Touring Canada

9/12/2013 – For the players seeking a visit of Canada and some good chess, there were ample opportunities with strong tournaments in Edmonton, Ottawa, and Quebec. One of the summer's most successful players was Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista, but one didn't need to win to have a great time in the beautiful Canuck cities. A pictorial by Elshan Moradiabadi

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Touring Canada

By Elshan Moradiabadi

After a joyful time in Toronto, I met my friend Raja Panjwani at Toronto’s main train station, where we started our two week chess tour of the east side of Canada. My first stop was at Ottawa, the Capital of Canada.

I don’t seem to enjoy the hot and humid weather of Ottawa. However, I did not forget to point out the crown!

The judge is in court!

One of the many attractions of Ottawa is the change of guards which happens every day. Visitors from all around the world come to the Canadian Parliament every day, in order to watch the ceremony.

New guards are coming!

Aside from playing chess, I gave lectures, and also worked with Alexandra Botez, one of the leading female players in Canada.

Alexandra Botez has a training session with GM Elshan Moradiabadi

Another privilege of this tour was the chance to reunite with good friends from pre-immigration times. One whose company I have always enjoyed is IM Leon Piasetski, a true gentleman, whom I met for the first time in 2011.

Leon won the Canadian junior championship in 1970, and has represented Canada five times at the Olympiads. He stopped playing in 1995 while living in Japan and apart from playing in the Lost Boys tournament in Amsterdam in 2002, only returned to regular competition in 2006.

My next stop was in Montreal, a wondrous city and easily the most European style city I have seen in North America. I wished I could spend a couple of months exploring Montreal’s beautiful restaurants and cafés. I also fell in love with the older part of the town with its unique architecture, but a lack of time prevented me from visiting the museums. Rest assured I will return next year and correct this!

People do love chess in Montreal, and I found this place in the down town, somewhere near the Concordia University.

Your reporter, Elshan Moradiabadi at Montreal’s old port

Here I am with Majid, an old high school friend from Iran, who did his undergrad at Sharif University of Technology, where I also did mine. Right now, Majid is pursuing his Mechanical Engineering degree at McGill University. Behind us is St. Joseph’s Oratory.

One of the other advantages of Montreal is its vibrant night life. In the summer, there are lots of Carnavals and Fiestas. Two former colleagues, Ali and Ali, who are both studying at the University of Concordia, took me to the Just for Laughs Festival ("Juste pour rire" in French).

It was indeed lots of fun!

IM Mackenzie Molner from USA. After FIDE’s next board meeting you have to call him ‘Grandmaster’

GM Thomas Roussel-Rouzman, back to chess scenes in the home town!

The talented GM Anton Kovalyov, who currently lives in Montreal, finished tied for second after his upsetting loss in the first round, when he blundered in a much better position against IM Arthur Calugar. However, Kovalyov showed lots of character and fighting spirit, and climbed his way back, including a crucial fifth round win over GM Ivan Sokolov with black. Kovalyov shared first place in the blitz event too.

Veteran GM Reynaldo Vera from Cuba

The tournament was quite strong and the invitational section had 55 players, including twelve grandmasters and eleven IMs. With an average 2351 rating, it was the strongest event ever held in Quebec.

I had a good result, and came in third with 6.5/9, while Cuban GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista won the tournament convincingly with 7.0/9. In our game we drew. Bruzon had a fantastic summer to say the least. After his triumphant result in Edmonton, and a shared first place at the World Open, his victory at the Quebec Open was one more feather in his cap. (picture courtesy of Richard Berube – A warm thanks to Richard for all his efforts!)

GM Eduardas Rozentalis facing my roommate IM Raja Panjwani. Rozentalis had a good tournament and came in second with 6.5/9, beating me on tiebreak. I was quite fortunate since in our last round game, I was totally lost, but for some reason the Lithuanian grandmaster failed to finish me off and I miraculously survived an endgame two pawns down. Phew!

Raja is an Oxford graduate who is taking a year off from school in order to fight for the GM title. I dare say that he will succeed.

The beautiful tournament hall at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf

Lithuanian GM Sarunas Sulskis against second seed Ivan Sokolov. Sokolov did not have a good tournament like the one he had in Ottawa, but this one wouldn’t count in a thousand years!

Finally! The trophy of the champion

The young grandmaster from Romania, Ioan Christian Chirila, did not have a great result in this tournament. However I am sure he soon will get back to his good form. Christian lives in Dallas where he is pursuing his undergraduate degree.

Elshan Moradiabadi, 28, GM, was born in Tehran, Iran Tehran, and currently lives in in Lubbock, Texas. He earned an MBA at Texas Tech and is currently enrolled in the PhD program at Rawls College of Business, Department of ISQS. He is a member of the Texas Tech chess team.

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