2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship, Edmonton
The Canadian Open was held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This open Swiss tournament
with a Classical time control attracted a few very strong GMs such as Alexei
Shirov, Ni Hua and Michael Adams. Top Canadian players like GM Mark Bluvshtein
played, as well as many other professional and amateur players. 203 players,
all competed in one section. The playing venue was a ballroom within a large
shopping mall in downtown Edmonton, with restaurants, a movie theatre and shopping
all just minutes away. And with just one game every day, unlike most Opens in
North America, there was plenty of time for entertainment and tourism.
Pictures and videos
With his performance, Mark Bluvshtein has a new rating with the Chess Federation
of Canada of 2634, topping the domestic rating list. This rating also represents
the third-highest ever achieved on the CFC rating scale. Here's hoping his FIDE
rating will soon be on par.
You are from Canada, Mark! Someone's holding Canadian flags on Bluvshtein's
IM Edward Porper, 2510, is another fairly
recent permanent addition to the Canadian chess scene, having moved to Edmonton,
Alberta from Israel in 2008. Tying for first (losing the trophy on tiebreaks)
in this edition of the Canadian Open, not to mention his GM norm at the Liechtenstein
Open in 2004, he will certainly contend for the Canadian Championship later
A key round eight encounter GM Xue Zhao,
2544 vs. WIM Alisa Melekhina, 2315,
which saw the GM emerge victorious in 46 moves.
Micah Hughey, 2052, with girlfriend Lisa
Yu, who recently learned the basics of the
Royal Game. Micah forms one half of the Rekhson-Hughey team.
Vlad Rekhson, 2065, forms the other half of the
Hughey-Rekhson dynamic duo. Micah serves as the Chief Organizer and Vlad serves
as the Chief Tournament Director of this edition of the Canadian Open, though
their successful partnership is not isolated to this event alone, as investigation
into further chess activity in Alberta evinces.
FM Raja Panjwani, 2350, former Canadian U16 Boys
Co-Champion, pondering his move in round eight.
Former Champion of Alberta (1959), Phil Haley,1716,
has been involved with Canadian chess for almost as long as many of the
current governors of the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC) have been alive. Inducted
into the Canadian Chess Hall of Fame in 2000, he served as President of the
CFC from 1971-73, earned the International Arbiter title in 1973, and filled
the position of Canada's FIDE Representative/Zonal President from 1994-2001.
This represents only a snapshot of the services Mr. Haley has provided to Canadian
chess, in his many years of active service with the CFC and FIDE.
One of Canada's stronger juniors, Noam Davies,
2136, lives on the West Coast, in the chess hotbed of Vancouver, BC.
In the past, he has won the BC Provincial U12 Championship (2002 and 2003 –
5.0/5). The same year as his second U12 title, he competed in the BC Closed,
finishing with a respectable 3/7. He capped that year with a solid 2nd-place
finish at the BC Junior Championship. He then won the BC U14 Championship in
2004 and 2005 (4.5/5), followed by victory in the Canadian U14 Boys Championship
(2005 - 6/7).
GMs Ni Hua, 2701 and Mark Bluvshtein,
2558, played a safe 18-move draw in round six.
In a critical round eight pairing, GM Alexei Shirov,
2748, sought revenge for his loss to GM Mark Bluvshtein,
2558, in the 2005 Canadian Open. Played in full view of the Champion's Plate,
the import of the game was tangible throughout. The result: draw in 39 moves.
IM Leon Piasetski, 2288, has recently made a return
to the Canadian chess scene, after years of hiding. Some of his most notable
results include 1st at the 1970 Canadian Junior Championship, 1st at the 1973
Quebec Closed Championship, 1st at the 1971 Quebec Open Championship, and 1st
at the 1974 Toronto Open Championship.
Here, Jonathan Farine, 1894, conducts
analysis with IM Piatsetski, while Phil Haley et al. look on. Having started
to play competitive chess in 2008, earning an initial rating of 1319, Jonathan
has since shot up the list. His performance at this Canadian Open has put him
well over 1900, and 2000+ cannot be that far off. As a student at Queen's University,
one can only imagine their chess team will grow stronger in the coming year,
in no small part due to his progress.
Aman Hambleton, 2052, is another Canadian
junior to watch. He started to play in 2001, and placed second in the Newfoundland
Open and 1st at the province's Junior Championship by the time 2003 rolled around.
In 2004, he turned in an equal-third place finish at the Canadian U12 Championship,
and, again, finished second at the Newfoundland Open (the winner was the same
– FM Grant Spraggett, brother of GM Kevin Spraggett, though Aman managed
to nick him for a draw). More recently, in 2007, he came equal-second at the
Canadian U16 Boys Championship, as well as turning in a stellar performance
in 2008 to capture the Toronto Junior Championship a full point clear of the
A round six encounter between Aman Hambleton,
2052, and IM Irina Krush, 2458,
which saw Irina roll her challenger in 34 moves.
Gordon Ritchie, 1870, is formerly one of Canada's
top trade officials, who helped in the negotiation of the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Given this, you might be able to guess he lives in
Ottawa, Ontario. He served as chairman of the organizing committee of the 2007
Canadian Open, and, in the recent past, has lent his voice to chess governance
in Canada, having served as a governor with the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC).
Three young Canadian FMs Eric Hansen, Jonathan Tayar and
pose for a group shot during a lull in tournament activity.
Anastasia Kazakevich, 2049 and Cornelia
Anastasia is one of Canada's top female players and lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
In 2005, she won the Canadian U18 Girls Championship with a perfect score. She
also won the 2003 Canadian U16 Girls Championship, giving up a single draw,
also winning the Alberta Womens Championship earlier that same year, again,
yielding only a single draw. She had secured this title previously in 2001,
scoring 4.5/5. Cornelia has not played competitively since 2006, but is roughly
the same age as Anastasia, and, both being from Alberta, has served as a counterpoint
to Anastasia's chess success. In 2002, she finished clear first in the Alberta
Womens Championship and 2nd in the Alberta U14 Championships. Later that year,
she tied for second in the Albertan Junior Championship. She also had further
success, having won the U14 Albertan Championship in 2003, ahead of the boys,
and then the Canadian U14 Girls Championship, with an undefeated 6/7. She also
won the 2004 Alberta Womens Championship and the Canadian U16 Girls Championship.
In addition, she and Anastasia were the only girls to compete in the 2004 Canadian
Junior Championship, each getting a 50% score (4.5/9). Of course, as this picture
evidences, far from begrudging their mutual triumphs, they are on good terms.
NM Dale Haessel, 2204, is a successful
Albertan player, having won the provincial closed championship twice –
back-to-back in 2001 and 2002, the first being an undefeated 6.0/7. He also
won the Alberta Open Championship on four occasions in the 1990s (1992, 1994,
1995, 1998) – with 1992 being an unshared victory.
Chris White, 1766, is a former resident of Canada's
East Coast, recently choosing to call Alberta home. Having been to every Canadian
Open since 2001, he shows no signs of ending the streak soon.
Active in the governance and promotion of chess at all levels within the
Canadian system, Bill Doubleday, 2110,
is a past president of the Chess Federation of Canada.
Hailing from Waterloo, Ontario, Avinaash Sundar,
2093, is another one of Canada's better junior players. Since earning
an initial rating of 2027 with the Chess Federation of Canada in 2006, he has
continued to climb. His best performance to date was first at the 2007 Ontario
U14 Boys Championship (4.5/5), followed by an equal-fourth place finish at the
Canadian U14 Boys Championship later that year. As he continues to play, we
can only hope the best is yet to come.
WIM Alisa Melekhina, 2270, from the USA, is a
former Co-Champion of the 2005 Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls.
More recently, she played spoiler at the 2007 US Womens Championship, holding
WGM Katerina Rohonyan to a draw in the final round.
GM Michael Adams, 2699 and IM
Edward Porper, 2510, fought to a 33-move draw in the penultimate round.
Photos Tracy Kolenchuk and Zeljka Malobabic of MonRoi,
captions by Michael von Keitz
|2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship
13.07.2009 – For the second time in recent memory,
Alberta plays host to the Canadian Open. As in the 2005 edition, the top
seeds sit amongst some of the best players in the world. Alexei Shirov
has returned to defend the title he split with GMs Mark Bluvshtein and
Vassily Ivanchuk, and has scored two fine victories in the first two rounds.
Illustrated report with annotations
by GM Alexander Shabalov.
|2009 Canadian Open: five players lead with 4.0/4 points
15.07.2009 – They are GMs Victor Mikhalevski,
Hua Ni, Mark Bluvshtein, Surya Ganguly and FM Raja Panjwani – the latter
is the top player on his team at the University of Western Ontario. Top
seed Alexei Shirov conceded a draw against Chinese GM Zhao Xue and dropped
to second berth, which he shares with 12 other players. Big illustrated
report with annotations by GM
|2009 Canadian Open: four players with 6.0/7 points
18.07.2009 – Two top seeds and
internationally well-known players, Alexei Shirov and Michael Adams, are
accompanied by two players below 2600 on the rating scale: GM Mark Bluvshtein
and IM Edward Porper at the top of the table after seven rounds of this
event. We bring you extensive annotations of the last three rounds by
GM Alexander Shabalov, together with pictorial
and video impressions by MonRoi.
|Canadian Open: Nine players lead after penultimate round
19.07.2009 – Just a round ago it was four players,
now a total of nine share the lead with 6.5/8 points. Shirov and Adams
drew their round eight games, while Ganguly beat Zhe Quan and Perlshteyn
beat Kovalyov to join them. IM Irina Krush, US, won her last three games
to take a place in the top berth. Congratulations! Pictorial report with
round seven commentary by GM Alexander
|Canadian Open: Canadians take it all|
21.07.2009 – Nine players were in contention,
five drew their games, two lost and two Canadians won. GM Mark Bluvshtein
and IM Edward Porper beat FM Theo Hommeles and GM Surya Ganguly to take
first places. Bluvshtein won the title on tiebreak. In the next slot,
3rd–8th, we find Shirov, Adams and Irina Krush! Illustrated report with
round eight commentary by GM Alexander