Rich As A King

Friday, July 25, 2014

So's Gambit Declined?

So’s gambit declined
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:10 am | Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Zugzwang.That’s the term for a situation in a chess game where a player is forced to make a move that will only worsen his position. That’s close to the situation in which the Philippines’ top chess player, Wesley So, finds himself as he approaches the middle game of what has so far been a very promising career.

Caught in a tug-of-war between the politicians who control chess in the country and handlers who promise him a brighter future in the United States, the prodigy has refused to play under the Philippine flag in the World Chess Olympiad next week unless Philippine chess authorities allow him to play under the Stars and Stripes after that. When the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, which has nurtured his prodigious talent since he was barely 10, declined the gambit, he made his move—a courageous one for one so young. He will no longer play for his country and will wait it out until the rules allow him to play under the US flag.

But who is Wesley So and why is the chess scene on both sides of the Pacific so excited about him?

Before he was 10, he showed great promise as the Philippines’ best prospect for a world championship since Eugene Torre. He has lived up to that promise, chalking up triumph after triumph in tournaments here and abroad. At 12, he was a chess Olympian for the Philippines. At 14, he became the youngest player to achieve the title grandmaster, a milestone not even the prolific Torre achieved in his teens. Playing Board 1, he is unbeaten in the past three Chess Olympiads. Two years ago, he accepted a scholarship from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, joining a powerhouse team of young foreign-born grandmasters that catapulted the school to the US collegiate chess championship.

Now 20, So has a live Elo rating of 2755 and is ranked No. 12 in the world. Having achieved the lofty status as super grandmaster, he is now knocking at the door of the world championship, a circle dominated by young phenoms like him. His dream of a world championship is within his grasp.

Ironically, it was after one of his biggest personal triumphs last year that things turned sour for So. Defying the directive of sports leaders to compete elsewhere, he decided to play unsanctioned at the World University Games in Russia where he beat a formidable field to win the gold medal. But he got neither official recognition nor reward for the feat. (The Philippine Sports Commission said that, under the law, the Universiade was not on the list of events where incentives were given for medal winners.) “No player should be treated this way, especially when I worked so hard to bring pride to my country,” he lamented in an interview.

Deprived of what he thought he deserved, So wrote the NCFP seeking his release after next week’s World Chess Olympiad in Norway, so he could play under the US Chess Federation. In chess notation, it is a move annotated with lots of exclamation points and question marks, meaning it could be a bold, intriguing, dubious, or potentially winning or losing move. But then again, So did not get to be a super grandmaster by being timid.

At this writing, no release is forthcoming. Under the rules of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), a player needs the old federation’s consent or a payment of 50,000 euros before he can transfer. Having neither, So must wait two years to make the switch. This is to discourage piracy of talents, for which America is notorious.

In the past 10 years, So has been the most pampered chess player in the Philippines, receiving P40,000 a month from the PSC and getting extra from several sources, including the personal funds of the NCFP’s controversial head, former congressman Prospero Pichay. Not even Torre enjoyed such support.

But Torre is sympathetic to So, whom critics have accused of being unpatriotic. Torre says So should not be judged by the tough decision he has made.

Pichay contends that the NCFP cannot just let go of So given the government funds that have been spent for him. Hardly the paragon of virtue in terms of handling taxpayer money, Pichay has thrown the problem to the PSC, which, in turn, has thrown it back to him.

The Philippine team goes to the World Chess Olympiad in Norway next week without its biggest star, there’s the pity. But shining still is Eugene Torre, who will be playing in his 22nd Olympiad, a record unmatched by any player, dead or alive.

And So will be watching from limbo, a victim of his dreams—or his ambition.


European Youth Chess Championships 2014

Georgian Chess Federation and European Chess Union are organizing the 2014 European Youth Chess Championships, which will take place in Batumi (Black See), Georgia between October the 18th (arrival) and October the 29th (departure).

The Championships will be held in 5***** Batumi hotel “Sheraton Batumi” (built in 2010). In case of need second 5***** playing hall of hotel “Intourist Palace” will be at disposal of participants of EYCC 2014. There is 400 meters between “Sheraton” and “Intourist” via famous Batumi Bulvar.

The ECU Tournament Rules will be followed:
- The tournament will be played according to the Swiss system in 9 rounds.
- The time rate will be 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.
- Zero-tolerance rule will be applied for each round.
- Players may only agree to a draw after the 40th move has been made by Black. Players violating this rule will be forfeited.

Already 17 national federations have registered their representatives: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Turkey.

The current number of players stands at 268 across twelve age sections.

Contact Information
Akaki Iashvili
Mobile : + 995 577 41 41 21
Email :
Website :

Participants (top seeds):

1. GM Boruchovsky Avital ISR 2503 U18B
2. IM Sanal Vahap TUR 2448 U16B
3. IM Laurusas Tomas LTU 2432 U18B
4. IM Ali Marandi Cemil Can TUR 2385 U16B
5. FM Gajek Radoslaw POL 2352 U16B
6. FM Bellahcene Bilel FRA 2331 U16B
7. Stremavicius Titas LTU 2325 U16B
8. FM Kirk Ezra ENG 2308 U18B
9. FM Kobo Ori ISR 2308 U18B
10. Jarmula Lukasz POL 2296 U16B

MVL wins Biel

Baku Open 2014

The International Chess Festival Baku Open 2014, dedicated to the Independence Day of Republic of Azerbaijan, will take place from 21st September to 1st October at the AF Hotel near Caspian Sea.

The Festival is organized by the Azerbaijan Youth & Sport Ministry and Azerbaijan Chess Federation. The total prize fund is 50,000 USD and the first place is 10,000 USD worth.

The Tournament A is open for the players rated higher than 2250 FIDE and for women rated higher than 2100. Last year winner was GM Pavel Smirnov.

The Tournament B is open for the players rated under 2250. Both groups will be played over 9 rounds of Swiss pairings.

Organizing Committee
Address: Khaqani str. 1, Baku, AZ1000, Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan Chess Federation (ACF)
Tel: +99412 493-3841 or +99412 493-9084

5th Iberoamerican Individual Chess Championship 2014 LIVE!

Politiken Cup LIVE!

British Chess Championship 2014 LIVE!

45 seconds to solve

White to move. Can you find the only one solution to salvage this game for White? Can you do it in 45 seconds or less? No computer please.

6R1/6r1/1p2p2k/2p1P2p/r3Q3/5P2/pq3bPP/1B5K w - - 0 3

SP World Open for Boys and Girls - A 2015 World Youth Qualifier Event!

Susan Polgar World Open for Boys and Girls
Oct 31-Nov 1-Nov 2
Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, IL

Over $100,000 in prizes with scholarships to Webster University!

A 2015 World Youth Qualifier Event!

Sections (Boys and Girls each)

U18, U16, U14, U12, U10

Prizes (Boys and Girls each)


1st place – Webster University Scholarship ($52,000 value)

2nd – 4th place - $150-100-75 in chess prizes

U16, U14, U12, U10

1st place – iPad Mini

2nd – 4th place - $150-100-75 in chess prizes.

All sections – trophies to 1st – 8th place and 1st-2nd for school-based teams

Rounds and Time Control

6R-SS Game-45 w/5-sec delay: Sat-Sun 11am, 1:30pm, 4pm each day.

On-site registration

9:30-10:30am Sat. Limit 2 byes.
Last rd. bye must commit by end of Round 2.

Side Events:

2-hour camp with GM Polgar (Fri 6:00pm)

Puzzle Solving (Sat 6pm)

Simul (Sat 7pm)

Blitz (Sun 9am).

1-day U8 tournament (10:30am - onsite reg 9:30-10am)

Trophies for 1st – 15th place and top 3 school teams
Participation Ribbons for All Players!

Team Rules: Minimum 2 players in same section from same school or feeder school (if feeder school parent / coach must provide proof). Top 2 scores count if more than 2 players on a team. A single school with many players cannot create additional teams in the same section. 1 team per section per school.

Site: Hyatt Regency Schaumburg – 1800 E Golf Road – Schaumburg, IL 60173.

Hotel: $89/night – call 847-605-1234 and ask for CHESS rate. Reserve by Oct 11. Free parking.

Entries: If postmarked or online by 10/4 $40; online or postmarked by 10/18 $50,$60 thereafter. Puzzle Solving, Blitz, Simul Side Events EF – $20 each. Camp EF – $40 by 10/4, $50 by 10/18, $60 thereafter and onsite. 1-day scholastic: $30 by 10/18, $40 thereafter and onsite. Credit Cards onsite OK. No checks onsite.

Mail entries to: ChessIQ (payable to) 4957 Oakton Street Suite 113 Skokie, IL 60077. Register online at –

Other info: Boards, sets, and clocks provided. None for skittles. Must use organizer provided equipment. Chess store onsite. November rating supplement used. Questions: (ONLY). On tournament day (ONLY) 847.274.1352

Webster U GM Wesley So officially breaks 2750

Wesley So lifts trophy in Bergamo, breaks the 2750 barrier
Jul 24, 2014

The ACP Golden Classic international chess tournament took place in Bergamo, a city in Lombardy, Italy, on 12-20th July 2014.

The tournament was organized by Asd Caissa Italia and Società Scacchistica Bergamo, under the patronage and sponsorship of the Municipality of Bergamo and other commercial, industrial and non-for profit partners.

The event was a part of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) tour and gathered seven of the world’s top players: GM Wesley So (PHI); GM Baadur Jobava (GEO); GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS); GM Zoltan Almasi (HUN); GM Emil Sutovsky (ISR), GM Sabino Brunello (ITA) and GM Daniele Vocaturo (ITA).

GM Wesley So was superior with 4,5 points, a full point behind of the nearest contender. The Filipino played at 2844 Elo performance and added 8 more point to his rating. Thus, the young prodigy breaks the 2750barrier! His new rating is expected to be 2755 in the August FIDE Rating list.

Jobava remained second with 3,5 points, while Almasi and Sutovsky shared third place on 3 points each, but Almasi took the bronze on superior tie-break score.

Final standings:

1. GM Wesley So (PHI) 4,5
2. GM Baadur Jobava (GEO) 3,5
3. GM Zoltan Almasi (HUN) 3
4. GM Emil Sutovsky (ISR) 3
5. GM Daniele Vocaturo (ITA) 2,5
6. GM Sabino Brunello (ITA) 2,5
7. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) 2

ACP Golden Classic live / ACP Golden Classic with real time standings / Follow the Fischer computer chess event of TCEC

Official site / Preview / Interview with Wesley So

A parallel International Open “Città di Bergamo” was held on 18-20th July in a 6-round Swiss format. 54 players from 15 different countries took part in the event, including 5 GMs and 2 IMs.

Serbian GM Ivan Ivanisevic emerged a clear winner with 5,5/6 points, leaving the runner-up IM Vladimir Hamitevici (MDA) half a point behind.

Third place was shared in a five-way tie by the former world junior champion GM Kiril Georgiev from Bulgaria, who won the event in 2012 and took second place behind Brunello last year, the 23 year-old Italian champion GM Danyyil Dvirnyy, GM Oleg Korneev (ESP), WFM Aleksandra Dimitrijevic (BIH) and IM Kenny Solomon (RSA) on 4,5 points each, but Georgiev prevailed on a tie-break score and took the bronze.

Brevi S.p.A – Grassobbio (Bg) –
Pasta di Stigliano – Matera –
OroVilla – Milano –
Fondazione ASM – Gruppo A2A – Brescia –

Tournament director: Yuri Garrett (+393400634399)
Press office manager: Dario Mione (+393935675161)
E-mail: –

Open Section final standings (top finishers):

1 2 GM Ivan Ivanisevic 2608 2769 SRB 5.5
2 6 IM Hamitevici Vladimir 2457 2568 MDA 5.0
3 1 GM Kiril Georgiev 2631 2483 BUL 4.5
4 4 GM Danyyil Dvirnyy 2529 2564 ITA 4.5
5 3 GM Korneev Oleg 2594 2485 ESP 4.5
6 12 WFM Dimitrijevic Aleksandra 2275 2398 BIH 4.5
7 7 IM Solomon Kenny 2376 2391 RSA 4.5
8 5 GM Rombaldoni Axel 2505 2494 ITA 4.0
9 24 Allaert Dimitri 2136 2380 BEL 4.0
10 9 FM Lagumina Giulio 2337 2231 ITA 4.0

Iowa Open Chess Tournament

A Heritage Event!

Aug 16-17. 60th Iowa Open Championship (USCF & FIDE Rated) IASCA GP Super Qualifier. 5-SS, G/90, i30. Accelerated pairings may be used in Rounds 1-2. IASCA Super GP Qualifier. Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 300 E 9th St. (I-80, SE side of Exit 242), Coralville, IA 52241. Reg: 8:30am and ends at 9:30am Rds: Sat 10, 2:30, & 7:30; Sun 9:30 & 2:30 EF: $57 if postmarked before 8/11; $69 at site. IM & GM free-EF deducted from any prize, Jrs. & Sr. $10 off, $10 off Out of state residents. Prize Info: Prizes: ($1900 b/65 Top 3 Gtd) 550+T-300-150 U2200, U2000, U1800, U1600 150/75 each. US Chess Federation (USCF) membership required. On Site Available. IASCA membership required, ($15, $10 Jr. or Sr.) or Out of State Accepted (OSA). On-Site Available. Send Entry Fee to: IASCA, c/o Mark Capron, 3123 Juniper Dr., Iowa City, IA 52245 or register online at

Additional Info: USCF and FIDE Rated!! Byes: Bye available Rounds 1-3 if requested prior to start of round. Rounds 4-5 only if requested prior to tournament starting. USCF – August 2014 Rating List will be used for pairing purposes. FIDE rules will be used. Head Floor TD will be Bill Broich. Chess Magnet School JGP. Call 319-321-5435 or or

Directions: Take I-80 to exit 242, go south to 9th street, take a left and follow to the end of 9th street and you are there! The Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Chess rate available, $99 only until 7/25/14, rates may increase after this date. Pool, restaurant, more restaurants in walking distance. 319-688- 4000.

A State Championship Event!
Aug 15. 2014 Iowa Quick Chess Championship. Open to all. 6-SS, G/10, d2. Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 300 E 9th St. (I-80, SE side of Exit 242), Coralville, IA 52241. Reg: 6 - 7 pm or in advance Rds: 7:15pm, 7:45, 8:15, 8:45, 9:15, 9:45 EF: $15 if postmarked by 8/11; $25 On Site; $5 off if out of state. IM and GM Free (EF deducted) Prize Info: $280 in PRIZES 1st = $100+Trophy 2nd = $60 U2000 = $40, U1600 = $40, U1200 = $40 (Based on 25 entries) US Chess Federation (USCF) membership required. On-Site Available. Send Entry Fee to: IASCA, c/o Mark Capron, 3123 Juniper Dr., Iowa City, IA 52245. or Register online at

Additional Info: The Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Chess rate available, $99 only until 7/25/14, rates may increase after this date. Pool, restaurant, more restaurants in walking distance. 319-688-4000.

A State Championship Event!

Aug. 16. 2014 Iowa Reserve Championship

Open to U1600. 4-SS, G/75 d5. Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 300 E 9th St. (I-80, SE side of Exit 242), Coralville, IA 52241. Reg: On site 8:30-9:30am Rds: Sat: 10, (Lunch) 1:30, 4:30, & 7:15. EF: $30 if postmarked by 8/11; $40 at Site; Jrs, Srs, and Out of State $5 Off. Prize Info: $340 in PRIZES 1st = $140+Trophy 2nd = $90 3rd = $60 US Chess Federation (USCF) membership required. On-Site Available. IASCA membership required, $15, $10 Jr. or Sr. On-Site Available. Send Entry Fee to: IASCA, c/o Mark Capron, 3123 Juniper Dr., Iowa City, IA 52245 or register online at

Additional Info: Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 300 E 9th St. (I-80, SE side of Exit 242), Coralville, IA 52241 Chess rate available, $99 only until 7/25/14, rates may increase after this date. Pool, restaurant, more restaurants in walking distance. 319-688- 4000. Chess Magnet School JGP.

Aug. 16, Rated Beginner Open (RBO)

Open to U1200 or Unrated. 5-SS, G/30 d5. Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 300 E 9th St. (I-80, SE side of Exit 242), Coralville, IA 52241. Reg: 8:30 am to 10 am Rds: Saturday 10:30, 12, 1:30 and ASAP EF: $17 if postmarked before 8/11 $25 on site. $5 off for out of state. Prize Info: Trophies top 5 overall, U 1000, U800, U600, U400 and Unrated 1st and 2nd. US Chess Federation (USCF) membership required. On-Site Available. Send Entry Fee to: IASCA, c/o Mark Capron, 3123 Juniper Dr., Iowa City, IA 52245 or register online at

Additional Info: The Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Chess rate available, $99 only until 7/25/14, rates may increase after this date. Pool, restaurant, more restaurants in walking distance. 319-688- 4000.

Aleksandrov clear first at Minsk Open

Aleksandrov clear first in Minsk Open
Jul 24, 2014

The International Chess Tournament Minsk Open 2014 took place on 15-24th July 2014 in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

The event was a 9-round Swiss Open with 117 participants, including 10 Grandmasters and 8 International Masters. The total prize fund was around 7150 EUR in local currency.

GM Aleksej Aleksandrov emerged sole winner after concluding the race with 7,5/9 points.

Replay games with analysis

Final standings (top finishers):

1 GM Aleksandrov Aleksej BLR 2569 – 7.5
2 GM Lintchevski Daniil RUS 2553 – 7
3 GM Podolchenko Evgeniy BLR 2426 – 7
4 GM Stupak Kirill BLR 2499 – 7
5 GM Nosenko Alexander UKR 2508 – 7
6 FM Trifonov Denis BLR 2214 – 7
7 IM Meribanov Vitaly BLR 2380 – 6.5
8 GM Fedorov Alexei BLR 2569 – 6.5
9 IM Ponomarev Dmitry RUS 2416 – 6.5
10 FM Siagodnik Anton BLR 2157 – 6.5
11 FM Grib Roman BLR 2409 – 6
12 GM Kupreichik Viktor D BLR 2405 – 6
13 GM Kovalev Vladislav BLR 2554 – 6
14 GM Tihonov Jurij BLR 2413 – 6
15 Harshkou Mikita BLR 2239 – 6
16 IM Kolesnik Eduard BLR 2292 – 6
17 IM Poley Vladimir BLR 2279 – 6
18 Filipets Egor BLR 2181 – 6
19 IM Mochalov Evgeny V BLR 2423 – 6
20 GM Lutsko Igor BLR 2355 – 5.5

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Please Release Me and Let Me Go

July 23, 2014
Written by Ed Andaya
Published in Other Sports

WITH only 10 days left before the 41st World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, GM Wesley So reiterated his wish to transfer to the United States Chess Federation (USCF) to pursue his lifelong dream of challenging for the world chess title.

In an open-letter to National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero “Butch” Pichay, So asked for his immediate release to enable him to compete in all FIDE-rated tournaments in the coming months.

“I hope that Mr. Prospero Pichay will finally sign the letter by FIDE to let me change so I can continue to fight for the world title right away,” said the 20-year-old Filipino champion in a short but urgent message he posted on his widely-followed Facebook account

At the same time, So expressed his gratitude to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), headed by chairman Richei Garcia, which openly announced that it will not be a hindrance to So’s goal of reaching the top.

“The PSC already said it will pose no objections if the NCFP will finally decide to release me to the USCF and I am very thankful to Chairman Garcia for this announcement,” said So.

So also took note that Garcia even said that “the PSC is very happy when he ( So) said that he will always be a Filipino at heart regardless of what federation he will now represent.”

Earlier, Pichay told So in a telephone converation that “he is not against So’s request but that he is not in the position to sign the consent for the release without the approval from the PSC.

“He (Pichay) said that he is not upset with me at all, and he only wishes the best for my chess career. He has no objection with me transferring federation to the US,” said So in an interview published at Chesdom.

Asked for comment, Garcia tossed the issue back to the NCFP.

“There is nothing on the table to act on Wesley (So),” said Garcia. “In fact, it is the NCFP, and not the PSC, which has the authority over So.”

Added Garcia: “The PSC will pose no objections if the NCFP will finally decide to release So to the USCF.”

Garcia also denied that the PSC threatened to stop the release of P15-M chess budget if the NCFP agree to release So.

The announcement of Garcia was welcomed in both the local and international chess community.

So’s coach-trainer, Susan Polgar, lauded Garcia for his decision.

“I’d like to thank Chairman Garcia in advance for caring & giving So a chance to reach his dreams, Polgar wrote in her twitter account.

“So can always switch back in the future when he reaches his goals. This is important,” added Polgar, who is widely credited for So’s meteoric rise from No. 98 in the world list two years ago to an all-time high of No. 12 early this week.

Heavyweight fights between Gelfand and Svider

Gelfand and Svidler exchange blows in the third day of the “2nd Gideon Japhet” match – VIDEO and PHOTO report
Jul 24, 2014

Two more games have been played in the Gelfand-Svidler match held in the 2nd Gideon Japhet Memorial Open Chess Tournament.

Gelfand won the 5th game in his favorite Gruenfeld Defence, but Svidler bounced back in the next round.

The Russian Grandmaster managed to maintain the lead and the current score is 3.5:2.5 in his favor. You can see the games with in-depth analysis in the viewer below.

The exclusive video coverage continues with another two interviews, combined with first-hand game analysis.

Gilad Japhet provided new videos, taken at the press conference after the third day of the match. Enjoy the extremely interesting question and answers (Svidler: ”Chess is a bit of brain virus”) and find out how being a top chess player helps you make important friends, like your local grocery store owner :)

Sergei Rublevsky wins the rapid tournament in Barnaul

The Cup of the Altai Krai Governor was held on 18-20th July at the Valery Zolotukhin Theater in province capitol Barnaul.

The event was organized by the Russian Chess Federation, Altai Krai Chess federation and Altai Krai Sports Department.

The 11-round Swiss rapid open with time control 15 min + 10 sec is valid for the Rapid Grand-Prix of Russia. 120 players competed.

Grandmaster Sergei Rublevsky, captain of the Russian Women’s team, emerged clear winner with 9,0/11 points to take the top prize of 1400 EUR.

Former European Rapid Champion and last year winner GM Aleksey Dreev and 17-years old FM Dmitriy Khegay shared the second place with 8,5 points each.

The total prize fund was 9600 EUR. More information on the tournament website.

Final standings (top finishers):

1 Rublevsky Sergei RUS 2674 – 9
2 Dreev Aleksey RUS 2695 – 8.5
3 Khegay Dmitriy RUS 2335 – 8.5
4 Riazantsev Alexander RUS 2648 – 8
5 Shomoev Anton RUS 2558 – 8
6 Anikonov Dmitry RUS 2215 – 8
7 Yudin Sergei RUS 2676 – 8
8 Shirov Alexei LAT 2712 – 7.5
9 Belozerov Andrei RUS 2599 – 7.5
10 Lavrov Maxim RUS 2370 – 7.5
11 Tuzhik Artem RUS 2338 – 7.5
12 Piskunov Alexandr RUS 2330 – 7.5
13 Tchirkov Vladimir RUS 2268 – 7.5
14 Bublei Pavel RUS 2400 – 7.5
15 Beletsky Alexey RUS 2265 – 7.5
16 Kovalev Vitaly RUS 2142 – 7.5