Pestaño: How to play like an animal

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Thursday, January 30, 2014


YOU can play like an animal in chess. Unknown to many, including chess players, there are dozens of chess openings named after animals.

Many are silly, and not for serious tournament play. Some are actually good opening moves, like the Wolf, and the Pelican, which are both variations of the Sicilian.

Chess is already fun but can sometimes get serious so it’s nice to have a break from all the studying and just play like an animal.

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Do you want to play like an Elephant (1…a6 2…h6)? Or Kangaroo (1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+)? Maybe Mongoose (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Qa5)? There’s a chess opening called the Orangutan (1.b4). The Bird is another chess opening and starts with f4 and is played quite often at high levels.

Here are some animal chess openings: Bullfrog ,Chameleon, Clam, Crab, Dragon, Fox, Giraffe, Gorilla, Halibut, Hawk, Hedgehog, Hippopotamus, Kingfisher, Lion, Lizard, Lobster, Mad Dog, Monkey, Mustang, Polar Bear, Porcupine, Scorpion, Pterodactyl, Rat ,Snake , Snail, Tortoise, Vulture, Wasp, Whale, Wild Bull. There are many more.

Wesley So. Since the end of 2013, when Wesley was rated at 2719 (no. 30 in the world), he has improved considerably to a live rating of 2737 (no.19 ) after a great performance in the Pan-Am where he led Webster University to first place in the World Series of Chess with six straight wins in Board 1.

In the just-concluded Tata Steel Masters in Wijk Aan Zee, Netherlands, considered the strongest and most difficult in his career, he had a satisfactory result and finished tied at fourth to sixth although he was seeded no.9 in the 12 player category 20 A group.

The players were Levon Aronian (2803), Hikaru Nakamura (2786), Fabiano Caruana (2782), Gelfand Boris (2777), Karjakin Sergey (2756), Dominguez Leinier (2754), Naiditsch Arkadij (2737), Giri Anish (2734), So (2719), Harikrishna Pentala (2708), Richard Rapport (2687), Van Wely Loek (2678).

Wesley won over Rapport, Van Wely and Naiditsch and lost to Aronian and Dominguez . The rest were draws.

Aronian was the runaway winner and was also a three-time winner here (2007, 2008, and 2012).

Major tournaments. The line-up in the 2014 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival, which started yesterday, is the strongest Open tournament this year with over 60 GMs, nine of which are 2700+ and 16 over 2600. A total of 60 different federations are participating across all five sections.

Confirmed entries in the Masters section include Mickey Adams, Gata Kamsky, Vassily Ivanchuk, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Nigel Short and 2013 Gibraltar Masters winner, Nikita Vitiugov.

A strong women’s contingent is headed by Anna Muzychuk (2566), Zhao Xue (2565) winner of the top female prize in 2013, Pia Cramling (2520), Marie Sebag (2510), Zhongyi Tan (2510), Viktorija Cmilyte (2506) and 2012 Women’s World Championship runner-up Antoaneta Stefanova (2494).

Another big tournament, The Zurich Chess Challenge, will start today. Six of the world’s strongest players will participate, including the new world champion Magnus Carlsen, Aronian, U.S. no. 1 Nakamura and former world champion Vishy Anand.

With an average rating of 2801 this will be the strongest tournament in history with a category rating of 23, the first and only! Gelfand and Caruana complete the field.

A blitz tournament will determine the playing color on the first day. Five rounds of classical chess will then be played in the next five days. On the last day, a rapid format will be played with reversed colors.

The Zurich Chess Club is the organizer and host of this unique event, which is sponsored by Oleg Skvortsov.

(boypestano@gmail.com,www.chessmoso.blogspot.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 31, 2014.

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