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Gibraltar is a British Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula and bordered to the north by Spain. It has an area of 6.7 sq.m. and home to around 32,000 people. Gibraltar’s economy is based largely on tourism, online gambling, financial services and cargo ship refueling. For chessplayers, we know the place as the site of one of the strongest chess opens in the world, now on its 17th edition.
My son Keith Colby is a student at Xavier School. Around two years ago my wife made me promise to spend more time tutoring him with his math lessons. I really tried to do that but it turned out that my son’s lessons were much too advanced for me -- and he was only in high school! In between my high school days and his the information age arrived, and with the fast access speeds to information from anywhere in the world comes greater demands on the students to catch up fast.
Early 2018 in the Gibraltar Masters the Bulgarian GM (Grandmaster) Ivan Cheparinov won a brilliancy against Alan Pichot, an Argentinian GM. This game was recently adjudged “Best Combination for 2018” by the top chess website www.chessbase.com. Of added interest is that it came about from the Sicilian Poisoned Pawn Variation, a very popular line here in the Philippines due to the influence of Bobby Fischer.
The 19-year old GM Wei Yi from Yancheng, Jiangsu, China, won the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships with a steady performance of four wins and five draws. He actually tied for 1st with Iranian GM Seyyed Mohammad Amin Tabatabaei and the top-ranked GM from Vietnam Le Quang Liem, but having faced much stronger opposition, was awarded the gold medal.
The 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships started Monday last week in the Tiara Oriental Hotel in Malugay Street, Makati City. This was sort of a rush affair – the hosting of the event was just awarded to the Philippines some time in late October and the organizers had to scramble to put it together, what with it being Christmas with most hotels and function rooms unavailable for a straight 2-week booking.
The past few months have been chess-packed, what with the Batumi Olympiad (Sept. 23-Oct. 6), European Club Cup (October 13-18), the women’s world championship (Nov. 3-23) and the Magnus Carlsen vs Fabiano Caruana world championship (Nov. 9-26) following in quick succession.
The world chess championship match between defending champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway 2835) and his challenger Fabiano Caruana (USA 2832) ended in a 6.0-6.0 score after 12 straight draws, the first time in the history of the world championships where there was no decisive game in the whole series. Magnus Carlsen then won the rapid tiebreak 3-0 to retain his title for another two years.
Khanty-Mansiysk is a city in the center of the Khanty-Mansi Okrug (an administrative unit providing autonomy to indigenous peoples of Northern Russia, in this case the Khanty and the Mansi people) located in Western Siberia. The city has around 100,000 inhabitants and its climate extreme -- temperatures as low as -56 degrees and as high as 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
Back in the 1980s there was a big push to promote rapid chess events all over the world and Yasser Seirawan’s “Inside Chess” publication even took it upon itself to administer rapid ratings in the United States. This was in addition to the World Blitz Chess Association (WBCA) of GM Walter Shawn Browne. What is the difference between “Rapid” and “Blitz”? Surprisingly a lot of people do not know the demarcation point at which a game becomes either rapid or blitz. For example, what is the classification of a 15-minute game? Take note that the rules for over-the-board games are not the same as in online chess. We will confine our discussion today to over-the-board.
Tagaytay City hosted the Asian Seniors Chess Championship for Over-50 and Over-65 years old at the Tagaytay International Convention Center. There were no separate competitions for the two age groups -- it was held as one round-robin event after which the top Over-50 and Over-65 were awarded their medals.
There is a lot of action going on now. In Tagaytay we have the Asian Seniors Championship where IM Angelo Young (remember him?) won the Active (15 minutes + 10 seconds increment) and IM Chito Garma is closing in on the Standard (90 minutes + 30 second increment) Championship. In Khanty-Mansiysk the 2018 Women’s World Championship KO event is in full swing while in Kolkata there is the super-strong Tata Steel Rapid event where Wesley So, Vishy Anand, Lev Aronian, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Sergey Karjakin and Hikaru Nakamura are testing the mettle of the local Indian players, and the Indians are doing quite well!
FIDE Master Sander de Erit Severino was born in June 30, 1985 in Silay, Negros Occidental. At a young age he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Both of his legs are paralyzed due to this condition. Sander started playing competitive chess at seven years of age and became a regional champion at nine and National Kiddies Champion at 11.
The Philippine Olympiad team has had a lot of bad coaches over the years. There was one, for example, who spent the whole day in the casino and only showed up the next morning to announce the line-up for the games in the afternoon. There was another very horrible person who even stole the ball pens furnished by the organizers for the players.
China won the Women’s Chess Olympiad on tie-breaks over Ukraine. They showed up in Batumi without the highest rated woman chess player in the world, Hou Yifan, and also the former Women’s World Champion Tan Zhongyi, but anyway still got the job done. Current women’s world champion GM Ju Wenjun won the individual gold for board 1 while board 3 WGM Huang Qian and board 4 GM Lei Tingjie got the silver medals.
During the 2018 Batumi Chess Olympiad there was a Brilliancy Prize awarded every round chosen by a special judging committee led by GM Susan Polgar. After all 11 rounds have been played the committee will then choose the “Overall Brilliant Game”. The winner was GM Tiger Hillarp Persson for his marvelous “the King is an attacking piece” demonstration.
For those BW readers who were able to witness the 1992 Manila Olympiad, I am sure you will recall that Vladimir Kramnik was the big story. He was plucked out of obscurity, a mere FIDE Master, to join Garry Kasparov, Alexander Khalifman, Sergei Dolmatov, Alexei Dreev and Alexei Vyzmanavin to represent Russia in the first post-USSR Olympiad.
Back in 1975 we had the Philippines vs China Friendship Matches where a 10-man Filipino squad (Grandmaster [GM] Eugene Torre, International Master [IM] Rodolfo Tan Cardoso, IM Renato Naranja, IM Rosendo Balinas Jr, Glenn Bordonada, Rico Mascariñas, Roger Abella, Rafaelito Maninang, Cesar Caturla, and Phil Junior Champion Frederic Tumanon) met the best player of China, ostensibly to test the playing level of China in preparation for their first participation in the Chess Olympiad. Anyway, there were six matches of 10 games each, held in various cities around China and the Philippines won 35.0-25.0.
The Azeri team features an in-form Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2820 (3/4), Teimour Radjabov 2751 (3/4), Arkadij Naiditsch 2721 (3.5/5), Rauf Mamedov 2699 (4.5/5) and Eltaj Safarli 2676 (2/2). As you know both Armenia and Azerbaijan, two countries still technically at war, have a deeply-ingrained chess culture and any match between the two is always a tense affair. In Batumi it was Azerbaijan which won 2.5-1.5, and the game between the two teams’ leaders was worthy of the occasion.
The 43rd Chess Olympiad kicked off last Sunday, Sept. 23, in a lavish opening ceremony held at the Black Sea Arena in Shekvetili. Round 1 started the next day at the newly built Batumi Sport Palace. This event is a great feather in the cap of GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, a former European Chess Champion and now the Director of the Organizing Committee for the event.
The Iranians are really on a roll. Last August their national team of GMs Parham Maghsoodloo, Pouya Idani, M. Amin Tabatabaei, Alireza Firouzja and Masoud Mosadeghpour won the Asian Nations Cup ahead of the all-GM powerhouses from India (Baskaran Adhiban, SP Sethuraman, Krishnan Sasikiran, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Abhijeet Gupta) and China (Lu Shanglei, Wen Yang, Zhou Jianchao, Bai Jinshi, Xu Xiangyu).
The two Dmitry’s tied for first in the Russian Superfinals; there was a play-off the Grand Master (GM) Andreikin won the title of Russian Champion and a new car which went with it, a Renault Kaptur -- roughly, it looks like the new Toyota Rush. This is his second time -- in 2012 Andreikin figured in a gigantic six-way tie for first in the SuperFinals with Sergey Karjakin, Peter Svidler, Jakovenko, Evgeny Alekseev and Vladimir Potkin and he won the subsequent play-off. This was the beginning of Andreikin’s reputation of “nerves of steel.”