APECC Non-Master Executive Chess Tournament — July 2016

The July 2016 edition of the APECC Non-Master Executive Chess Tournament was held last Saturday, July 9, 2016, in the Philippine Navy Officers’ Clubhouse, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. It was a rated, 18-player, 6-round Swiss system tournament for executives and professionals who are rated 2000 and below by the NCFP, with a total prize fund of PhP10,500 plus trophies and medals.

Check out the feature video below I created from the event:

World’s Youngest FIDE Master

Alekhine Nouri became the world’s youngest FIDE Master (FM) after winning the 14th ASEAN Age Group Chess Championships in Thailand in 2013. Born in Negros in December 12, 2005, Alekhine was named after the former world champion Alexander Alekhine.

For me, I’m quite skeptical about FIDE awarding FM titles to the winners of U8 (under 8 years old) continental tournaments when their rating is yet way below 2300 (FM titles are usually conveyed to players with Elo rating of 2300 or more). Kids may not be able to follow up their strong performance with even bigger feats in the future.

Knockout (Matches) vs. Round Robin

Former challenger to the world chess crown, Boris Gelfand, when asked if anyone can beat Magnus Carlsen in the near future:

In matches, in general, anyone could. Carlsen is, of course, the clear favourite, but many would have a chance. As for tournaments – he wins the majority of them. Nevertheless, there are still contenders for his crown. I’m cautious in my predictions.

Perhaps, a majority of top grandmasters would agree that holding a tournament in a knockout (matches) format would yield a totally different result than when usually held in round-robin (or Swiss-system) format. That’s because different players perform differently between the two formats. Sometimes, a certain player acts as an Achilles heel against a particular opponent, but performs poorly when slated with the rest of the participants.

Thus, I think it would be interesting to follow tournaments that incorporate both formats. Maybe a round robin in the early stages that ultimately culminates in four-way knockout matches? Don’t you think?

The Sorry State of Philippine Chess

Eugene Torre vs. Joey Antonio in the Battle of Grandmasters 2008

Rappler asks Why has chess fallen in popularity in the Philippines?, and writes:

At the first Battle of Grandmasters in 2006, Wesley So won the first prize of P200,000. But as sponsorships dried up, so did prize money. On Tuesday, June 28 Joey Antonio won and took home a first prize of P18,000.

A sorry state, indeed. The article goes on to explain how Filipino grandmasters are flying out of the country in search of greener pastures.

When a good move is enough

Grandmaster Radosław Wojtaszek in an interview about Carlsen’s playing style:

I noticed that Magnus Carlsen’s playing philosophy is to make moves that are good enough rather than the best. Making the best move again and again absorbs a lot of time and energy. The genius is economical: he plays 30 good moves and two excellent ones. It works. I think that principle applies not only to chess.

The next time I hit the chess board, I’ll keep this in mind. O wait, but which one is the good move?

Battle of the Grandmasters 2016

The Battle of the Grandmasters — the 2016 (Philippines) National Chess Championship Grand Finals is underway and off to its last round (Round 13) today.

6 Filipino grandmasters joined the Open Division.

Standings of the Open Division at the end of Round 12 follow:

The Greatest World Championship Rivalry

Perhaps in time for the 2016 World Championship, Dr. Timothy Harding narrates the series of events that went down to become the greatest world championship rivarly in the history of chess:

In their epic World Championship rivalry over the course of five matches and six years, Kasparov achieved a superiority of just two wins over Karpov (21 to 19) with 104 games ending in draws.

The series of games included a few “grandmaster draws” and some blunders, but overall the contests were of very high quality. They represented the highest achievements of the human mind in chess at a time when it was unaided by computers.

A long but exciting read. A trip down memory lane. It makes one wonder, how would the current landscape be so different if computers were not involved in molding the grandamsters of today? Do you think we’ll see the same set of people at the top level chess, or only the ones backed by heavy machineries like the Russians?

The Bilbao Masters Final 2016

For this year’s Bilbao Masters, Wesley So is the defending champion, when he defeated Anish Giri in blitz playoff last year.

The Bilbao Chess press release:

The Final completes its competitive line-up, the strongest in recent years, with So, the winner of last year’s tournament, Nakamura and Giri, who are among the top ten of the international ranking and the 16-year-old Chinese player Yi Wei, the sport’s emerging world star.

The tournament, which has been recognised as one of the most prestigious in the world, will take place between 13 and 23 July at the Campos Elíseos Theatre, alongside the Villa de Bilbao, one of the most compelling Chess Opens of the year in which 140 players will compete.

This year’s edition of Bilbao Masters has truly gone more exciting, because on top of the familiar rivalry between Wesley So and Anish Giri, the organizers are bringing us a treat with the preview of this year’s World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin.