JOBANNIE TABADA, the former sports editor of Sun.Star Cebu, is having the time of his life watching the strongest-ever Swiss tournament in Dubai, UAE.

The world’s best players, including Vishwanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Sergey Karjakin, Boris Gelfand, Peter Svidler, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Le Quang Liem, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and a total of 123 titled players from 46 countries are competing in the Fide World’s Rapid and Blitz championship on June 15 to 20.

Eight out of the top 10 grandmasters are playing and the field includes 28 players rated over 2700. Wesley So is not playing as he competed on the same dates in the US National Open in Las Vegas where he won the Blitz category.

The prize fund is a staggering $400,000. The top five winners for each segment will take home $40,000, $32,000, $26,000, $21,000 and $17,000. Prizes will be awarded up to 24th place.

In the Rapid Championship (June 16-18), each player will have 15 minutes plus 10-second increments. In the Blitz Championship (19-20 June), each player will have three minutes plus two-second second increments. The rapid segment will have 15 rounds, while the Blitz has 21 rounds.

Jobannie, who is one of the highest rated Cepca member (national master class), posted some pictures at the Cepca/Facebook site with some interesting comments.

Interestingly, Jobannie is a product of the “Cepca kids training program” initiated by the club in the early 1990s.

Fide now has three separate ratings for their members—Classical, Rapid and Blitz. The top three players in the Rapid format are Nakamura (2841), Caruana (2840) and Grischuk (2828), while the top three in the Blitz format are Nakamura (2879 ), Karjakin (2866) and Aronian (2863).

Carlsen won the rapid segment with a score of 11 points in 15 rounds. Half a point behind were Anand, Caruana, Aronian and Alexander Morozevich. Anand made a statement by beating Carlsen in round 12.

Carlsen wants to prove that being ranked fourth in this super-tournament is nonsense (Nakamura is no.1) and has also vowed to win the Blitz segment.

SQUABBLE. Wesley So is reportedly surprised that his name was included, without his knowledge and consent, in the World Chess Olympiad in Norway to be held in August.

His coach, former women’s world champion Grandmaster Susan Polgar, wrote in her website “All of a sudden, Wesley read from various media outlets that his name has been submitted as a member of the RP team for the Olympiad. This is a big surprise for him,” Polgar wrote. “He hopes it is not true since he was never asked or consented to play for the Philippines.”

Polgar added that “besides, his name was already submitted as coach of team USA (to the Olympiad).”

Meanwhile ,Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia said that the P40,000 monthly allowance of So has been temporarily withheld starting this month , pending the resolution of his status.

So will need an approval from the NCFP to switch federation or pay 50,000 euros, or about P3 million. If he cannot pay, he has to wait for two years and he will be barred from participating in all FIDE-sanctioned tournaments like the Olympiad and the World Championship Cycle. This is will be a serious setback for Wesley.

I hope this will be resolved as from what I gather, this is just a failure to communicate between him and Pichay. Besides ,Wesley issued a statement that he will remain a Filipino and will not change his citizenship, correcting previous news releases. He will only change federations, which is allowed under USCF and Fide rules.