Watching Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in style

fight

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS  – If you can’t make it to the MGM Grand to watch the fight live, here’s a way to watch the manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout in style.

A limousine will take you from a drop-off point, the SLS Casino, to the watching venue. You will enjoy an open bar with unlimited food all evening.

To wash the food away, you will have two bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne. There will also be a complimentary gift bag, and to make the evening more memorable, you will receive a Pacquiao-Mayweather T-shirt.

This may cost you some though: $1,000 for the package for one person.

There is a lesser package of $250 per person. This will include the limousine ride, open bar and food, and one bottle of the Moet & Chandon champagne.

For those coming in groups, a package worth $1,500 will provide six people with VIP entry, reserved table service, four bottles of the Moet & Chandon champagne and one bottle of Belvedere vodka.

Added on is one bottle of Henessy, and of course, the limousine ride to and from the venue.

Called the Fight Party of the Century Mayweather v. Pacquiao, the event will be held at the VVision Mansion, a private gated community, and organized by the VVision Group.

VVision Group, an entertainment/technology company, focuses on hospitality management and founded by a group of industry veterans in entertainment, technology, culinary and nightlife.

It manages and operates national and international events, and headed by Brian Moore.

So far, about 200 people, many from out-of-town, have reserved for the party, according to Leizel Trinidad, one of the organizers.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Independent Seniors Foundation.

 

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So needs assist in climb to the top of the chess world

Grandmaster Wesley So

Grandmaster Wesley So

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – The lack of advice on strategic planning is starting to show in Wesley So’s ascent on the world’s chess ladder.

Although he has achieved impressive results in his last tournaments, including the tough Gashimov Memorial chess championships in Shamkir, Azerbaijan, in which he finished only behind the reigning world champion and former world champion, his lack of foresight is starting to show.

It is a big puzzle to many who are following his career why he intentionally, it seems, to miss out on a high-profile tournament with rich prizes for a one-on-one series with a relatively unknown grandmaster.

While the best in the world, including Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand, will be on stage in the $1-million plus ” Grand Chess Tour,” the 21-year-old So will not be there.

All because he chose to play a four-game series against a player rated No. 15th in the world.

“Because of prior commitments to a four-game match with David Navara plus simultaneous exhibitions in the middle of the match, he (So) now has a scheduling conflict with Norway Chess,” said Eliseo Tumbaga, admin of Chess News & Views, a Facebook page.

David Navara plays a four-game series with Wesley So.

David Navara plays a four-game series with Wesley So.

 Tumbaga denies he is So’s spokesman, but he seems to have a direct line to the Bacoor, Cavite native and disseminates information, such as So’s schedule through his Facebook page.
The series with Navara, scheduled for June, means So will miss the Norway Chess and the London Chess Classic, although Tumbaga said So will play in the second leg of the tour, the Sinquefield Cup.
Tumbaga said in a recent posting that So was picked as a “wild card” by the Saint Louis organizers.
Each leg of the tour may pick a 10th player to join the other nine permanent participants.

Aside from Carlsen and Anand, the other players are Fabiano Caruana ( Italy), Alexander Grischuk  (Russia), and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria)

Also competing are Levon Aronian ( Armenia),  Anish Giri (Netherlands), Hikaru Nakamura (USA) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France).

For So, the lack of advice is apparent because missing out on some of the world’s most prestigious chess tournaments should not have arisen in the first place.

If So had a grandmaster-coach or second with his ears on the ground, he would have known about this super tournament and adjust his schedule accordingly.

It would have been foolish to commit to a minor four-game series when the big one was just around the corner.

As early as January, word was going around chess circles about a planned super circuit with huge prizes.

Grandmaster VeselinTopalov inadvertently leaked the rumor about this rich circuit that will feature the world’s top players, privately organized, but sanctioned by the international chess federation, or FIDE.

The chess website chess24.com, which is on top of most chess coverage around the world shares this puzzle about So missing out on the “Grand Chess Tour.”

“…It still remains puzzling that Wesley would turn down three lucrative and high profile events simply because Norway Chess (15-26 June) overlaps with an exhibition match against David Navara in Prague (June 12-16),” 24chess.com wrote.

“The intrigue was upped by the Grand Chess Tour press conference not naming the ninth player, although the website launched the same day already included a biography of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.” it added.

24chess.com added a sense of intrigue by insinuating that So may not have been invited in the first place.

A coach knowledgeable about the ways of the chess world, including its politics, would have been able to navigate the waters for So.

The late Florencio Campomanes made life easier for grandmaster Eugene Torre, and even world champion Anatoly Karpov, in the 70s.

Practically each of the top grandmasters have a coach or second to help them prepare for games and tournaments.

There is a so-called Team Wesley, but there is no coach or second. The convenient excuse is that such help is expensive and at this time in his career So can not afford it.

But coaches or seconds maybe paid by percentage or share of the prize money, appearance fees, or endorsements. They all add up.

Travel and hotel accommodations are usually paid for by tournament organizers as members of the player’s entourage.

Carlsen even has his father and a chef as members of his entourage.

Quite a few Filipino grandmasters, based in the United States, Manila or elsewhere, would be willing to serve as So’s seconds, and he could pick a retired or semi-retired former top player as coach.

Unless there are other reasons preventing him from adding someone with unlimited access to him, this is perhaps the best time So can get to help clear the path to the top of the chess world.

 

 

 

So out of ‘Grand Chess Tour’ that offers more than $1-million in prizes

grandchess

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France was added as ninth and last player Sunday in the super chess circuit that gather together three of the world’s strongest chess tournaments.

Called  the Grand Chess Tour, it will feature the Norway Chess set in Stanger June 15-26, the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis, Aug. 21 to Sept. 3, and the London Chess Classic, Dec. 3-14.

The world’s top chess players, including world champion Magnus Carlsen, and five-time champion Vishy Anand are competing in the tour that offers a total prize pot of more than $1 -million.

Ranked No. 7 in the world, Wesley So is a natural fit for the tournament, but organizers did not officially say if he was invited, and if so invited, why he declined to participate.

An informally designated media liaison in Manila said So was invited but could not make it due to prior commitments, which are in conflict with the schedule of some of the legs of the tour.

“Because of prior commitments to a 4-game match with David Navarra plus simultaneous exhibition in the middle of the match, he (So) now has a scheduling conflict with Norway Chess,” the media liaison said in a Facebook posting.

“Influential people” are trying to work out a plan so that So can still play in Norway, the liaison added.

“Team Wesley is still hoping that the re-scheduling can be worked out. If not, So will have to honor his commitments and skip Norway Chess this year,” the liaison, who acts as virtual spokesman, said.

Other than Lotis Key, a personal chaperone who is introduced as So’s “mother” no member of “Team Wesley” is publicly known.

No re-scheduling was presumably worked out as Grand Chess Tour organizers picked Vachier-Lagrave as ninth player.

Each tournament can add a 10th player, but the nine are permanent participants.

Each of the three tour event will award individual prize funds of $300,000, with competitors also tallying points toward a tour prize fund of $150,000.

The overall tour champion will receive an additional $75,000. The total prize fund for the circuit is $1,050,000.

The participating players are:

  • World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, Norway
  • Fabiano Caruana, Italy
  • Alexander Grischuk, Russia
  • Veselin Topalov, Bulgaria
  • Viswanathan Anand, India
  • Levon Aronian, Armenia
  • Anish Giri, Netherlands
  • Hikaru Nakamura, USA
  • Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia was invited, but declined, citing prior commitments and his desire to spend more time with his family.

” I have actually a lot of invitations already this year. (…) Taking three more tournaments would just make it so totally packed and full, that I’m afraid first of all that I would not see my family for the whole year,” Kramnik said in a statement.

“The Grand Chess Tour was created with just one goal in mind: Demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world’s best players,” said Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

It was Rich, the chief arbiter in the US Chess Championships who slapped So with a forfeit in the 9th round for writing notes to himself on a piece of paper in violation of tournament rules.

Organizers did not say that this has something to do with So’s not playing in the tour, but rules include the phrase, ” players that demonstrate the highest levels of sportsmanship and professionalism.”

” We invited the top-10 players in the world, eight of whom have confirmed their participation,” Rich said, adding that the players were selected based on the January 2015 FIDE ratings.

“I guarantee the tour will be an extremely high-quality event,” said Rex Sinquefield, the man behind the Sinquefield Cup and all other chess activities in St. Louis

For more information, visit www.grandchesstour.com.

 

 

 

So draws with Carlsen, keeps share of third in Gashimov Memorial chess

world chess champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Wesley So in the Gashimov Memorial chess tournament in Azerbaijan. PHOTO BY SHAMKIR CHESS 2015.

world chess champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Wesley So in the Gashimov Memorial chess tournament in Azerbaijan. PHOTO BY SHAMKIR CHESS 2015.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Wesley So drew with world champion Magnus Carlsen to keep his share of third place with just a round to go in the Gashimov Memorial chess tournament in Azerbaijan.

With the additional half point, the 24-year-old Carlsen has virtually captured the 30,000-euro first prize in the 10-man tournament, although former world champion Vishy Anand still has a chance to at least tie him at the top.

Carlsen has six points while the late surging Anand has scored his third straight win to inch closer to the Norwegian champion with 5.5 points.

Anand, a five-time world champion and at 40 one of the oldest among the Top 10 in the world, outplayed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in another display of excellent execution from a well-prepared line.

“My second showed me this line, and I thought why not give it a try?” Anand said in an interview with chess-news. “It is nice, quite an unusual system.”

Although played just three days ago by Wei Yi, the 15-year-old Chinese prodigy, Anand showed the value of a dependable second, or assistant, in preparing for games.

His second, Grzegorz Gajewski, showed a variant of the Four Knights game to help pull out the victory giving Anand a mathematical chance to win the tournament.

So is one of the few players in the Gashimov Memorial tournament without a coach or a second.

So is tied for third and fourth places with Fabiano Caruana of Italy, each with 4.5 points.

the Italian, rated No. 2 in the world, faces Anand in the final game, which could determine the tournament champion.

In the 9th and final round Sunday, So will play the black pieces against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlsen pulling away as So loses again in Gashimov Memorial chess

Wesley So analyzes his losing game in the seventh round of the Gashimov Memorial chess championships in Azerbaijan. PHOTO BY SHAMKIR CHESS 2015.

Wesley So analyzes his losing game in the seventh round of the Gashimov Memorial chess championships in Azerbaijan. PHOTO BY SHAMKIR CHESS 2015.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – World champion Magnus Carls appears to be pulling away with another key  win in the Gashimov Memorial chess championships in Azerbaijan.

Wesley So loses again, this time a victim of Fabiano Caruna’s endgame brilliance in the seventh round of the 100,000-euro chess tournament.

The 24-year-old Carlsen, playing white, outclassed Vladimir Kramnik, the Russian former world champion, while the surging Caruana scored his second straight win with just two rounds left in the tournament.

Despite the loss, however, the 21-year-old So remains a contender as he stayed tied for third and fourth places with Caruana, each with four points.

“There were many ways to win,” said Caruana, the No. 2 in the world, who carried a kingside two-pawn advantage into the end game.

Although So also had three pawns against one for Caruana in the queen side, he could not come up with the precise counter-play with the Italian’s bishop proving more potent than his knight.

The end came after 52 moves of a Nimzo-Indian, in which Caruana said So appeared not very familiar.

It was the second consecutive victory for Caruana, who took out Kramnik in the previous round, and appears to be mounting a challenge to Carlsen.

Caruana is best known for putting together six straight wins against a strong field that included Carlsen in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis.

In the mix is five-time world champion Vishy Anand of India, who is trailing Carlsen, at second, with 4.5 points.

Anand beat Michael Adams of England in the seventh round.

For So, it does not appear to be getting any easier, the rest of the tournament.

In the eighth round, he will face Carlsen, although he has the slight advantage of playing with the white pieces.

In their first-ever meeting this year, So pulled out a draw against the Norwegian champion, although Carlsen admitted he was outplayed in the middle game.

For his final game Sunday, So will play black against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.

 

So remains at second, half-point behind Carlsen in Gashimov Memorial chess

Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the sixth round of the Gashimov Memorial chess tournament in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. PHOTO BY SHAMKIR CHESS 2015.

Wesley So and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the sixth round of the Gashimov Memorial chess tournament in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. PHOTO BY SHAMKIR CHESS 2015.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – With just three rounds left, the stage is set for a dramatic finish in the 100,000-euro Gashimov Memorial chess tournament in Shamkir, Azerbaijan.

World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Wesley So retained their 1-2 places in the standings as all but one game ended in draws in the sixth round on Thursday.

Carlsen drew with Anish Giri of France to set the pace with 4.5 points, while So also drew with Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov to follow Carlsen, just half-a-point behind.

At third is former world champion Vishy Anand of India, with 3.5 points, his only win against four draws coming with that fifth-round shellacking of So.

Fabiano Caruana of Italy, who regained his No.2 world ranking, managed to score the only victory in the 10-man tournament.

He outplayed former Russian world champion Vladimir Kramnik, but his first tournament win hardly moved him up the standings.

The 22-year-old Caruana is tied at fourth and fifth places with Kramnik, each with three points.

To be considered a contender, Caruana, who won six straight during the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis in 2014, must beat So in Friday’s pivotal seventh round.

Playing with the black pieces, So will have the slight disadvantage against Caruana, who is assisted by a highly-regarded coach and second, grandmaster Vladimir Chuchelov.

In the other drawn sixth round games, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave drew with Michael Adams, and Anand drew with Rauf Mamedov.

 

 

Anand stops So in fifth round of Gashimov Memorial chess tourney

Wesley So and former world champion vishy Anand in the fifth round of the Gashimov Memorial chess tournament in Azerbaijan. PHOTO BY SHAMKIR CHESS 2015.

Wesley So and former world champion vishy Anand in the fifth round of the Gashimov Memorial chess tournament in Azerbaijan. PHOTO BY SHAMKIR CHESS 2015.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS- Former world chess champion Vishy Anand of India stopped the streaking Wesley So cold on his tracks, beating the 21-year-old grandmaster in the fifth round of the Vashimov Memorial chess tournament in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. Anand,

Anand, a former Philippine resident who competed in several tournaments there in the late 1990s, showed the daring of his youth with an aggressive game of a Closed Ruy Lopez.

The key move was the 14th, a pawn move in which Anand, who so far has a quiet tournament with four draws in five games, sacrificed a knight to launch a kingside attack.

So was forced to give back the knight several moves later under intense pressure, and the five-time world champion prevailed after 45 moves in a queen-and-pawns end game.

Reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway defeated Maxine Vachier- Lagrave of France to take over the lead with four points.

So is still at second with 3.5 points while Anand stayed at third with three points in the 100,000-euro tournament being held in honor of Azerbaijani grandmaster Vugar Ashimov, who died in his 20s.

After a rest day tomorrow, Wednesday, So will face Mamedyarov Shakhriyar, one of two Azerbaijani grandmasters in the tournament.

Although down in the standings with only 2.5 points, Shakhiyar has just came off an impressive win over former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia in the fifth round.

Shakhiyar and Kramnik share fourth and fifth places with Kramnik.

So said Anand played a very good game and he was thoroughly beaten

” It doesn’t really matter who you’re playing… my opponent made lots of accurate moves today and it’s an uncomfortable position,” So said in an interview with chess24.com.

Anand was similarly gracious in victory.

” Today was a very nice win against the tournament leader, who’s just been dominating,” Anand said, paying tribute to So’s great run in the tournament so far.