Battle Of Alberta

By: Stefan Sklenka
9/6/2021 7:23:51 PM

Dear Battle of Alberta champions!
First, thank you each and everyone for consenting few weeks ago to represent Team South in the Battle of Alberta yesterday. I’m very grateful that you had agreed to help out!
Without you volunteering your time and effort, there would be no Battle of Alberta. And there certainly would be no victory. 
Second, thank you to Daniel Kazmaier, Andrew Boik, Alex Yam and Georgi Kostadinov for helping give a ride to some of our players to Red Deer. Really appreciate it!
Thank you to Ian Findlay, who drove all the way to Red Deer from Banff. Ian was on time and played some hard fought chess. Thank you Ian!
Also big thank you all, for being at the venue by 11:30 am. That way I didn’t have to bite my fingernails, wondering if I had to get Marie to play in place of someone who maybe didn’t make it to the venue on time. Ok, Roy would have helped and so would have Bhavik, but still…LOL. 
Thank you to Roy and Bhavik, who made the trip to Red Deer. It was very gratifying to know that we had two top class players available at the venue, just in case something did go wrong, and we suddenly needed someone to sub in on a short notice. Thank you Roy and Bhavik!
And finally, big thanks to everyone on the team for putting in a super effort yesterday in securing a victory for the ages.
In conclusion, HUGE thank you to Gary Ng, Alex Yam, Ian Findlay, Bob south, Fred South, Daniel Kazmaier, Andrew Boik, Dale Haessel, Anand Chandra, Georgi Kostadinov, Maxim Vasic and Hemant Srinivasan for putting in an effort for the ages in Red Deer on September 4th, 2021! Bravo.
In the past 26 years, only two Edmonton teams were able to win by a margin of 17.5 to 6.5.  But no team ever won by an 18.5 to 5.5 until we did it yesterday! So huge congratulations on an historic win!!
This margin of victory may not be equalled for decades, if ever! Let’s savour this victory for now, and let’s all do it all over again next year! 
On board #1,  FM Gary Ng, two time Steinitz-Menchik Chess Classic winner  and Belzar Valencia were the only two players who were rated roughly equal. Gary’s 2367 CFC to Belzar’s 2357 CFC.  So the predicable outcome was 1:1. That is exactly what happened. 
In the first game, Belzar played the English with White. Gary more than equalized on move 17 when Belzar let his pawns be doubled up on the h-file. Gary took over at that point and maintained pressure the rest of the game, finally winning on move 48. Belzar won the second game, also with black, and so on board #1 Team South and Team North  split the 2 points equally. 
Board #2 saw the largest rating differential of 539 points, when FM Alex Yam (2361) played against a last minute substitute Cristain Ivanescu (1822).  The result was no surprise as Alex collected the 2 available points for Team South in 28 and 37 moves. 
Board #3 paired FM Ian Findlay (2316), the 2018 Canadian Seniors Ch 50plus
Champion against Aaron Sequillion (2157). Ian won the first game in 34 moves and a draw was agreed after 26 moves in game 2. 
Board #4 had Bob South (2305) the 1998 Calgary closed champion, paired against Edmonton veteran Peter Kalisvaart (2032), the 2010 Lerthbridge open champion. Bob won the first game, but Peter opened the second game with 1. b4, and was able to collect one of only 4 victories for Team North on this day. 
Fred South (2287), the 2000 Alberta Open champion collected 1.5 points for Team South on Board #5 against a newcomer to the Battle of Alberta, Tyson Menard (1967). 
Daniel Kazmaier (2270) playing for the first time since the 2017 Battle of Alberta, methodically collected 2 points on Board #6 from Mike Zeggelaar (1955), who spent most of the previous day as the Team North manager, tying up loose ends for the Battle of Alberta.
Andrew Boik (2222) came out of semi-retirement after 12 years to play Edmonton’s promising junior Mark Ivanescu (1955) on Board #7. Andrew, playing for the first time since 2009, with the exception of 3 games in 2014, and battling little rust lost the first game. Redemption came quickly as Andrew won the 2nd game, thus splitting the two points with Mark. 
Many time Alberta Open champion FM Dale Haessel (2205), had a very solid 2021 Battle of Alberta on Board #8,, as he won both his games against long-time Edmonton organizer, Dustin Koperski (1947).
On Board #9, Anand Chandra, (2192), former U10 Canadian champion and Calgary’s top junior, didn’t have it easy in both games against David Yao, (1908) who played much better than his rating indicated. Both games were all out battles, but in the end both games resulted in draws.
Board #10 had Calgary’s long time Battle of Alberta participant Georgi Kostadinov (2176) battle against Ali Razaaq (1863), Edmonton’s FIDE arbiter. Just like in 2019, Georgi’s game was the last one to finish in the contest. This one had a happy finish for Team South. With Team South leading 17.5 to 5.5 the result of this game would have a huge impact on the history of the Battle of Alberta. Two North Teams in the past won with a 17.5 to 6.5 margin. But no team ever scored more than 17.5 points. With a win or a draw, Georgi would be able to ensure at least 18 points for Team South, setting a new record for number of points won. Georgi did Team South proud by winning the last game, and thus sending the final result of 18.5 to 5.5 into the history books, as the largest margin of victory for any team in the history of the competition! 
Board #11 had Maxim Vasic (2134), one of Calgary’s top juniors, play Team North’s highly underrated and talented junior Paris Dorn. Prior to the tournament, Paris had a provisional rating of only1700. Immediately after the tournament, his rating skyrocketed to 2029! In the end, Maxim’s extremely strong and steady play netted him 2 victories over his strong opponent. 
Hemant Srinivasan (2073) is another very strong Calgary junior. Hemant scored a 1.5 to 0.5 victory over Mortiz Schaefer (unrated) on Board #12. Mortiz is no ordinary unrated player, as his draw against a 2073 player has shown.
So for now, both teams have a year ready for the next contest. Team North will try to redeem themselves in 2022 and Team South will try to repeat this year’s victory. 
What is sure now, is that Team North dominance over Team South in the Battle of Alberta competition has ended. 
It’s Team South now that is undefeated in the past 3 years, with a 12:12 tie in 2019, 26:22 online victory last year and now the one-sided over-the board win in 2021. 
If the Team that started in 2019 and continued this year stays intact, it’s very likely that Team South has a bright future indeed in the upcoming few Battles of Alberta. 
Best regards,
Steve Sklenka
Proud Team South manager

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