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Findlay, Ian

Canadian Seniors Championship

FM Victor Plotkin, FM Ian Findlay

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!

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 Rishi 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 Rishi 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 Rishi 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 Rishi 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 Rishi 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 Rishi 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 Rishi Chandra.

Session 16
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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!

Session 19
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Fred South won yet another game and extends his perfect streak to four! Anand Rishi Chandra becomes the highest rated junior participating in the Kings vs Princes, after several youngsters dropped points at the NAYCC earlier this month. Dale Haessel however continues to lead the competition in total number of points and best winning percentage.

Congratulations to all Kings and Princes who made the Calgary (South) Battle Of Alberta team! And special thanks to Roy Yearwood who easily could have made the team, but graciously stepped aside when asked so that Anand, who owns virtually the same stats as Roy at 2/4 with a roughly 2090 Elo could get his first appearance in the prestigious BOA!

Session 20
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Aditya finally put an end to Fred's winning streak by converting a favourable rook and pawn ending where his two advanced pawns were stronger than Fred's three pawns. Anand won the rubber match against Roy, closing out their games with 3/5, and giving the Princes a rare victory over the Kings this week.

Saturday brings the long awaited Battle of Alberta, followed by the Calgary Chess Club Annual General Meeting on September 24, 2019.

I need to take a little break in September, and so no additional Kings vs Princes games will be scheduled this month. In October we can continue with the present format of weekly sessions on Wednesdays, schedule the first Kings vs Princes weekend tournament in their place, or perhaps re-start the regular sessions in the new year!

Saturday brings the long awaited Battle of Alberta, followed by the Calgary Chess Club Annual General Meeting on September 24, 2019.

The overall points leader after 20 sessions remains Dale Haessel with 10.5/13, followed by Andres Lapides at 9.5/13 and Roy Yearwood with 9/16. Top Prince is Anand Rishi Chandra at 7.5/15, followed by Maxim Vasic who has amassed 6/15. Tied for 6th and 7th are Fred South at 4/5 and Andrew Chen with 4/14, respectively.

Dale Haessel is also the top percentage leader at 81%, followed by Andrew Lapides at 73% and Roy Yearwood's 56%. Next is Anand Rishi Chandra with 50% and then Maxim Vasic at 43%. Roy Yearwood has played the most games with 16, just ahead of Anand Rishi Chandra with 15 matches, and then Andrew Chen and Maxim Vasic with 14 games.

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.

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!

Haessel, Dale

2018 World Seniors Championship

FM Dale Haessel

I recently travelled to Bled, Slovenia to play in the World Seniors Over 50 tournament. Although I didn't play well, I still managed to gain 27 rating points. Fellow Canadian Michael Dougherty gained 52 points. Overall the Canadians gained a tonne of rating points out of the event. I always remember GM Joel Benjamin saying he was underrated. When asked he stated that everyone is underrated in North America. I can definitely concur with such a statement and anyone who wants to have a rating boost just has to play in foreign tournaments because hundreds of rating points are available for free.

My tournament was marred by an extremely slow start and an opponent who failed to show up. The organizers used a 30 minute forfeit rule compared to the standard 60 minute rule in North America. The tournament was extremely well organized and featured top notch accommodations. I definitely recommend the tournament for anyone who is over 50 or 65.

The tournament was extremely well organized and featured top notch accommodations. I definitely recommend the tournament for anyone who is over 50 or 65.

There were many GMs playing, however no one really famous except GM Evgeny Sveshnikov. I was expecting people like John Nunn and Jan Timman to play. I managed to struggle to 7.5/11 to finish 11th in a field of 106 including nine GMs. The Canadians who played included Alberta's IM Edward Porper, Ian Findlay, Steven Peters, and myself. Also attending from Canada were David Cummings, Michael Dougherty and Victor Plotkin.

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