Saturday, November 28, 2009


( GM Wesley So vs. GM Kata Kamsky in 3rd round action of the World Cup )

The venue was the Subic International Convention Center. The place was jampacked with pinoy chess fans and kibitzers alike with a sprinkling of a few foreign spectators and members of the foreign media. The event was the last round of the Intercontinental Asian Championships. Playing White is RP's top rated player and youngest grandmaster, 15 years old Wesley So. Playing Black on the other hand, is another child prodigy and Vietnam's top rated player GM Le Quang Liem. The game is live in the internet and at stake is a slot in the World Cup. GM So played 1.e4 and GM Le countered with 1..c5. GM So diverted from the main line and used the Rossolimo variation sidestepping GM Le's pet Sicilian Dragon. He sacked a pawn and pressed his attack from the opening. GM Le defended tenaciously and GM So eventually lost the game. The loss was so heartbreaking that Wesley allegedly cried after the game according to a chess friend who witnessed the action.

The road does not end there. The ASEAN Zonal is still to come offering two slots to the winners. GM So was disconsulate and informed his fans that he will be taking a rest from chess and will not play in the Zonals. I was one of the many fans who was quite disturb with the pronouncement. He was almost there. Surely he had a big chance to grab one of the slots as many top guns in Asia will not be playing. At the last hour, GM So decided to join the tournament. Maybe it was due to the clamor and request of numerous chessfans including NCFP boss Prospero Pichay and also to redeem himself.

Prior to the Asian Intercontinental and immediately after the Aeroflot tournament, GM So informed his BW fans at that he bought some books concerning the d4 opening so as to expand his repertoire but it would take time before he can used it in a tournament. Now is the time to unleashed it.

GM So played solid chess and used 1.d4 exclusively in the Asean Zonals. He was undefeated and claimed one of the slots for the World Cup by virtue of a second place finish next to GM Darwin Laylo who played the tournament of his life by demolishing his opponnets one after the other.

Next was the SPICE CUP in Texas, USA whereby GM So was ranged against 2600+ GM opponents. The result was not spectacular, to say the least and GM So even suffered a single loss in the hands of another prodigy GM Hammer of Norway. GM So achieved winning positions in some of his games but failed to convert it into a win. The result convinced his fans that Wesley should be given a coach/trainer to further develop his immence chess talent.

Nex was the World Juniors in Argentina. I was one of those chess fans who believed that Wesley was ripe for the World Juniors. Now is his time to be the World Junior Champion as he was one of the top favorites. Now came his mother Maam Leny kibitzing at informing his fans that Wesley will not play at the World Junior as he need to concentrate on his study to finished high school. I was somewhat devastated by this pronouncement but I fully understand that it was for GM So's own good.. This incident revived the raging debate in the chess forums whether Wesley should go to college or just dropped out and become a chess professional. In hindsight, his non participation was a blessing in disguise as it enable him to recharge his batteries and deprived his opponents of a glimpse of his chess arsenal. It also enable him to avoid the chess radar thus he arrived at the World Cup in Russia as a relatively " unknown player " to quote the foreign media.

Now focus shifted in the forthcoming World Cup. GM So's tournament preparation as well as that of GM's Antonio and Laylo were not coming smoothly if media report is to be believed. The promised training match that will include GM's Torre, Paragua, and Gomez did not push through. There were also reports about lack of governemnt financial support in going to Russia which was the venue of the World Cup.

Prior to the World Cup, GM So was given a tag heuer watch as a gift by his ever loyal fans of the BW ( Barangay Wesley ) fame. Some members of the group also contributed to augment his financial needs for the World Cup. NCFP boss Propero Pichay and some well meaning people also made their contributions so that the problem for the trip was finally solved . Now the stage is set for Wesley's historic rise at the World Cup.

To be continued.........

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


IM Oliver Barbosa scored 15 wins 2 draws in a 17 boards simul chess exhibition against the top players of the Metro Toril Chess Association held last Saturday November 14, 2009 at the Toril Chess Plaza, Toril, Davao City. Only Adrian Llanos who is a varsity player of the University of Mindanao and Roy Alfafara, board 6 gold medallist 2008 Ungab Cup, managed to eked-out a draw against the youthful International Master who had a brief but fruitful campaign in the US chess circuit highlighted by his topping of the 2009 New York International Open, among others.

The Toril challenge was headed by MTCA president and two time University of Mindanao champ Atty. Jong Guevarra Jr. Also in attendance was 1981 Toril Open and 2002 Davao Executive champ Engr. Jun Atmosfera as well as former Toril champions Atty. Leo Carrillo and Dante dela Cruz. 2005 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ( KSA) OFW champ Engr. Oscar Barriga also participated as well as 2009 Shell National active Kiddie 3rd placer Austin Jacob Literatus and former Southwestern University ( SWU) of Cebu varsity player Zaldy Tabanao, among others.

The simul was a huge success according to the event organizer Atty. Jong Guevarra Jr. Players and kibitzers alike gathered around the simul venue to watch IM Barbosa in action. All of them were all praises and in awe as IM Barbosa defeated the stars of Toril chess one after the other.

According to Atty. Guevarra, the Toril team could have provided more stiff opposition if only all of its top players played. What happened was that 5 of our top players were not able to play due to various reasons that's why we were able to field only 17 players instead of 20. Nevertheless the result would still be the same given the chess strenght and capability of IM Barbosa. We are really very thankful to IM OLiver Barbosa for being kind enough to accomodate our request for him to do battle against the Toril team. Hopefully he could come to Toril in the near future to do it a 2nd time, Guevarra said.

The event was sponsored by the Chess Excellence Limited Co. and the Guevarra Law Office in coordination with the Metro Toril Chess Association ( MTCA).

Watch out for the annotated game of CAISSA'S FATHER against IM Barbosa in the said simul in my next post.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


(GM Chanda Sandipan vs. IM Oliver Barbosa in the 2008 Kolkatta Open, India)

IM Oliver Barbosa will be playing a 20 boards simul chess exhibition against the top players of the Metro Toril Chess Association today November 14, 2009. The venue will be the Guevarra Bldg. located at De Guzman St., Toril, Davao City. The event is sponsored by the Chess Excellence Limited Co. and the Guevarra Law Office in coordination with the Metro Toril Chess Association ( MTCA).

Its good that IM Barbosa is kind enough to play against the Toril players, many of whom will be playing a top Philippine player for the 1st time according to Atty. Jong Guevarra, President of MTCA. It is also a good way to help spread the popularity of chess and also a good treat to chess fans who can watch the chess wizardry of IM Barbosa in person.

IM Oliver Barbosa is fresh from a brief campaign in the US Chess Circuit where he was entered in around 30 tournaments, 25 of which he was either the champion or tied for 1st beating noted GM's Michael Rhode of the USA, Leonid Yudasin of Israel and Jaan Ehlvest of Russia in the process.

Here's a brief excerpt of IM Barbosa's campaign in the US as featured in the US Chess Federation website.

Barbosa and Shankland Lead New York International
By Elizabeth Vicary
June 22, 2009

The upsets continue at the New York International , where 22-year-old Filipino IM Oliver Barbosa and 17-year-old Sam Shankland lead with 5/6. Four players are half a point behind: GM Alex Stripunsky, IM Jacek Stopa, GM Zbyneil Hracek and IM Marc Arnold.

IM Oliver Barbosa was proud of his win over GM Jaan Ehlvest. “The middlegame was very tricky, but we both saw some precise moves. Then I was in a slightly complicated endgame up an exchange, but he had a knight outpost on d3, so it was hard to move my rooks. But I found a sacrifice against the pawn on c4 that was defending the knight, and after that I was doing well."

A stereotype I hear frequently in the chess world is that Filipinos are tricky, tactical players. Although I was a little worried that the question would sound rude and/or racist, I asked Oliver if he gave any credence to this idea about a national style. He agreed that the characterization sounded true, and suggested a possible reason: economic conditions in the Philippines mean that most masters don’t have time to study middlegames or endgames in depth, and just play lots of blitz and look at openings. Barbosa contrasted this with the situation of former Soviet players, who have had a far more organized, comprehensive chess education. I asked Oliver if he would describe himself a tactical player, and he hesitated, then disagreed: “When I play I just try to think of every possible move, and I don’t take chances on moves that aren’t required by the position. In a choice between a safe, good move, and a sacrifice, I usually choose the non-sacrifice, although my tactics are ok, I think."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Bob Bula ( 5th from left holding a blue hat ) together with Davao chess players, from left: Engr. Jun Atmosfera, Dante dela Cruz, Bador Borras, Engr. Boy Ramirez, Bob Bula, Henry Fajardo, Jun Sonsona and host Glenn Paclar during get together at GLenn's rest house. Not in picture is Caissa's father and Chris Yap of One Network Bank who arrived after this picture was taken ).

Bob Bula's message as e-mailed to Engr. Jun Atmosfera Re: 1st Bob Bula Inivtational Chess Challenge:

"To all the winners and players and my friends who made the 1st Robert "Bob" Bula chess tournament very successful. Under the auspices of Atty Guevarra's Chess Excellence Co. LTD. and his Law Office, I would like to thank him for being the organizer. To Engr. Jun Atmosfera who was my direct contact and receiving the funds from an international money transfer, Engr. Glenn Paclar for the site of the penultimate and final rounds of the games and the awarding ceremonies. Special mention also goes to James Infiesto, Sammy Yu, Elwin Retanal who were there to grace the affair.

Maraming salamat".

(sgd) Bob

Sunday, November 8, 2009


The 1st Robert " Bob " Bula Invitational Chess Challenge came to an exciting conclusion last Saturday October 31, 2009 with Vincent Umayan emerging as the Champion. The last day of the competition was a whole day and full of exciting affair with three rounds played. Round 11 was played at my rest house in Eden, Bayabas, Toril, Davao City while the last two rounds were played at Glen Paclar's rest house also at Eden, Bayabas.

After thirteen rounds of fast and furious chess action Vincent Umayan emerged as the Champion with 12 points. He suffered his only loss in the 7th round against Adrian Llanos. Umayan who was also the 2008 Kadayawan Open Champion received the cash price of P 5,000.00 + champion's trophy.

( VIncent Umayan receiving the champion's price from CAISSA'S FATHER and Glen Paclar )

First Runner-up honors went to Nofre Reyes who scored 10.5 points. He received P 3,000.00 + trophy.

( Nofre Reyes receiving his prize from CAISSA'S FATHER and Glen Paclar )

Third place went to Austin Jacob Literatus who scored 10 points. he received P 2,000.00 + trophy. Fourth place went to Adrian Llanos with a score of 9 points. He received P 1,000.00 + medal.

After the awarding of prizes dinner followed courtesy of the host Glen Paclar. NM Jonathan Tan also donated a whole lechon while Engr. Jun Atmosfera brought drinks and ice cold beers courtesy of Bob Bula. Incidentally, Engr. Atmosfera celebrated his birthday on the following day thus adding more significance and luster to the occasion. Entertainment followed and was ably provided by accoustic/folk singer Zaldy Tabanao who incidentally was the best performer among the Toril players who played at the 2nd Cong. Ungab Cup Mixed- Masters Challenge.

( Zaldy Tabanao the singer provided live entertainment )

The awarding ceremony was graced by NCFP Regional coordinator James Infiesto, NM's Sammy Yu and NM Elwin Retanal of Malita and noted blitz players Junrie Salubre and Warren Aton. The tournament was indeed a huge success and would not be possible without its generous sponsor Robert " Bob " Bula. The tourney was organized through the auspices of the Chess Excellence Ltd. Co. and suported by the Guevarra Law Office and CAISSA'S FATHER chess blog.

Final standing:

12.0 points - Vincent Umayan
10.5 " - Nofre Reyes
10.0 " - Austin Jacob Literatus
9.0 " - Adrian Llanos
8.5 " - John Ray Batucan
7.0 " - Henry Fajardo
6.0 " - Atty. Jong Guevarra Jr., Anthony Mosqueda, Alexander Jover
5.0 " - Lito Laput, Neptali Batucan
4.0 " - Engr. Jun Atmosfera
1.0 " - Nestor Ngo, Engr. Oscar Barriga

( A group pose of the winners and players )

( Austin Jacob Literatus vs. CAISSA'S FATHER in last round action )

( Kainan time )