ends on July 4, the American Independence Day.

While Antonio won in Singapore, most of the boys and girls he had accompanied from Manila were fighting bravely in Pattaya to stop the Vietnamese, who went there in full force.

After four rounds, only 13-year-old Haridas Pascua of Mangatarem, Pangasinan, remained unbeaten.

The national under-14 and Palarong Pambansa champion played the role of hero especially in the third round when, struggling in the middle game to overcome an opening blunder in the Sicilian Pelikan, he suddenly turned the tables on his Singaporean opponent, Daniel Chan Yin-Ren.

“I was actually losing. I pretended to be more interested in the other games being played, making my rival think that I was about to give up,” Haridas told the Weekender in the vernacular.

When Chan relaxed, Haridas stepped up his counterattack and before the Singaporean realized it, his Filipino adversary was already threatening to mate him.

Chan did not know what hit him when he resigned on the 34th move, according to observers.

Pascua followed this up with another resounding win in the fourth round yesterday against the early tournament leader, Nguyen Van Hai of Vietnam.

Among the other Filipinos with good chances of finishing among the winners were under-10 champions Jerad Decena and Paolo Florendo of Zamboanga in the under-18 group, who had 3.0 each.

Among the girls, under-8 champion Samantha Glo Revita and her runner-up Marie Antoinette San Diego, and under-12 champion Brena Mae Membrere also had excellent chances with 3.0 points each after four rounds.

Antonio, 45, who is from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, accompanied his young compatriots to Thailand where he has won the yearly Bangkok Open championship three times.He finished in Singapore unbeaten.

Sadorra, 21, who is based in Singapore, took the second prize with a fine performance to end up in a tie with Antonio in the Thomson club tournament, held from June 9 to 10 at the club’s headquarters on Thomson Road in the city state.

He is the country’s newest IM, having earned the title with a superb performance in the Philippine Open held in April at the Subic Freeport.

Behind the two Filipinos was Vietnamese GM To Hoang Thong in third place, followed by Koh Kum Hong of Singapore in fourth.

Two more Singapore-based Filipinos, architect Clyde Percusia, and Peter Aguilar, also made it to the top 10—Percusia in fifth and Aguilar in eighth.

Four Singaporeans rounded up the top 10—14-year-old Tan Wei Liang in sixth, Jimmy Ng seventh, Eugene Wee ninth and Benjamin Foo 10th.

Antonio’s trip to Singapore and the US was made possible by the Philippine Sports Commission under chairman William Ramirez. Joey is a sergeant with the HHSG Unit of the Philippine Army under Gen. Romeo Tolentino.

U.S. NATIONAL OPEN - Sevillano wins third prize in Vegas

FRESH from his victory at the Lina Gurmette Memorial Day Classic in Los Angeles, California, IM Enrico Sevillano has won the third prize on tiebreak at the US National Open in Las Vegas, Nevada, the highest attained by a Filipino in that event.

Former US champion Hikaru Nakamura topped the tournament with 5.5 points from seven games.

It was Sevillano’s third win over the past month, having been the first Filipino ever to qualify for the US Championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he finished 18th overall.

In Las Vegas, the Cebu-born star also had the distinction of holding GM Nakamura to a draw and beating Israeli GM Sergei Erenburg along the way.

Sevillano tied for second to seventh places with GMs Viktor Korchnoi of Switzerland and Grigory Serper of the US, American IMs Joshua Friedel and Renier Gonzales and Armenian IM Andranik Matikozian. They had 5.0 points each.

The former Asian junior champion, who now lives in California and plays under the US flag, started with a bang, making short shrift of his opponent in a French game with White, and then disposed of his next two opponents in quick succession.

Playing Black, Sevillano then faced No. 1 seed Nakamura in the fourth round, which saw both players trying to outwit each other in a highly tactical battle arising from a French Defense that soon became a wide-open game.

With his king dangerously exposed, Nakamura forced the draw with a series of checks ending in the 34th move.

But the biggest win by Sevillano came in the fifth when he outplayed GM Erenburg, who later conquered former US women’s champion Irina Krush.

IM Krush, in turn, had earlier upset reigning US champion Alexander Shabalov.

Playing White, Sevillano used the Alapin-Sveshnikov (3.c3) against the Israeli’s Sicilian Defense, temporarily sacrificed the exchange in mid-game skirmishes, and had a bishop, knight and rook, with five pawns, against Erenburg’s two rooks and four pawns in the endgame.

From then on it was a matter of time for Sevillano to convert his positional and material advantage into a full point.

E. Sevillano (2493) – T. Brownscombe (2199)
Round 1, National Open, Las Vegas 2007
French, Advance Variation (C02)

1.e4 c5 2.c3 e6 3.d4 d5 4.e5 Nc6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Bd3 Bd7 7.0–0 Qb6 7...cxd4 8.cxd4 Qb6 9.Be2 favors White 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.a4 Qc7 10.b4 Be7 11.Bf4 h5 12.Qd2 Nh6 13.Na3± a6 14.Rfe1 Rc8 15.h3 Qb8 16.Nc2 Bf8 17.Ne3 Qa7 18.Rad1 Rd8 19.Bc2 g6 20.Bg5! Rc8 21.Nxd5! The start of a brilliant combination exd5 22.e6 Bxe6 23.Qxd5 Be7 24.Rxe6!!
After 24.Rxe6!!24...fxe6 25.Qxe6 Nf7 26.Qxc8+! Fritz lays out this mating line, 26…Bd8 27.Qe6+ Be7 28.Bb3 0–0 29.Qxg6+ Kh8 30.Bf6+ Bxf6 31.Qxf6+ Kg8 32.Ng5 Qxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Nce5 34.Bxf7+ Nxf7 35.Qg6+ Kh8 36.Qh7#! 1–0. Click here to view the game

Sevillano,E (2493) - Erenburg,S (2574) [B22]
Rd. 5, National Open, Las Vegas 2007
Sicilian Defense (B22)

1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 e6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0–0 cxd4 8.cxd4 Be7 9.Nc3 Qd6 10.Bg5 0–0 11.Qd2 Nd5 12.Rad1 Nxc3 If 12...Bxg5 13.Qxg5 h6 14.Qh4 13.bxc3 b6 14.Qe3 Bb7 15.Qe4 g6 16.Qh4 Rfe8 17.Rfe1 Rac8 18.Bb5 h5 19.d5 exd5. After 19…exd5 White now sees a chance to launch a winning combinationwith teh sacrifice of the exchange. 20.Rxe7! Rxe7 21.Bxc6 Rec7 22.Bxb7 Rxb7 23.Bf6 Re8 24.Qg5 Rd7 25.Be5 Qe6 26.Qh6 f6 27.Qxg6+ Rg7 28.Qxf6 Qxf6 29.Bxf6 Rf7 30.Bd4 Re2 31.Nd2 b5 32.Be3 32.Kf1 Re8 gives White a big boost a5 33.a3 a4 34.g3 Rf6 35.Kg2 Kf7 36.Rb1 Re6 37.Kf3 R6xe3+ 38.fxe3 Rxd2 39.Rxb5 Rxh2 40.Rxd5 Ra2 41.Rxh5 Rxa3 42.Ra5 Ra1 43.c4 a3 44.Ke4 a2 45.c5 Ke6 46.Ra7 Kf6 47.c6 Ke6 48.c7 Kd7 49.Ke5 Re1 50.Rxa2 Rxe3+ 51.Kf4 Rc3 52.Ra7 Ke6 53.g4 Rc5 54.g5 Rc4+ 55.Ke3 Kf5 56.Kd3 Rc1 57.Kd4 Kxg5 58.Ra5+! If 58...Kf4 59.Rc5 Rd1+ 60.Kc4 Rc1+ 61.Kd5 Rxc5+ 62.Kxc5! 1–0. Click
here to view the game.

Two other Filipinos have won first prizes in other US events in the past—the late IM Ruben Rodriguez, who won the People’s Open in Hayward, California in 1974, and IM Cris Ramayrat, who became US blitz champion and also People’s Open co-champion along with Jay Whitehead in 1987.

Candidates’ finalists in action

ONE good thing that the Candidates’ Matches have produced is the number of exciting and instructive games, particularly the decisive ones, played in Elista.

Unfortunately, however, some of the 16 candidates who qualified for the matches were either unprepared or off form. At least one of the finalists, Russian superstar Evgeny Bareev, is said to have his biorhythm—the rise and fall of one’s natural energy levels—at its lowest during the event.

According to Russian biorhythm experts in a posting on the Net, as reported by journalist Ignacio Dee, super GM Bareev had an average of minus 91 per cent in his physical, emotional, intellectual and intuitional energy levels at the time of the matches.

Despite this alleged handicap, Bareev managed to knock out super GM Judit Polgar, the world’s strongest-ever female player, in the first stage of the Candidates’ Matches to reach the finals.

Against Peter Leko, however, Bareev played poorly in the final stage, allowing the Hungarian superstar to be the first to qualify with a convincing 3.5-1.5 score from two wins and three draws.

Boris Gelfand of Israel followed suit, disposing of former US champion Gata Kamsky by the same score.

Kamsky, a former world title challenger, had not played chess. for a decade and made a comeback only last year after finishing his law studies.

At any rate, almost all the decisive games played in both stages crackled with tactical fireworks.

L. Aronian (2759) – A. Shirov (2699)
Rd. 1, WCC Finals, Queen’s Gambit Accepted (D20)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 e5 4.Nf3 exd4 5.Bxc4 Nc6 6.0–0 Be6 7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.Qb3 Qd7 9.Qxb7 Rb8 10.Qa6 Nf6 11.Nbd2 Bd6 12.b3 0–0 13.Bb2 Bf4 14.g3 Bh6 15.Ba3 Nxe4 16.Bxf8 Nxd2 Better than 16...Rxf8 17.Nxe4 Rxf3 18.Nc5, with a clear advantage 17.Nxd2 Bxd2 18.Ba3 Qd5 19.Qc4 Qxc4 20.bxc4 Ne5 20...e5 21.Rfd1 Bc3 22.Rab1 should equalize 21.Rab1 Rd8 22.c5 Nc4 23.Bc1 d3

After 23…d3

According to Iggy Dee, GM Sergei Shipov (the Russian titan beaten by Weekender contributor Marlon Bernardino in the Sydney Open last April) said in a published analysis that Shirov missed 23...Ba5!, e.g., 24.Rb7 a6 25.Ra7 d3 26.Rxa6 d2 27.Rd1 Kf7 28.Ra7 Kf6 29.Bxd2 Bxd2 30.Rxc7 Ra8 31.c6 Rxa2 32.Rb7 Ra8 33.Rb5 Rc8 34.Rc5 Nd6 35.Rxd2 Ne4 36.Rdc2 Nxc5 37.Rxc5 Ke7 38.Kg2 Kd6! 24.Rb7 c6 25.Bxd2 Not 25.Rxa7? because of 25...Bxc1 26.Rxc1 d2! Nxd2 26.Rd1 Ne4 27.f3 Nc3 28.Rd2 Nxa2 29.Rb3 Nc1 30.Rb1 Ne2+ 31.Kf2 e5 32.Ra1 Rd5 33.Rxa7 Rxc5 34.Rxd3 White is winning Nd4 35.Rd2 35.f4 may be tried, e.g., 35…Rc2+ 36.Kf1 Rc1+ 37.Kg2 Rc2+ 38.Kh3! h6 36.f4 Nb5 37.Ra8+ 37.Rb7 exf4 38.gxf4 Kh7 is playable Kh7 38.f5 Nd4² 39.g4 Rc3? 39...h5 offers the best option, e.g., 40.gxh5 Rc3 40.Rb2 h5? 41.Rbb8! 1–0

Gata Kamsky (2705) – Boris Gelfand (2733)
Rd 3, WCC Finals, Queen’s Pawn Opening (D02)

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bf4 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.Bb5 cxd4 6.exd4 Qa5+ 7.Nc3 Bg4 8.0–0 e6 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Stronger than 10.gxf3 Ba3 11.Rb1 Bxb2! Rc8 11.Rfd1 Be7 12.Bf1 0–0 13.Ne2 b5 14.c3 b4 15.Qd3 Qb6 16.cxb4 Nxb4 17.Qb3 Ne4 18.a3 Nc6 19.Qxb6 axb6 20.b4 g5 21.Be3 Nd6 22.Nc1 f5 23.Nb3 Nc4! 24.b5 Nd8 25.a4 Nb7 26.Bc1 f4 Not 26...Kf7 because of 27.Nd2! 27.Be2 Bb4 28.Ra2 Nbd6 29.Bd3 29.Bd2 would allow Black to equalize, e.g., 29…Bxd2 30.Nxd2 Nxd2 31.Raxd2 Ra8 Ra8! 30.Kf1? Fritz says 30.Bd2 is viable: 30...Bxd2 31.Nxd2 Nxb5 32.Nxc4 dxc4 33.Bxc4! Nxb5!

After 30…Nxb5!

Securing the advantage, says Fritz 31.Rc2 Nbd6 32.Bd2 Rxa4 33.Bxb4 Rxb4 34.Nc1 Nf5 35.Bxf5 Rxf5 36.Nd3 Rb3 37.Ra2 Rf7 38.Ke2 Nd6 39.Rda1 Best was 39.Ne5, but Black would still be way ahead Nb5 40.Kd2 Nxd4 41.Rc1 If 41.Ra4 Nb5 Rb5 42.Rc8+ Rf8 43.Rc7 Ra5 44.Rb2 Rf7 45.Rc8+ Kg7 46.Ne5 46.Rxb6 won’t be of much help, e.g., 46…f3 47.g4 Ra2+ 48.Rb2 Rxb2+ 49.Nxb2 e5! Rb7 47.h4 gxh4 48.Rb4 Ra2+ 49.Kd3 Nf5 50.Rxf4 Rba7 51.Rc3 51.Rc2 is no salvation, either: 51...Kf6 52.Nd7+ Kg5 53.Rxa2 Rxa2, and Black is still way ahead R7a3 51...Kf6! was even stronger, e.g., 52.Nc6 Rg7 53.Nb4! 52.Rxa3 Rxa3+ 53.Ke2 b5 54.Rg4+ Kf6 55.Nd3 Ra8 56.Kd2 e5 57.Rb4 e4 58.Nc5 Rg8! If 59.g3 hxg3 60.fxg3 Rxg3 61.Rxb5 Nd4!, and wins. 0–1

Right from the start of their final match, Leko showed he had prepared meticulously for the event by smashing the Caro-Kann Defense erected by Bareev.

Remember the game featured in last Sunday’s main story? That was Leko’s win in the third round, also against Bareev’s Caro-Kann.

The Russian made a mistake of again testing Leko’s mastery of this opening system as White, having seen how the Hungarian made mincemeat of his pet Caro-Kann in their initial encounter.

Leko, a former child prodigy who spent his childhood mastering chess to the exclusion of almost everything else, is known for preparing deeply and well for matches and tournaments.

Peter Leko (2738) – Evgeny Bareev (2643)
Rd. 1, WCC Finals, Caro-Kann, Modern Line (B17)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 Bd6 8.Qe2 h6 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 Qc7 11.0–0 b6 12.Qg4 Kf8 13.Re1 c5 14.c3 Bb7 15.Qh3 Rd8 16.Be4 16.Bg5 allows Black to equalize: 16…Rc8 17.Be4 Bxe4 18.Rxe4 Kg8 Bxe4 17.Rxe4 Nf6 18.Re1 g6 18...Kg8 would have equalized, e.g., 19.dxc5 Bxc5 20.Qh4 19.b3 Kg7 20.dxc5 Bxc5 21.Bb2 Rd5 22.c4 Rh5 23.Qg3 Bd6 24.Ne5 Rd8 25.h3 Rf5 26.Re2 Bc5 26...Kh7 27.Qc3 should keep the balance 27.Rf1 Kh7 28.Qh2 28.Qc3 was more precise: 28…Bd4 29.Qxd4 Rxd4 30.Bxd4! g5 28...Ne4! was best: 29.Rxe4 Rxf2! 29.Ng4 Bd6 29...Qxh2+ deserves consideration, says Fritz, e.g., 30.Kxh2 Bd6+ 31.Kh1 Be7, with equal chances 30.g3 Nh5 31.Ne3 Bxg3 32.fxg3 Rxf1+??

After 32…Rxf1+??

A fatal mistake. 32...Qxg3+ was the saving resource, e.g., 33.Qxg3 Nxg3. 33.Nxf1! Rd1 34.Re3! 1–0

The Sicilian was a favorite defense system also among the candidates.

Gata Kamsky (2705) – Boris Gelfand (2733)
Rd. 5. WCC Finals, Sicilian Rossolimo (B52)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.0–0 Bg7 8.d4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 0–0 10.f3 Rc8 11.b3 d5 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Nxd5 If 13.cxd5 Rxc3 e6 14.Bh6 exd5 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.c5 If 16.Nb5 a6 17.Qd4+ f6! Na6 Better than 16...Rxc5 17.Nf5+ Qxf5 18.Qd4+ Kg8 19.Qxc5, with White having the edge 17.Nc2 Nxc5 18.Qd4+ f6 19.Ne3 Ne6 20.Qh4 If 20.Qxd5 Qxd5 21.Nxd5 Rc2 Rc5 21.Rad1 d4 22.Ng4 Rf8 23.Rfe1 Rh5 24.Qg3 Rd5 25.Rd2 Qd6 26.Qh4 h5 27.Nf2 g5 28.Qe4 Re5 29.Qb1 Rxe1+ 30.Qxe1 Rd8 31.g3 Nc5 32.Qe2 a5 33.Qb5 b6 34.a3 Qe6! Black now has overwhelming advantage 35.Rb2 d3 36.b4 axb4 37.axb4 Nb3 38.Qa4? Nd4 39.Kg2 Nc2 Missing the decisive 39...Nf5!, e.g., 40.Qa7+ Kh8 40.Rxc2 dxc2 41.Qxc2 g4 42.fxg4 hxg4 43.Kg1 Rd4 44.Qc7+ Kg6 45.Qc2+ f5 46.Qc3 Rc4 47.Qd2 Kh7 47...Qe5 might be quicker 48.h3 gxh3 49.Nxh3 Qc6 50.Qe3 Rc1+ 51.Kf2 Qc2+ 52.Kf3 Rf1+ 53.Nf2 Rxf2+!!

After 53…Rxf2+!

White is kaput: 54.Qxf2 Qe4#! 0–1

A. Grischuk (2717) – S. Rublevsky (2680)
Rd. 1, WCC Finals, Sicilian Scheveningen (B85)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 d6 7.0–0 Nf6 8.Be3 Bd7 9.a4 Be7 10.f4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Bc6 12.b4 0–0 13.b5 Be8 14.e5 Qc7 15.b6 Qc6 16.Bf3 d5 17.Rae1 Nd7 18.Nxd5 exd5 19.Bxd5 Qc5 Best was 19...Qc8!, leading to equality 20.e6 Better than 20.Bxb7 Rb8 21.Qd3 Qb4! Qxd4 21.Bxd4 Nf6 21...Bf6 22.Bxf6 Nxf6 23.Bxb7 gives White the edge 22.Bb3 22.Bxb7 is dubious because of 22…Rd8 23.c3 Bxa4 24.Bxa6 Bc6! Rd8 23.Bxf6 Bc5+ 24.Kh1 gxf6 25.e7 Bxe7 26.Rxe7 Bc6 27.Rc7 Rd2 28.Re1 Rf2 28...Kg7 29.Rg1 favors White 29.h3 Rxf4 Better but inadequate was 29...Kh8 30.Ree7 Rf1+ 31.Kh2 Rf2 If 31...Kg7 32.Bxf7 Kh6 32.Rxc6! bxc6 33.Rxf7!!

After 33.Rxf7!!

A double whammy.

33...Rf4 Not 33...Rxf7 34.b7! 34.c3 Re4 35.Re7+! The final touch: 35…Kh8 36.Rxe4! 1–0

Like most Russian players, super GM Sergei Rublevsky prepares extensively for any event and this usually shows in his wide opening repertoire. Like most players, he also has his pet opening systems and in Elista he favored the Scotch Game when playing White and the Sicilian with Black.

His preparations proved inadequate, however, against his much-higher rated compatriot, megastar Alexander Grischuk, who is regarded as one of the fiercest players when in fine form: As a result, Sergei lost with Black in a Sicilian encounter in their first game.

In their second game, Rublevsky sued for peace early on although playing White in a - you guessed it - Scotch duel, offering a draw on the 18th turn.

In the third they again battled to a draw, but this time it went as far as the 49th turn of a sharp Sicilian game, with Grischuk suing for peace this time.

Finally, in their fourth encounter, Rublevsky turned in a fine win with White in another Scottish debate.

S. Rublevsky (2680) – A. Grischuk (2717)
Rd. 4, WCC Finals, Scotch Game (C45)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qf3 bxc6 7.Qg3 h5 8.h4 Nh6 9.f3 d5 10.Nc3 Bb4 11.Bd2 dxe4 12.0–0–0 e3 13.Bxe3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 0–0 15.Qg5 Nf5 16.Qxf6 gxf6 17.Bf4 Be6 18.Ba6 18.Bd3 was better Nd6 19.Bxd6 cxd6 20.Rxd6 Rab8 21.Rxc6 Bxa2 22.Kd2 Rfd8+ 23.Bd3 Be6 24.Ra1 Rd7 25.Rc5 f5 26.Ke3 Re7 27.Kf4! Rb2 28.g3 Kg7 29.Kg5 Rd7 30.Ra3 Rb1 31.Rca5 Re1 32.Rxa7 Rd8 33.Ra1 Re5 34.R1a5 Re1 35.Bxf5 Bd5 36.Kf4 36.g4! was his best shot Rf1 37.Be4 Bxe4 38.Kxe4 Re1+ 39.Kf4 Rc8 40.Rg5+ 40.Rf5 might be quicker, e.g., 40...Kg6 41.g4 Rc4+ 42.Kg3 hxg4 43.Raxf7 Rc6 44.fxg4 Rxc3+ 45.Rf3 Rg1+ 46.Kf2 Rxf3+ 47.Rxf3, and White surges ahead Kf6 41.Ra6+ 41.Rf5+ makes it even easier for White Ke7 42.Re5+ Missing 42.Rxh5!: 42...Rc4+ 43.Kg5 Re5+ 44.Kh6 Rxh5+ 45.Kxh5 Rxe5 43.Kxe5 Rxc3 44.Ke4 Rxc2 45.Ra5 Rc4+ 46.Kd3 Rc1 47.Rxh5 Rg1 48.g4 Rh1 49.Re5+ Kf6 50.Rf5+ Kg7 51.h5 Re1 52.Rf4 Ra1 53.Ke3 Ra3+ 54.Kf2 Ra2+ 55.Kg3 Ra1 56.Rf5 Rh1 57.Kf4 Rh3 58.Kg5 Rh1 59.f4 Rh2 60.Rd5 Ra2 61.h6+! Kg8 62.Rd8+ Kh7 63.Rd7 Kg8 64.h7+ Kh8 65.Rxf7 Ra7!? 66.Rf8+!

After 66.Rf8+!

White’s pawns prevail. 1–0

In their final two games within the regulation period, the two Russian rivals played two short draws (first a Sicilian and then a Scotch) as Grischuk cleverly went for the rapid playoffs where he knew his quicker wits could probably do the trick. And he was right—Rublevsky lost with White playing the Scotch both times!

S. Rublevsky (2680) – A. Grischuk (2717)
Rd. 7, WCC Finals Playoff, Scotch Game (C45)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qf3 bxc6 7.Qg3 h5 8.h4 Nh6 9.f3 d5 10.Nc3 Bd4 11.Bd2 Rb8 12.0–0–0 Safer than 12.exd5 Qe7+ 13.Kd1 Nf5! Be5 13.f4 Bd4 14.Qd3 Bg4 15.e5! Bxc3! 16.Qxc3 Not 16.bxc3 because of 16…Qe7 17.Qa6 0–0!, and Black is ahead Qe6 17.Re1 0–0 18.Be3 Rfd8 19.Qc5 Not 19.Bxa7 Ra8 20.Qc5 d4! a5 20.Kb1 a4 21.Bd3 Bf5 22.Rc1 22.Be2 was more precise Bxd3! 23.cxd3 Nf5 24.Bf2 Rb5 25.Qxc6 Rdb8 26.Qxe6 Rxb2+ 27.Ka1 fxe6 28.Rb1 a3 29.Bc5 Nxh4!

After 29…Nxh4!

The knight is immune: 30.Rxh4?? Rxb1#!! It’s the beginning of the end.

30.Rxb2 axb2+ 31.Kb1 Nxg2 32.f5 Nf4 33.fxe6 Nxd3 34.Ba3 Nxe5 35.Kc2 Nc4 36.Bc5 Nd2 37.a4 b1=Q+! 38.Rxb1 Nxb1 39.a5 Rb5 If 40.Be7 c5. Actually Black missed the best shot, 39...h4! 0–1

S. Rublevsky (RUS) – A. Grischuk (RUS)
Rd. 9, WCC Finals Playoff, Scotch Game (C45)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nb3 Bb6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Qe2 d6 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 Qe7 11.h4 Rg8 12.hxg5 hxg5 13.0–0–0 Be6 14.Rh6 0–0–0 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 Ne5 17.Bxe5 dxe5 18.Qf3 Rd6 19.Nd2 Ne8 20.Rh5 Nf6 21.Qf5+ Kb8 22.Rh6 Ne8 23.Qh7 Qf8 24.Rh1 Nf6 25.Qf5 Nxd5 Best was 25...Qc8! 26.Ne4?? Fritz says 26. would have restored the balance Ne7! 27.Qh7? Weak. Best was 27.Qf3! Rxd1+ 28.Kxd1 f5 Missing 28...Ng6! 29.Bc4 fxe4 30.Bxg8 Nxg8 31.Qxe4 a6 32.Rh8 Ka7 33.Qxe5 Qf7 34.Qxg5 Nf6 35.f3 Qd7+ 36.Qd2? Qb5! 37.c3 Nd5 38.Rh1? Be3 39.Qe2??

After 39.Qe2??

A horrendous blunder. White resigns seeing that 39…Nxc3+ ends it a!l, e.g., 39…bxc3 40.Qb1#!! 0–1


Kudos to Shell on 15th year of chess

PILIPINAS SHELL deserves commendation for helping promote chess actively nationwide for 15 years now. The best proof that this multinational corporation has done a lot for Philippine chess comes from its array of champions: top players like GM Mark Paragua, IM Wesley So, FM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, et al.


TOMORROW some of these young titans like Wesley and Jem will see action in the “Battle of Chess Champions” at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong. It will be three days of fun for them and other former Shell champions among the juniors and kiddies.


BESIDES the two young stars, among those who have accepted Shell’s invitation are the likes of IMs Oliver Dimakiling, Idelfonso Datu and Ronald Dableo, along with national masters like Oliver Barbosa, all of them former Shell champions. Indeed, their names read like the Who’s Who in Philchess. May the best man win!


IT’S good to know things are settling back to normal after the nerve-wracking, nationally divisive and even dangerous national and local elections. Best proof that it’s now back to the boards is the presence of Filipino youngsters in the Asean Age-Group Championships in Pattaya, Thailand.


WHATEVER the outcome of the Pattaya competitions, it is to be hoped that the focus of our chess leaders will continue to be on the training of gifted boys and girls. To keep up with the rest of the region and the world, a national chess training program should be established in all public and private schools.


HOW strong is the chess community as a voting bloc? Judging by the results of the elections, it’s not too influential. At this writing, there is real danger that no senatorial candidate identified with the chess community will make it. We still have a congressman and a city mayor at least, though.


IT seems that chess and politics don’t mix. Perhaps it would be wiser for the NCFP to align itself with the corporate, not the political, world. Shell’s steadfast support of chess is the best evidence that corporations are more reliable than government institutions, which can be swayed by partisan winds and whims.


AS far as The Weekender is concerned, the backbone of chess is a chain of clubs in the country. Setting up a chess club in every barangay should be the primary goal of the NCFP—that is, training through the schools and club formation through the barangays.


THIS puts the QMC Chess Plaza Club in the mainstream of chess development in Metro Manila. Right now, the club leadership is striving to get a solid corporate backing so that it can promote its objective of making itself a potent recreational center for the youth of Quezon City and its environs.


Food for thought: Why is it that the maximum allowable amount to be spent by a candidate in a poll campaign is way above his lawful monthly pay, if elected?

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