Monday, June 13, 2011


Dear readers,

As much as I would like to blog regularly, the demand of my job and personal requirements deprive me of the luxury of time to provide you a daily dose of chess news/views that Chesswindows offers.

I decided to temporarily take a break from blogging and concentrate on a very important thing that requires my full time and attention.

God willing, I would return to blogging by October 2011.

Till then!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Zonal Championship


(As published in Chess Piece, BusinessWorld, 10 June 2011)

Zone 3.3 Open Chess Championship
Tagaytay City
May 24-30, 2011

Final Top Standings
(in tie-break order)

1. GM Susanto Megaranto INA 2529, 7.0/9

2-4. GM Mark Paragua PHI 2542, GM Zhang Zhong SIN 2592, IM Richard Bitoon PHI 2480, 6.5/9

5-6. FM Jan Emmanuel Garcia PHI 2344, IM Rolando Nolte PHI 2429, 6.0/9

7-14. GM Darwin Laylo PHI 2516, GM Rogelio Antonio Jr PHI 2589, GM John Paul Gomez PHI 2538, IM Oliver Barbosa PHI 2506, GM Nguyen Anh Dung VIE 2481, IM Nguyen Huynh Minh Huy VIE 2464, John Alcon Datu PHI 2218, IM Oliver Dimakiling PHI 2408, 5.5/9

15-21. IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming SIN 2424, IM Nguyen Van Huy VIE 2454, GM Cao Sang VIE 2547, GM Eugenio Torre PHI 2495, GM Dao Thien Hai VIE 2512, FM Nguyen Duc Hoa VIE 2458, FM Rudin Hamdani INA 2368, 5.0/9

Total of 48 players

Tie Break1: The results of the players in the same point group

Tie Break2: Rating average of the opponents

Indonesia’s GM Susanto Megaranto and the Philippines’ Mark Paragua (in photo) both qualified for the 2011 World Cup which will be held this August in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. From this event the top 3 will join five others in a Candidates match-tournament to determine the next challenger to the world champion.

Two rounds before the end it was Darwin Laylo and Goh Wei Ming who looked like they were going to advance, but both of them lost their last two games and were completely overtaken.

Mark Paragua finished the tournament undefeated and his last round victory over Goh Wei Ming tied him for second with ex-Chinese now Singaporean GM Zhang Zhong and compatriot IM Richard Bitoon, where he prevailed on tie break points.

Olay, Edgar Reggie (2343) -- Paragua, Mark (2542) [D85]
Zone 3.3 Championship, Tagaytay City, PHI (1.1), 24.05.2011

Reggie resigns. A pity he didn’t allow the pretty finish 34...Be4+ 35.Kh3 Rh2+! 36.Bxh2 Bg2#

GM Mark Paragua has lately been showing flashes of his old form. Here is a nice game from the recent 2011 Asian Individual Championship.
Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi (2495) -- Paragua, Mark (2542) [D46]
ch-Asian Individual Mashhad IRI (6.13), 07.05.2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Filipino values

Filipino values are unique, which gives me all the reasons why I am proud to be a Filipino.

The best thing that differentiates Filipino values from other cultures is its gravity that centers on cohesive family ties, pakikipagkapwa-tao (best said in Filipino), and politeness to elders.

Let it always be that way.

I'm sorry my dear readers, but even if you hate me for this, I shall still say "No" - even if the whole world says "Yes" - to give my stand on something that I firmly believe in.

Let us always stand for what is right.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gelfand is challenger


(As published in Chess Piece, BusinessWorld, 03 June 2011)

In the introduction to the autobiographical collection of Gelfand’s most memorable games the German GM Dirk Poldauf wrote about Boris Gelfand:

"In 1989 the magazine 64 offered an original prize to the participants in one of the now legendary USSR Championships: to be awarded to the player sacrificing the most material in the tournament. It was the twenty-one-year-old Boris Gelfand from Minsk who won this special award and who by his adventurous play went on to win the bronze medal as well. Gelfand’s playing style continues to the present day to be characterized by its direct and combative approach. In contrast to those positional players, who seek to grind down their opponents by long drawn-out maneuvering, Gelfand’s concept of chess has always included a particularly dynamic approach. His dramatic victories with White, not just but especially against the Gruenfeld Defense, are well known. But his precisely judged repertoire with the black pieces is proof of a basic combative approach far removed from classical notions of playing for equality."

The book then started with a chapter on Gelfand’s battles against the Gruenfeld.

Well, the aggressive tendencies of Gelfand has considerably toned down in the past 10 years, and it is now only once in a while that we get to see his wonderful attacking instinct in action. On the other hand even up to the present day his great skill in playing against the Gruenfeld should be respected.

GM Alexander Grischuk found out the hard way during his Candidates’ Finals match against GM Boris Gelfand. This was a six-game match with the winner to challenge India’s Viswanathan Anand in a World Championship match next year. The first five games were all drawn, but in game 6 Grischuk decided to test Gelfand with the Gruenfeld. Here is what happened:

Gelfand, Boris (2733) -- Grischuk, Alexander (2747) [D76]
FIDE Candidates Matches 2011 Kazan/Tatarstan/Russia (3.6), 25.05.2011

Time control: 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 61.

Grischuk: "I think it was a super game by White, and I congratulate Boris wholeheartedly!"

So, Gelfand gets a chance at the world title next year against Viswanathan Anand. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) Executive Board gave during its congress last 2009 an option to London, England to organize the World Chess Championship in 2012. However, the organizing body "Chess promotions Ltd" headed by IM Malcolm Pein were not able to come to terms with FIDE within the deadline period, so as of now there is still no venue although it was announced to take place from April 10-May 31, 2012.

Who do I think will win? That is a question for a different column!

Reader comments/suggestions are solicited. E-mail address is

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More games from Zone 3.3

When I first saw these games, I said "Wow, is this a 13-year-old kid playing?" I am referring to the country's youngest national junior champ ever, FM Paulo Bersamina (in photo), the youngest player in the recently concluded Zone 3.3 Open Chess Championship.

It was neither the moves, nor the results of the games that caught my attention as I was playing over the games. Rather, it was the awesome, competitive attitude and the unquenchable will to win of a 13-year-old kid who gave it all against more experienced and higher-rated opponents. The result? Serene beauty of chess made manifest.

Select games of FM Paulo Bersamina from Zone 3.3 Open:

Pichay Cup

The 2nd Chairman Prospero A. Pichay Cup Open Chess Championship is set to reel off today at Travelers Hotel in Subic, Olongapo City.

Only a few days after the conclusion of Zone 3.3 Open and Women Chess Championships that were held in Tagaytay City, this event makes for a 1-2 punch of international chess tournaments organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in a span of less than a month where Filipino chess players should take advantage from.

An event like this serves as golden opportunities for Filipino players to further their chess goals. Aside from the beneficial exposure of banging it out against foreign counterparts, a tournament of this level could be a mining ground for title norms for our local players.

The golden opportunity is already in our doorstep. The chance is within reach. Economics (transport fares, food and accommodation allowances) and social factors (culture) will not be of so much burden to Filipinos if compared to tournaments held abroad.

Our players, especially the aspiring ones, should not miss an event like this, for this may hardly come again.

This is our battleground. Use your advantage.

The table is served. Feast on it.

NM Vasquez

To the friends and colleagues of NM Andrew Vasquez (in photo) who wish to condole with his passing, his remains lie in Rosal St., Miguelito Homes, Gen. T. De Leon, Valenzuela City. Contact: 0999-765-7509.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pinoy flavor in Zone 3.3

Let's savor the sweet Filipino flavor that was showcased in the recently concluded Zone 3.3 Open Chess Championship.

First, congratulations to GM Mark Paragua (in photo) for winning a slot in the World Chess Cup 2011 that will be held in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia this coming August to September. Paragua's impressive performance, let me say, reminded everyone that he was the first Filipino chess player to breach the 2600-mark. Getting back to his old form is definitely the right track for Paragua.

Second, the Philippines has a new International Master in the name of 16-year-old FM Jan Emmanuel Garcia. Next target: GM norm. The Pichay Cup, which is scheduled to start tomorrow(?), would be the best venue for that. Strike while the iron is hot!

Third, the Zone 3.3 Open 2011 served as a stage to showcase the highly promising talents of our youth. Aside from the explosive performance of Garcia, more Filipino youth displayed a gallant form. Alcon John Datu, Mari Joseph Turqueza, and 13-year-old FM Paulo Bersamina essayed games that exhibited pure, youthful talent and tenacity to surprise their more experienced and higher rated opponents.

I believe that these teens will participate in the Pichay Cup. May their surge continue!

Here is my Pinoys Honor Roll for Zone 3.3 Open:

GM Mark Paragua (2nd place; bagged World Cup slot)
FM Jan Emmanuel Garcia (earned final IM norm)
IM Richard Bitoon (tied from 2nd to 4th place)
Alcon John Datu (only half a point shy of an IM norm)
FM Paulo Bersamina (the youngest in the field at 13 years of age, but still able to exhibit a rating performance 300+ points above his Elo rating)

Zone 3.3 Open Championship (Top 10)

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1GMMegaranto SusantoINA25297.00.024892512
2GMParagua MarkPHI25426.50.025002514
3GMZhang ZhongSIN25926.50.024842503
4IMBitoon RichardPHI24806.50.023972417
5FMGarcia Jan EmmanuelPHI23446.00.024392468
6IMNolte RolandoPHI24296.00.023992430
7GMLaylo DarwinPHI25165.50.024902512
8GMAntonio Rogelio JrPHI25895.50.024812500
9GMGomez John PaulPHI25385.50.024522469
10IMBarbosa OliverPHI25065.50.024302455

Complete rankings HERE

NM Vasquez, 46

Last night, I received a text message from my friend Norlito Bersamina (Gmlet) that NM Andrew Vasquez succumbed to a heart attack. NM Vasquez was 46.

GMlet has a lot of fond stories about Vasquez who was highly instrumental in developing the talent of his son FM Paulo Bersamina.

One interesting story about Vasquez had something to do with his stylish fashion - and that was his usual look in black leather jacket in a military or police stance. The reason for this, as Vasquez revealed to Gmlet, was his desire not to be bullied by bigger guys.

Posturing a Napoleon Bonaparte frame, Vasquez commanded respect especially from those who knew him. I was told that Vasquez was indeed a good man, with no vices at all.

I was able to personally huddle with Vasquez for some time. In fact, I bought my favorite chess set from him, courtesy of Gmlet.

I believe that Vasquez shall always be remembered in the Philippine chess community, especially by people close to him, as a man of integrity and talent.

May he rest in peace and God bless his soul.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Youth power

If my calculation is right ( how I hope so), the Philippines will have a new International Master when Zone 3.3 Open Chess Championships ends today in Tagaytay City.

I'm not sure if FM Jan Emmanuel Garcia (in photo) has already met the requirements for gaining his third and final IM norm at the end of Round 8 (but I strongly believe that he already made it!)

Garcia has impressively put up a 2544 performance rating as of Round 8, more than the required 2452 for an IM norm (somebody in the know can correct me).

In addition, he has already piled up 5.5 points after Round 8, the required points when faced with opponents who have an average Elo of at least 2371. The average of Garcia's opponents stood at 2403 after Round 8. But I'm pretty sure that he will gain the final IM norm should he win his last assignment today.

I hope I'm right.

Aside from Garcia, newly crowned national junior champ NM Mari Joseph Turqueza is also smelling an IM norm with his 2449 rating performance and 4.5 point haul after Round 8! Turqueza's strong campaign is punctuated by wins over IM Liu Dede in Round 3 and over IM Halay Taufik in Round 6.

Alcon John Datu is also sensing an IM norm, with his performance rating of 2437 and score of 4.5 points after the penultimate round. His impressive performance is highlighted by his draw against GM Barus Cerdas in Round 1, a win over IM Tirto in Round 3, and a win over Kasmiran in Round 6.

Notably, 13-year-old Paulo Bersamina, the youngest player in the field, nailed a strong win against higher-rated and more experienced FM Jony Habla in Round 8 to parade a 2304 performance rating as of the penultimate round. A win in the final round could pull up more his performance rating and perhaps a chance for an IM norm. Let's see.

Mabuhay ang mga batang Pinoy!

Sicilian h5


(An abridged version of Chess Piece, BusinessWorld, 30 May 2011)

46th Capablanca Memorial
Havana, Cuba

May 10-21, 2011

1-2. GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2776, GM Le Quang Liem VIE 2687, 6.5/10

3. GM Dmitry Andreikin RUS 2687, 5.5/10

4. GM David Navara CZE 2702, 5.0/10

5. GM Lenier Dominguez Perez CUB 2726, 4.5/10

6. GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista CUB 2693, 2.0/10

Le Quang Liem had a horrible Asian Games last November (0.5/5), but aside from that had been on a hot streak. In February he won the Aeroflot Open in Moscow for the second time in a row. Apart from the fact that nobody had ever won it twice, this was also the strongest open in the world -- 73 GMs!

By virtue of this victory he was given a slot in the Dortmund SuperGM tournament where he finished second to Ruslan Ponomariov ahead of Kramnik, Mamedyarov and Leko.

Le Quang played a great game with David Navara which I want to show you. But first let us have a bit of theory on the line that Le Quang uses.

The English Attack against the Sicilian Najdorf has enjoyed great popularity during the last two decades. In fact, after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 has overtaken 6.Bg5 as the main line.

What is there not to like anyway? White has a clear plan of attack with f3, Qd2, 0-0-0, g4 and h4, while Black has to find some way to stymie his opponent’s kingside attack while simultaneously generating some threats of his own on the queenside.

Soon Black found an antidote. After 7...Be6 8 f3, Black can play ...h5, either now or after 9 Qd2, with the intention of severely slowing down any kingside attacking ideas White might have. The plan of ...h5 was hugely popularized in the ’90s but the idea was actually started much earlier.

Navara, David (2702) -- Le Quang Liem (2687) [B90]
Capablanca Memorial Elite Havana CUB (4), 14.05.2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Games please

The organizers of the ongoing Zone 3.3 Open and Women Chess Championships started right by publishing and letting the chess public view the games in the tournament.

The organizers already did it, which only means that they CAN do it.

I thought they would continue with the uploading of PGNs of the games. But what happened along the way?

After publishing the games in Round 1 for the Open and Rounds 1 and 2 for the Women's, we're back to the frustrating scene again - the chess public is left with nothing to see.

This is an appeal. Please let us view the games again.


The Filipino youngbloods continue to showcase their impressive talents in the ongoing Zone 3.3 Open Chess Championships in Tagaytay City.

After six rounds, FM Jan Emmanuel leads the surge of young Pinoys, notably beating No.3 seed GM Nguyen Anh Dung of Vietnam in Round 6. Earlier in the tournament, Garcia halved the point with No.2 seed GM Joey Antonio in Round 1 and with GM Dao Thien Hai in Round 3.

The other young Pinoys who have been showing decent performance include the newly crowned national juniors champ NM Mari Joseph Turqueza who beat IM Halay Tufik in Round 6.

In the same round, Alcon John Datu also put up a strong nerve to beat higher-rated FM Kasmiran.

And from the start of the tournament up to Round 6, 13-year-old FM Paulo Bersamina - the youngest player in the field - has put up a gallant and strong stand against against higher-rated and more experienced players, with only one highly competitive loss against compatriot IM Oliver Dimakiling in Round 1.

May our young guns continue their strong performance for them to earn the coveted norms.

Rank after Round 6

NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1GMLaylo DarwinPHI25165.00.024742510
2IMGoh Wei Ming KevinSIN24244.50.025072518
3GMParagua MarkPHI25424.50.024912513
4GMMegaranto SusantoINA25294.50.024542484
5GMTorre EugenioPHI24954.50.023972416
6GMZhang ZhongSIN25924.00.024632493
7GMAntonio Rogelio JrPHI25894.00.024522479
8FMGarcia Jan EmmanuelPHI23444.00.024152460
9GMDao Thien HaiVIE25124.00.023572365
10GMGomez John PaulPHI25383.50.024632477
11IMBarbosa OliverPHI25063.50.024622497
12GMCao SangVIE25473.50.024542481
13IMNguyen Huynh Minh HuyVIE24643.50.024402470
14IMNolte RolandoPHI24293.50.024322495
Datu Alcon JohnPHI22183.50.024092425
Kaisar Jenius HakikiINA22583.50.024082424
Turqueza Mari JosephPHI21813.50.023992413
18IMBitoon RichardPHI24803.50.023902423
19IMDimakiling OliverPHI24083.50.023802421
20FMSegarra RandyPHI23113.50.023572421
21IMNguyen Van HuyVIE24543.00.025282552
22FMPascua HaridasPHI23233.00.024772510
23IMBao KhoaVIE22563.00.024482473
24GMNguyen Anh DungVIE24813.00.024412472
25FMNguyen Duc HoaVIE24583.00.024362481
Tong Thai HungVIE21033.00.023542406
27FMNovita AnjasINA23443.00.023412402
28GMBarus CerdasINA24433.00.023362365
30FMHamdani RudinINA23683.00.022062233
Gunbayar MyagmarsurenMGL23342.50.024882508
Legaspi RhobelPHI23292.50.024022478
33FMKhairul AnamINA23192.50.023902424
34FMTin JingyaoSIN18592.50.023872400
35FMBersamina PauloPHI20982.50.023572364
36IMPurnama Tirta ChandraINA24042.50.023432410
Olay Edgar ReggiePHI23432.50.023262382
39IMHalay TaufikINA23462.50.022722315
Surya WahyudiINA22342.00.023862397
Emperado EmmanuelPHI02.00.022992356
Nasanjargal UrtnasanMGL23252.00.022282268
Paez AlfredoPHI21461.50.023612371
44IMLiu DedeINA24181.50.022812306
Polao BenPHI20741.50.022752327
46FMHabla JonyPHI23331.50.022192310
Alidani LeonardoPHI19851.00.023562367
Ricana LeodegarioPHI20681.00.022992355

Tie Break1: The results of the players in the same point group#results against
Tie Break2: rating average of the opponents (variabel with parameters)
Tie Break3: rating average of the opponents (variabel with parameters)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pinays in Zone 3.3

Our Pinay ladies in the distaff side of Zone 3.3 Chess Championships have been showing a gallant stand against their Asian counterparts after four rounds of play.

WFM Chardine Cheradee Camacho (in photo) halved the point against top-seed IM Li Ruofan of Singapore in their Board 3 encounter to anchor the campaign of the Philippine women's contingent.

Jedara Docena, playing Black, extracted a full point against WCM Lindiawati Evi of Indonesia as WIM Beverly Mendoza punished Bayarmaa Bayarjargal of Mongolia.

Also, Mikee Charlene Suede defeated the higher-rated WFM Sihite Chelsie Monica of Indonesia while while Jan Jodilyn Fronda whipped fellow unititled Rahayu Wita of Indonesia.

Shania Mae Mendoza essayed a sweet win by beating WFM Lo Yin Ling Melissa of Singapore.

On the other hand, Christy Lamiel Bernales, Rulp Ylem Jose, and the newly-crowned national juniors champ Janelle Mae Frayna took the other route.

Overall, it was a competitive show by our Pinays in Round 4.

Asian Championship


(An abridged version of Chess Piece, BusinessWorld, 27 May 2011)

2011 Asian Individual Championship
Mashhad, Iran
May 2-10, 2011

Final Top Standings

(in tie-break order)

1-3. GM Penteala Harikrishna IND 2666, GM Yu Yangyi CHN 2646, GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son VIE 2635, 6.5/9

4-8. GM Rinat Jumabayev KAZ 2558, GM Bu Xiangzhi CHN 2662, GM Krishnan Sasikiran IND 2676, Lu Shanglei CHN 2473, GM Elshan Maradiabadi IRI 2536, 6.0/9

9-12. GM Parimarjan Negi IND 2622, GM Zhao Jun CHN 2574, GM Zhou Weiqi CHN 2610, GM Wesley So PHI 2667, 5.5/9

13-21. IM Oliver Barbosa PHI 2506, GM Anuar Ismagambetov KAZ 2500, GM Wen Yang 2545, GM Surgya Shekhar Ganguly IND 2643, GM Abhijit Kunte IND 2526, GM SP Sethuraman IND 2527, GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov UZB 2685, GM John Paul Gomez PHI 2538, GM Cao Sang VIE 2547, 5.0/9

Total of 50 participants

Time Control: 90 minutes for the whole game with 30 seconds increment added after each move starting move 1

There were four (4) qualifying slots available from this tournament to the FIDE World Cup which will be held in August 2011 in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. The top three plus GM Jumabayev (by virtue of his better tie-break points) took these slots.

(Omitted part - rusticbull). Remember the 2009 World Cup where GM Wesley So (in photo) beat Vassily Ivanchuk and Gata Kamsky in mini-matches?

And, by the way, have you noticed that Wesley has shifted his opening repertoire to the French from the Sicilian? He had hardly ever played it before but after beating Kamsky with it in the 2009 World Cup there has been a slow shift from a surprise weapon to a mainstay line. In this tournament Wesley had Black twice against 1.e4 and scored 1.5/2 with the French.

The more interesting game was only a draw, but it did not lack in fighting content.

Negi,Parimarjan (2622) -- So,Wesley (2667) [C11]
ch-Asian Individual Mashhad IRI (9.5), 10.05.2011