Sunday, June 29, 2014

FIDE ELECTION, POLITICS OVER THE CHESSBOARD


Russian president Vladimir Putin (right)
and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (left)

In October last year, incumbent FIDE president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced that he would run for re-elections this 2014, signalling the start of a fierce electoral battle against his rival, former world champion Garry Kasparov, for the FIDE presidency. Ilyumzhinov also launched the "FIDE Arena" this year which is an online chess server where official ratings are given to it's members who play rated games in the website. The existence of such online server may help boost Ilyumzhinov's bid for the presidency which is terrible news for Kasparov's camp. Nonetheless, Kasparove has to do something about this. So how is Kasparov going to counter Ilyumzhinov's plans? 

Garry Kasparov





One thing's for sure, Kasparov isn't staying behind the sidelines.He has been very active campaigning in countries in Asia and Africa where a significant number of chess federations are supporting his bid. Take for example in Africa,  Kasparov simultaneously visited  7 countries which were Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. He was warmly welcomed there in each of those countries. On top of that, three West African chess federations (Nigeria, Senegal, and Ivory Coast) have united together to declare their support for Kasparov, saying that they were already tired of the crappy ole' FIDE shenanigans and thought it was time for some change. To say that all of these African federations would truly support Kasparov might be too optimistic. But at least it is something Ilyumzhinov would not be particularly thrilled about.

And In Asia, Kasparov has been drumming up support from a lot Asian countries like Macau, India, Hongkong, you name it! Yet the most intriguing among his Asian campaign visits were actually "ASEAN" ones (Southeast Asia).

Recently, the word came out that Kasparov had been making a "secret" deal with FIDE general-secretary Ignatius Leong of Singapore (well, it wasn't any secret at all since Kasparov wanted as much transparency as possible to discourage any corruption which Kasparov himself said in a New York Times report).
Along with the deal, Kasparov would virtually receive up to 15 federation votes from Leong's region (whoah, what a number of votes!) In exchange for the votes, Leong would be given finacial support of up to 250,000 US dollars per year, for four years. The money will be used to fund chess development projects in Singapore and perhaps in some parts of the ASEAN countries as well. However, as Morten Sand (Kasparov's lawyer) stated, the deal would be void if Kasparov didn't win. So Leong really needs to deliver well.
And I mean very well.

Garry Kasparov (right) and Ignatius Leong (left)
Now that we're done chit-chatting about Kasparov's campaign programs, let's give some time to our very own FIDE president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov ;)

Ilyumzhinov has been so far well-received in Latin America, particularly in Central America where not only do its federations' presidents welcome him, but as well as their very own national sports ministers of their respective nations. But how about Canada and the USCF? Well forget about it because Kasparov's got them. If there's any consolation for Ilyumzhinov, a Kasparov would not getting any from China since it would be ridiculous for that country to support an anti-Putin ( 'cause obviously in China, Putin is like an uncle to them). Meanwhile...

One of Ilyumzhinov's important allies, Jorge Vega, is the Continental President in the Americas for FIDE. he is very influential in garnering sizable amounts of votes in the Americas (particularly Latin America). He has also been constantly around the incumbent president during campaigns and is a respected voice in Latin American chess. Having Vega in his camp is a good move in Ilyumzhinov's part.

In Europe however, Kasparov will most likely have better chances since the supporters of Anatoly Karpov (Ilyumzhinov's rival in the previous FIDE elections, and awesome chess legend), will now support Kasparov... And so does Germany's ChessBase (for propaganda purposes). Hehe.
But at least Chessdom will always post glorious infomercials for Ilyumzhinov, right? Oops...

AND DID YOU KNOW?
A key supporter from Europe, Dr. Adrian Siegel, president of the Swiss Chess Federation, has just joined the Ilyumzhinov elections ticket for the position of Treasurer?
So this could be a good move, right?
Not even close. I don't think this is enough for Ilyumzhinov to drum-up support from the ECU (European Chess Federation). Even the ECU President, Silvio Danailov, who is a "well-hated" figure in FIDE, dislikes him in so many ways. So how do you expect Ilyumzhinov to gather enough support from Europe? Well as for now, only his henchmen know...

PART II COMING SOON

Author:Guy Chessman

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The IE Chessclub "thing"

Just saw this site, IE Chess Club saying that there will be a "preparatory" tournament for the American Open this August 1, in Cebu City. I am speculative of what this site is saying because there are no definite contact personnel available in their website. Hope anyone can verify this information circulated around the internet.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's Next for Wesley So?




Philippines' #1 chess player Wesley So crushed the competition in the recent Annual Capablanca Memorial Tournament last week. Immdediately right after his victory, the 20-year-old CaviteƱo was shrouded with praises from thousands of fellow Filipino chess fans all over the world.


So's remarkable triumph in Havana boosted Philippine chess morale; with a lot of young aspiring players worshipping him, making him their idol...
Which really isn't that bad if we ain't talking about religion :)

Just after that monumental but very quick draw So made with Hungarian GM(Grand-Master) Zoltan Almasi, it was clear who would bring home the filthy bacon.

It is fantastically fortunate that the extremely hard work of Wesley So and his US-based coach, GM Susan Polgar has beard fruit, and that such training had not been in vain:)



Perhaps one of the key factors that lead to Wesley's triumph in Havana was his 8th round win against Cuban Grandmaster Leinier Dominguez. Their imbalanced game seemed OK for both sides(black and white), only until Dominguez first faltered. NOTE: at that time, a lot of Hispanic chess blogs were tackling about So especially when he faced Dominguez and the Spanish GM Vallejo Pons. I guess they were intrigued by So's "DOUBLE DEAD" performance when he beat both Dominguez and Pons! Only GM Lazaro Batista Bruzon(who is not related in any way to Batista the WWE wrestler by the way), was able to hold So flawlessly in two games. 

So the million dollar question right now is...
What's next for So?

Lazaro Batista Bruzon who drew with Wesley So
in both of their games took 2nd place in the
tournament...
By now, So is currently rated #15 in the FIDE live ratings, which means that So might get even more elite tournament invites. While this is obviously good for the Filipino #1, this also means that the challenges will be tougher. One big challenge for So that I could easily  pinpoint is his arch-nemesis, GM Anish Giri:). It is very well-known that So has a recognizably bad performance against the Dutch-Bangladeshi hybrid which I will not dicuss because I've got a feeling that the majority of Filipino chess fans will crucify me for even mentioning the name Giri:)

Anyways...

A lot of Filipino chess players from the homeland are prasing So right now and are making noise that Wesley So should be given 100% support its national government. And hopefully, So will get the support he needs which will fuel his passion even more to climb to the top of the chess elite.


Anish Giri



Friday, May 16, 2014

Two's A Company: Moro and Ivan Lead 15th Karpov Tournament


Alexander "Moro" Morozevich (left)

World-class player Alexander "Moro" Morozevich of Russia is on the run in the 15th  Karpov Tournament. having 3 wins and only 1 draw, Morozevich proved his class by demolishing grandmasters Viktor Bologan in the 1st round, Alex Motylev in the 2nd round, and Emil Sutovsky in the 4th round. Alexei Shirov, who is on a 50% performance in the tournament, has been so far the only player to draw a game against Morozevich. Leading the tournament along with Morozevich is the rising talent Ivan Saric of Croatia.

Morozevich's most brilliant game in the tournament so far, was his round 1 game against the Moldovan Viktor Bologan. Bologan (Black) initiated on what looked like a promising Queen sacrifice as early as on the 13th move only to be "return-sacrificed" by Morozevich. As their game progressed to move 35, both sides seemed to have equal chances until Bologan blew it up with 36...Bxg3?, overlooking the intermediate 37 Rxd5 (which Morozevich actually played). Immediately after this 37 Rxd5!, Morozevich gained favorable exchanges: R+R for Morozevich vs R+B for Bologan, in a very clear endgame. Bologan resigned after 96 moves. 

Meanwhile, Ivan Saric busted Ian Nepomniatchi (which Saric had an overwhelming space advantage in their game), Emil Sutovsky (a R+B vs R+R game with Saric having the supposedly inferior R+B side. But with connected passed pawns in the center, Saric easily won), and Pavel Eljanov (Saric won the game beautifully on what some may call  "an endgame masterpiece". It's worth checking it out on Chessgames.com). Just for the record, Saric won rounds 2-4 while drawing round 1 to Alexei Shirov.

NOTE
ROUND 5 UPDATE!
RUSSIAN GRANDMASTER DMITRY JAKOVENKO CATCHES UP WITH THE TWO LEADERS:

Saric 3.5/5
Morozevich 3.5/5
Jakovenko 3.5/5

© Guy Chessman
2014





Wesley So Grabs Solo Lead in Capa Memorial Tourney

Wesley So


Havana, Cuba--
The number 1 Flipino chess player Wesley So grabs solo lead in the current Capablanca Memorial Tournament ahead of many of chess veterans which included Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Vallejo Pons Francisco (Spain), and Cuba's #1 Leinier Perez, Dominguez. Other notable players included former Hungarian #1 Zoltan Almasi, and Lazaro Bruzon. Although So leads by only half a point, he is the only player in the tournament to achieve a +2 performance. Meanwhile, GM Lazaro Bruzon (Cuba's #2) was content in obtaining a 50% performance with all games having drawn. The biggest disappointment in the tournament however was Vassily Ivanchuk who was a top seed of the event. Ivanchuk, a regular top ten player and World championship candidate, could only grab as much as 2.5 points in 7 rounds. Had he at least drawn his round 3 game against Zoltan Alamasi (a game which Ivanchuk lost.), he would have at least have a 50% performance. Right now, So's closest rival within regards in having the most points, is Leinier Dominguez (4 points compared to So's 4.5 points). Perhaps it should not surprise us if ever Dominguez would try something a little bit "wild" to snatch the lead from So. Or he may just wait if So eventually cracks during the tournament. For that, we will never know for sure.

NOTE:
at this time of writing, 7 rounds have been finished and the 8th round starts at 3AM May 17 (Philippine Time)

"Capablanca Memorial Tournament"

Friday, May 2, 2014

HENRY INFANTE WINS THE 2014 "KADAUGAN SA MACTAN" CHESS TOURNAMENT


Henry Infante of Brgy. Poblacion, Mactan won the annual "Kadaugan sa Mactan" chess tournament in Mactan, Cebu last April 28, 2014. The tournament featured two categories, A blitz event, and a rapid event. Incredibly, Infante won both events! In the Blitz tournament, he posted 13.5 points in 15 games while in the rapid category, he scored 3.5 points out of 4 rounds! What an amazing feat for the newly married chess player! In the blitz event, players who only managed to fall behind 1st place were Ian Villareal (2nd placer), Romeo Resuera (3rd), Mark Simafranca (4th), Ademar Toledo (5th) and Kraig Quinain (6th) respectively. While in the Rapid event, Aldwin Daculan, Romeo Resuera, and Ian Villareal shared 2nd place. In solo 3rd was the very solid Lemuel Montero. 

Mark Simafranca and chess prodigy Ariel Abellana had to share 4th place while Albert Rivera was still able to clinched one of the cash prizes, in the form of 5th place. 

Local veteran, Albert Rivera, not so happy for coming out
5th place in the Rapid Category
A pic of some of the players from the chess tournament...
The tournament would not have been possible without the help of  chess enthusiast
Tony Ycong...




Monday, April 21, 2014

"KADAUGAN CHESS TOURNAMENT" KICKS OFF THIS 27th

"Kadaugan sa Mactan" Closed Tournament