Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Palo Alto Falls (Baras, Rizal)

Palo Alto falls is located inside the real estate development of Sta. Lucia Realty in Baras, Rizal. The falls can be reached after a not more than two hours leisurely drive from the Masinag-Antipolo Junction, Marcos Highway.  Just head straight.  The drive is scenic and traffic free.

Upon reaching the huge sign of Palo Alto, we asked the security guard at the entrance of the subdivision if we can visit the falls. After the routine inspection, he showed us the direction to the falls that is - to go straight and turn left at the first intersection of the subdivision.
Palo Alto Falls in Summer  
On the way to the falls, we noticed the well-concreted roads with trees and lush vegetation providing temporary respite from the summer heat. The area appears to be still in the development stage as houses are yet to be built.

Notice posted at the entrance of the falls says - P 100.00 per person is the entrance fee. However, for fifteen minutes visitors are allowed to have a “site inspection”.

There were so many people wanting to escape the summer heat in Palo Alto. Notice the children's pool besides the main  pool. 

The way to the falls has been made accessible by Palo Alto with concrete slabs and stairs.  However, reaching the falls is not a walk in the park given the summer heat.  
While we have not seen the full splendor of Palo Alto Falls, we would again visit the area. I can imagine how beautiful this falls would be during the rainy season.  But next time, we would not forget to bring a bottle of water to quench our thirst.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chess: A Very Exciting Game

Is chess a boring game?

With the proliferation of different apps and games on the Internet, I sometimes wonder whether chess has lost its appeal. I am beginning to think that chess – a game played for centuries – is now relegated to a game that is “boring”. Compared to other games on the Internet, some say that chess is not that “exciting”.

Well, I do not believe so. Chess, once you learned how to play it, will definitely give that “excitement” and “addiction” most online games offer.  Chess is a very addicting game and gives a very different kind of challenge. The enjoyment you would derive from playing chess cannot be equaled by any popular game on the Internet today.

When I attend chess tournaments, I feel glad each time I see a lot of youngsters competing. The huge turn out of children competing in tournaments is an indication that chess has not lost its appeal. 

Once you learned how to play chess, you would definitely fall in love with the game. You will see that is not a “boring” board game.  

What makes the game of chess exciting?

If we look at chess players, all that we can see are nothing but their occasional movements. They hardly move. Yet, if we look at the players - all their energies and concentration are focused on the chessboard.  From the sheer look of their eyes, we can see that something “exciting” is happening on the board.

In a chess game, most of the excitement happens during intense tactical plays where one mistake can mean death or a win. Chess is reduced to a  “battle of nerves” where the first player who commits a mistake loses the game.

There are many games of this nature.  When every move can mean life and death, chess becomes a game full of emotion. What is important is that the player stays calm and focused. Imagine trying to find the best move under time pressure? With the clock winding down, it takes a very solid and well-controlled emotion to handle the intensity of chess.

One of the most exciting chess game ever played is the game between Gary Kasparov and Valesin Topalov in 1999. In this game, Kasparov despite being an exchange down made precise moves in a breathtaking middle game to finally win in the end. 

Take a look at the 36th move made by both players and appreciate the intensity and excitement of the game of chess.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Online: the new way to play chess

Now all you need to play chess is a gadget and a reliable internet connection. You can play with anyone - even with someone half way around the world. Just open your computer or gadget, visit an online chess site like chess.com and Facebook, sign up or log in and you can play chess anytime of the day or night.

With the advent of the internet, playing chess has never been convenient as before. You can play chess when and where you want. While enjoying your favorite coffee or drink, you can take out your laptop, tablet or cellphone and play chess. Wherever you are - in the safety of your house, in your bedroom, under a tree, in a parking lot or wherever there is internet connection you can enjoy and play chess.

Your opponent is no longer confined to who is available across the street in your neighborhood or at your local chess club. Chess players can challenge absolutely anyone who can be at the far end of the planet on a different time zone. With a worldwide number of available competition chess has reached a very high level of play.

Technology has changed not only our daily life but our “chess life” as well. With technology, the chessboard has literally become “flat” and within reach. All players, whether beginners or masters, have a venue to interact, dicuss issues, gain friends and best of all play chess.  Playing online is slowly becoming the norm. With the internet, busy professionals who love chess can play during their free time.  They need not visit a chess plaza and have someone to play chess with at the other end of the board.  There is no need to meet your opponent face to face.  Without need of traveling, there would be more time to play chess.

Technology has indeed changed the way we play chess.  Perhaps, the future of chess is online. There may come a time that the “physical chess set or chessboard” would be rendered extinct.  Chess - as future generations may know it - is no longer the “board” where there are “carved chess pieces” but the “icons” on the iPad or “chess symbols” in a computer. Perhaps in the very near future, World Championship Chess would be played online where the challenger is somewhere in India and the reigning champion is in Norway. In fact, at this time chess games are viewed in chess sites such as chessbomb.com on computers and other gadgets.

If we talk of a chess game, we usually visualize two chess players across the table glued on their respective chairs. On top of the table is a chessboard and a clock. With their minds focused on maneuvering their sixteen chess pieces, spectators only see the occasional movement of the player.  Today, many see chess as a game played with the use of modern gadgets. A chessboard is no longer the necessary tool to play the game but a gadget and a very reliable internet connection. 

But of course, to be able to physically touch the chess pieces and face your opponent across the board offers a much realistic chess experience compared to playing online.  In playing online chess, psychological factors that affect a chess player is reduced to a minimum. However, with the continuing advancement of technology, online would definitely be the new way to play chess.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Robert James Fischer vs. Miguel Najdorf (Second Piatigorsky Cup, Santa Monica USA, 1966)

Take a look at the move 26.c5 by Fischer, it literally weakened Black's apparently strong centralized pawns. The move eventually created the winning passed pawn for Fischer. A great game giving good insight on how "proper timing" is essential in winning a chess game. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rodolfo Tan Cardoso vs. Robert James Fischer (New York, USA; 1957)

International Master Rodolfo Tan Cardoso is the only Filipino to have ever beaten Bobby Fischer. In an International Match held in New York, USA, Cardoso won against Fischer and drew two games. While it was a convincing victory by Fischer with a score of 6 - 2, Cardoso showed his tactical brilliance and mastery of the game.

Here is that win by Cardoso over Fischer in a sharp Sicilian Defense encounter. Cardoso's passing is indeed a great loss to Philippine chess.  He will always be remembered, not only through his games, but also to his valuable contribution to the development of chess itself.

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