2009 Victoria Summer Chess Festival: National Champions clash

by ChessBase
7/31/2009 – From July 20-28, Victoria, British Columbia played host to a number of events, including the Canadian Youth and Junior Chess Championships, and the British Columbia Open. Well attended and well received, the festival was highlighted by an encounter between GMs Mark Bluvshtein and Hikaru Nakamura during the opening ceremonies. Pictorial report.

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2009 Victoria Summer Chess Festival, Victoria, British Columbia

Report by Mark S. Dutton, Chief Arbiter – photos by MonRoi

Set in the beautiful coastal area of British Columbia, Canada, the 2009 Victoria Summer Chess Festival ran from July 20-28, attracting competitors from across Canada and all corners of the globe. Fresh from his triumph at the Canadian Open in Edmonton, GM Mark Bluvshtein kicked off the event with a very special live outdoor chess game, facing the Champion of the United States, GM Hikaru Nakamura.

The Champions during action in their live chess game.

GM Mark Bluvshtein, with the very regal-looking Gary Gladstone, a devoted chess dad and Canadian chess politician.

After a hard-fought 41-move draw, the grandmasters continued to please the crowd by each offering simultaneous exhibitions, all of which were covered by TV, radio and newspapers.

Looking stylish, GM Mark Bluvshtein, 2558, conducts his open-air simul.

GM Mark Bluvshtein graced the CYCC with his presence all week long. He anaylzed games with the juniors everyday, and, was a true gentleman and a pleasure to have at the tournament site. He is 21 years old, living in Toronto, and attending York University (which he dubs "Strike U"), where he has currently finished his 3rd year of studies in Science and Technology.

Mark has been a member of the Canadian Olympic Chess Team since the age of 14, tying the record for the youngest Canadian male chess Olympian ever, first set by the formidable GM Abe Yanofsky! At the last Olympiad, Mark played on first board for Canada, scoring a respectable 5.0/9. In Mark's only previous visit to Victoria, in 2005, he won the Canadian U18 Championship. This is in addition to some of Mark's other tournament wins, which include a tie for first in the 2005 Canadian Open with Ivanchuk, Shirov and Bologan, a tie for first in one of the 2007 Hungarian Grandmaster First Saturday tournaments, an outright win of the same event in 2008, and, most recently, a tie with IM Edward Porper for first in the Canadian Open in Edmonton. The last time Mark participated in the Canadian Closed Championship, he placed 2nd and hopes to finish first this year in Guelph, Ontario.

GM Hikaru Nakamura, 2710, beginning battle against all-comers.

Hikaru Nakamura is also 21 years old and already ranks among the world's elite players. He is currently the fourth highest rated player in the world 21 years of age or under, and 26th overall, with a FIDE rating of 2710 on the July list. Hikaru won the 2005 United States Chess Championship at the age of 16, making him the second youngest player ever to become US Champion. Additionally, Hikaru scored several impressive victories in the 2004 FIDE World Championship held in Tripoli, Libya. In the 128 player knock-out, he reached the round of 16, before losing to GM Michael Adams of England.

Hikaru holds the record for being the youngest American grandmaster ever, and is the US Champion again this year, having won the US Invitational Championship in May. He earned his grandmaster title in February 2003, at the age of 15 years 2 months, eclipsing the earlier American record set in 1958 by former World Champion GM Bobby Fischer. Previously, Hikaru had set the mark for the youngest American "master," when he reached that milestone at the age of 10 years 2 1/2 months. Hikaru earned a silver medal for the United States at the 2001 World Youth Championship in Oropesa, Spain. He is the 2001 US Junior Champion and has won several national championships in various age groups. Born in Japan in 1987, he has been playing chess since he was 7 1/2 years old.

As for the live outdoor chess game, it was an exciting draw:

Bluvshtein,Mark - Nakamura,Hikaru [E50]
Live Chess Game, 20.07.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e3 0-0 6.Bd2 d6 7.Bd3 e5 8.Qc2 exd4 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.exd4 Re8+ 11.Kf1 Bxc3 12.Bxc3 d5 13.c5 b6 14.f3 bxc5 15.dxc5 d4 16.Bd2 Nd5 17.Bxh7+ Kh8 18.Be4 Ba6+ 19.Kf2 f5

20.Bd3 20.Bxd5 Re2+ 21.Kg1 Qxd5 was a better try.20...Ne3 21.Bxe3 dxe3+ 22.Ke2 Qh4 23.Rhf1 23.g3 Bxd3+ 24.Qxd3 Qh3 25.Qc2 Qg2+ improves on the text, which allowed things to go from bad to worse. 23...Bxd3+ 24.Qxd3 Rad8 25.Rad1 Rxd3 26.Rxd3 Qxh2 27.Rxe3 Qxg2+ 28.Rf2 Rxe3+ 29.Kxe3 f4+ 30.Ke2 Qxf2+ Black opts to spare his troops from the heat of the day, foregoing the grind of the winning ending. 31.Kxf2 Kg8 32.Ke2 Kf7 33.Kd3 Ke6 34.Ke4 g5 35.c6 Kf6 36.b4 Ke6 37.a4 a6 38.b5 a5 39.Kd4 Kd6 40.Ke4 Ke6 41.Kd4 and a draw was agreed, after White had secured a winning pawn ending. 1/2-1/2. [Click to replay]

Both grandmasters were gracious and entertaining in representing their respective countries at the kick-off to the Canadian Youth Chess Championships at the Victoria Chess Festival.


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