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Sklenka, Steve

Alberta Over/Under 1800

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The 2019 ACA sponsored Alberta Over/Under 1800 featured the standard two section format and, as usual, produced a good number of fighting games. Steve Sklenka kept the event running smoothly, while Dale Haessel produced the pairings and distributed the prizes. The winner of the Over 1800 section was FM Ian Findlay from Banff, Alberta. Tied for second were Edmonton's Ralph Arruebarrena and David Miller. FM Dale Haessel's lukewarm recent form continued as he unexpectedly lost a total of three games.

In the Under 1800 section Frank Knoll was the leader going into the last round. Unfortunately for Frank, he lost his last game to Jose Luis Bruna, the eventual winner. Frank's performance however was good enough for a share of second place with Arthur Milne, who has probably played more games than anyone else at the Calgary Chess Club. Plenty of complimentary refreshments and no major mishaps made the tournament a pleasant weekend event!

Sklenka, Steve

Eric Hansen Classic

Eric Hansen Classic
Round 1
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The 2019 Eric Hansen Classic got off to a great start with 17 players at the start line, including a visitor from San Francisco, David Askin. There were no surprises as all the higher rated players won their games this round. FM Dale Haessel and last year's winner Anand Rishi Chandra are considered the front runners. Nimai Koneru directed and did a commendable job in his first outing as Tournament Director.

Round 2

FM Dale Haessel was on the receiving end of an upset, losing to fellow board member Roham Eslahpazir. Most of the juniors are still in Kingston, Ontario competing at the 2019 NAYCC finals, accounting for the small number of contested games in the last couple of weeks at all of our events.

Anand Rishi Chandra won his game against Brian Miller, thereby parachuting into top spot on the leaderboard. With three rounds to go, the tournament remains open for anyone to win.

Collins, Jacob

Bobby Fischer Memorial

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The second annual Bobby Fischer Memorial tournament concluded with a familiar FM Dale Haessel victory, scoring 4.5/5, which is in fact a perfect result considering he took a bye in order to compete at the Canadian Open in Regina! Second went to NM Kim Nguyen with a solid 4/5 performance, dropping his only game to Dale in the 4th round.

Top U1700 was a split between relative newcomer Roham Eslahpazir and unrated Nerio Sibulo. A great showing from these two with a 3/5 points tally each.

Our next weekly club event is the Eric Hansen Classic, which starts on 2019-08-13 and runs until 2019-09-10. Also close is this year's edition of the long-running Alberta Over/Under 1800, coming up on the weekend of 2019-08-17 to 2019-08-18. See Events for details and online registration!

Yam, Alex

Calgary International Open

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Behrooz Ebrahim Shirazi, who escaped an inferior position down an exchange against Andrew Chen with a precisely played ending, plus Sean Perron and Anand Rishi Chandra finished the first day with 2/2. Anand's game in particular showed impressive maturity with a positional squeeze in round two.

On day two Anand did not defend accurately in a slightly inferior minor piece ending and lost to Kevin Qin. That meant missing out on becoming the sole event leader. That left the door open for Ebrahim to take top spot with a final round win over Kevin. Kevin Qin notably played well throughout, and remained in contention for the entire tournament.

Neven, Knut

Calgary International IM

Calgary International IM
Introduction

The 12th edition of the Calgary International is underway, featuring this year a six player double Round Robin consisting of four Albertans and two foreign players. The highest rated in the field is Alberta's newest International Master Bitan Banerjee, who lives in Edmonton but represents India. The two visiting IMs are John Daniel Bryant and Justin Sarkar, both from the United States. Bryant in fact has three GM norms to his name, while Sarkar can count no less than four!

Games from the event can be viewed live on chess24.com and followchess.com, while the Calgary International Open side event takes place starting 2019-08-03. And finally, the Calgary International Blitz will happen on 2019-08-05 at 17:00. Expect tough opposition from the attending IMs! Visitors and spectators are welcome...

Round 1
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The hopeful norm seekers in the field include Alberta Open and recent Canadian U14 champion NM Ian Zhao, three time Alberta champion FM Dale Haessel, and current Alberta Closed champion NM Omid Malek. In the first round FM Haessel was able to hold IM Banerjee to a draw in a rook ending. IM Bryant conjured a rook and pawn endgame up material against IM Sarkar, while Zhao defeated Malek after breaking through with a queenless middlegame attack on the king.

Rounds 2-3

Games from the event can be viewed live on chess24.com and followchess.com

IM John Bryant has a perfect start with 3/3, defeating second seed IM Justin Sarkar in the first round, followed by Omid Malek and Dale Haessel in rounds two and three, respectively. Calgary's top junior Ian Zhao went undefeated, and after comfortably drawing his third round game against IM Banerjee landed on an impressive 2.5/3. Omid Malek's speculative piece sacrifice was refuted with accurate play by IM Sarkar.

Round 4
Calgary Chess Club

In an Alberta vs the IMs battle, our boys managed well with 1.5/3. FM Haessel held a draw against IM Sarkar, while Ian Zhao came out on top in the fight for first place against IM Bryant! Ian looks in top form with one round to go in the first leg of the event.

Round 5

Ian Zhao kept up the momentum by defeating two IMs in the same day, thus proving that his strong early performance was no fluke! With the norm requirement set at 7/10, Ian's pace of 4.5/5 at the conclusion of the event's first half puts him on track for scoring that first IM norm. Great job, Ian!

Ian Zhao kept up the momentum by defeating two IMs in the same day, thus proving that his strong early performance was no fluke! With the norm requirement set at 7/10, Ian's pace of 4.5/5 at the conclusion of the event's first half puts him on track for scoring that first IM norm. Great job, Ian!

IM Bitan Banerjee is suffering a rough patch, and lost a long endgame to IM John Byrant. With 4/5 John still has a chance to catch up with the leader in the second half. Meanwhile, FM Haessel scored his first victory against a struggling Omid Malek today.

Round 6
Calgary Chess Club

Newly minted FM Ian Zhao disposed of NM Omid Malek with characteristic precision. The other games in round six were extremely hard fought, lasting more than five hours in the event's longest session yet. At the end, IM Banerjee won over FM Haessel, while Sarkar was triumphant in a very important encounter over fellow IM Bryant.

Round 7
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Ian Zhao turned on God Mode today, crushing his opposition with ruthless efficiency and crowning yesterday's FM title with his first IM norm after scoring 6.5/7 in the event so far. Ian's dominating performance makes him the youngest FM in the province. With a 1.5 point lead over his nearest rival IM John Daniel Bryant, the juggernaut leading the field seems unlikely to topple in the remaining three rounds.

Rounds 8-9

Just when it seemed that Ian could do no wrong, he suffered two consecutive defeats, leaving IM Bryant in the lead with 7/9! Sprinting out of the gate as Ian did, securing the FM title, followed at once by scoring an IM norm with three rounds still to play, can become a psychological burden. Mission already accomplished, with the finish line hardly in sight? What comes next, how to prepare and how to maintain that early momentum can be difficult questions to answer! Ian now faces the herculean task of regrouping by tommorrow morning in order to have any chance of winning the event.

After a slow start, IM Banerjee bounced back with two wins, and finds himself late in the event at 6/9 and in contention for top spot. Although clearly in trouble in both games, Bitan managed two spectacular swindles in objectively lost positions to take full points from his opponents. Finding such tricky resources time and again speaks to his class as an International Master.

Although clearly in trouble in both games, Bitan managed two spectacular swindles in objectively lost positions to take full points from his opponents. Finding such tricky resources time and again speaks to his class as an International Master.

Dale appears to suffer from IM Syndrome, where the lower rated player is intimidated by his opponent and plays at a level far below his competency. Despite reaching a very promising position against IM Sarkar, Dale let his opponent slip away with a draw by perpetual check. As former World Champion Emanuel Lasker quipped: "The hardest game to win is a won game!" The rest of us, to be sure, have all been there and done just that!

Round 10
John Daniel Bryant

After much drama and adventure, young Ian Zhao finally landed in second place with 7/10 and a 2538 performance! Along the way he collected a FIDE FM title, and a first IM norm on his path towards the International Master title. A fantastic performance at any age, and one that we most heartily congratulate him for!

The final round left three players in contention for top spot, including of course Ian Zhao, as well as IMs John Daniel Bryant and Bitan Banerjee. Ian managed the sunny side of a safe draw from a quiet Italian Game, but the IM battle Banerjee-Bryant was anything but quiet or peaceful!

Edmonton's Banerjee played an aggressive line against the American's Modern Benoni, which resulted in a prolonged tactical skirmish and a number of big changes in fortune. White's attack crashes through by move 24 with a nearly impossible and counter-intuitive pawn capture by the dark squared bishop, but the shot goes unnoticed by both players.

The tide has now turned, and just a few moves later in an apparently completely winning position Bryant agrees to a draw. There is nothing obvious about the evaluation of the final position - engines have a way sometimes of making mere mortals feel completely inadequate to the task - and we can hardly blame the winner of the tournament for sealing the result with a handshake...

Sklenka, Steve

Kings vs Princes

Kings vs Princes
Session 1

The Kings, consisting of a selection of the city's top players from years past, and mostly retired from competitive play for many years, proved they are legit by rolling over the Princes in the first of two sessions with a score of 5-1. Only Hemant Srinivasan and Andrew Chen managed to draw their games while the rest of the Princes lost.

The experience gained by the juniors should be a valuable one, as they had a relatively rare opportunity to face quality opposition without travel to a distant event.

The experience gained by the juniors should be a valuable one, as they had a relatively rare opportunity to face quality opposition without travel to a distant event. Session two takes place tomorrow evening, with the juniors on deck with the White pieces and a chance for revenge in all games. The event's matchups consist of Srinivasan-Brebrich, Vasic-Lapides, Raninga-Neven, Chandra-Haessel, Chen-Perron and Wang-Yearwood.

Session 2
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The Princes achieved a measure of redemption for the drubbing they received in the first session by equalling the Kings 3-3 in the second session. Still the Kings were victorious 8-4 overall, with the final match tallies consisting of Yearwood 2-0 Wang, Perron 1.5-0.5 Chen, Neven 1.5-0.5 Raninga, Haessel 1-1 Chandra, Lapides 1-1 Vasic, and Brebrich 1-1 Srinivasan.

Young and old alike clearly benefit from the games and newly minted friendships, each in their own way, and with everyone agreeing to continue with Phase #2 of the exhibition. They will meet over the next few weeks on Wednesday nights for a Scheveningen style event where all Kings play all Princes.

The Calgary Chess Club is working hard on several ideas to present even more new and exciting types of tournaments. Plans possibly include teams consisting of 4 or 6 players contesting an Olympiad style event. Captains would recruit team members based loosely on nationalities and with average player ratings and ages that are similar. Probably there should be a prize for Best Team Name!

Steve Sklenka is also in talks with a Saskatoon club that would send a selection of junior players to Calgary this summer for a Youth Festival against our junior talents. If plans firm up quickly, our provincial neighbours to the west may also participate. More announcements to come soon!

Session 3

The Kings vs Princes exhibition continued tonight with four Kings and Princes matches. The result was another stalemate, this time tallying 2-2. Anand Rishi Chandra, after suffering for a good part of the game, received an unexpected gift when Branimir Brebrich missed a check and allowed his opponent to convert for the full point. Maxim Vasic made his vastly more experienced opponent Roy Yearwood suffer and won relatively quickly. The Kings turned the tables however, with Knut Neven defeating a mild mannered and pleasant Andrew Chen, while Andrew Lapides played with authority in defeating a fast improving Hemant Srinivasan.

In turn, additional youngsters interested in gaining valuable experience facing strong opponents are also welcome to join. Your rating should be at least 1800 Elo.

The event is an ongoing one and continues each week on Wednesday at 18:00. Anyone rated 2200+ at one time or another during their competitive chess career can join the Kings and play some friendly G/90+30 unrated games against strong junior opposition. In turn, additional youngsters interested in gaining valuable experience facing strong opponents are also welcome to join. Your rating should be at least 1800 Elo. Blaise Evans, as usual, has provided the translation of game sheets to online database. Thanks!

Session 4

The Kings vs Princes continued with another slugfest and an outcome that not many predicted. The Kings once again showed their class by defeating the Princes 3-0 even while defending the Black pieces in all games.

Hemant Srinivasan came within a whisker of avenging his loss to Andrew Lapides, who in the end demonstrated that his former 2300+ rating was no accident en route to defeating the young warrior.

Roy Yearwood offered a forest of transpositions that ultimately gave the veteran a superior position out of the opening against Maxim Vasic. Hemant Srinivasan came within a whisker of avenging his loss to Andrew Lapides, who in the end demonstrated that his former 2300+ rating was no accident en route to defeating the young warrior. Knut Neven's game against Andrew Chen was the last to finish, but featured a thematic exchange sacrifice that led to a difficult defensive task for his young opponent.

Pat Moore, who kindly filled in for a missing King, saw his London system fall well short of overpowering the Alberta U10 champion Anand Rishi Chandra. Anand's father Vikas has been pioneering live broadcasts of our events on twitch.tv with tonight's games featuring again on live stream.

Session 5
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Only two matches took place this session, as both Andrew Lapides and Knut Neven weren't available due to illness and a prior commitment, respectively. Both will be back next week when all matches resume as usual. So the Kings win yet another session with a perfect score, whereby Dale Haessel defeated Maxim Vasic and Roy Yearwood collected the full point against Anand Rishi Chandra.

At this writing, the total scores for all participants find Knut Neven at the top of the leaderboard with 3.5/4, tallying results by winning percentage that is, followed by Roy Yearwood at 4/5 and Andrew Lapides at 3/4. Sean Perron is at 1.5/2. Dale Haessel at 2/3 rounds out the players with a positive score total.

Anand Rishi Chandra is the sole player splitting the difference with 2/4. Then come Maxim Vasic with 2/5, Branimir Brebrich at 1/3, Hemant Srinivasan with 1/4, Aditya Raninga at 0.5/2, Andrew Chen with 0.5/4 and of course Paul Wang with 0/2.

The Kings so far have been consistently willing to discuss ideas and mistakes with the juniors in sometimes very interesting and lengthy post-mortems.

Based on results so far it appears that our top juniors are collecting very valuable experience in these exhibition games. For them opportunities facing such strong opposition, retired or not, do not present themselves too often in your average local event. The Kings so far have been consistently willing to discuss ideas and mistakes with the juniors in sometimes very interesting and lengthy post-mortems. Some of them I have watched myself and can attest to their tremendous instructional value! I would like to encourage other juniors interested in participating to contact Steve Sklenka for your seat at future sessions.

Session 6

The Kings prevailed narrowly with 2-1 over the Princes. Dale Haessel and Andrew Lapides collected the full point against Maxim Vasic and Andrew Chen, while Anand Rish Chandra narrowed the gap by defeating seasoned veteran Roy Yearwood.

Session 7

Six sessions into the event, the Princes for the first time bested the Kings with a resounding 3-0 outcome! In total points it is now Andrew Lapides, Anand Rishi Chandra and Roy Yearwood who share top spot, while the best result in terms of percentage performance has Dale Haessel and Sean Perron at 75% just in front of Andrew Lapides and Knut Neven at 70%. Tallying results by way of two separate methods tries to take into account that participants have all played a different number of matches.

Infamous chess icon and legend Branimir Brebrich will be in Calgary on May 29th for a game against Anand Rishi Chandra. Other players rated 2200+ at one time or another are welcome to join the competition. Games are unrated, with a time control of G/90+30.

Session 8

The Kings rebounded from last week's loss to re-assert their dominance over the Princes as Roy Yearwood won over Andrew Chen and Dale Haessel beat Hemant Srinivasan. The result extends the King's lead 6-2 on match points and 19-10 on games. Roy leads the pack on points with 5/8, followed by Dale Haessel at 4/5, and Andrew Lapides and Anand Rishi Chandra at 4/6. Dale is also the performance leader with 80%, trailed by Sean Perron at 75% and Knut Neven at 70%.

Several Calgary junior talents have been on a tear lately in various local competitions, plus exceptionally strong performances at the recent Canadian Chess Challenge.

Several Calgary junior talents have been on a tear lately in various local competitions, plus exceptionally strong performances at the recent Canadian Chess Challenge. The Kings vs Princes matches at the Calgary Chess Club have been popular and look to have contributed very positively to recent big improvements by the juniors!

Session 9
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The Princes posted their second match victory when Anand Rishi Chandra scored a nice win over a road weary Branimir Brebrich, and Andrew Chen drew with Dale Haessel in the other game of the night. The overall score remains in favour of the Kings over the Princes with 6-3 match points and 19.5-11.5 in game points.

The new leaders are Anand Chandra and Roy Yearwood with 5/7 and 5/8 respectively, followed by Dale Haessel with 4.5/6 and Andrew Lapides at 4/6. The performance leader is still Dale Haessel, although he has dropped to 75%. Anand Chandra and Knut Neven follow closely behind with nearly identical 71% and 70%. Andrew Chen and Roy Yearwood have played the most games at eight, while Maxim Vasic and Anand Chandra have one less at seven.

Session 10

The juniors were distracted with school exams, allowing Branimir Brebrich to defeat Maxim Vasic in spite of first making a long 2.5 hour drive from out of town. Meanwhile Dale Haessel collected the full point against Andrew Chen. The Kings thus increased their lead over the Princes to 7-3 in match points, and 21.5-11.5 in game points. The most active players have been Andrew Chen who has played 9 games, followed by Maxim Vasic and Roy Yearwood with 8 games each.

As multiple participants are finding it more difficult to attend regular weekly sessions in the summer, I am exploring an alternative weekend format to be held once or twice over the next few months. More news shortly!

Session 11

The Kings once again dominated against the Princes when they triumphed 3-1 over their younger opponents, thus extending their lead over the youngsters to 8-3 in match points and 24.5-12.5 in board points. Paul Wang registered the lone win for the Princes by defeating Branimir Brebrich.

FM Alex Yam, one of Alberta's best all time players with a historical Elo of 2396 has promised stepping up on a future date to support the Kings vs Princes initiative!

This week brought the sad news that Branimir has decided to withdraw from the Kings vs Princes competition, although perhaps he will rejoin in the future. Dale Haessel has taken the overall lead in the standings with 6.5/8. He is followed by Roy Yearwood and the best Prince so far, Anand Rishi Chandra. Hemant Srinivasan has posted the highest rating gain at 56 points, leaving him only 4 points away from not being the lowest rated competitor. Anand is the only other player who has gained rating points from his matches with the Kings. Paul Wang is now the highest rated Prince ahead of Maxim Vasic and Aditya Raninga, while also ranking above Kings Sean Perron and Roy Yearwood. The three best percentage performances belong to Kings Dale Haessel, Andrew Lapides and Knut Neven. Anand Chandra has the best percentage of the Princes at 63%. The busiest player is Andrew Chen ahead of Roy Yearwood.

FM Alex Yam, one of Alberta's best all time players with a historical Elo of 2396 has promised stepping up on a future date to support the Kings vs Princes initiative! Among other top results, Alex won the 2014 Alberta Closed ahead of IMs Edward Porper and Richard Wang, but has been retired since the fall of 2016.

Session 12

The Kings vs Princes competition took a new turn when FM Alex Yam, one of Calgary's all time elite players, joined the competition. It is the first time Alex has played a classic game since 2016. He took on Maxim Vasic, who played a splendid game but in the end had to concede the full point. The "extra game" was played alongside the Calgary Chess Club Championship, one day before the regular Kings vs Princes evening on Wednesday, and attracted a fair amount of attention from the other players.

The only Prince to win this week was Maxim Vasic, who took out Roy Yearwood after two consecutive losses to the same player.

Georgi Kostadinov successfully kicked off his first participation in the event by beating Hemant Srinivasan. Dale Haessel notably defeated Paul Wang, who is the recently crowned Canadian Champion in grade 7. The only Prince to win this week was Maxim Vasic, who took out Roy Yearwood after two consecutive losses to the same player. The Kings' convincing 4-1 win takes their overall lead to 28.5-13.5 in game points, and 9-3 in match points.

In the overall points standing Dale Haessel has extended his lead to 7.5/9, ahead of Andrew Lapides at 6/8 and Roy Yearwood with 6/10. Anand Rishi Chandra has the most points among the Princes with 5/8. Dale Haessel also remains with the highest winning percentage overall at 83%, while Anand Rishi Chandra hangs on as the best Prince with 62%. The busiest players are Andrew Chen, Maxim Vasic and Roy Yearwood, who have all played 10 games.

Session 13
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The Kings prevailed in three games, while the Princes managed to draw two. Among the competitors were three new faces, all Kings, that included Ian Findlay, Georgi Kostadinov and Chris Demers. The latter had not played a competitive game since 2006.

On the Princes side Aditya Raninga returned this week and managed a draw against Ian Findlay, while Patrick Tolentino joined for the first time and promptly lost an interesting game to Georgi Kostadinov. Elsewhere Chris Demers drew with Paul Wang, Andrew Lapides defeated Anand Rishi Chandra, Roy Yearwood lost to Hemant Srinivasan, and Dale Haessel won over Paul Wang.

The competition still has Dale Haessel in the lead with the top overall points total, and Tournament Director Steve Sklenka was happy to count more games played in this session than any other since the first one back in the early spring. The momentum is positive!

Session 14

In another first at the Calgary Chess Club, the Kings vs Princes Summer Classic is to take place on August 24-25. This weekend edition of our regular sessions should attract the usual suspects, and hopefully newcomers who have found it difficult to play during the week.

This week saw a record six boards playing at the Kings vs Princes exhibition event. FM Ian Findlay, FM Dale Haessel, Georgi Kostadinov, Andrew Lapides, Chris Demers and Roy Yearwood all dressed up for the Kings this week, leading to another by now predictable victory by the veterans with +3=2-1. Still the Princes are playing fighting chess, and judging by Hemant Srinivasan's recent success at the Canadian Open for example, they are making great strides towards reaching the upper echelons of Calgary's chess playing community thanks to the benefit of facing elite competition at the Kings vs Princes sessions.

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In another first at the Calgary Chess Club, the Kings vs Princes Summer Classic is to take place on August 24-25. This weekend edition of our regular sessions should attract the usual suspects, and hopefully newcomers who have found it difficult to play during the week. Requirements are the same, with Kings currently or formerly rated 2200+ and Princes at 1800+. For additional event details, see Events or contact Steve Sklenka.

The new wrinkle in the weekend edition is a Swiss pairing format, which means games between Kings or games between Princes are possible rather than only games featuring experience vs youth. As always, games are unrated.

Session 15

The Kings and Princes competition was joined this week by two more Calgary Chess Club legends. Fred South and Arthur Odachowski had been away from classical chess games for a long time, but both came out victorious in their first encounter with the Princes. Fred defeated Anand Chandra and Arthur had the better of Andrew Chen.

Hemant crossed the 2000 Elo mark this week, thus elevating him near top spot in the rankings among Calgary juniors, behind only Ian Zhao and ahead of Aditya Raninga, Paul Wang and Anand Chandra.

Former Alberta Chess Association president Vlad Rekhson also joined the competition, but ended up bested in a very entertaining battle by an entirely non-intimidated Maxim Vlasic. Elsewhere the ever consistent Andrew Lapides won another game, this time against our own national grade 7 champion Paul Wang. In the final match Roy Yearwood avenged his loss last week against Hemant Srinivasan by collecting the full point. Hemant crossed the 2000 Elo mark this week, thus elevating him near top spot in the rankings among Calgary juniors, behind only Ian Zhao and ahead of Aditya Raninga, Paul Wang and Anand Chandra.

Session 16

After having played his first classical game in about two decades last week, Fred South continued his successful comeback by taking the full point from our most improved junior of the last month, Hemant Srinivasan.

Elsewhere Maxim Vasic could not solve Dale Haessel, losing yet another game to his titled opponent. Andrew Chen managed a hard fought draw against a strong and very consistent Andrew Lapides, but that was not enough to influence the final outcome in favour of the Princes as the Kings won the match easily with 2.5-0.5. With his win Dale Haessel extends his overall points lead to 1.5 over Andrew Lapides in second place.

Session 17

With most juniors out of town competing at the 2019 NAYCC finals in Kingston, Ontario only Anand Rishi Chandra was on hand to face Roy Yearwood. This was effectively a rubber match as the players split the previous two games. Yearwood secured the win, and catches up with Andrew Lapides in a tie for second place overall. Since Roy has played two more games than Andrew, the latter is ahead on tiebreak. Next week's session will have Kings facing other Kings, a first in the competition, since the juniors are still away.

Session 18
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Congratulations go out to Fred South, who continued his run of wins with a point over FM Dale Haessel. Not at all a bad return to form for the long-time retiree, who was playing only his third classical game in about 20 years!

Recent results indicate Dale may be out of form right now, which is something that happens to all players periodically. Let's hope the slump is over soon, and Dale gets back to his patented winning ways. Fact is, sometimes a crisis in form is the prelude to significant gains soon thereafter! With Anand Rishi Chandra's win over Roy Yearwood the Princes won this week's match up against the Kings. Well done Anand!

Yam, Alex

Calgary Chess Club Championship

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In round three Hafiz Karmali failed to stand his ground against Anand Rishi Chandra, which left the talented youngster with a perfect 3/3 and closest to taking the championship. But that margin did not prove to be quite enough, and our congratulations instead go out to FM Dale Haessel, who outlasted 20 other contestants in becoming the 2019 Calgary Chess Club Champion!

The course of events was symbolic of the battle between the old guard consisting of players like Dale Haessel, Avelino Tolentino, Hafiz Karmali and Brian Miller, and rising stars such as Maxim Vasic, Anand Rishi Chandra, Andrew Chen, and Patrick Tolentino. This time, the old guard showed they aren't ready to retire just yet!

One of the unique features of this tournament was that it intertwined with the schedule of the ongoing Kings vs Princes competition. That event gives our top juniors a chance to meet and play training games with Alberta chess legends such as Knut Neven, Chris Demers and Ian Findlay. As such, this side event has generated an enthusiastic following and I expect to see it continue to gather momentum for years to come!

As a former competitor, I found that players really appreciated my keen interest and feedback during several post mortem sessions.

With the support of Steve Sklenka and Blaise Evans, my first ever TD experience ran smoothly. As a former competitor, I found that players really appreciated my keen interest and feedback during several post mortem sessions. I was also glad that I could bring my years of playing experience to the table in finally directing a tournament, which is something I did not necessarily expect. The experience was a positive and enjoable one! I look forward to giving back more to the chess community in the foreseeable future.

Sklenka, Steve

Calgary International Qualifier

Ian Zhao

Alberta Open champion and runner-up in the Steinitz Menchik Classic, NM Ian Zhao (2310) finished first with 5/5. Ian is only 14 years of age and amassed a huge 2477 performance in the process! 31 players participated in the event, which was directed by Dale Haessel.

FM Ian Findlay (2353) finished tied for second through fourth with Maxim Vasic (2099) and James Windram (2064), who all collected 4/5. Spoiling Ian's own perfect record was a second round loss to NM Kim Nguyen (2077), with the same single loss blemish also shared by Maxim Vasic and James Windram.

Another notable result was achieved by Calgary's newest female star Helen Chen, the sister of talented junior Andrew Chen, who performed at 1700+ level. Calgary's youngest junior talents Jonathan Wu and Jerry Ming also performed several hundred points above their current rankings.

Sklenka, Steve

National Arbiter Seminar

Calgary Chess Club

A free seminar for aspiring tournament directors, conducted by International Arbiter Vlad Rekhson, will be held at the Calgary Chess Club on Saturday, 2019-06-22 from 12:00-17:00.

Graduates will complete a short test after the seminar, making them eligible to direct FIDE events and apply for the National Arbiter title. The Alberta Chess Association pays for the title application if the graduate directs an ACA sanctioned FIDE rated tournament.

Registration and inquiries should go to organizer@calgarychess.com

Sklenka, Steve

Grand Prix Leg #4

Round 1

The final leg of the Grand Prix began with an upset win by Hemant Srinivasan over Patrick Tolentino, while in the remaining games it was rating that predicted victory such as Dale Haessel continuing his winning ways in the Grand Prix by beating Andre Tolentino. Online registration remains open in case anyone decides to join late!

Round 2

Dale Haessel maintained his winning streak over Hemant Srinivasan on top board. Four new players joined this round, which is always a nice addition to any of our events! If you want to join the third round of the Grand Prix Leg #4, or any other future event, visit Events and register online. On-site event registration works as well of course, but costs an additional $10 per event.

Round 3
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Anand Rishi Chandra drew with Dale Haessel, which left Brian Miller in the lead with a perfect 3/3 after his win over Josh Culp. Two games remain in the event, which is also the last of the 2019 Grand Prix series!

Round 4

Anand Rishi Chandra won against Brian Miller, while Dale Haessel beat Maxim Vasic. Tonight's winners are now tied at the top of the leaderboard with 3.5/4 and just one round remaining before the Grand Prix concludes next week.

Final Results

The 2019 Grand Prix came to an end this week with FM Dale Haessel claiming top spot for the second year in a row. Dale won three of the circuit's four legs and took home a total of $980 in prize money, while Maxim Vasic won just one of the events.

Anand, Maxim, Paul and Andrew all participate regularly in our popular Kings vs Princes exhibition matches where young talents are matched with very strong and experienced Masters. Judging by their results in recent tournaments elsewhere, this experience is paying off handsomely!

This year witnessed the continuing strong performance of young Anand Rishi Chandra who finished second overall, and the emergence of Maxim Vasic who came third. Brian Miller managed a string of consistent results in all four events to finish fourth overall and laying claim to the U2000 top prize. Andrew Chen and Paul Wang, the recently crowned Canadian grade 7 champion, came in fifth and sixth respectively.

Anand, Maxim, Paul and Andrew all participate regularly in our popular Kings vs Princes exhibition matches where young talents are matched with very strong and experienced Masters. Judging by their results in recent tournaments elsewhere, this experience is paying off handsomely!

Jerry Kobalenko came seventh overall, while the always cheerful and generous contributor of his time, Pat Moore, earned top U1750 honours. Pranav Pathak, another talented junior, finished top in U1500, while Artemio Galwan was top Unrated.

A big thank you goes to everyone who contributed to the success of the 2019 Grand Prix, including Roham Eslahpazir who week after week brought appetizing snacks on his own to enhance those already supplied by the Calgary Chess Club. Blaise Evans deserves praise for a wonderful job directing the final leg of the Grand Prix. Next year's event should be even bigger and better!

Sklenka, Steve

Alberta Reserves

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The 2019 Alberta Reserves saw Michael Decaire, Mike Zeggelaar and Jacob Collins tie for first at 3.5/5, with Michael Decaire of Mirror, Alberta the winner on tiebreak by virtue of his last round victory over Cally Ntete. Victor Han travelled here from Brooks, came very close to winning it all, but missed out with a loss to Jacob Collins in last round. Tim Kowalyk had an exceptional tournament starting with a nearly perfect 3/4 but had to withdraw in the last round and thus forfeit a very good chance to win the overall title. Maxim Bryuzgin took the U1400 category, followed by the equally quickly improving Jerry Ming.

Sklenka, Steve

Alberta Closed

Alberta Closed
Introduction

This year four players from Calgary and two from Edmonton are contesting the annual Alberta Closed, to be held at the Calgary Chess Club over the weekend from April 19-21, 2019.

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The favourite by rating, albeit narrowly, is Calgary's Gary Ng, followed by Edmonton's Rafael Arruebarrena. Neither will likely have an easy time however, since the field also includes 14-yr-old Ian Zhao who has marked his arrival as an elite player by climbing the provincial rating ladder at record speed in the last year.

Defending champion Bitan Banerjee is away in India and unable to defend his title. None of the remaining contestants are without chances, since the top and bottom seeds are separated by only 200 Elo. The club is open to visitors for the duration of the event, so please stop by and take in some of the best chess likely to be played in the province this year. More tournament details, including start times for each round, can be viewed at Events.

Results
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Omid Malek persevered with an impressive 4/5 total to convincingly win the 2019 Alberta Closed! Along the way, Omid defeated top seeds Gary Ng and Rafael Arruebarrena as well as recent World Seniors Championship participant Dale Haessel. Alberta Junior and Alberta Open Champion Ian Zhao, who is just 14 years of age, came in second with 3.5/5 followed by Edmonton's Rafael Arruebarrena at 2.5/5 in third.

The event marks an astonishing improvement from last year for Omid, who collected a mere 1/5 in the 2018 edition of the provincial championship. The result was especially satisfying when a win by Ian Zhao over Dale Haessel in the final round forced Omid to prevail with Black over top seed Gary Ng in order to prevent a play-off with the junior talent.

The event marks an astonishing improvement from last year for Omid, who collected a mere 1/5 in the 2018 edition of the provincial championship.

With a number of the province's top players formally retired in recent years, the torch now looks like it has passed to the next generation with players like Omid Malek and Ian Zhao leading the charge. Mind you, the list of top players does not end here, with Gary Ng, Rafael Arruebarrena, Ian Findlay, Belsar Valencia, Dale Haessel, Agnieszka Matras Clement and others, plus junior talents Maxim Vasic and Anand Rishi Chandra certain to be in the mix in the coming years...

Sklenka, Steve

Grand Prix Leg #3

Round 1
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The first round of the Grand Prix Leg #3 is under way, and featured plenty of fighting games. Top seeds Dale Haessel, Maxim Vasic, Andrew Chen and Anand Rishi Chandra all won their games. Due to the rescheduling of one of the rounds in the last Grand Prix event, please remember that we have a make up round on Sunday, March 31 at 14:00.

Several players activated their online membership accounts in the last few days and easily pre-registered for this event. Thank you! We hope that soon everyone transitions to this automated process instead of waiting in the usual long registration line-ups just before the event gets under way. This will make for a more pleasant tournament experience for everyone, plus you gain the ability to update and manage your membership online.

This will make for a more pleasant tournament experience for everyone, plus you gain the ability to update and manage your membership online.

Thanks to Blaise Evans for selecting the following games to be included in our report. For those of you who feel like adding a little more spice, a nice win or perhaps something you learned from a disappointing loss, let your Tournament Director know that you would like to annotate a game or two.

Round 2
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Play continued tonight with FM Dale Haessel winning on top board over Anand Chandra and exacting a measure of revenge for several losses in previous encounters. Helen Chen remains on track to becoming one of Calgary's future top female players by scoring the upset of the round over Kevin Qin. Only three players remain unbeaten after two rounds: Dale Haessel, Maxim Vasic and Andrew Chen.

Vikas Chandra delivered a Calgary Chess Club first by telecasting the top board game live on YouTube! An exhausted battery briefly interrupted the stream, but more exciting live broadcasts are planned for future events.

Round 3
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The key match between FM Dale Haessel and Maxim Vasic ended with Dale taking the full point, who also takes the inside lane on winning the event.

Alongside next week's round we will also begin the Kings vs Princes matches featuring four retired legends against four top juniors. Make that five legends, as Branimir Brebrich will be visiting from British Columbia and playing against the quickly improving sixth grader Hemant Srinivasan. It will be a full house and a good time to visit the club if you haven't stopped by lately.

Round 4
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FM Dale Haessel is leaning in as the clear favourite for another Grand Prix victory with his win over Andrew Chen. Only Paul Wang, with an upset victory over Maxim Vasic tonight, is in position to snatch the title in the final round next week with a win over the leader. In the battle of the youngsters Anand Chandra defeated Hemant Srinivasan.

Round 5
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The event concluded with FM Dale Haessel securing top spot with a draw against Paul Wang, and thereby also winning the overall Grand Prix for the second year in a row. Congratulations! Elsewhere Andrew Chen also drew with Anand Rishi Chandra, while Andre Angelo Tolentino won over Maxim Vasic and Hemant Srinivasan beat Ali Husain.

The 4th and final leg of the Grand Prix starts next week, with a dozen players remaining in contention for a share of the $1,200 prize fund to be allocated after Dale receives the winner's share of $800. Online registration for the event is open!

Sklenka, Steve

Calgary Seniors Championship

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FM Ian Findlay won the ACA sponsored 2019 Calgary Seniors Championship with 4.5/5 after a crucial win with the White pieces over FM Dale Haessel in the fourth round. Dale, who late last year represented Canada with an impressive result at the World Seniors Championship in Bled, Slovenia, finished in 2nd place ahead of Brad Booker in 3rd. Gordon Campbell, the 1976 Alberta Closed and 1977 Alberta Open champion, ended in 4th followed by Arthur Milne who has shown good form lately.

Nine players showed up in total making this a friendly family affair, aided as always by complimentary refreshments provided by the club for all competitors. Ian received both a $100 winner's cheque and a $300 travel grant towards the Alberta Seniors Championship in Edmonton on May 11-12.

Sklenka, Steve

Grand Prix Leg #2

Maxim Vasic

Maxim Vasic is the winner, with Top U1900 claimed by Pat Moore and Brian Miller, Top U1700 by Arthur Milne, and Top U1500 by Artemio Galwan. Congratulations! Grand Prix Leg #3 starts next Tuesday with online registration available on our Events page.

After the emergence last year of young Anand Chandra, this year Maxim Vasic has added his name to the list of challengers for Dale Haessel's dominance of our Grand Prix events. Maxim seems to add rating points to his cache with every outing, and promises to be a force to be reckoned with in the coming months and years. This time around Dale actually faced more difficult opposition, and so the unfolding storyline likely still has many more twists and turns in store for us.

Maxim seems to add rating points to his cache with every outing, and promises to be a force to be reckoned with in the coming months and years.

Jerry Kobalenko has also joined the Grand Prix, in spite of residing more than an hour away in Canmore. Juniors Patrick and Andrew Tolentino together with Andrew and Helen Chen are also regular new faces. The game of the tournament unfolded between Anand Chandra and Maxim Vasic in round five. Maxim came out on top after a series of sacrifices in a very sharp position. In the final round Jerry Kobalenko kept threatening Dale Haessel's king, but eventually found his own monarch stranded in an indefensible position.

A big thank you goes to Roham Eslahpazir and Roy Yearwood, who selflessly donated extra snacks each round, complementing those provided by the club.

Neven, Knut

Tournament of Legends Blitz

Tournament of Legends Blitz
Session One

The South brothers offered a suspicious sibling draw in the last round that is currently being investigated by a hastily established ethics committee.

The Tournament of Legends became a reality tonight when a friendly and jovial atmosphere prevailed over pizza and snacks prior to the tournament. But that all predictably changed once the games started.

Ted won the Best Hair contest hands down, while Rob Hawkes won Best Tie with Steve Sklenka offering the only competition. Probably Steve's decision to purchase this accessory at Woolworths had something to do with the outcome!

The South brothers offered a suspicious sibling draw in the last round that is currently being investigated by a hastily established ethics committee. Meanwhile the Deep Rust Award remains up for grabs, with Gordon Campbell claiming the inside lane after the first of two sessions.

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Andrew Lapides scored only 2/6 points early, but decided to take matters into his own hands and went 5/5 in the closing rounds. Greg Huber proved the class of the field with 9/11 and a run of 8 consecutive wins! The Over Achiever Award went to Chris Demers who finished the first session in 3rd place in spite of his 9th place ranking.

GM Eric Hansen kindly stopped by for a look at the grizzled veterans. The average rating, based on the highest rating achieved, was an impressive 2297! Calgary clearly has some very good chess players that many people are simply not aware of. The event continues for one more session on 2019-03-14.

Session Two
Gregory Huber

At the end of 22 exciting rounds filled with the inevitable ebb and flow of an event as long as this one, Gregory Huber emerged as the class of the field by posting ahead of Arthur Odachowski and Dale Haessel in shared second place. Robert South, Christopher Demers and Andrew Lapides came next, fractionally ahead of a cluster of players making up the middle of the table.

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For any visitors who came to watch the play several trends soon became apparent. While any number of games were played at a high standard featuring creative ideas and brilliant tactical moments worthy of times long past, the extended competitive inactivity of the participants also took a toll. Perhaps an expected one, but not the sort you get used to easily. All of us suffered random streaks of tactical blindness, sometimes several games in a row, only to find the fog suddenly lifted in the next hour for seemingly no particular reason. Drop a piece in one game, and prosecute a smooth attack or subtle technical ending in the next. And so it went. Everyone understood, since all were equally afflicted. Sportsmanship was brilliant...

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Steve Sklenka has devised a secret plan to wrestle the Battle of Alberta trophy back from our northern rivals. Enticing the strongest local players of the past to come out of retirement is merely the tip of the spear! Phase two might see mixed events between the veterans and a selection of strong juniors. Not a bad idea. Training is everything. So goes the theory. We wish Steve luck, as it may be more difficult than anticipated to translate his vision into action. We shall see.

Every single participant did express how much they enjoyed the special chess reunion, which prompted Steve Sklenka, assisted this year by co-organizers Gregory Huber and Knut Neven, to announce a likely repeat of the event next year. Tentatively the next edition is scheduled for March 10-12 of 2020, and might feature other accomplished veteran players from the rest of the province. An excellent idea indeed!

Sklenka, Steve

Steinitz Menchik Classic

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The third edition of the annual Steinitz Menchik Classic concluded last weekend at the Calgary Chess Club. The tournament was conducted in two sections with a total of 44 participants, including some who traveled from Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

The event featured many intense battles and upsets, including Patrick Tolentino's impressive win against FM Ian Findlay. The highlight of the tournament was the final round top board clash between Alberta Junior Champion Ian Zhao and Omid Malek. The latter ground down his opponent in a lengthy rook vs bishop ending to clinch the victory. With this result Omid has now officially met all requirements for his National Master title, which the Chess Federation of Canada will award to him shortly. Congratulations!

Congratulations as well to Ian Zhao, Georgi Kostadinov and Maxim Vasic for sharing second place. Maxim Bryuzgin and Avery Li jointly won the U1400 section.

Notable as well is yet another excellent result from Helen Chen who continues to improve against formidable opposition and scoring points against players rated several hundred points higher than her. You heard it here first: if Helen keeps up the good work, she will become the number one female player in Calgary.

With this result Omid has now officially met all requirements for his National Master title, which the Chess Federation of Canada will award to him shortly. Congratulations!

The event was organized and directed by Steve Sklenka and the Calgary Chess Club, and boasted a new attendance record for the Steinitz Menchik Classic.

Sklenka, Steve

Welcome Players, Enthusiasts and Chess Friends

Calgary Chess Club

On behalf of the Calgary Chess Club I am honoured and delighted to announce a pair of exciting events that we hope will be remembered as landmarks in our club's history.

It is our sincere hope that we are taking important and necessary steps towards making chess in our city more visible and popular than it has ever been.

Our new website for the first time provides the club with a professional online presence that fully integrates a centralized membership database with functionality capable of handling and displaying online Event registrations, up-to-the-minute Rating lists of top players, current news and reports, as well as instructional articles of all types. In time we will add even more features. It is our sincere hope that we are taking important and necessary steps towards making chess in our city more visible and popular than it has ever been.

To commemorate the launch of the new website, the club is hosting a very special invitational blitz tournament spread over two evenings on March 12 and March 14 between 19:00-22:00.   

The participants include twelve of Calgary's top players from the past 35 years who have mostly been coaxed out of retirement for this double-round event called the Tournament Of Legends Blitz. Spectators are welcome!

The participants are twelve of Calgary's top players from the past 35 years who have mostly been coaxed out of retirement for this double-round event called the Tournament Of Legends Blitz.

The event start list, given here in order of highest historical rating, consists of Greg Huber (2385), Rob Hawkes (2362), Arthur Odachowski (2336), Dale Haessel (2332), Robert South (2328), Knut Neven (2327), Andrew Lapides (2326), Fred South (2300), Christopher Demers (2285), Ted Wilson (2245), Sean Perron (2210), and Gordon Campbell (2127). Between them, this group holds hundreds of titles at the city and provincial levels and beyond...

Finally, I would like to thank the entire Calgary Chess Club Executive Board including Dale Haessel, Colin McCaffrey, Gordon Campbell and Blaise Evans, along with special thanks to Knut Neven who have all worked tirelessly to implement the many positive changes clearly evident at the Calgary Chess Club in recent times.

Brebrich, Branimir

Early History 1930 to 1971

Branimir Brebrich

Looking for a chess club in Calgary, some fifty years ago, was an adventure! There was enough interest in playing chess with friends or family at home, but to play in a club, that was something different. Somehow, around fifteen brave players found each other and gathered every Monday night in Maccabees Hall on Fifth Avenue between 9th and 10th Street SW. This was the year 1968.

Much earlier than that, chess was also played at a club called Eagles of Britain all the way back in the 1930s. One of the players of that era still played the game into 1980, and regretfully we never heard the entire story from those days many years ago. Some day, perhaps, someone else can fill that void with records from local newspapers or stories heard through friends...

Once we started, back in 1968, we tried hard to promote ourselves. There were simultaneous chess exhibitions at Westbrook Shopping Centre, Market Mall and others. The club grew to number 50 members in just one year. Branimir Brebrich became our first president. This was the year 1969.

But just when the club looked poised to take flight in earnest, disaster struck in the prosaic but serious situation of a $27 debt owed in past rent!

But just when the club looked poised to take flight in earnest, disaster struck in the prosaic but serious situation of a $27 debt owed in past rent! Members were summoned to talk about options in case we were to be evicted. One interesting idea was to join the German-Canadian Club in Bowness, but that would mean losing our own identity. After much lively discussion the name stayed, and the rest is history.

The crisis had been averted, and the club now formally registered its existence with the authorities. Two letters, sent to the Government of Alberta and the Albertan newspaper, respectively, and signed by Branimir Brebrich, J. Kassay Farkas, R.C. Korpan, R. Gjesdal, and B. Van Wieren asked to sponsor Branimir Brebrich's appearance at the 1971 Canadian Open in Vancouver. That application was rejected. This was the year preceding the famous Match of the Century between Robert James Fischer and Boris Spassky in Reykjavik in the following year. Chess finally made headlines!

Evans, Blaise

The Calgary Chess Club Players

Dale Haessel, who they say your best chance at winning against, is trying to get him into time pressure.

I met Jake on a Saturday at the Shawnessy Chess In The Library program, which I learned about from Roy in a tournament at the Calgary Chess Club. Jake had recently moved to Calgary and was excited to see people playing chess when he and his girlfriend were at the library. I offered to take him to our club for the next Tuesday tournament.

We took a car to Jake's first tournament. Often though, he and I would ride the C-Train. If you're in the southwest of Calgary like I am, you will take the Redline train into downtown, then switch to the Blueline to head northeast. There, you can get off at Rundle station and walk past the Peter Lougheed Centre. Turn left on 32nd Avenue, continue to 27th Street, turn right, and the Calgary Chess Club will be in the second parking lot to your left, where you'll see the wooden stand-up sign.

Pat, I was told before a chess related party in Banff, is much better at playing guitar than he is at chess. He beats me anyway.

In the Calgary Chess Club you will meet the players. FM Dale Haessel, who they say your best chance at winning against, is trying to get him into time pressure. Steve Sklenka, who will accept a draw in a position he is winning if you tell him that it will certainly convince you return to the club. Pat, I was told before a chess related party in Banff, is much better at playing guitar than he is at chess. He beats me anyway. Don, who won't regret missing the opportunity to make a glorious sacrifice.

Meet us and other players at the Calgary Chess Club to play casual or rated chess!

#274 - 3359 27th Street NE
Calgary, AB
T1Y 5E4
Canada

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