Saturday, July 21, 2007

Davao sports heroes to be hailed tonight
By Marianne L. Saberon-Abalayan, Sun Star Davao

THEY are the brightest and finest athletes who have brought pride and honor to the beautiful region of Davao.

Davao's cream of the crop athletes will take centerstage as the 13th So Kim Cheng Sports Foundation Awards Night 6 p.m., Sunday, at the Grand Regal Hotel.

Chess International Master (IM) Oliver Dimakiling, who was Male Athlete of the Year in 2006, will be elevated to the Hall of Fame Sunday night.

Joining him in the top class are 2007 Male and Female Athletes of the Year Teodoro Nonato, Jr. and Joan Banayag who both reaped national titles in track and field.

here to read the full story.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Weekender
by Manny Benitez, Sunday, 1 July 2007


Elimination series set

ALL players wishing to take a crack at the National Training Pool for members of the team to represent the country in the second Asian Indoor Games in Macau later this year should register on or before Saturday, July 21, for the selection tournament set for July 23-27, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines has announced.

The five-day elimination series will be held on the fifth floor of Marketplace Shopping Center on Kalentong Ave., Mandaluyong City.

According to the NCFP website, the start of the series was reset from Sunday to Monday to allow players and coaches from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to compete in the tournament.

The top nine male players and top 10 female players will qualify for the finals, along with the country’s five grandmasters who have been automatically seeded. In the event any of the top seeds fails to join the finals, he will be replaced by the next ranking player from the elimination series.

Registration for the elimination phase is free and there will be no cash prizes, either.

The four top players from the finals for either gender will form the men’s and women’s teams to be sent to Macau for the Asian Indoor Games, which will be held from October 25 to November 2 in the former Portuguese colony on South China’s coast.

Interested parties may call up the NCFP office, tel. No. 536-8507, or send an email to



Foreign team leads Chinese, 15.5-12.5

A MULTINATIONAL team of four lesser-known foreign players caught a higher-rated four-man Chinese squad flat-footed and was leading, 15.5-12.5, after seven rounds in the fourth Taiyuan GM Scheveningen event.

Starring for the foreign team was a 31-year-old Russian GM known mainly for his usually unorthodox but fierce attacking style, Vadim Zvjaginsev (2658), who had 5.0 points from three wins and four draws.

On the Chinese side, new No. 1 player Wang Yue, 20, had the highest score with 4.0. Wang Yue (2696) captured the top slot in last Aprils’ Philippine Open at Subic Freeport.

Zvjaginsov had the able assistance of Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria, the brilliant second of past Fide world champion Veselin Topalov during his world title match against his successor, reigning world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.

Cheparinov (2657) matched Wan Yue’s 4.0 from board two, followed by Armenia’s Karen Asrian (2608) with 3.5 and Hungary’s Caaba Balogh (2567), 3.0.

Teenage Chinese superstar Wang Hao (2624) had 3.5 on board two while Zhang Pengxiang (2649) on board three and Ni Hua (2681) on board four pitched in with only 2.5 each.

Zvjaginzov proved nearly invincible with the White pieces as he revived old classical openings like the King’s Gambit, supposedly disreputable among modern-day, computer-trained grandmasters.

• V. Zvjaginsev (2658) - Wang Hao (2624)
Rd. 1, 4th GM Match, Taiyuan 2007
King’s Gambit Accepted (C36)

1.e4 e5 2.f4! exf4! The accepted line, which promises to steer the game to lively, double-edged positions 3.Nf3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.d4 Nf6 6.Bxf4 Qe4+ 7.Qe2 Qxe2+ 8.Bxe2 Nd5 9.Bd2 Be7 10.0–0 c6 11.c4 Nf6 12.Nc3 0–0 13.Bd3 Rd8 14.Rae1 Be6 15.Ne2 Nbd7 16.Nf4 Nf8 17.Bc3 Bd6 18.Nxe6 Nxe6 19.Bf5 Nc7 20.Ba5 Nfe8 21.Ng5 g6 22.Bh3 b6 23.Bc3 f6 24.Ne6 Nxe6 25.Bxe6+ Kg7 26.g4 Also playable was 26.d5 cxd5 27.Bxd5 Bc5+ 28.Kh1 Rac8, with White having a huge advantage h6 Safer was 26...a5 27.d5 Bc5+ 28.Kh1, reducing White’s lead 27.Kg2 a5 28.d5 c5? Better was 28...Bb4 29.Bxb4 axb4 30.dxc6 Rd6 29.h4! g5 30.hxg5 hxg5 31.Bf5 Nc7 Not 31...Bf8 because of 32.Rh1 Kf7 33.Rh7+ Bg7 34.Kf3! 32.Bc2 Rf8 33.Rf5 Rae8 34.Rxg5+ Kf7 35.Bg6+ Kg8 36.Bxf6!

The logical end, says Fritz: 36….Rxf6 37.Bxe8+ Kf8 38.Bc6! 1–0


Atalik, Howell lead in top-heavy Canada Open

VETERAN campaigners Suat Atalik of Turkey and David Howell of England led a field of heavyweights with 5.0 points after six rounds in this year’s edition of the Canadian Open Championship.

Snapping at their heels just half a poin behind were such favorites as Bu Xiangzhi of China, Nigel Short of England, Vadim Milov of Switzerland and Sergey Tiviakov of the Netherlands, along with Kamil Miton of Poland and Chanda Sandipan of India, most of them fresh from the World Open in Pennsylvania.

Besides the five runners-up already mentioned, there were 12 others in the batch of 4.5-pointers.

Short was one of the superstars who produced a well-played minigem of a game, against a much lower-ratted local player.

• Short,N (2691) - Kaminski,V (2149) [C18]
Rd. 1, Canadian Open, Ottawa 2007
French Defense (C18)

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.h4 Nbc6 8.h5 h6 9.Qg4 Rg8 10.Bd3 Nf5 11.Ne2 Qa5 12.0–0 Qa4 13.Bxf5 exf5 14.Qg3 Ne7 If 14...cxd4 15.Bxh6 dxc3 16.Bxg7 f4 17.Nxf4 Rxg7 18.Qxg7 Qxf4 and White surges on 15.dxc5 Bd7 16.Nd4 Nc6 If 16...0–0–0 17.Rb1! 17.Bxh6 Nxd4 18.cxd4 Kf8? Best was 18...Qxd4 19.Bxg7 f4 19.Be3 Qxc2 20.e6!! Bc6 21.Qd6+! Ke8 22.exf7+ Missing his best shot, 22.Qc7!, e.g., 22...Rf8 23.Bg5! Kxf7 23.Qg6+ Ke7 24.Bg5+! Mate looms: 24…Kd7 25.Qd6+ Kc8 26.Bf4 Qxf2+ 27.Rxf2 Re8 28.Qc7#! 1–0



Arbiters lauded for promoting game
By Alfredo Vergara Chay

GRANDMASTER Eugene Torre and lawyer Sammy Estimo, executive director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, have lauded the Chess Arbiters Association of the Philippines for its efforts to promote chess in the country.

The two chess leaders paid tribute to CAAP during its recent inaugural tournament at Ramon Magsaysay High School in Cubao, Quezon City, which saw Mandaluyong City’s Ricardo Jimenez and Far Eastern University student James Balicatan, 18, emerge as co-champions.

The first CAAP-sponsored tournament was open to non-masters rated 1950 and below.

The two top players scored 6.5 points each to evenly share the pooled top prizes of P6,000. Jimenez took the title on tiebreak.

Ervill Villa of Laguna finished the event half a point behind the leaders to pocket the third prize of P1,000, while Glenn Caballero of V. Luna Chess Club and Emil Chua had 5.5 points each to share the P1,000 pooled fourth and fifth prizes.

Category winners who each received P500 were kiddies “king” Alcon John Datu of the University of the East, top senior Juancho Caunti of Caloocan City, and top lady Jacqueline Ynot of National University.

Those who finished in sixth to 10th places were given P300 each, namely, Revin Brian Vasaloo, Rogelio Seguban, Emmanuel Emperado (son of Metropolitan Chess Club president Mila Emperado), Randolph Dalauta and QMC Chess Plaza habitué Stephen Manzanero.

At the closing ceremony, Torre, who was the first NCFP president and an alumnus of the host school, recalled the days when the Philippines was lording it over Asia in chess as he urged the 96 participants to further sharpen their playing skills and broaden their knowledge of chess theory with the help of the latest technological tools.

Lawyer Estimo cited CAAP’s role in seeking to unite Filipino chess arbiters nationwide and to standardize tournament arbitration and officiating.

He said he would recommend the affiliation of CAAP to the NCFP board and that the group be tapped for future tournaments to be organized by the federation.

The two NCFP leaders had also earlier sworn into office the CAAP directors and officers at rites held at the Rotary Club of Marikina Building.


QMC plaza habitué Shercila Cua top RP female player

WOMAN National Master Shercily Cua has become the country’s top female player, the NCFP revealed in its official website, which also named GM Joey Antonio as the top male player as earlier reported by The Weekender.

Shercily and her sister, WNM Sherily Cua, usually play at the QMC Chess Plaza on weekends. They won the inaugural Katuwaan Family Tournament organized by the QMC Chess Plaza’s management committee last December.

Both have won major prizes in local tournaments, with Shercila instrumental in the Philippine women’s team landing the top slot in Group C of the 37th World Olympiad held in Turin, Italy last year.

The NCFP posted the following announcement on its website: “In the women’s division, WNM Shercila Cua wrested the top spot with an ELO of 2224.

“WNM Catherine Pereña is second overall with ELO of 2218, followed by WFM Sheerie Joy Lomibao with ELO of 2174, WIM Beverly Mendoza, with ELO of 2154 and WIM Cristine Rose Mariano with ELO of 2083.”

As reported in the July 1 issue of The Weekender, “Antonio is still the No. 1 player in the country with Elo 2539, followed by GM Eugene Torre with 2538 and GM Mark Paragua with 2525…”



Akobian’s first big win this year

HIS victory over GM Alexander Stripunsky in the Armageddon playoff for the title makes the $400,000 World Open in Pennsylvania the first major event the 23-year-old Armenian-American grandmaster, Varuzhan Akobian, has won this year.

The recent Manila visitor must have had his lucky star hitched to the cash-rich World Open because it was also there that he earned his first GM norm in 2002, just a year after he moved to California from Yerevan, Armenia where he was born on November 19, 1983.

Akobian earned his second norm by topping the Imer Konig Memorial, where he beat such stalwarts as the late GM Alex Wojtkiewicz and six-time US Open champion Walter Browne later that year, and his third in 2003 at the Gufeld Memorial in California.

World Open champion Akobian was one of the foreign titans who competed in the GMA Cup in Parañaque City last November, beating among others GM Joey Antonio.

He also came for the Philippine Open in Subic where he finished in the same bracket (5.5 from nine games) as GM Eugene Torre, whom he had beaten at the San Marino Open soon after the 37th Olympiad in Turin last year.

Vakuzhan learned chess at the age of five during his family’s two-year-stay in Mongolia, where the freezing winds forced him and his sister to stay indoors and play the royal game.

When he and his family moved from Armenia to America in January 2001, the 17-year-old was already a well-established player back home where he was considered to be one of his country’s two top players, the other being Levon Aronian, who won the Kasparov Cup in 1997 with him as runner-up.

• V. Akobian (2574) – D. Howell (2518)
Rd. 4, 35th World Open, Philadelphia 2007
Gruenfeld Defense (D80)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bh4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 dxc4 7.e3 If 7.Qa4+ Nd7, with equality Be6 8.Rb1 b6 9.Nf3 Bg7 10.Nd2 0–0 10...c5 11.Bxc4 Bxc4 12.Nxc4 should equalize 11.Be2 If 11.Qf3 c6! f5 11...c6 12.a4 would have equalized 12.0–0 Nd7 13.Qa4 c5 14.Bxc4 Bxc4 15.Qxc4+ Kh8 16.Nf3 Qe8 17.Qe6 Bf6 18.Bxf6+ Rxf6 19.Qb3 e5 20.a4 Rb8 21.Rfd1 e4 22.Nd2 Qe6 23.Qb5 Qc6 24.Qa6 If 24.Qxc6 Rxc6 25.d5 Rc7! Qb7 25.Qe2 Qc6 26.Nc4 Rc8 26...cxd4! should be tried, e.g., 27.cxd4 Rc8, with equal chances 27.d5 Qb7 Not 27...Qxa4?? as it’s a poisoned pawn, e.g., 28.Ra1 Qb3 29.Rdb1 Qxc3 30.Ra3 Qxa3 31.Nxa3, and White surges on 28.Rb5 Re8 29.a5 If 29.Qc2 Qb8! a6 Restoring the balance 30.Rxb6!

30…Nxb6 31.axb6 Rxb6 32.Nxb6 Qxb6 33.Qa2 Rd8 34.h3 Kg7 34...Qd6 35.c4 Rb8 36.Rb1 favors White 35.Rb1 Qf6 35...Qc7 may be safer 36.c4! Kh6 37.Qa5 Rc8 38.Rb6 Qh8 39.g3 Ra8 40.Kg2 Qc8 41.Rc6 Qb7 42.Qxc5! Clinching the point, e.g., 42…Qd7 43.Rc7! 1–0

Joel “Cholo” Banawa was unlucky to be paired in the first round against GM Stripunsky, whom Akobian defeated in the playoff, and so lost his first game. The 17-year-old California-based Filipino junior player, however, made up for it by winning his second game.

• J. Banawa (2310) – J. Larsen
Rd. 2, 35th World Open, Philadelphia 2007
Modern Benoni (A69)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0–0 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Re8 10.Nd2 a6 11.a4 a5 12.0–0 Na6 13.Bf3 Nb4 Better was 13...Nd7 14.Qb3, with equality 14.Nc4! Re7 If 14...h5 15.h3 gives White the edge 15.e5 Ne8 16.Ne4 Bf5 17.Ncxd6 Bxe4? 17...Nxd6 was the saving resource: 18.Nxd6 Bc2! 18.Nxe4 Nxd5 19.Nxc5 Qb6 19...Qc7 20.Qxd5 Rd8 gives White tremendous advantage 20.Qxd5 Not 20.Bxd5 Qxc5+ 21.Kh1 Rd7 22.Bxf7+ Rxf7! Rd8 21.Qc4 Rc7 21...Bxe5 hardly improves anything 22.fxe5 Rxe5 23.b4 axb4 24.Be3 Rxe3 25.a5! 22.Be3 Bf8 23.e6!

23…Bxc5 24.exf7! The point Kf8 25.fxe8Q+ Rxe8 26.Bxc5+ Rxc5 27.Qd4 Rd8 27...Rb5 offers the only chance to get some counterplay: 28.Qxb6 Rxb6 28.Qh8+ Kf7 29.Qxh7+! 1–0

Too bad that Cholo, who ranks No. 10 among US juniors, could not pass muster against the likes of GMs Stripunsky and Sergey Erenburg.

Numerous sparkling and instructive games came out of the world’s richest Swiss open tournament, which was dominated by grandmasters, most of them from what was once the Soviet socialist empire and its East European satellites.

All the eight players who finished in a tie of 6.5 points each, including Akobian and Stripunsky, were grandmasters and so were the vast majority of the top 30 in the main event.

There were hardly any non-Americans or non-Europeans among the top players, except two Indian grandmasters—Chanda Sandipan, who joined the top eight, and Abhijit Kunte, who was among the runners-up with 6.0 points.

But first, here’s a minigem won by GM Eugene Perelshteyn, one of the 5.5-pointers.

• E. Perelshteyn (2531) – D. Ludwig (2373)
Rd. 2, 35th World Open, Pennsylvania 2007
Semi-Slav Defense

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nd5 9.Bd2 Qe7 10.Ne4 Bc7 11.g5 f5 11...h6 12.gxh6 Rxh6 13.0–0–0 should equalize 12.gxf6 N7xf6 13.Rg1 0–0 14.0–0–0 Kh8 14...Nxe4 should be tried 15.Neg5 g6 16.Ne5 Bd7? 17.Nxh7! Qxh7 18.Nxg6+ Kg8 19.Bd3!

Bull’s-eye! There’s no way that Black’s queen can dodge the bullet. 1–0

However, Perelshteyn himself fell victim to the slashing attack of India’s Sandipan in a game highlighted by surprisingly high mobility of pieces on both sides of the board and a series of sharp and furious exchanges.

• C. Sandipan (2552) – E. Perelshteyn (2531)
Rd. 7, 35th World Open, Pennsylvania 2007
Sicilian Defense, Maroczy Bind (B37)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Nc2 Bg7 8.Be2 0–0 9.0–0 Nd7 10.Bd2 Nc5 11.b4 Ne6 12.Rb1 a5 13.b5 Ne5 14.f4 Nd7 15.Be1 b6 15...Ndc5 16.Qd2 would have equalized 16.Nd5! Bb7 17.Bh4 Nf6 18.Bf3 Nc5 19.Nd4 Rc8 20.Nc6 Bxc6 21.bxc6 Rxc6 22.Nxf6+ exf6 23.e5! A powerful discovered attack Rc7 24.Qxd6 Rd7 25.Qc6 g5 26.fxg5 fxg5 27.Bg3 Nd3 28.Qxb6 Nxe5 29.Bxe5 Qxb6+ 30.Rxb6 Bxe5 31.Rb5 Bd4+ 32.Kh1 Bc3 33.Rxg5+ Kh8 34.c5 f6 35.Rg4 Rd4 I35...Rd2 would have reduced White’s lead: 36.Rc4 Be5 37.a3 36.c6 Rxg4 If 36...Rd2 37.Rb1! 37.Bxg4 Be5 38.Re1 Rf7 38...Bd6 may be tried 39.Bd7 Bd6 40.Re6 Bc7 If 40...Be5 41.Rxe5! fxe5 42.Kg1! 41.Re8+ Kg7 42.Be6 Rf8 43.Re7+ Kh6 44.h4!

IM Josh Friedel, 20, is the No. 2 junior player in the USA, next only to former US champion Hikaru Nakamura, 19, the top seed in the World Open. But Friedel, who upset US champion Alex Shabalov in the US Nationals, fared quite poorly in Philadelphia but for occasional flashes of brilliance.

• Bry Smith (2386) – J. Friedel (2474)
Rd. 7, 35th World Open, Pennsylvania 2007
Ruy Lopez, Archangelisk/Moller Defense (C78)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 7...Bb7 could be tried 8.axb5 axb5 9.Nxe5 Nxe5 10.d4 Bxd4 11.Qxd4 d6 12.f4 Nc6 If 12...Ng6 13.Nc3 13.Qc3 Ne7 14.e5 Ne4 15.Qe1 d5 16.Nd2 Nxd2 17.Bxd2 c5 18.e6 If 18.c3 0–0 c4 Equalizing 19.Qe5 19.Ba2 should be played to restore the balance: 19...0–0 20.Ba5 Qb6+! 20.Be3 f6 21.Qc3 Qc6 22.Ba2 Bxe6 Not 22...Qxe6 because of 23.Bc5 d4 24.Qxd4, and White would have a clear advantage 23.Bd4 Kf7 If 23...b4 24.Qf3! 24.Bb1 If 24.Qf3 Rhe8! Ra8! 25.Rxa8 Rxa8 26.Qd2 Bf5 27.c3 Re8 28.Qd1 g6 29.g4 Be4 30.Qe1 Bxb1 31.Qxb1 Qe6 32.h3 32.Qd1 Nc6 33.Bc5 Qe4 favors Black Qe4 33.Qe1 Qxe1 34.Rxe1 Rd8 35.Ra1 Nc6 36.Bc5 d4 37.cxd4 Nxd4 38.Ra5 Missing his best shot 38.Kf2! Ne2+!

Black now has overwhelming advantage.

39.Kh2 Rd2 40.Ra7+ Ke8 41.Re7+ Kd8 42.Rxh7 Rxb2 43.Be7+ Kc8 44.Bxf6 c3 45.f5 gxf5 46.gxf5 Nd4+ 47.Kg3 c2 48.Bg5 Nxf5+ 49.Kg4 Nd4 50.h4 Rb1 51.h5 White resigns realizing the futility of further resistance. 0–1



Anand crushes Topalov to cop plum

WORLD No. 1 Viswanathan Anand of India showed he is still the man to beat in the forthcoming World Championship when he handily disposed of past Fide world champion and world No. 2 Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the Ciudad de Leon Rapid KO Tournament of Champions in Spain last Monday.

Anand, who was 2000-01 Fide world champion, and Topalov, 2005-06, had earlier knocked out the two other former Fide world champions, Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, 2001-02, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan, 2004-05, respectively.

Anand totally outclassed Ponomariov, 3-1, while Topalov had a little more difficult time in subduing Kasimdzhanov, 2.5-1.5.

In their final match, Anand showed he was leagues ahead of Topalov in rapid chess by outplaying him, 3-1—the same score with which he had knocked out Ponomariov.

Like Ponomariov, the best that Topalov could do was to draw two games against Anand as he lost twice in their best-of-four match.

• V. Anand (2786) – V. Topalov (2772)
Final game, Ciudad de Leon, Spain 2007
Sicilian Scheveningen (B84)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.0–0 b5 9.a4 b4 10.Nc6 Qc7. 11.Nxb4 d5 12.Nxa6 Bxa6 Not 12...Rxa6 because of 13.exd5 Ra5 14.dxe6 fxe6 15.Nb5! 13.exd5 Bd6 Not 13...Bb4 because of 14.dxe6 fxe6 15.Nb5 Bxb5 16.Bxb5! 14.h3 14.Bxa6! Rxa6 15.Qd3! was playable exd5 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qxd5 Bb7 Best was 16...0–0!? 17.Bxa6 Rxa6 17.Qc4! Bc6 18.b4 Qb7 18...Ne5 favors White, e.g.,19.Qc3 Ng6 20.Bb5 Bh2+ 21.Kh1 Bxb5 22.Qxc7 Bxc7 23.axb5! 19.Rad1 Be7 19...Ne5 20.Qd4 Bc7 was playable 20.b5! White is clearly ahead Bxg2 21.Rxd7 Kxd7 22.Qg4+! Ke8 22...f5! was better: 23.Qd4+ Qd5 23.Qxg2 Qxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Rxa4 25.b6 Ra5 26.Rd1 Bg5?? A blunder under terrible pressure, but the game was lost in any case, says Fritz: 26...Bc5 27.b7 Ke7 27.b7 Ke7 28.Bb6 Re5 29.Bd8+!!

A beauty. If 29…Rxd8 30.Rxd8 Kxd8 31.b8=Q+! 1–0

Topalov is to challenge the winner of the World Cup, which will be held later this year.


Ivanchuk wins Pivdinny Bank Cup, Grischuk second

NEW World No. 4 Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine has continued his winning streak by topping the Pivdinny Bank Cup in Odessa just half a point ahead of his closest rival, world No. 14 Alexander Grischuk of Russia, in a neck-and-neck race down the homestretch.

Ivanchuk’s finest performance was his win with Black against the world’s highest-rated junior player, 20-year-old Teimour Radjabov of Baku, Azerbaijan (see also page 10).

• T. Radjabov (2747) – V. Ivanchuk (2729)
Rd. 4, Pivdenny Bank Cup, Odessa 2007
Modern Benoni (A70)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 d6 5.Nc3 exd5 6.cxd5 g6 7.h3 Bg7 8.e4 0–0 9.Bd3 a6 10.a4 Nbd7 11.0–0 Re8 12.Re1 Qe7 13.Bf4 Nh5 14.Bh2 Rb8 If 14...b6 15.Qd2! 15.g4 Nhf6 16.e5 dxe5 17.Nxe5 Nxe5 18.Rxe5 Qxe5 19.Bxe5 Rxe5 20.Qb3 20.Qd2 Bd7 should give White the edge h5 20...b6 may be tried, says Fritz 21.Qb6 Bd7 22.f3 hxg4 23.hxg4 Re3 24.Qd6 24.Bxa6 Rxf3 25.Qd6 Re8 was playable Rbe8 25.Bxg6 25.g5 may be tried Rxf3! Restoring the equilibrium 26.g5 Bh3 27.gxf6 Rxf6 28.Qxf6?? A grievous error. Best was 28.Bxf7+! to stay in the game. Bxf6! Seizing the lead and the initiative 29.Bd3 Re3 30.Rd1 Bd4 31.Kh2 Kf8 32.d6 Be5+ 33.Kg1 Bd4?? Black’s turn to blunder. Best was 33...Bd7! 34.Kh2 Bg4 35.Rd2 Rh3+ 36.Kg2 Be3 37.Rd1 Bf4 38.Be2 Rh2+ 39.Kg1 Bd7 40.Bf3? Missing his best shot, 40.Rd3! Rxb2! 41.Ne4 Be3+ 42.Kh1 Bd4 43.Ng5 f6 44.Ne4 Bxa4 45.d7 Ke7 46.Rc1 Bb5 Missing the decisive 46...Bc6! 47.Rd1 Ba4 Although Black missed his best call, 47…Bxd7!, White resigns in the face of certain defeat: 48.Rc1 Bc6! 0–1

Ivanchuk started his climb back to the top 10 by winning all major tournaments he entered last year.

The Ukrainian superstar finished with 7.0 points from nine games after winning his last game—with White against a compatriot, cellar-dwelling Vladimir Tukmakov.



Sevillano soaring high again!

NATIVE Cebuano turned American IM Enrico Sevillano is continuing to soar high in his adopted homeland since becoming the first Filipino to qualify and finish among the top 20 in the United States Championship last May.

His latest feat was to make a sweep of the first four rounds of the Southern California State Championship, beating along the way IM Jack Peters, Los Angeles Times chess columnist.

Peters had a week earlier edged him out of the top prize by half a point in the Pacific Southwest Open. Sevillano ended up second.

Early last month, the California-based former Asian junior champion also won the third prize in the prestigious US National Open in Las Vegas, Nevada, soon after topping the Lina Gurnette Memorial Classic in Los Angeles, California.

In both events, he finished ahead of Peters. Both shied away from the $400,000 World Open in Philadelphia where another Filipino, Virginia-based Anton del Mundo, topped the Under-2400 event.

Yet another Filipino, 17-year-old Joel Banawa of Los Angeles, California, faltered, however, in the second half of the main event and finished with only 3.0 points and lost 15 points in the process. Cholo, however, clung to his 10th ranking among the top US junior players with Elo 2400 (USCF rating).

Sevillano migrated to America a year after his fine performance in the 1992 Manila Olympiad. He has since made a name for himself and soon was playing under the US flag as a member of the US Chess Federation.

Almost all other Filipino players who have moved on to America are still affiliated with the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

In the July ratings list issued by the World Chess Federation, IM Sevillano (2497) ranks No. 33 in the whole USA.

In his latest outing, Sevillano showed the same supreme self-confidence he had apparently gained when he finished 18th in the US Championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma and was bolstered further when he won the third prize in the US Open in Las Vegas.

• Jack Peters – E. Sevillano
Rd. 4, SCCF State Ch, LA 2007
Ruy Lopez (C84)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.d4 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Bb7 10.Nbd2 Nd7 11.Re1 Bf6 12.Nf1 Ne7 13.Ng3 g6 13...c5 14.Be3 should equalize 14.Bh6 Bg7 15.Qd2 c5 16.Rad1 exd4 17.cxd4 c4 18.Bc2 Kh8 19.Bg5 f6 20.Bf4 d5 21.h4 dxe4 22.Nxe4 Nd5 If 22...Nb6 23.h5 gxh5 24.Nh4 Bxe4 25.Rxe4 23.Bd6 23.h5 f5 24.Neg5 Nxf4 25.Qxf4 Bxf3 26.Nxf3 Qb8 gives White the edge Re8 24.h5 N7b6 25.Bc5 c3 26.bxc3 Nc4 27.Qc1 g5 If 27...gxh5 28.Bd3 28.Bb1 28.Nfd2 Nxd2 29.Qxd2 Qd7 was playable Qd7 29.Qc2 29.Nfd2 Qg4 30.Nxc4 bxc4 also gives White the edge Bh6 29...Nde3 30.fxe3 Bxe4 31.Qf2! 30.Ng3 Bf8 31.Nf5! Qf7 32.Bxf8 Rxf8 33.h6 Na3 34.Qb3 Nxb1 35.Rxb1 Better than 35.Qxb1 Nxc3 36.Qc2 Nxd1! Qg6 35...Qd7 36.Qc2 leads to equality 36.Nd6! Bc6 37.c4 37.Re6 should be tried, e.g., 37…Qh5 38.Ne4! Nf4 Keeping the balance 38.cxb5 axb5 39.Nxb5 40.Nh2 Bxg2 41.Nc3 41.Nc7 should be tried: 41...Rad8 42.a4, with equal chances Bc6 42.Re3 Nh3+ 43.Rxh3 Qxh3 44.d5 Bd7 45.Ne4 Qxh6 46.Nc5 Bf5 47.Rd1 If 47.Re1 Rfb8 48.Qc4 Rc8, and Black surges on Qh5 47...Rfc8 was stronger, e.g., 48.Qe3 Rxa2, with overwhelming advantage 48.Rc1 Qe2 49.a4 Rac8 49...Rfc8 was best 50.Nf3??


The start of White’s collapse. Fritz suggests 50.Nf1 to keep White in the game.

50...Be4 Missing 50...Rxc5 51.Rxc5 g4! 51.Nd4?? Hastening his own doom Qg4+ 52.Kf1 Bg2+ 53.Ke1 Qxd4! The end: 54.Nd3 Rfe8+ 55.Kd2 Rxc1 56.Kxc1 Re2 57.Kb1 Bxd5 58.Qb2 Qxd3+ 59.Qc2 Qxc2+ 60.Ka1 Re1#! 0–1

• E. Sevillano (2497) – Pavel Savine (2014)
Rd. 1, 47th Pacific Southwest Open, Burbank 2007
Sicilian Defense (B22)

1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Be2 e6 7.h3 Bh5 8.0–0 Nc6 9.Be3 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Bxe2 11.Qxe2 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 Be7 13.Rd1 Qc6 14.Nd2 0–0 15.Nf3 Rfd8 16.Rd3 Qb5 17.Bxf6 Rxd3 18.Bxe7 Qd7 19.Ne5 Rd2 20.Qe1 Qd5 21.c4 Qd4 22.Nf3!

White wins a piece. 1–0



Blackburne, the ‘Black Death’

ONE great player who enlivened the chess world because of his extraordinary combinative powers, with or without sight of the board, as well as his love for whiskey was a swashbuckling English chess pirate known as the “Black Death.”

Joseph Henry Blackburn was born in the English midland city of Manchester on December 10, 1841 and died in ordinary circumstances back in his home city on September 1, 1924, three months before his 83rd birthday.

Although he learned chess in his late teens while working in a hosiery warehouse, he found the game much to his liking, inspired as he was by the genius of Paul Morphy.

Blackburne left the knitting industry to devote his time to chess and soon became one of the greatest players in England. For a time, he was even ranked No. 2 in the world, next only to Wilhelm Steinitz.

It was in Vienna, Austria in 1873 that the tournament book christened him the “Black Death” for his powerful performance with the black pieces, ending up equal first with Steinitz but losing to the future world champion in the playoff.

Indeed, Blackburne was arguably the strongest tournament player of his time, always ending at the upper end of the table, but a rather poor match player—one reason for his failure to become world champion.

Among his match conquerors was the great Johannes Zukertort, the rival Steinitz defeated in his first defense of his crown in 1886.

He mastered blindfold chess to such a degree that it was by playing without sight of the board against as many as 16 players that he earned most of his money, which is why he would tour Britain at least twice a year.

It is said that he rarely lost a game in simul and was equally adept at it without sight of the board.

Blackburne’s fondness for whiskey was legendary. Once somebody berated him for downing a player’s glass of whisky while he was walking around the boards during a simultaneous display, and he retorted: “He left it en prise and I took it en passant!”

It was in endgame mating combinations that he excelled, and this is the subject in this week’s “Chess Magic” series.

• Emanuel Lasker – J.H. Blackburne
London 1899
Ruy Lopez. Steinitz Defense (C62)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.d5 Nb8 6.Bd3 Be7 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Ne2 c6 9.c4 Na6 10.Ng3 Nc5 11.Bc2 b5 11...a5! may also be played 12.b4 Nb7 13.dxc6 Bxc6 14.cxb5 Bxb5 15.a4 Bd7 16.0–0 g6 If 16...a5 17.b5 17.h3 h5 18.Be3 a5 19.b5 Rc8 20.Rc1 Nc5 21.Nd2 21.Bb3 was stronger h4 22.Ne2 g5 Fritz suggests 22...Be6 23.Bxg5 White now surges ahead Rg8 24.Bxh4 Missing 24.Bxf6! Bxh3 25.Bg3 Be6 26.Re1 Ng4 27.Nf1 Bg5 28.Rb1 Rh8 29.Nc3 Bf4 30.Nd5 Qg5 31.f3??

Giving Black a chance for counterplay. Best was 31.Bxf4!

31…Rh1+!! A sacrifice in the best tradition, says Fritz 32.Kxh1 Bxg3 33.Nxg3 Nf2+ 34.Kg1 Nxd1 35.Nf5 Bxf5 36.exf5 36.Rbxd1 won’t work because of 36...Be6 37.Ne3 Nb3! Qd2 37.Rexd1 Qxc2 38.Rbc1 Qxf5 Rd8 40.Nc4 Nb7 Missing the clincher 40...Qf4! 41. Qf4 42.Kf2 Qxa4 43.Rc7 Nc5 44.Rh1 Rd7 45.Rc8+ Ke7 46.Rhh8 46.Rd1 was necessary Qd4! It’s all over: 47.Rce8+ Kf6 48.Rh6+ Kg5! 0–1

• J.H. BlackburneH – A. Nimzowitsch
St. Petersburg 1914
Irregular Opening (A00)

1.e3 d6 2.f4 e5 3.fxe5 dxe5 4.Nc3 Bd6 5.e4 Be6 6.Nf3 f6 7.d3 Ne7 8.Be3 c5 9.Qd2 Nbc6 10.Be2 Nd4 11.0–0 0–0 12.Nd1 Nec6 13.c3 Nxe2+ 14.Qxe2 Re8 15.Nh4 Bf8 16.Nf5 Kh8 17.g4 If 17.b3 b5, with equality Qd7 18.Nf2 a5 19.a3 b5 20.Rad1 Rab8 21.Rd2 b4 22.axb4 axb4 23.c4 Ra8 24.Qf3 Ra2 25.g5 g6 26.Ng4! gxf5 26...fxg5 may be played, e.g., 27.Nf6 g4! 27.Nxf6! Nd4 28.Qf2 Not 28.Qh5 because of 28…Qf7 29.g6 Qxg6+ 30.Qxg6 hxg6 31.Nxe8 Nb3! Qc6 29.Nxe8 Qxe8 30.Bxd4 exd4 31.exf5 Bd7 32.Re1 Qf7 33.Qh4 Ra8 34.Rf2 Bc6 35.Qg4 Re8 36.Rxe8 Qxe8 37.Re2 Qd7 38.Re6 Ba8??

38...Ba4 offered the chance, says Fritz.
39.g6! hxg6 40.Rxg6 Qh7 41.Qg3 Qh5 42.Rg4! The end: 42…Qxf5 43.Rh4+ Qh7 44.Qe5+ Kg8 45.Rg4+ Qg7 46.Rxg7+ Bxg7 47.Qxc5! 1–0

A fine win by a man pushing 74!



JH’s miniature mating gems

ENGLISH wizard Joseph Henry Blackburne’s main strength was his ability to combine piece-and-pawn play in such a uniquely harmonious or even startling way that his combinations could not easily be anticipated, especially in mating attacks.

It must be emphasized that Blackburne worked out his combinations over the board through the sheer power of his intellect, without the aid of computers or guideposts found in books. His was pure talent.

A romantic, he was a product of his time—a swashbuckling daredevil in the game of kings.

I have chosen a few sparkling miniature mating gems he carved in the hope readers will find them as instructive as they are inspiring.

• NN – J.H. Blackburne
England 1880
Giuoco Pianissimo, Hungarian Defense (C50)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+?? 4.Nc3 was best, maintaining the balance Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.Qh5+ “I used to call this the Kentucky opening. For a while after its introduction it was greatly favored by certain players, but they soon grew tired of it,” Blackburne said in a note to this move g6 Fritz suggests 6...Ke6!, e.g., 7.f4 Qf6, with Black way ahead 7.Qxe5! d6?? Fritz condemns this as turning over the advantage to White and suggests 7...Qe7 8.Qxh8 Qxe4+ 9.Kd1 Qxg2 10.Qxh7+ Kf8, with Black way ahead 8.Qxh8 Qh4 9.0–0 Best was 9.d4 Nf6 10.Nd2 Bxd4, with a clear edge Nf6 10.c3?? What a pity, victory was in sight!, says Fritz: 10.Qd8 Bb6 11.e5 dxe5 12.Qd3! Ng4! 11.h3 Bxf2+ 12.Kh1 Bf5! 13.Qxa8 Qxh3+!! Giving White no time to rest or regroup his pieces for the defense 14.gxh3 Bxe4#!

A pretty picture! 0–1

• J. H. Blackburne - NN
Kidderminster, Worcestershire 1863
Danish Gambit (C21)

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Nf6 leads to equality dxc3 4.Bc4 If 4.Nxc3 Bc5, with equal chances d6 If 4...cxb2 5.Bxb2 Qe7 6.Nd2! 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Ne5?? The equalizing 6...Nf6 was much better 7.Nxe5+- dxe5 8.Bxf7+! Ke7 Not 8...Kxf7+ because of 9.Qxd8! 9.Bg5+ 9.Qb3 Nf6 10.Be3 was stronger Nf6 10.Qh5 10.Qb3 c6 11.Be3 Qc7 was more precise c6 Best but inadequate was 10...Bg4 11.Qxg4 Kxf7 12.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.f4 Qc5 13.fxe5 Qxe5 14.0–0 h6 15.Be8 Be6 6.Rxf6! Removing a guard gxf6 If 16...Qxf6 17.e5! 17.Rd7+! Decisive Bxd7 18.Qf7+ Kd6 19.Qxd7+ Kc5 20.Be3+! Kb4 21.Qxb7+ Ka5

“I announced mate in three,” says Blackburne 22.b4+! Bxb4 23.Bb6+!! axb6 24.Qxa8#! The nicest combinations are those leading to mate, Fritz quips 1–0

• Harper – J.H. Blackburne
London 1868
Two Knights Game, Max Lange Attack (C55)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.0–0 5.e5 Ng4 6.0–0 d6 should keep the balance d6 6.Ng5 Ne5 7.Qxd4 h6 8.Nf3 Nxf3+ 9.gxf3 Bh3 10.Re1 Nd7 11.f4 Qh4 12.Qe3 g5 13.Qg3 Rg8 14.Bf1?? 14.Nc3 was the balancing move gxf4 Black is now way ahead 15.Qxg8 Nf6 16.Qh8?? “The white queen is completely out of the game,” says Blackburne Qg4+ Missing a mating line, 16...f3! 17.Bb5+ Ke7 18.Qg7 Bxg7 19.Bf4 Qxf4 20.Bf1 Ng4 21.Bxh3 Qxh2+ 22.Kf1 Qxf2#! 17.Kh1 f3 18.Bxh3 Qxh3 19.Rg1 Ng4 20.Rxg4 20.Qxf8+ won’t workl, e.g., 20...Kxf8 21.Bxh6+ Ke8 22.Rxg4 Qxg4 23.Nd2 Qg2#! Qxg4 A queen’s mate on g2 can be delayed but not stopped: 21.Qg8 Qxg8 22.Bg5 Qxg5 23.Nd2 Qg2#! 0–1

• J.H. Blackburne – T.H. Worrall
Manchester 1880
French Defense (C10)

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 c6 4.Bd3 dxe4 5.Bxe4 Nf6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bxf6 Bxf6 8.Nf3 Nd7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Qe2 Nb6 11.Rad1 Nd5 12.Ne5 Bxe5 13.dxe5 f6 14.exf6 Qxf6 15.Bxd5 exd5 16.Rd3 Be6 17.Re1 Rae8 18.Rf3 Qg6 19.Rxf8+ Kxf8 20.Qd2 Bd7 21.Rxe8+ Bxe8 22.Ne2 Qf6 23.c3 Qg6 24.h3 Qe4 25.f3 Qc4? 26.Nd4 Qxa2?? Qf4+ Kg8 28.Ne6 Qb1+ 29.Kh2 It’s mate next move and the only way to delay it is via 29…Bf7 30.Qb8+! Be8 31 Qxe8#! 1–0



Triumvirate of Wizards

AS far as The Weekender is concerned, there are three players from the current crop of superstars still active on the international circuit that can be called the “Wizards of Chess” owing to their highly creative and artistic, albeit too risky, style of play.

They are former Fide world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, and Alexei Shirov of Spain.

From the Weekender’s point of view, they can be compared to the likes of the legendary wizards Henry Joseph Blackburne of England, Frank Marshall of the United States and Mikhail Tal of the defunct Soviet Union.

Topalov, Ivanchuk and Shirov proved this in their latest efforts—Topalov in Ciudad de Leon, Spain, where he lost to the “speedy, safe and sure” Anand but not without first carving a magical gem, and Ivanchuk and Shirov in the Pivdinny Bank Cup in Ukraine (see also page 6).

In journalist Ignacio Dee’s view, the third game, Gelfand-Shirov, “belongs to the ages.”

• V. Topalov (2772) – R. Kasimdzhanov (2677)
Rd.1, Ciudad de Leon, Spain July 7,.2007
Closed Catalan (E06)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.Qc2 Nc6 7.0–0 Nb4 8.Qb3 a5 9.a3 Nc6 10.Bf4 a4 11.Qc2 dxc4 12.Qxc4 Nd5 13.Nc3 Nb6 14.Qd3 Bd7 15.Rad1 Na5 16.h4 Nac4 17.Ng5 Bxg5 18.Bxg5 Qe8 19.Bc1 Bc6 20.e4 Rd8 21.Rfe1 f6 22.g4 Qf7 23.Qg3 Kh8 24.Rd3 f5 25.Rf3 Rxd4 26.gxf5 e5 27.Bg5 Nd7 28.Bc1 Nf6 29.Rd3 Rfd8 30.Red1 Qe7 31.Nd5 Rxd3 32.Rxd3 Bxd5 33.exd5 Nd6 34.Bh3 Nde4 35.Qe3 Nc5 36.Rd1 Nb3 37.Bg2 c6! 38.Qa7 Not 38.dxc6 because of 38...Rxd1 Nxc1 39.d6 Ne2+ 40.Kf1 Qf7 Best was 40...Nf4, e.g., 41.Bxc6 Qf7! 41.Kxe2 Qc4+ 42.Ke1 Qb5?? 43.Rd2 e4 44.Bf1 Qe5 45.Be2 h6?? 46.Qxb7! e3 47.fxe3 Qxe3 48.Qe7 Qg1+ 49.Bf1 Rd7 50.Qe6 Kh7 51.Rd3 Qh2 52.Be2 Qxh4+ 53.Kd1 Qf4 54.Kc2² c5 55.Rd1 Qf2 56.Rd2 Missing his best short, 56.Kb1! Qf4! Restoring the equilibrium 57.Bb5 Rd8 58.d7 With a clear edge h5? Better was 58...c4, reducing White’s lead 59.Qe7 Now White is again surging ahead Qb8 60.Rg2 Ng4 61.f6! Rg8 Not 61...Ngxf6 because of 62.Qexg! 62.f7 62.Rxg4! hxg4 63.Bc4! would have clinched the point Rf8 63.Rxg4! Qxb5 64.Qe4+ Missing a mating line via 64.d8=Q! Qb3+ 65.Kb1 Qxf7 66.Rg1 Rxd8 67.Qxf7 Rd1+ 68.Rxd1 Kh6 69.Rd5 g6 70.Qf8+ Kh7 71.Rd7#! Kh8 65.Rg5 Qb3+ 66.Kc1 Qxf7 67.Rf5!!

Fritz calls this “the crowning sacrifice.”

67...Qxf5 68.Qxf5 Rxf5 69.d8=Q+ Kh7 70.Qe8! 1–0

• V. Korchnoi (2623) – V. Ivanchuk (2729)
Rd. 6, Pivdenny Bank Cup, Odessa 2007
Queen’s Gambit Accepted (D27)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e3 a6 6.a4 c5 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0–0 Be7 9.dxc5 0–0 10.Qc2 Bxc5 11.Rd1 Bd7 12.Ne4 Nb4 13.Nxf6+ Qxf6 14.Qe2 Bc6 15.e4 Rfd8 16.Rxd8+ Qxd8 17.Bd2 Nc2 18.Bg5 Nd4 19.Nxd4 Qxd4 20.Bd3 Qb4 21.Qc2 Bd4 22.Ra2? Overlooking the lethal queen-check in the back rank! 0–1

• B. Gelfand (2733) – A. Shirov (2699)
Rd. 7, Pivdenny Bank Cup, Odessa 2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Rb1 0–0 9.Be2 cxd4 10.cxd4 Qa5+ 11.Bd2 11.Qd2 Qc7 12.Bb2 may be better Qxa2 Equalizing 12.0–0 Bg4 13.Be3 Nc6 14.d5 Na5 15.Bg5 b6 16.Bxe7 Rfe8 17.d6! Nc6 18.Bb5 Nxe7 19.h3 Bxf3 20.Qxf3 Qe6 21.Bxe8 Rxe8 22.dxe7 Rxe7 23.Rfe1 Bd4 24.Rbd1 Qe5 25.Rd3 a5 26.Qd1 Bc5 27.Re2 Re6 28.g3 Rd6 29.Kg2 Rxd3 30.Qxd3 a4 31.Rd2 a3 32.Qc4 Kg7 33.Rd7 Qf6 34.f4 34...Qb2+ 35.Kf3 Qf2+ 36.Kg4 h5+ 37.Kh4 g5+ 38.fxg5 Kg6 39.Qc3?? Giving Black new chances. Best was 39.Rd3! f6 40.Rd5 a2 41.Rf5?? 41.Rxc5! would have led to better counterplay, e.g., 41…bxc5 42.Qe5 fxg5+ 43.Qxg5+ Kf7 44.Qxh5+ Ke7 45.Qe5+ Kd7 46.Qd5+ Kc7 47.Qe5+ Kb6 48.Qc3! Qf4+!!

Shirov’s immortal stroke, a sacrifice of the queen to clear the way for his bishop.

42.gxf4 If 42.Rxf4+ fxg5! Bf2+! 43.Qg3 Bxg3+ 44.Kxg3 a1=Q! The point 45.Rxf6+ Kg7 46.e5? 46.f5 was better but it won’t change the course of events, e.g., 46…b5 47.Rg6+ Kf8 48.Kh4 Qe1+ 49.Kxh5 Qe2+ 50.Kh6 Qxe4 51.Rf6+ Kg8 52.Rg6+ Kh8 and Black would still be winning b5 47.Kh4 b4 48.Kxh5 Qd1+ 49.Kh4 b3 50.e6 b2 51.Rf7+ Kg8 52.Rb7 b1=Q 53.Rxb1 Qxb1 54.Kg4 Qe4! White toppled his king in the face of certain defeat: 55.Kg3 Qe3+ 56.Kg4 Qxe6+ 57.Kg3 Kh7! 0–1



Hou Yifan, 13, China’s wonder girl

CHINESE national women’s champion Hou Yifan is only 13 years old, but her string of successes in her career will likely surpass those of most female players two, three or even four times her age.

If her progress continues on a steady and even keel, barring any unforeseen tempests along the way, she will likely catch up with or even surpass her idol, Hungarian wonder woman Judit Polgar, regarded as the strongest female player ever.

Yifan first got into the global limelight in 2003 when she won the world under-10 girls’ championship in Halkidiki, on the Grecian island of Crete, according to her bio-sketch in

In 2004, she competed with the boys in the same age group and won the bronze, also in Halkidiki.

In 2005, she finished fifth in the Arrows Cup in Jinan, China with a performance rating of just below 2400.

That same year, Yifan qualified for the women’s World Championship and became the youngest ever—at the age of 12—to vie for the highest crown a girl could aspire to in this game of kings and queens.

She reached the third round in the Fide knockout series where she lost to IM Nino Kurtsidze of Georgia after knocking out IM Nadezhda Kosintseva of Russia in the first round and WGM Natalia Zhukova of Ukraine (see game below) in the next to post a decent performance rating of 2504.

Last year was another busy year for 12-year-old Yifan who, like Filipino IM Wesley So, played in the 37th Olympiad in Turin and won the silver medal on board four for scoring11 points from 13 games with a performance rating of 2506.

Soon after that, she landed the fourth place in China’s National Championship for women, but, like everybody else, she also had her dismal hour later when she fared poorly—only 3.0 points from nine games—in the North Urals Cup, won by Ukrainian wonder girl, Katerina “Katya” Lahno.

She recovered quickly, however, and made up for it by finishing second to her compatriot, Yang Shen, in the women’s World Junior Championship.

This year, she started auspiciously by taking the fifth prize in Group C of the annual, three-tier Corus Tournament at Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands for which she received the WGM title. How Yifan performs against male rivals can be seen in the second featured game.

Finally, last month, Hou Yifan won the women’s national crown in the historic city of Chonqing.

• Hou Yifan (2269) - Natalia Zhukova (2432) [C24]
FIDE Women's World Ch, Ekaterinburg 2006
Bishop’s Opening (C24)

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 d6 7.Nge2 Nbd7 8.0–0 8.a3 gives Black a chance to equalize, e.g., 8…b5 9.Ba2 0–0 Nf8 Better was 8...g5 9.Bg3 h5! 9.d4 exd4 10.Nxd4 Ng6 11.Bg3 0–0 12.Kh1 Bb6 13.f3 Bc7 Missing 13...Nh5 14.Bf2, with equal chances 14.Bb3 a6 15.Qd2 Nh5 16.Bf2 Bb8 17.Rad1 Qc7 18.Bg1 Nf6 19.Nf5 d5 20.Ng3 dxe4 21.fxe4 Ng4 21...Kh7 22.Bc5 Re8 23.Qf2 keeps the balance 22.Nce2 22.Rxf7 Rxf7 leads to drawing lines b5? 22...Ba7 and Black hangs on, says Fritz 23.Bc5 Ne7 24.Bxf7+!

Sharp and deadly.

24...Kh7 Not 24...Rxf7+ because of 25.Qd8+! 25.h3 Nf6 26.Bb3 Re8 27.Qd3 Kh8?? 27...Ng6 was better 28.Nf4! Nfg8 29.Bxg8 Kxg8 30.Qb3+ Kh7 31.Qf7 Bd7 32.Bxe7. 1–0

• John Van der Wiel (2511) – Hou Yifan (2509)
Rd. 3, Corus Group C, Wijk aan Zee 2007
Sicilian Najdorf

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qc7 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.f5 Nc6 10.fxe6 fxe6 11.Be2 Nxd4 12.Qxd4 Qf7 13.Na4 Bd7 14.Nb6 Rd8 15.0–0 Be7 16.Nxd7 Rxd7 17.Qc4 Rg8 18.Rf4 Rg5 19.Bg4 Re5 20.Qc8+ Bd8 21.Raf1 Rc7 22.Qb8 Kd7 23.c4 Be7 24.Kh1 Qe8 25.Qa7 Qc8 26.Be2 b5 27.Qd4 bxc4 28.Rh4 f5 29.exf5?? 29.Rd1 should be tried, Rxe2! The best 30.f6 Qg8 31.Rg4 Bxf6!

The final nail.
32.Qf4 Qd8 33.Qf3 Re5 34.Rf4 Be7 35.Rf7 Rcc5 36.Qb7+ Qc7 37.Qa8 Rf5! 0–1



Basic Checkmates

DO you remember your first steps in learning chess? My experience is that most of us start from watching other people play, become fascinated with the silent war going on, try a game with another beginner, perhaps your brother or classmate, win your first game, and then are forever hooked on the sport.

Then you play other beginners and maybe after you start losing you would either look for someone to teach you, or buy a chess book and learn something about the strategies and tactics of the game.

It is from the beginner’s books that you learn about Fool’s Mate and Scholar’s Mate. As everyone knows Fool’s Mate is 1.f3 e5 2.g4 Qh4# and Scholar’s Mate is 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Qh5 Nf6 4.Qxf7#

Oh joy! Having learned these two cheap tricks you then proceed to mate your beginner-friends. Of course soon they will catch on to your tricks and you have to go back to your books and look for more. And when they catch up to that or buy their own books to research your “cheap tricks” become a bit deeper – you start studying whole opening systems! And that, is when you become an “openings’ expert”. Then you play in a school league game and find out that your knowledge of the openings is very superficial – your opponents know everything in your arsenal and more. It is then that you start with the Openings Encycopedias, Chess Informants, databases, etc etc.

Marish Production (Ramon Quesada) wrote a short biography on Eugene Torre back in the 70s called “Beyond the 13th Move”. The title refers to his game vs GM Robert Byrne of the USA during the 1974 Nice Olympiad – Eugene needed only a draw to qualify as an International Grandmaster and this precious half-point was granted on the 13th move.

In the second half of the book Eugene annotated his 15 Memorable Games”. You know what game he chose for no. 1? I quote it here with his original notes (in italics—Ed.).

Torre,Eugene - Torre,Jorge [C50]
skittles game, 1964
[GM Eugene Torre]

Here is an exciting game I remember playing against my brother Jorge wherein I tried to employ the first trap. Before the game, Jorge offered me the usual extra knight which I proudly refused this time. I was intent on beating him fairly and squarely.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 h6

My big brother tries to avoid a possible jump of my knight to g5. Theoretically this is unnecessary and a waste of tempo in this early part of the game. Jorge was not fond of reading chess books.

4.Nc3 d6 5.d4

Tension grips me. Will Jorge sense I am up to something?


Jorge, it seems, is oblivious of my deadly plan!


As I take the pawn, I can feel the warm flow of blood inside me. You can imagine the excitement of a little boy about to beat his big brother.


Jorge finally does it!!! It's hard to believe, but he falls right smack into the trap. He could still have avoided the trap by 6...dxe5 or even 6...Bxf3 followed by 7...Nxe5.

7.Nxe5! Bxd1?!

I put a question mark and then an exclamation point after Black's last move because this leads to an immediately mate for him while granting White an artistic victory.

8.Bxf7+ Ke7 9.Nd5# 1–0

I daresay that the seeds of an International Grandmaster were planted in this humble game.

Are “cheap traps” only useful for these beginner’s games? Definitely not. Cheap traps introduce the novice to simple tactics from which pattern recognition would be born. Here is a recent brilliant game which refuted a White opening line. If you look at it carefully you might detect that it bears a remarkable similarity to GM Eugene’s tactic.

Ahn,Martin (2302) - Ruck,Tamas (2334) [C45]
TCh-BEL 2006-7 Belgium BEL (9), 25.02.2007
Scotch Game

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4

This, of course, is the Scotch Game. Black has a major decision to make here. He can either opt for the complications of 4...Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4, or the simpler 4...Bc5 5.Nxc6 Qf6 6.Qd2. Kasparov and Adams prefer the first, Short and Beliavsky like the second.

4...Bc5 5.Nb3

When Kasparov started playing 5.Nxc6…, but we shouldn't forget that previous to that it was 5.Nb3 which was considered to give Black more problems.

5...Bb6 6.Nc3

Usually White precedes this move with 6.a4 a6 and only then plays 7.Nc3 however, in a recent game there continued 7...Qf6 8.Qe2 Nge7 9.h4 (9.Nd5 Nxd5 10.exd5+ Ne7 11.h4 d6 12.Bg5 Qe5 was very comfortable for Black in Hanset-Van Weersel, Belgium 2005) 9...h6 10.g4 Nd4 11.Nxd4 Bxd4 12.Bd2 d6 13.f4 g6 14.Bg2 Bd7 15.g5 hxg5 16.hxg5 Rxh1+ 17.Bxh1 Qe6 18.Qd3 and White was regretting putting his pawn on a4. Ansell,S (2379)-Ganguly,S (2536)/ Edinburgh 2003 0–1 (37)


Black has 6...d6 and 6...Qf6. The text is supposed to be weak because it exposes the knight to the dangerous pin Bg5. Let's look at what happens.

7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 d6 9.a4

After this game nobody will play this move anymore. Perhaps Radulov's move 9.Qe2 is best, because the other moves are bad:

1. 9.Nd5? Nxe4 10.Bxd8 Bxf2+ 11.Ke2 Bg4+ 12.Kd3 Ne5+ 13.Kxe4 f5+ 14.Kf4 Ng6#;
2. 9.f3 Be6 10.Qd2? Nxe4! 11.Qf4 Ng5 12.0–0–0 Ne5 13.Bd3 Bxb3 14.axb3 Ne6 15.Qa4+ Qd7 16.Bb5 c6 17.Be2 Be3+ 18.Kb1 Nc5 Black is a pawn up with a fine position. Alapin,S-Janowski,D/ Vienna 1898 0–1 (51).

Now look at this position and compare it with the Torre game above. What do you think is Black's next move?

9...Nxe4!! 10.Bxd8 Bxf2+ 11.Ke2 Bg4+ 12.Kd3 Ne5+!

Taking back the queen 12...Bxd1 is not good enough. After 13.Nxe4 Nb4+ 14.Kc3 Be1+ 15.Nbd2 Bxd2+ 16.Nxd2 Nd5+ 17.Kd4 Bxc2 18.Bc4 Rxd8 19.Bxd5 White has a knight for three pawns. Black will need to play well to draw this one.

13.Kxe4 f5+ 14.Kd5 Rxd8 15.Qxg4

Forced, otherwise he is mated.

15...c6+ 16.Ke6 0–0!

This is the attraction of the game - Black doesn't want the queen!
17.Nd5 fxg4 18.Bd3 g6 19.Rhf1 Kg7 20.Nd4 Rfe8+ 21.Ne7 Bh4 22.Bxg6 Rxe7+ 23.Kf5 Rf8+ 24.Ke4 Nxg6+
[24...d5+ 25.Ke3 Nc4+ 26.Kd3 Re3#]
25.Kd3 Ne5+ 26.Kc3 Bf2 0–1

Reader comments and/or suggestions are urgently solicited. Email address is

This column was first published in BusinessWorld on Monday, July 9, 2007.



Ivanchuk surges back

The World’s Top 10 Players

As of July 2007

1 GM Viswanathan Anand IND 2792
2 GM Veselin Topalov BUL 2769
3 GM Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2769
4 GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2762
5 GM Alexander Morozevich RUS 2758
6 GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov AZE 2757
7 GM Peter Leko HUN 2751
8 GM Levon Aronian ARM 2750
9 GM Teimour Radjabov AZE 2746
10 GM Dmitry Jakovenko RUS 2735

Significant Rise:

1) Vassily Ivanchuk (38 yrs old) rejoins the top 10 list
2) Dmitry Jakovenko (24 yrs old), already acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost endgame experts, has made it to the top 10 for the first time.

Significant Fall:

1) David Navara (2656) lost 64 points to drop from 14th to 54th in the world. David is a very intriguing character – how can one apparently so fragile play such powerful chess? He is extremely modest, polite, apologizing all the time, speaks in a monotone and has a habit of looking at the floor while he talks. Always immaculately dressed, during play he never bends over the board and in fact prefers to sit as far as possible from it so as not to disturb his opponent.

2) Former top-10 players Alexey Dreev and Viktor Korchnoi both dropped out of the top 100 list. In the case of Viktor the Terrible he has been in and out, but for Dreev this is the first time he has fallen out since god-knows-when. Korchnoi is already 76 but Dreev continues to be an active player at 38 and will surely barge back soon.

The most impressive rise was that of Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk who gained 33 points in the past three months and climbed back into 4th position. You will recall that back in 1990 “Chuckie” was already no. 4 in the world (he actually reached no. 3 in 1992) and now, 17 years later, he is back at fourth. This is a testament to his high class. Many GMs had commented over the years that when it comes to chess understanding Ivanchuk was in no way inferior to Kramnik or Anand – it is only a recurring problem with nerves that keeps him away from the highest title in the world.

I recently saw in a blog the lines written by a chess fan: “Ivanchuk is like a god of chess. I love how he plays the game. You never now just how Chucky is going to beat you: mating attack, endgame grind, strange material balance, etc. In contrast to Chucky's versatility, every Kramnik win looks the same.”

Ivanchuk is in the middle of a great run. He scored 6/9 in the Russian Team Championships, in the process defeating Alexander Morozevich, then proceeded to Havana where he dominated in the Capablanca Memorial (7.5/9, 2 pts ahead of second placer Lenier Dominguez), and then 3.5/4 in the German Bundesliga. His rating does not yet include the Aerosvit Tournament in Foros, Crimea:

Aerosvit Foros 17th-30th June 2007

1 GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2729, 7.5/11
2 GM Sergey Karjakin UKR 2686, 7.0/11
3-6 GM Alexander Onischuk USA 2663, GM Peter Svidler RUS 2736, GM Loek Van Wely NED 2674, GM Alexei Shirov ESP 2699, 6.0/11
7 GM Lenier Dominguez CUB 2678, 5.5/11
8 GM Sergei Rublevsky RUS 2680, 5.0/11
9-10 GM Dmitry Jakovenko RUS 2708, GM Pavel Eljanov UKR 2686, 4.5/11
11-12 GM Krishnan Sasikiran IND 2690, GM Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu ROM 2693, 4.0/11

Average Elo: 2693 <=> Category: 18

He stands to gain more than 10 pts from this win, and that should catapult him past Topalov and Kramnik for the no. 2 position in the world.

This July Ivanchuk did not slow down and came from behind to win the 2007 Pivdinny Bank Cup, a three-day round-robin rapid event in Odessa, Ukraine. Grischuk started out with 3/3 on the first day, including a win over Ivanchuk. But Chucky came back with his own 3/3 on the second day to tie for the lead. On the last day Ivanchuk scored wins over Smirin and Tukmakov to take first place alone on 7/9.

Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (Rapid)
Odessa, Ukraine
4th-6th July 2007

1 GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2729, 7.0/9
2 GM Alexander Grischuk RUS 2717, 6.5/9
3-4 GM Teimour Radjabov AZE 2747, GM Alexei Shirov ESP 2699, 5.5/9
5 GM Boris Gelfand ISR 2733, 5.0/9
6 GM Yuri Drozdovskij UKR 2558, 4.0/9
7 GM Etienne Bacrot FRA 2709, 3.5/9
8 GM Viktor Korchnoi SUI 2625, 3.0/9
9-10 GM Ilia Smirin ISR 2650, GM Vladimir Tukmakov UKR 2551, 2.5/9

It is a pity that Ivanchuk is not participating in the world championship later this year in Mexico. His chess mastery will be missed.

Shirov,Alexei (2699) - Ivanchuk,Vassily (2729) [C91]
Aerosvit Foros UKR (10), 28.06.2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.d4 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.Re1 Bg4 10.Be3 exd4 11.cxd4 d5 12.e5 Ne4 13.Nc3 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Qd7

A multi-purpose move, first to keep a watch on the white squares in the diagonal c8-h3, and also to make way for his knight on e8.

15.h3 Bh5 16.g4 Bg6 17.Nd2
Intending f2-f4-f5.

A new move, Ivanchuk intends to exchange white-squared bishops. Black has countered the f-pawn advance threat by 17...f5 18.Qf3 Rad8 (18...fxg4?? 19.Qxd5+ wins a piece) 19.Qg3 Na5 20.Bf4 Qe6 21.g5 c5 with counterplay. Arencibia,W (2485)-Servat,R (2450)/ Matanzas 1995 1/2 (37).

18.f4 a4 19.Bc2 Bxc2 20.Qxc2 f5 21.exf6

White cannot make progress without this move, as otherwise his bishop on e3 will just become one big pawn.
21...Bxf6 22.Nf3 Rae8 23.Bf2 h5!? 24.Qg6
Not 24.g5? Qxh3.
24...Re4 25.Rxe4 dxe4 26.Nh2?

After 26.Nh2

White should have played 26.Ng5. The text allows a brilliant combination.
26...Nxd4!! 27.cxd4
[27.Rd1?? Ne2+]
27...Bxd4 28.Rb1

What else?
1 28.Re1 Bxf2+ 29.Kxf2 Qd2+ 30.Re2 Rxf4+ 31.Kg3 h4+ 32.Kxh4 Qxe2;
2 Or 28.Rf1 e3
28...e3! 29.Bg3 h4! 30.Bxh4 Rxf4 31.Qd3 Qd5!
With the threat of ...e3-e2+.
32.Nf1 Rf2 33.Nxe3
[33.Bxf2 exf2+ 34.Kh2 Be5+ wins the queen]
33...Rg2+ 34.Kh1
[34.Kf1 Qf3+ 35.Ke1 Bc3+! 36.Qxc3 Qe2#]
34...Qf3! 0–1

Reader comments and/or suggestions are urgently solicited. Email address is

This column was first published in Businessworld on Friday, July 13, 2007.


Despite playing White always, Ehlvest loses to champion Rybka

ONCE again, a super grandmaster has lost miserably to a super software program, confirming that no man can match wits with a strong chess-playing machine.

Former interzonal champion Jaan Ehlvest (2629) failed to win a single game against the current world computer chess champion Rybka, a software programmed by American cyber expert IM Casik Rajlich.

Rybka won, 4.5-1.5, despite playing Black in all six games. The machine won three and drew three, going through the match unbeaten.

The machine demonstrated its mastery of human-designed opening systems, winning with the Nimzo-Indian Defense in the first round, the Reti Opening in the third round and the Center Counter (Scandinavian Defense) in the fourth.

It held Ehlvest to draws in the second round against a Queen’s Pawn Opening, in the fourth with a Gruenfeld Defense and in the sixth with the Scandinavian


Kramnik DVD tells of career highlights

WORLD champion Vladimir Kramnik has recorded a DVD that will reveal rare glimpses of his life and career.

Chessbase News said he made the recording in Hamburg earlier this week, before rushing off to Cologne to give moral support to his friend, heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitchsko, who was defending his IBF title.

Dr. Klitchsko and his brother Vitali, a former heavyweight boxing champion, are close friends of Kramnik’s.

The Klitchsko brothers also give their support to Kramnik with their presence during important matches.

In the DVD, Kramnik tells the story of how he reached the top and gives glimpses of how he prepares for major tournaments and matches.



Ian Rogers, Aussie model player

GRANDMASTER Ian Rogers, 47, has retired from active chess competition, according to the latest Australian Chess Federation’s newsletter that I received early yesterday morning. Australia’s No. 1 player for the past 25 years, Rogers is said to have retired for reasons of health on advice of his doctor.


GM Rogers and his wife, Cathy Rogers, also a chess celebrity Down Under, are familiar figures to Filipinos as they have visited Manila a number of times in the past. Rogers first came in 1976 and has taken part in Philippine events, including the 1992 Manila Olympiad.


HE has also been one of the closest rivals of GM Joey Antonio and other Filipino players in the Bangkok Open, as well as in the Dato Arthur Tan Open In Kuala Lumpur, a great number of times. In fact, Ian also competed in the Cebu Grandmasters Tournament of 1992 where he won a major prize (was it the top one?).


I FIRST saw Rogers, along with another future Aussie grandmaster, Darryl Johansen, in the Asian Cities Championship that Hong Kong hosted annually in the late seventies and early eighties. The two steered Sydney to a number of victories in that series, if my memory serves me correctly.


THE last time I saw GM Ian Rogers was in the Commonwealth Championship of 1984 where I represented Hong Kong but lost almost all my games because I had to leave the tournament hall for work two hours earlier than the rest. You see, I foolishly entered the event without getting a proper leave of absence from the SCM Post!


ALTHOUGH he won’t be competing anymore in tournaments either in Australia or overseas, GM Rogers will
continue serving as coach and chess writer. He is a regular contributor to Chess Life of the US Chess Federation and other popular international chess publications.


THE ACF newsletter paid tribute to GM Roger: “Australian chess players will miss Ian on the tournament scene. Fortunately, he will still be able to write and coach, two activities that helped create his reputation as arguably the most influential chess player Australia has produced…” He coaches the ACF Junior Squad.


IT would do well for our top players to make the same contribution that Rogers is doing for gifted youngsters in his homeland. Passing the torch to younger talents by coaching and training them is the best legacy a player worth his salt can leave behind. Don’t you think so, too?


GOOD to know that the Selection Tournament for the National Training Pool will not be taxing the players with registration fees and that, in turn, there will be no cash prizes. This is as it should be. After all, qualifying as a national trainer is enough reward.


Chess quote

“Some part of a mistake is always correct.” - Savielly Tartakower

Monday, July 16, 2007

Meeting, Meeting, Meeting

Attention: Ernie Yap/Alexius Valerio/Emman Marbella/Francis Aldeguer/Mel Cabangon/Marz Marcial/Joey Tiberio/Lino Fabrigas/Paul Ducalang/Danny Ambing/Ryan Carandang/Willie Laceste/Abdulla Tato/Danny Baltazar

Please be informed that there will be an officers meeting on Tuesday, 17 July 2007, in Reef Mall, Dubai at 7:30pm sharp.

Unresolved financial issues, recently held tournaments, plans and programme of activities and looming scandals sorounding the club will be discussed.

If you think you have reasonable capacity to assist us build and run our club in a more progressive manner then your attendance is highly appreciated, otherwise, khaliwalih...!!!

P.S. there will be a free pepsi...
sure na!!!

Yours sincerely

(050 6987925)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


A 13-year-old chess prodigy displays his mettle in Dubai

By K.R. Nayar, Staff ReporterPublished: July 14, 2007, 23:31 - Gulf News

Dubai: Srinath Narayanan, the 13-year-old boy who won the Dubai Junior Open chess title wants to emulate the legendary Viswanathan Anand.

"When I grow up I want to become the World's No 1 player like Anand," Narayanan told Gulf News after receiving the trophy.

"Dubai has been a lucky venue for me. I came here first in 2004 and won the under-10 title. In 2006, I won the under-12 title too and I am delighted to win the Dubai Junior Open title this time," said Narayanan, who went on to become the World Under-12 champion in 2005.

Narayanan hails from Tamil Nadu, which is also Anand's hometown. He takes tips from Anand whenever he meets him and also keeps in touch through e-mail.

"I was trained by Russian Grandmaster Maxim Sorokin, who died recently in an accident. He used to provide me valuable guidance. For the Dubai Junior Open championship I had to prepare on my own.

"Sorokin would have been delighted to hear about my victory had he been alive," added Narayanan, who has already won the Asian under- 10 event in 2004, Commonwealth under-10 title in 2004, World Youth under-12 gold medal in 2005 and even the Commonwealth under-14 title in 2006.

Did he expect to win the tournament this time? "Before the start I told myself that I will win the Dubai event this time. I knew I was in good form."

What does he consider as his greatest strength?

"My strong point is my tactics. I work hard every day to improve all aspects of my game," said Narayanan, who is sponsored by Sun Group Enterprises Private Limited from New Delhi.

"The support from Sun Group has helped me gain exposure. I am focused on becoming a Grand Master and the World No 1 player," added Narayanan, who studies in MCTM Chidambaram Chettiyar Higher Secondary School in Chennai.

"My next tournament is the Dutch Open in Netherlands and then it's the Arctic Open at Norway. I want to win them too," he said.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Chess is Child's Play

Chess is Child’s Play
By Deborah Mitchell, Issue 139, November/December 2006

Mothers are sometimes overwhelmed by all of the important things we believe we should teach our kids so that they will grow healthy minds, bodies, and spirits. Indeed, the worlds we create for our children—the activities we choose, the books we read to them, the experiences we expose them to, etc.—become the molds we pour our children into. Yet perhaps one of the most important things we can do for our kids is to teach them not what to think but how to think. Developing skills of analysis and critical thinking are vital to succeeding as an independent thinker in school and in life.
Even before my son was born, I, like most new mothers, bought an absurd number of books on parenting. I soon worked myself into a frenzy trying to determine how much advice I could actually pack into his life. But a suggestion buried in the last pages of one of those books caught my attention: teaching young children to play chess helps them learn to think critically, to concentrate, and to solve problems. Thus began a renewed love affair with one of my favorite games.

A Little History

Chess is a captivating battle of strategy and one of the oldest board games. Two players, with 16 pieces each, try to “capture” or checkmate each other’s king. No one is certain who created chess, but many sources suggest that it originated in India, about 1,500 years ago. Now considered a sport, the game has been played for hundreds of years in many cultures and is a great equalizer of nations, races, genders, and classes. There is some question as to whether chess makes kids smart or smart kids like chess, but some things are certain: learning to play the game helps children visualize, analyze, concentrate, recognize patterns, learn self-control, and understand the concepts of cause and effect. Unlike so many games played by younger children, chess is not a game of luck, but one that requires players to make purposeful, well-thought-out decisions. In many countries, the game is a standard part of school curricula, used to improve reasoning, math, and verbal skills.

In her book, Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators, Alexey W. Root, PhD, senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas, states that “Chess is a domain where one learns that one’s actions have consequences. Moreover, a teacher might illustrate for students the connections between making a difference at the chessboard and making a difference in the world.” Root, the US Women’s Chess Champion in 1989, was taught to play chess by her father at the age of five. She now teaches university-level courses that train educators and parents to use chess for educational purposes.

Benjamin Franklin played and revered chess, calling it “the most ancient and the most universal game known among men.” He compared the game to life and believed that several “very valuable qualities of the mind” were acquired and strengthened by playing chess.5 If you’ve ever played the game, you understand why.

Click here to read the full story.

Friday, July 06, 2007

By: Marlon Bernardino

US Master Anton Paolo del Mundo scored seven points in nine rounds to cop first place in Section 1 or the Under 2400 brackets of the just concluded World Open chess tournament last Thursday at the Valley Forge Radisson and Convention Plaza, King of Prussia in Pennsylvania, USA.

Del Mundo, former Ateneo stalwart and first Milo Checkmate student, registered a US Chess Federation performance rating of 2503 to lead four others tied with him for first place. He also has an unofficial estimated FIDE rating increase of 29.1 points, and will push his international rating to 2325 to establish himself as the next Philippines' FIDE Master. Paolo is currently No.48 in the July RP-Fide rating list with an Elo rating of 2296. According to FIDE handbook rules, a player who reached the 2300 Elo barrier is automatic gain an outright FIDE master title especially if he can play at least a minumum of 24 games.

Sharing first place with Del Mundo were all titled players, namely IM Mikhail Zlotnikov of Russia, FM Tegshsuren Enkbat of Mongolia, FM William Morrison, and FM Ilye Figler of the United States. Morrison was Del Mundo's colleague at University of Maryland Baltimore County, and they were consistent US national collegiate chess champions when Del Mundo studied in the university.

The winners shared the top prizes at about $6,000 each. Del Mundo is currently a software engineer, having graduated among the honors class in the computer science department.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr. was elated Del Mundo's big win in the 35th annual World Open Chess Championships which offers a total pot prize of US$400,000 in the event was organize by husband and wife Bill and Brenda Goichberg of the Continental Chess Association.

"Once again Filipino woodpusher proved that we can shine in chess and that's what Paolo (Del Mundo) did, iI hope that we should give chess more attention in our country so that we can produce more champions in abroad." said Pichay, also the deputy president of ASEAN Chess Federation.

The victory was unexpected for the multi-awarded Del Mundo, who has just recently come out from a two year hiatus from chess with the last tournament at the Minnesota HB Global competition.

At this tournament, he was also the only untitled winner among grandmasters from all over the world. As a tune-up for the World Open, he played at George Washington Open recently in Virginia, where his family stays.

It was a double victory of sorts for the Del Mundo family, when Paolo's dad and first chess teacher Herky del Mundo also scored seven points and tied for fourth place in the Section 5 tournament in the World Open. Del Mundo is a filmmaker in Ashburn Virginia, and also serves as a chess teacher in his spare time in Rockville, Maryland.

Paolo made a strong push at the end of the tournament with two straight victories against Craig Jones of North Carolina and the touted FM Robby Adamson, who was overcame with disbelief when he lost to the untitled player.

Meanwhile, lone Filipino GM entry Mark Paragua won the 10 minutes rapid Open section after accumulating 4.5 points after five games of play.

The country's No.3 GM earlier withdrew his participation in the main event of the Open section after losing to Israeli GM Leonid Yudasin in the fifth round and finished with 2 wins and 3 loses.

The World Open (June 28-July 4 King of Prussia, PA) wrapped up on a rainy Independence Day in a nine-way tie for first in the Open section which included GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Sandipan Sandipan, Leonid Yudasin, Evgeny Najer, Alexander Shabalov, Alexander Stripunsky, Victor Mikhalevski, Varuzhan Akobian and Julio Becerra, all of them scored identical 6.5 points apiece.

According to US Chess Federation website, Akobian won the title by beating Stripunsky in so-called Armageddon playoff or tie-breaker.

Other Filipino player who participated in this event were FM Rico Salimbagat, US Masters Alan Montalbo and Joel Banawa, Robert Lardizabal, Carlo del Mundo, William Aramil, Joseph Calapati, Allan Salgado and Dexter Pacheco.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Weekender
by Manny Benitez, Sunday, 1 July 2007

Paragua seeks third strike in World Open
by Marlon Bernardino

FRESH from two lucky strikes in less than a week since arriving in the United States, No. 3 Filipino GM and 1996 Shell champion Mark Paragua makes no bones about his dream of making a third such strike in the $400,000 World Open in Valley Forge near Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Paragua made his first strike on June 17 in the 12th Bradley Cup in Windsor, Connecticut, where he won the second prize. The first prize went to American GM Alexander Ivanov, who finished half a point ahead of Paragua and four others.

Paragua, a former under-14 world rapid champion, won on tiebreak over two-time world title candidate GM Leonid Yudasin of Israel, former world under-16 champion Zviad Izoria of Georgia, US women’s champion WGM Anna Zatonskih, and US Fide Mastert Robert Hess.

Paragua made his second strike on June 21 at the famous Marshall Chess Club in the heart of New York City’s Manhattan.

The Filipino prodigy settled for a tie for second to sixth places with 3.0 points from five games in the club’s Thursday night Championship won by former Estonian GM Jaan Ehlvest, now based in the Big Apple, who had 3.5 top a field of 57 players.

“I have had a good start in my preparation for the big event, the World Open, since I came to America,” Paragua said.


Antonio still No. 1 in July Fide ratings
by Marlon Bernardino

GM Joey Antonio is still the No. 1 player in the Philippines with Elo 2539, followed by GM Eugene Torre with 2538 and GM Mark Paragua with 2525, according to the July 1, 2007 ratings list issued today by the World Chess Federation (Fide).

IM Wesley So, 13, the country’s foremost child prodigy in chess, retains his No. 4 position with 2516, followed by IM Rogelio Barcenilla 2503, IM Oliver Dimakiling 2500, IM Joseph Sanchez 2469, IM Jayson Gonzales 2461, and IM Roland Salvador 2452 among the top ten Filipino players.

The rest of the top 20: GM Mariano Nelson 2447, IM Enrique Paciencia 2431, IM Rolly Martinez 2430, NM Hamed Nouri 2426, GM Bong Villamayor 2425, FM Julio Catalino Sadorra 2421, IM Rico Mascariñas 2416, IM Yves Rañola 2410, NM Ernesto Fernandez 2408 and NM Sander Severino 2405.


IM Salvador ties for third in Lodi Open
by Marlon Bernardino

FILIPINO IM Roland Salvador, No. 10 in the Philippines today, has landed among the top 10, in a tie for third place with five grandmasters, a fellow international master and a woman grandmaster, in the 76-player Lodi International Open in Italy.

The 25-year-old 2000 Shell national youth active chess champion, who is now based in Milan, finished with 4.0 points and took the sixth place on tiebreak, behind GMs Mladen Palec of Croatia and Vadim Malakhatko of Belgium and WGM Regina Pokorna of Slovakia, in that order.

Salvador who was the lone Filipino in the event was ahead, however, of IM Sabino Brunello and GMs Robert Zelcic of Croatia, Aleksander Delchev of Bulgaria and Miroljub Lazic of Serbia, also in that order.

The eight in a tie were only a half point behind the champion and his runner-up—Dutch GM Jan Werle and Ukraine’s Sergey A. Fedorchuk, respectively. With 4.5 points apiece, Werle took the championship trophy on tiebreak over his fellow GM.

The event drew 76 players, most of them from the host country.

It will be recalled that Salvador, a former stalwart of the Philippine Navy team who originally lived in Sapang Palay, Bulacan, earned his IM title in Lodi last year. He is now actively seeking the GM title in Europe.

One of his best efforts in Lodi was his win with Black against an Italian player.

Angelo Damia – R. Salvador
Lodi Open, Italy 2007
Sicilian Defense (B20)

1.e4 c5 2.a3 b6 2...Nc6 3.Nc3 equalizes, says Fritz 3.b4 Bb7 Equalizing 4.f3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 Not 5...cxb4 because of 6.axb4 Bxb4+ 7.c3 6.Qxd4 Keeping the balance Be7 7.Bf4 7.Qxg7?? would be a mistake, e.g., 7...Bf6 8.Bb2 Bxg7 9.Bxg7 Qg5 10.Bxh8 Qc1+ 11.Kf2 f6! Nc6 8.Qb2 That g7 pawn is still poisoned: 8.Qxg7?? Bf6 9.Qxh8 Bxh8, and Black is way ahead Bf6 9.e5 Bg5 10.Bg3 Bh4 11.Nd2 11.f4 should be tried Nxe5! 12.0–0–0 Not 12.Qxe5 because of 12...Bf6! Bxg3 13.hxg3 Qf6 14.Ne2 Ne7 14...d5 favors White: 15.g4 Nc6 16.Qxf6 Nxf6 17.g5! 15.g4 Best was 15.Nf4, e.g., 15...N5g6 16.Nc4, with equal chances Rc8! 16.Kb1 N7g6 17.Ng3 0–0 If 17...Qe7 18.Be2 f6 19.Nh5! 18.Nde4 Bxe4 19.Nxe4 Qf4 20.Nd6 Rc6 21.Bb5 21.Qd4! was the saving move Rxd6!

After 21…Rxd6!
The turning point.
22.Rxd6 Nc4! 23.Rd4 Nxb2 24.Rxf4 Nxf4 25.Kxb2 After the smoke of battle has cleared, Black is seen to have the material and positional advantage, with White saddled by a pair of doubled pawns d5! Simplification by liquidating the pawns 26.g3 Ng6 27.f4 Ne7 28.c4 dxc4 29.Bxc4 Rd8 30.Kc3 g6 31.a4 Kg7 32.a5 bxa5 33.bxa5 Nd5+ 34.Bxd5 Rxd5 35.Kb4 e5 If 35...h6 36.Rc1 36.fxe5 Rxe5 37.Rc1 Re3 Missing his best shot, 37...Rg5! 38.Rc3? Missing 38.Kb5! Rxc3! White is now winning 39.Kxc3 Kf6 39...h5 was the clincher: 40.gxh5 gxh5 41.Kd4, and Black wins 40.Kc4 Kg5 41.Kb5 Kxg4 42.Ka6 Kxg3 43.Kxa7 f5! Both will have new queens but Black’s pawn chain rules: seeing the futility of further resistance, White resigns. 0–1


Prospero Pichay Sr. Memorial set
by Marlon Bernardino

ALL players in the country, both masters and non-masters, are being invited to compete in the fourth Prospero Pichay Sr. Memorial Tournament to be held in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, from August 12 to 15.

The annual open is being held to honor the late father of former Rep. Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., president of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

Among those expected to sign up for the event is last year’s champion, NM Ernesto Fernandez of Pagadian City.

According to tournament director Cesar Caturla, the NCFP president is sponsoring the tournament in memory of his father as one way of developing discipline and mental agility of young Filipinos so they can keep away from vice and other unwelcome activities like the use of prohibited drugs.

As in last year’s event, the 2007 Pichay Sr. Memorial would be a Fide-rated, nine-round Swiss with cash prizes at stake for the top 10 players, NM Caturla said.

The first prize is P100,000, second of P40,000, third P20,000, fourth P10,000, fifth P6,000 and sixth P5,000.

Players who finish in seventh to 10th places will receive P4,000 each.

Interested parties may contact NM Caturla for complete details, cell phone No. (0928) 713-2397.

Cantilan is ex-Congressman Pichay’s hometown.


CAAP: calling all non-masters rated 1950 & below

NON-MASTERS with ratings of 1950 (not 1500) and below may join the tournament being held today, July 1, at Ramon Magsaysay High School in Quezon City, just across Edsa Avenue from the Nepa-Q Mart, the Chess Arbiters Association of the Philippines (CAAP) has announced.

Yes, it will be held today, not last Sunday as erroneously reported here last week due to oversight under deadline pressure. The editor wishes to apologize for any inconvenience the wrong report may have caused.

As earlier reported, cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to the winners—P4,000 for the champion, P2,000 for the first runner-up, P1,000 for the second runner-up, P500 for the third runner-up and for each of those taking the fifth to 10th places, as well as for the special category winners—top kiddie, top lady and top senior players (aged 50 and older)..

The 11th to 20th winners will each receive a printed copy of the latest issue of The Weekender and those with email addresses will henceforth receive electronic copies every Sunday via email.


Nelson’s loss to Zsofia recalled

HERE you are, a full-blooded, teenaged male specimen of the Pinoy macho race. There, seated in front of you, is a girl about your age or maybe even younger, fair-skinned and very attractive. Then she flashes a smile at you and extends her hand...

Can you beat her black and blue, figuratively that is, in a no-holds-barred battle of wits?

I doubt it, and so does Ignacio Dee, who came up with the score of Nelson Mariano’s loss to
Zsofia Polgar in the 1994 World Junior Championships in Matinhos, Brazil.

The beauty of your opponent, if she is a girl and you are a boy in your teens, can be very distracting. Don’t you think so, too?

This is what may have happened to Nelson, now a grandmaster, when he came face to face with Ms Polgar, who remains a WIM, over a decade ago in the World Juniors.

It may be mentioned, however, that Zsofia, the middle one of the three famous Polgar sisters, was at the pinnacle of her powers at the time because she topped the tough Reggio Emilia a few years later in Rome.

Nelson finished third in the 1994 Juniors, the highest ever attained by a Filipino in that global event.

Nelson Mariano – Zsofia Polgar
World Juniors, Matinhos, Brazil 1994
Open Ruy Lopez (C82)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Bc2 0–0 11.Nbd2 Nxf2 12.Rxf2 f6 13.exf6 Bxf2+ 14.Kxf2 Qxf6 15.Kg1 Rae8 16.Nf1?! Dubious: 16.Qf1 should keep the enemy at bay Ne5! 17.Be3 Nxf3+ 18.Qxf3 Qxf3 19.gxf3 Rxf3 Black is now ahead 20.Bd4 Bh3 21.Ng3 Re6 22.Rd1 If 22.b4 g6, with equal chances h5! 23.Bb3 23.Nxh5!? is interesting, says Fritz: 23...Re2 24.Bb3! c6 Black is now way, way ahead 24.Nxh5 Bg4 25.Nxg7 Rg6 26.Kg2 Rf7 Not 26...Rxg7?! because of 27.Bxg7 Kxg7 28.Re1! 27.Re1? If 27.Rd3 Bf3+ 28.Kh3 Rf4 29.Rxf3 Rxf3+ 30.Kh4 Rxg7 c5!

After 27…c5!
Brilliant, says Fritz.
28.Be5 If 28.Bdxc5 Bd1+!, a discovered attack c4 29.Bc2 Bf5+! 30.Bg3 Bxc2 31.Ne8 Be4+ 32.Kg1 Rf3 33.a3?! Fritz condemns the text as offering little resistance: 33.Rd1 was better, e.g., 33…b4 34.cxb4 Rc6 Kf8 34.Nc7 Rf7 35.Rf1 Rxf1+ 36.Kxf1 Ke7! 0–1

If eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for being,” as the eminent Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his immortal poem, The Rhodora.


Eric’s days of glory

LIKE many of his countrymen who wish to raise the quality of life of their loved ones, NM Eric Gloria left his homeland to work as a chess teacher in Singapore. For the past few years, he has been sending home to his family the fruits of his labors.

Two weeks ago, tragedy struck when he was felled by what is now believed to be a stroke and since then has been in a very critical condition. At this writing, he has been in intensive care in a Singapore hospital for over a week.

The case of NM Gloria, 47, is similar to hundreds or even thousands of Filipinos who left their homes to seek a better life abroad for themselves and their families but met with tragedy instead.

In the case of chess masters like him, the opportunities for finding a good-paying job are quite limited, but at least better than what they can find at home where most settle for a daily grind of hustling for a living—living by their wits literally, that is.

Except for those who have acquired other skills, they end up playing for wagers day in and day out. And even if they win most of the time in an 18-hour day of betting, what they bring home will never be enough to keep body and soul together, let alone feed their families.

Even the best of the lot—most of them school dropouts—cannot seem to make a go of it unless they are lucky enough to find work as coaches and trainers. Even then, their earnings are not up to par compared with other professions or trades.

NM Gloria was one of the lucky few who got good jobs in Singapore, which is now benefiting from their teachings as shown in the latest Asean Age-Group Championships where Singaporean kids finished second to Vietnam, way ahead of Pinoy kids, collectively at least.

Gloria achieved more than a modicum of success as a player. He starred in the Manila Olympiad of 1992, being the only Filipino of the 18 fielded in three teams—to win a medal: silver on first reserve board.

He won seven of eight games, with a performance rating of 85.7 per cent. And most of his games sparkled during those days of glory.

Eric Gloria PHI2 (2235) - Abdullah Abdul Rahman UAE
Rd. 2, 30th Olympiad, PICC, Manila, June 9, 1992
King’s Indian, Four Pawns Attack (E76)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0–0 6.Nf3 Na6 7.Be2 e5 Missing the equalizer, 7...c5 8.0–0 8.fxe5 dxe5 9.d5 c6 10.Bg5 Qa5 11.Nd2 Qb6 12.Nb3 h6 12...cxd5 would be bad because of 13.cxd5 Bd7 14.Bh4! 13.Bh4 h5 Fritz says 13...cxd5 may be better, e.g., 14.cxd5 Bd7 14.c5 Gaining a clear edge Nxc5 15.Bf2 Nfd7 16.0–0 Qb4 17.Nxc5 17.dxc6! was stronger, e.g., 17…bxc6 18.Qd6, with a big lead Nxc5 18.a3!

A tactical finesse that wins material and tempi, as we shall soon see.
18…Qxb2 19.Bxc5 Qxc3 20.Rc1 The point Qa5 21.Bxf8 Bxf8 22.dxc6 bxc6? Stronger was 22...Bxa3 23.Ra1 bxc6! 23.Bc4! Be6? 23...Bg4 won’t alter the course of the game, e.g., 24.Qc2 Bxa3 25.Rxf7 Qc5+ 26.Kh1, with great advantage to White 24.Bxe6 Qb6+? Better but not enough was 24...fxe6 25.Qd7 Bc5+ 26.Kh1 Rf8 25.Kh1 fxe6 26.Qd7 Qe3 27.Qb7! If 27…Rd8 28.Qf7+ Kh8 29.Qf6+ Kh7 30.Qxd8! 1–0

Eric Gloria PHI2 (2235) – Aleksander Wohl AUS (2280)
Rd. 6, 30th Olympiad, PICC Manila, June 14, 1992
Classical Nimzo-Indian (E33)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Qxc3 0–0 7...Ne4 8.Qc2 f5 9.e3 should equalize 8.g3 e5 9.Bg2 Re8 10.d5 Ne7 11.0–0 h6 12.b4 b5 13.Nxe5! bxc4 14.Nxc4 Nexd5 15.Qd3 c6 16.e4 Ba6 6...Nc7 may be better: 17.Nxd6 Ba6, minimizing White’s lead 17.exd5! White surges ahead cxd5 18.Bxd5 Qc7 19.b5 Stronger was 19.Bxa8, e.g., 19…Bxc4 20.Qc3 Rxa8 21.Bxh6, with a big lead Bxb5 20.Bxa8 Bxc4 21.Qc2 Rxa8 22.Bb2 Rc8 23.Rfc1 Qd7 24.Bxf6!

After 24.Bxf6!
Smashing Black’s pawn shield.
24…gxf6 25.Qe4 d5 26.Qf4 Kg7 27.Rd1 Rc6 28.Rac1 Qe7 29.Qg4+ Kf8 30.Rb1 Rb6 31.Rxb6 axb6 32.Qf4 Kg7 33.Qe3 Qe6 34.Rd4 Qh3 35.Qc1 Qf5 36.h3 Be2 37.Rf4 Qe5 Of course not 37...Qxh3?? because of 38.Rh4 Qf1+ 39.Qxf1 Bxf1 40.Kxf1 38.Qd2 Bh5 39.Qd4 Bg6 40.Qxe5 fxe5 41.Rb4 Bf5 42.g4 Be4 43.Rxb6 d4 44.f4 44.a4 was more decisive f6 45.fxe5 fxe5 46.Re6! It’s all over, e.g., 46…Bc2 47.Kf2! 1–0


RP to kick off Asean 5 Grand Prix open events

THE Philippines will launch the Asean Five Grand Prix with a two-tier open tournament in November.

This was announced in Jakarta by the Indonesian Chess Association (Percasi) soon after the Asean Age-Group Championships in Thailand.

Percasi said five members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) agreed on an open Grand Prix at a meeting in Pattaya.

Besides the Philippines and Asia, the other Grand Prix members are Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

The Philippine Open will have two divisions—one for players rated 2100 and above and the other for those rated below 2100.

The second leg will be held in Indonesia in January. It will have three levels—for grandmasters, international masters and women international masters.

The Grand Prix will consist of open tournaments, said Percasi executive director Eka Putra Wirya.

Revive NCFP website first!

GLAD to know that former Congressman Prospero “Butch” Pichay has resumed discharging his duties as NCFP president and that he is pushing through with the annual tournament in memory of his late father next month. Now that he is back from the snake pit that is Pinoy politics, he should first revive the NCFP website!


I FIND it rather embarrassing to admit that I had to rely on the Vietnamese website for the actual results of the recent Asean Age-Group held in Pattaya, Thailand, and not that of the Asean Confederation, of which NCFP boss Pichay is the first deputy president. What are our technical experts doing about it?


ANY sports promotion needs media support and in this age of cyber technology, the World Wide Web has become the primary means of mass communication. I blame the previous NCFP leadership for not maintaining its original website in the Asean portal, which has been languishing there for the past seven years.


LACK of funding cannot be an acceptable excuse from the NCFP leadership for its utter neglect of the new NCFP website, in the face of a costly poll campaign. As of this writing, it says that it was last updated on May 11, three days before Election Day. That was more than one and a half months ago!


WHAT will happen now to Chessmates? And how about that excellent vehicle for chess promotion in the grassroots, the Pichay Chess Caravan? Will that also die a natural death as did many of the federation’s projects in the past? And yet we complain of being left behind by our neighbors like Vietnam and Singapore!


READER Emmanuel Marbella has written to thank me on behalf of the Filipino Chess Players League of the United Arab Emirates. The FCPL has posted The Weekender on “Happy anniversary to The Weekender and we wish you all the best!” the FCPL secretary general wrote.


FINALLY, I have received the database containing games from the Philippine International Open at Subic Freeport, which was held in April. My thanks to Pat Lee and the rest of the staff at the NCFP headquarters. Pat and Ilann Perez are the tireless workhorses of the federation. May their tribe increase!


I WISH to acknowledge, too, the invaluable help given me by NM and IA Erwin Carag, coach of Shell NCR junior champion M.J. Turqueza and other players from the Diliman Preparatory School. Carag interviewed the Shell NCR winners on my behalf.


MY apology to readers for occasional slips that the Weekender has had lately. One example was Pattaya being spelled Payatta, and the CAAP Non-masters scheduled for today was wrongly reported as set for last Sunday. My apology to GMs Torre and Antonio for including them among those Wesley had beaten in the 2006 Pichay Cup Nationals. They didn’t take part.


Chess quote: “You cannot play chess if you are kind-hearted” -
French proverb

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