The Return of the King... and Queen... and Rooks, Bishops etc....

by Paul Clement
11/30/2021 – Covid might have knocked the Banff Open down, but it certainly didn't knock it out. The popular tournament was back with a vengeance this year, after being cancelled in 2020. The fifth ever Banff Open was held over the Remembrance Day long weekend and welcomed the strongest (and largest) group of players in its history, with one GM (Joel Benjamin), 3 IMs and 6 FMs taking part. | Photos: Banff Open

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IM Mark Plotkin wins Banff Open 2021

The Banff Open seems to gain in popularity each year, and for good reason! The setting for the tournament, with its beautiful views of Banff and the surrounding mountains, is hard to beat, as is the professionalism and care with which it is organized.

GM Joel Benjamin at Lake Louise | Photo: Dave Bhavik

This year saw the largest field ever, with 100 participants competing. There were several more players on a waiting list, but the tournament had to be capped at 100 players due to Covid.

It was the only tournament in Canada this year to receive a FIDE aid package and even though things might have looked a little different with social distancing and other Covid rules in effect, the tournament continued to be a success, with its spacious playing room easily accommodating 50 well-distanced tables.

Tournament hall with a view

The tournament was a swiss system with 6 rounds with 90 minute + 30 second time control. It was organized by FM Ian Findlay and saw IA Vlad Rekhson serving as the tournament director. Comprised of two sections (over 1800 and under 1800), the Banff Open, the tournament had its largest prize fund in its 5 year history, with new women's and veteran's prizes added this year.


Over 1800 section:

# Name Rtng Total
1 Plotkin, IM Mark 2549 5.5
2 Benjamin, GM Joel 2640 5
3 Ng, FM Gary 2368 4.5
4 Mackinnon, Keith 2259 4.5
5 Cummings, IM David 2416 4.5
6 Plotkin, FM Victor 2428 4.5
7 Findlay, FM Ian 2316 4.5
8 Haessel, FM Dale 2216 4.5
9 Tolentino, Patrick Angelo 1936 4
10 Miller, David 2224 4
11 Ginsburg, IM Mark 2414 4
12 Gedajlovic, FM Max 2329 4
13 Khodjimatov, Sherzod 2183 4
14 Dukic, Zachary 2359 4
15 Wang, Paul 2137 4
16 Lin, Leo 1947 3.5

...61 participants

Under 1800 section:

# Name Total
1 Kim, Justin 5.5
2 Funk, Andrew 5
3 Maheux, Pierre 5
4 Coates, Bruce 5
5 Ancheta, Rodelio Gallard 4.5
6 Stefanov, Marko 4.5
7 Bruneau, Gilles 4
8 Wolfram, Ben 4
9 Ratte, Daniel 4
10 Wang, April 4
11 Landon, Matthew 4
12 Wang, Lucas 4
13 Reuter, Gerhard 3.5

...41 participants

GM Joel Benjamin was so kind to annotate a game from the event.


GM Joel Benjamin at the board




Paul Clement is the creative director and teacher for beginner students at Jumping Knight Chess. He has a diploma from Grant MacEwan University in journalism and loves writing about some of his favourite activities, including chess, food and travel. Paul is also a trained chef.


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