Nigel Short tops the field at the 2007 Canadian Open

5/31/2007 – Ottawa, the capital of Canada, will host the 44th annual Canadian Open Chess Championship, at the four-star Ottawa Marriott in mid-July. It will be a star-studded, one-section event, with GMs Nigel Short, Vadim Milov and Sergey Tiviakov leading the field, which could top more than 250 players. Apart from chess there are lots of exciting things to see in the region. Reason to attend...

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2007 Canadian Open Chess Championship

Report by Peter Hum and Tim Bouma


Parliament Hill and the Mounties – just a quick trot from the tournament venue

For more the 40 years, the Canadian Open Chess Championship has been a roving tournament, taking place each year in a different Canadian city so that no group of chess lovers across this broad country would be favoured.


Mounted guards on the grounds of Parliament Hill

The 44th edition of the event – whose winners have included illustrious players from Boris Spassky in 1971 to Vassily Ivanchuk and Alexei Shirov in 2005 – will be staged in Ottawa, one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities.


An attraction for visitors and tourists

This city of one million lacks the sprawl and population of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, but it provides a rich, human-scale experience that is at the same time quintessentially Canadian and culturally diverse and dynamic. It's common of course to hear English and French spoken on Ottawa's streets. Canada's two official languages flourish in its capital. But the city has thriving Chinese, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Italian, Polish, Dutch and South Asian communities as well, among others.


In the winter, Ottawa's Rideau Canal is the world's longest skating rink.
But it's a different matter in summer.

Ottawa lies in northeast North America, in the Province of Ontario, Canada. It is bordered by the Ottawa River to the north, while the historic Rideau River and Rideau Canal meander north to south through the city. Directly across the Ottawa River, in the French-speaking Province of Quebec, are the City of Gatineau and the picturesque Outaouais region. While Ottawa in winter ranks among the world's coldest capitals, in summer it will be hot and could even be sweltering. If anything, the Mounties above are a bit uncomfortable under their red serge tunics. The average maximum summer temperature is 26.4 C, and humid days with highs above 30 C are not uncommon.

The seat of Canada’s federal government, Ottawa is a major centre for the visual and performing arts. Yet the city retains the accessibility, atmosphere and charm of a smaller centre — rich in wide-open green spaces, parks and wilderness areas.

A four-hour drive north-east of Toronto and two hours west of Montreal, Ottawa presents visitors with a wide selection of sightseeing and outdoor-leisure options. In fact, with more than a dozen national museums and galleries — and a full calendar of festivals and activities — Canada’s Capital Region has something for everyone.


Skip your pre-game preparations and instead go kayaking on the Ottawa River


Use your imagination – that could be you on a free day


Finished your game early? Enjoy the nightlife in the Byward Market


Experience the Aboriginal dance – in the shadow of the Supreme Court of Canada

The Canadian Open

But we digress. The tournament will run from July 7th to 15th, 2007 and players of all strengths are welcome! So far, the tournament has registered nearly 180 players including 15 GMs from nearly as many federations. It is shaping up to be a very strong and interesting field.


Ottawa Marriott (bottom left with circular top), which boasts a rotating rooftop restaurant with a splendid view of the Gatineau Hills and Parliament


Chess players receive an incredible deal at the Ottawa Marriott during the Canadian Open, starting at $89 CAD for a single or double room. Reservations, though, must be made by June 6th.


Cafe Toulouse in the Ottawa Marriott

The tournament is a one-section event, with one game a day except on Sunday, July 8, when two games will be played. The time control will be game in 120 minutes plus 30 second increments. The prize fund is to total $25,000 CAD based on 200 paid entries, and the organizers will be very surprised if they don't surpass that attendance target by a considerable margin. Entrance for GMs and IMs is free.


Nigel Short will be returning to Canada for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Nigel Short, the current Commonwealth Chess Champion and European Union Men's Champion, is the top seed of the field. He has played twice before in Canada – at the Quebec Open in Montreal and at his 1988 Candidates Match with Gyula Sax in Saint John, New Brunswick. "I look forward to coming," says Short. "I noticed in the Wikipedia entry for Ottawa that there are even some cricket clubs in the city – so it is obviously a very civilised place," Short joked. Nigel will also be attending the 8th International Empresa Tournament in Montréal which is being held just before the Quebec Open 2007


Super GM Sergey Tiviakov reflecting on his July trip to the Canadian Open

Dutch Super GM Sergey Tiviakov has visited 54 of the world's countries and territories, but will be seeing Canada for the first time when he plays in Ottawa in July. “I'm very pleased to come to Ottawa and the Canadian Open because I have never been in the country before, but well dreamed of visiting Canada from my early years,” says GM Tiviakov. “And what else can be dreamed of than starting a visit to the country from its capital city?! I am very glad that my dream will soon come true and that I'll play in a very interesting strong tournament as well."

Getting to Ottawa is a snap. Many major airlines fly directly to Ottawa. If they do not, then they will fly to Toronto or Montreal. Zoom Airlines of Ottawa flies from London Gatwick to Ottawa. A number of short-haul carriers fly several times each day between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

The Canadian Open falls between the World Open in Philadelphia (connected to Ottawa by a U.S. Airways 90-minute flight) and the Quebec Open in Montreal (a two-hour trip by car, train or bus). So the Ottawa event could well be the middle leg of a grand North American chess tour in July!

Sponsors

The tournament's success is due in large part to the generosity of a number of corporate sponsors, chief of which are Hill & Knowlton Canada and Magmic Games. The former is Canada's industry leader in public relations, public affairs and strategic communications. Magmic Games, based in Ottawa, is a leading developer and publisher of mobile entertainment, offering a wide variety of action, sports, casino, puzzle, and multiplayer games for BlackBerry, J2ME, Brew, and Sidekick handsets.

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