Saturday, September 09, 2006

Final Results - Doha Elims

Final results are in. On behalf of myself and from readers who are followers of Pinoy chess, we must thank our good friend, Pinoy journo Ignacio Dee. Mr Dee provided daily updates from RP on the progress of this tournament. I think this is the first time that we've been able to blog a major Philippine event virtually on a daily basis as the results were completed.

9- Laylo
8.5- Dableo Bucholz, Dimakiling, Nolte, Ranola, Branzuela

Laylo-Nolte, 1-0
Dimakiling-Ranola 0-1
Dableo-Bitoon 1-0
Legaspi-Mariano, 1/2-1-2
Branzuela-Cae, 1-0

7- Docena, Mendoza, Cunanan

Mendoza-Magno, 1-0
Salvador-Cunanan, 0-1
Mariano-Docena, 0-1

Meanwhile, yesterday's breaking news about a mutinous group of 8 NCFP board members has now hit the mainstream media in RP. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has a rather scathing piece aimed particularly at GMs Torre, Antonio and Paragua. We can now also name the leader of that group of eight: Matt Defensor.

I am left absolutely stunned that this idea of holding a rival tournament with the same aim (i.e. Doha rep selection) as a currently running event was even considered. The stupidity and arrogance is unbelievable. Sadly, this uncaring attitude towards the greater good reflects the wider political climate in my beloved RP. Some guys are just out to pursue their own selfish interests. It's one reason why the country is known as the "sick man of Asia". And if this attitude were to continue in the higher echelons of our chess officialdom, then Philippine chess, too, will continue to slide into the lower rungs of Asian chess.

Let's pray that these mutinous bastards can manage to pull their heads in.


Anonymous said...

Tsk tsk tsk..... I thought the problem is the selection process the qualifying tournament and how to stage one to get the nod of everybody, but now its the, official who they want to change! Hey the BAP, PBA and Pilipinas Basketball are pulling heaven and earth together just for theit 12 man line-up be able to play Doha. Hey Guys! Enough of Politics! Ok! I have a solution, A solomonic solution, why not forfeit our stint in Doha? That way there would be no qualifiying tourney, nor GM's vs IM's, FM's,NM's and non-master, nor Defensor vs Pichay.

Anonymous said...

The so called "demeaning to them GM's" argument if they have to play in the qualifiers is hogwash.

Let us not forget that the top RP GM's did not do too well in the Torino Olympiad.

NPCF too should have held the event w/ all the GM's in such a way to give our young players the opportunity to earn IM or GM norms.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Campo's got his dirty paws in this mess again as he was supporting Pichay against Torre and the GM's.

If you cross the SOB Campo, like Eugene did, you will pay dearly!

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that Laylo won the selection tourney with Dimakiling in the joint 2nd group 0.5 pt behind. Laylo and Dimakiling finished joint 1st in last month’s Malaysia Open and were the only players to score GM norms. These two players finished ahead of Paragua.

Laylo and Dimakiling seems to the hottest Pinoy players currently. Whether Swiss or RR, players with the best performance will always finish on top. The Swiss had been used in Interzonals to select Candidates in the World Championship Cycle. World Top 20 players played and had no complaints. But for players not even in the World Top 100 to say the Swiss System is flawed and demeaning to GMs is to hide the real truth behind the rebellion.

The issue should be who are invited to the selection event. If all and sundry are allowed to take part, then the 3 GMs might have a case that it is demeaning (whether Swiss or RR). However, if only well-qualified players are invited for the selection tourney, then the rebels’ case must surely be based on loose sand.

Really, an 11-Rd 16-player Swiss with the strongest Pinoy players will definitely be more prestigious than a 20-player RR with includes weak unknown players.

Anonymous said...

Even the comments here are all crazy! How can the just recently held qualifying tournament be a GM-IM norm one when under the rules one should met players not of the same federation to gain the said norm. There are some exception but this tourney doesnt fall there. And of course its NCFP! not NPCF!(another comment on the same issue earlier post the same NPCF), another is the 11-rnd 16 player swiss tournament! tsk tsk tsk to make the matter worst he added a comment that a 20 player RR is much less desirable! hmmmmm

I think the GM's are suggesting that the swiss system is not the best "lone" system in determining a worthy representative. There are many factors to consider, one is what kind of tournament our representative would be playing in (Doha, If it is swiss or RR, Rapid or standard, number of rounds). Another is the process undertaken before wherein a swiss event is held and the GM's were just seeded to the team that represented the country in the olympiad ( a poor selection if the placing of the team from the biennial event would be taken into consideration). The caliber of opposition. The time or the amount of needed preparation prior to the Doha Asian Games. Even the health (Joey and Eugene) should be taken into consideration.

I think a swiss tournament followed by a RR would be the best way of selecting the best representative. Swiss covers a lot of players and a test of endurance and skills. RR is a much more higher form of tournament, preparations is taken into consideration since pairings and opponents would be known prior to the game itself and stableness is much more emphasized since draws can count a lot in this tournament.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the foggiest what this guy said about the Swiss requiring endurance and skills, and or the "stableness" of the RR.

A chess game is chess game in any form played requiring talent and skills. Talking about endurance, tell cigarette smoker Korchnoi that. He just won a strong Swiss tournament in Spain. Also tell FIDE to do the stableness RR instead of the Swiss format.

Also India holds all Indian chess player tournaments with IM/GM norms. Perhaps NKFC/NCKK, NPCF or whatever can check out how it is done ;)

Anonymous said...

National Championship is what the guy is mentioning as exception since there are certain criteria to attain GM-IM norms, opponent nationality is one. The Doha Qualifying Tournament lacks the requirements for a norm-generating tournament. Besides its harder to gain a GM-norm when in a swiss system since you never knew if you could meet the 3-GM opponent requirement for your norm to be approved by FIDE. FIDE handbook is free online read it my friend so that youll know what youre talking about. BTW the National Championship have been organized prior to the last olympiad, and won by Darwin Laylo.

Anonymous said...

Yes FIDE just made their Championship Cycle in RR-Format, the last one is won by Veselin Topalov in San Luis!

Anonymous said...

My next column will be on September 15. This is what you will see:

Best friends Darwin Laylo and Ronald Dableo will represent the Philippines in the Doha Asian Games in December. The two earned the right to carry the country’s colors by topping the special qualifying tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP). This was an 11-round Swiss system tournament held at the SM Mall of Asia.

Darwin was at solo first with 9.0/11 while Dableo scored 8.5/11 to finish in a 5-man tie for second with IM Oliver Dimakiling, Roland Nolte, Yves Ranola and Allan Branzuela. Another half point back was John Paul Gomez, GM Nelson Mariano (the only one among other grandmasters who took part), Alex Milagrosa, Rhobel Legaspi and Chris Castellano.

Darwin (26 yrs old) and Ronald (27 yrs old) formed the one-two punch of the San Sebastian chess team which dominated the NCAA in the 90s. At one time or another both of them became National Junior Champion and represented this country in international Under-20 age group competition.

Dableo’s claim to fame is winning the 2003 Ho Chi Minh City Zonal tournament, automatically getting the International Master title, earning his first GM norm, and qualifying to represent the zone in the Tripoli World Championship.

On the other hand Laylo is the 1999 Asian Junior Vice-Champion, the 2004 and 2006 national champion and a two-time Olympian.

Both of them are very tough customers and for the first time will be representing our country together. We wish them the best of luck.

The games from this event are not yet available. We will have more to say about the tournament when we get them. Rest assured that BW readers will also get access to them.

A question that was on everybody’s lips was why four of our GMs did not participate. In the case of Bong Villamayor it was due to pressure of work. However, for the other three there was a bit of unpleasantness. Apparently, Eugene Torre, Joey Antonio and Mark Paragua decided not to play in protest against the use of a Swiss system format rather than a round robin tournament.

They wrote an open letter to the sports editors of all the major news dailies. Here, quoted directly, is a summary of their complaints:

1) We are chess gladiators through and through and we do not run away from a fair fight especially if the country's honor is on the line. We were willing to earn our slots in the RP team through elimination but not under the Swiss System because it is flawed, dangerous and demeaning to our stature as grandmasters.

2) Lest we be misunderstood of abandoning flag and country, we are willing to play under any format that is reliable such as Round Robin among others, which we adopted in forming our team that achieved our best ever 7th place finish in the 1988 Thessaloniki World Chess Olympiad, Greece.

3) In fact, most of the strong federations do not conduct elimination tournaments anymore for members of their national teams. They just seed their grandmasters and top rated players like, China, India, Indonesia, Qatar, Vietnam, the many Russian Republics and practically all countries in the world.

I have always tried to steer clear of politics, for there has already been too much of it. But reading the above made my blood boil, and let me put things in the proper perspective.

1) A Swiss system elimination tournament followed by a round-robin is usually the best way to form a 5 or 6-man team, but since Doha only had two slots then a Swiss system qualifier tournament might be acceptable. Why don’t we give the administration of the NCFP the benefit of the doubt and just accept their decision? We’ve got to experiment a bit – something is terribly wrong with Philippine chess and the old ways are not working.

There was the complaint of “no money”. The First Gentleman’s Foundation funded the SEA Games campaign of our top chessplayers. What happened there? We were shut out by the Vietnamese.

There was the complaint of “no training”. Before the Turin Olympiad our players went to training camp in Tagaytay and were quartered in a hotel one week before departure. What happened? We finished in 44th place, one of the Philippines’ worst showings ever.

You know what was wrong with us? We have players that don’t have good chemistry, that haven’t played well for some time, and we kept sending them to represent us! Besides, organizing a round-robin tournament is NOT a guarantee that the problems would be solved. There would be questions on seeding, or of GMs arriving late but still want to catch up and their forfeited games should be replayed, or their allowances might be delayed and they want to protest by walking out of the tournament.

What is the truth is that our GMs have been terribly pampered to the point of spoilage – they should also learn to follow rules.

I hear it all the time – we want to send our very best team and therefore we have to give some concessions to our top players. My reply is – force them all to work hard to earn their slots. Treat the winners well, give them real training (remember what I always say – REAL training from REAL coaches/trainers, not I want to go to Doha so “I am a coach”). Then and only then can we say we sent our best team.

2) The round-robin format is good because it was used to form the team which achieved our best ever 7th place finish in the 1988 Thessaloniki Olympiad? Gosh, guys, can you PLEASE get a good letter-writer? What kind of an argument is that? The round-robin format was also used in the majority of tournaments to qualify players for the Olympiad – some teams achieved great success, and some crashed to horrible disasters.

3) Strong federations do not conduct elimination tournaments anymore for members of their national team? Why is it necessary to lie – of course most countries still hold elimination tournaments! For example India might seed their top players by far Anand to their national squad, but the next 5 all qualified via their national championship. China and Vietnam also have elimination tournaments. Russia appoints the coach and he then nominates the team players. England and USA both form selection committees who nominate the players.

But whichever way you form the team, you can be sure that if the formula is not working – if our team continues to perform badly, then they will change it. When players start meddling in the selection process, in the seeding process, in the governing process, then that is the time to pack up your bags and go get a “real” job.

A certain guy named Bobby Ang can attest to that.

bobby ang

Anonymous said...

By the way, I forgot to comment on one of the earlier blogs.

There is a requirement of a minimum number of players from other federations to qualify a title tournament, that is, a tournament from which you can get norms.

HOWEVER, each Federation is allowed one event a year (usually the national championship, although the Federation can choose another event) where a tournament of locals qualifies for titles.

Hope this clears up things.

bobby ang

Anonymous said...

Well said Bobby! Thanks for the insights on Laylo and Dableo, and the explanation on local IM/GM norm qualifying process.

Can't wait to see the DOHA qualifier games. We have other chess talents too who can be world class beaters.

Let us give them all the opportunity to play mano a mano with our so called "elite" GM's and prove their worth.

But of course it is so demeaning for any GM to get mated by a non GM, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

The GM norms I mentioned refer to the GM norms Laylo and Dimakiling achieved at the Malaysia Open held in Kuala Lumpur last month.

Sorry if the sentence in my earlier post on achieving GM norms was ambiguous.

As to Bobby's post on national championship being a title event, the special concession is that title applicants do not need to fulfill the "opponents from a minimum of two other Federations" condition (see FIDE handbook Regulation B1.43a).
Only the conditions relating to "titled opponents", opponents rating average, minimum score and rating performance need to be fulfilled as a national championship is normally restricted to players from that one nation.