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Canadian Seniors Championship
The 2019 Canadian Seniors Championship took place August 2-5, in Kitchener Waterloo, at City Hall. Two sections of 50+ and 65+ were joined by a sectioned tournament going on at the same time.
Victor Plotkin took the 50+ section with a score of 6/7, while Ian Finlay won the 65+ section with 5.5/7. Both will represent Canada in Peru later this year at the World Seniors Championship. But before anyone congratulates yours truly, please note the slight difference in spelling between my name and that of Ian Finlay, who resides in Brampton, Ontario, and in fact won that 65+ section! I managed only to finish in a tie for second in the 50+ section, shared at 5.5/7 with IM David Cummings.
The tournament was very well run thanks to the great organizational efforts of Patrick McDonald and Hal Bond. The playing site was air conditioned, and located in a separate room with very good lighting.
But before anyone congratulates yours truly, please note the slight difference in spelling between my name and that of Ian Finlay, who resides in Brampton, Ontario, and in fact won that 65+ section!
After winning in 2018 with a perfect 7/7 I knew I had my work cut out for me, given this year's 4th seed ranking compared to 1st seed at last year's tournament. The event gets stronger every year, marking this year the strongest field in the history of the 50+ section.
I have briefly annotated my entire set of seven games, all replayable in the game board below. Probably the two most interesting games are those against Victor Plotkin and Michael Barron. There were lots of mistakes, and no one can accuse us of using illicit engine help!
Canadian Youth Championship
The Canadian Youth Championship has always been a very challenging event, and this time was no different. The tournament took place in Regina, Saskatchewan from July 7-10, 2019. One thing we definitely noticed was that players from Alberta are now competing on at least equal footing with their counterparts from the larger and formerly dominant centers of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver etc.
Ian Zhao for example remained unbeaten, won first place in the U14 Section with 6/7, and showed great maturity in dominating tough opposition.
The previously apparent knowledge gap between our players and those from Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia has been bridged successfully. Ian Zhao for example remained unbeaten, won first place in the U14 Section with 6/7, and showed great maturity in dominating tough opposition. Anand Rishi Chandra shared first place in the U12 Section with 5.5/7, playing one age group above the U10 Section he was still eligible for.
Aditya Raninga came second in the U18 Section, losing only to FM Joshua Dokanjas in the decisive matchup. Other Alberta representatives included Hemant Srinivasan and Kevin Qin, both at 4.5/7, also in the U12 Section, and Maxim Vasic with 4.5/7 in the U16 Section. All managed to defeat strong opposition.
Overall, Alberta players showed that now there is no gap in quality between them and players from Toronto or Vancouver for example. Recent programs at the Calgary Chess Club like the Kings vs Princes exhibition matches seem to be working well, based on a series of excellent performances from our young players when they step onto the national stage! Clearly they are now better prepared to handle tough opponents and hopefully they continue to improve on this front.
Canadian Chess Challenge
From twelve players representing Alberta at the 2019 Canadian Chess Challenge held at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver from May 19-20, no fewer than eight came from Calgary. Credit and recognition for this wonderful achievement must go to all levels of our city's youth chess groups and volunteers! Our heartfelt congratulations go out to everyone who made it to Vancouver this weekend. Your success is our success!
Paul Wang won the grade 7 competition outright, while Anand Rishi Chandra tied for first in grade 5. Paul drew with Ontario's Dorian Kang (2255) plus one other game, but won the rest en route to becoming Canada's top seventh grader! Anand also did what he had to by drawing his highest rated opponents Eric Ning (2246) of Ontario and Kevin Zhong (2350) of Quebec, while beating everyone else.
In the grade 3 competition Jonathan Wu finished in second place. His result is especially amazing, given a ranking near the very bottom of the field that didn't stop him from scoring a very strong 7/9.
In the grade 3 competition Jonathan Wu finished in second place. His result is especially amazing, given a ranking near the very bottom of the field that didn't stop him from scoring a very strong 7/9. Yet another podium finish went to Aditya Raninga who tied for third in grade 11. Aditya faced no less than four players rated over 2000 and managed to score 6/9 points including an important win over William Li (2286) of Ontario!
Aulden Wright Maley, a very young and dedicated player who is no stranger to the Calgary Chess Club, scored a very respectable 4/9 even though he was ranked second lowest in grade 1. Helen Chen, who bested Hemant Srinivasan and Kevin Qin among others for the qualification spot in grade 6, was the only girl from Alberta. She too has been a regular at the Calgary Chess Club, and remarkably scored 3 points against very tough opposition.
Ian Zhao, the current Alberta Open Champion and already rated north of 2300 himself, faced no fewer than three adversaries rated 2400+. And while Ian didn't quite manage to take points from the top players, he won his remaining games to finish with a very fine fourth place result overall in grade 9. Last, and certainly not least, Andre Tolentino scored 4/9 against formidable opposition in grade 12.