Beware the Cavalry!

The knight with its funny L-shaped move is one of the hardest pieces to master, and even experienced players sometimes lose a game by missing a knight fork tactic.

“Inexperienced players have a fear of this piece, which seems to them enigmatic, mysterious, and astonishing in
its power. We must admit that it has remarkable characteristics which compel respect and occasionally surprise
the most wary players.”
~ Eugène Znosko-Borovsky, 1936

In a recent chess lecture at ACC, veteran Toronto chess player and teacher, Erik Malmsten, explains a circle visualization method and a square-colour alert to help train your brain to watch out for potential threats by these tricky pieces!

Check out the full lesson here (in .pdf format).

And here are the games (as a zipped .pgn) from the lesson – with a few bonus ones thrown in!

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The featured image is from a photograph by Maarten van den Heuvel.

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Openings Course starts Monday

Along with our regular beginner and intermediate adult chess classes, we have a new offering starting on January 9.

It’s an Introductory Survey of the Chess Openings. Beloved chess teacher, Artiom Samsonkin, will walk you through a complete opening repertoire for both sides in this 7-week course. The focus is on applying four fundamental principles: piece activity, king safety, pawn structure, and material.

Here is Artiom’s own video introduction.

  • Do some of your games get off to a good start while in others you are soon in hot water?
  • Are you looking for a way to make a smooth transition from the opening into a playable middlegame position where you can test your skills?

Course layout:
The first half of the course will work on building a repertoire for White, focusing on the Open Spanish, and preparing to meet the solid French and the dangerous Sicilian, as well as meeting sidelines such as the Pirc. The second half builds a repertoire for Black, preparing to meet both 1.e4 (with an Open Game) and 1.d4 (with the Nimzo Indian) as well as sidelines.

Learning goal:
Students will finish the course able to play one or two openings for both sides with confidence. More importantly, your games will be more stable and consistent, as you regularly get your pieces developed harmoniously and your king to safety, ready to test your skills in a good middlegame position.

Chess level:
This course is aimed at an intermediate level. Players should already know how the pieces move, and should have some idea how to assess piece activity, material, king safety, and pawn structure. Tournament players rated 1000-1600 may also be interested in the course.

Everyone welcome!
If you’re not sure whether this is going to be right for you, come try it out and see if it works.

Monday nights, 8:15 to 9:15 pm
January 9 to February 27
$140 for 7 weeks
All equipment and materials provided.
Casual club membership included for the duration of the course.

Register on site January 9. Save the date!
Questions? Please contact

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December Rapid Swiss – Dec 19

Special event – December Rapid

Toronto has snow for the holidays, and we have a special rapid tournament at ACC to end the year.

After six rounds of rapid play, at 9’+3″, Sergey Noritsyn is first with a perfect 6.0/6. Top U1900 is Nika Akophyan with 4.0/6, and top U1500 is Kevin Li with 3.0/6.

ACC Founder and current Chair of the Board Ted Winick is a real-life Santa, just back from carrying on the Honest Ed turkey tradition with he and Heidi’s math school Spirit of Math Central Toronto and his friend Dan Freeman’s Freeman Real Estate.

Final Ranking Cross-table

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd 6.Rd Pts.
1 Noritsyn Sergey 2158 CAN 12w1 13b1 10w1 6b1 9w1 4b1 6
2 Calvelo Jelvis 2206 CAN 15w0 19b1 12w1 14b1 6w1 7b1 5
3 Humphreys Michael 2331 CAN 14w1 6b0 8w1 20b1 4w0 18b1 4
4 Li William 2173 CAN 16b1 20w1 7b0 15w1 3b1 1w0 4
5 England Max 2056 CAN 24w1 15b1 6w0 18b1 8w0 19b1 4
6 Malmsten Erik 1923 CAN 27b1 3w1 5b1 1w0 2b0 20w1 4
7 Akophyan Nika 1799 CAN 25w1 23b1 4w1 9b0 10w1 2w0 4
8 Bellissimo Joseph 2252 CAN 21b1 9w½ 3b0 11w½ 5b1 16w1 4
9 Washimkar Arhant 1983 CAN 18w1 8b½ 23w1 7w1 1b0 10b½ 4
10 Malakhovets Sergey 2054 CAN 17b1 26w1 1b0 16w1 7b0 9w½ 3.5
11 Qiao Cindy 1882 CAN 19w0 24b1 18w0 8b½ 26b1 21w1 3.5
12 Giffen Glenn 1552 CAN 1b0 29w1 2b0 27w1 21b½ 22w1 3.5
13 Ab-Barin Hooshang 1716 CAN 28b1 1w0 16b0 19w0 29w1 26b1 3
14 Belcadi Salim 1666 CAN 3b0 17w1 26b1 2w0 19b0 24w1 3
15 Vigneswaramoorthy Vinorth 1611 CAN 2b1 5w0 28w1 4b0 18w0 23b1 3
16 Diemer Ulli 1600 CAN 4w0 27b1 13w1 10b0 23w1 8b0 3
17 Li Yun Hong (kevin) 1375 CAN 10w0 14b0 24w1 23b0 28w1 29b1 3
18 Jevtic Dragan 1333 CAN 9b0 21w1 11b1 5w0 15b1 3w0 3
19 Pei Eric 1271 CAN 11b1 2w0 20b0 13b1 14w1 5w0 3
20 Ugodnikov Arkadiy 1814 CAN 29b1 4b0 19w1 3w0 22b½ 6b0 2.5
21 Armstrong Robert J. 1619 CAN 8w0 18b0 25w1 29b1 12w½ 11b0 2.5
22 Zhang Henry Xianrui 1453 CAN 23w0 25b0 27w1 28b1 20w½ 12b0 2.5
23 Mcsherry Peter 2081 CAN 22b1 7w0 9b0 17w1 16b0 15w0 2
24 Goldfarb Adam 1384 CAN 5b0 11w0 17b0 -1 25w1 14b0 2
25 Noritsyn Ivan 943 CAN 7b0 22w1 21b0 26w0 24b0 -1 2
26 David Jean-Marc 1442 CAN -1 10b0 14w0 25b1 11w0 13w0 2
27 Szucs Gregory 1302 CAN 6w0 16w0 22b0 12b0 -1 28w1 2
28 Razmgir Rahim 0 CAN 13w0 -1 15b0 22w0 17b0 27b0 1
29 Geddie Alex 1143 CAN 20w0 12b0 -1 21w0 13b0 17w0 1

More tournament analysis is available on the Chess-Results server


There are Tim’s gift cards for
1st: Sergey Noritsyn 6.0/6 $20
2nd: Jelvis Calvelo 5.0/6 $10
3rd (tied): Michael Humphreys, William Li, Max England, Erik Malmsten, Joseph Bellissimo, Arhant Washimkar 4.0/6 $5
Top U1900 (and also tied for 3rd): Nika Akophyan 4.0/6 $10
Top U1500: Kevin Li 3.0/6 $10

Closed for the Holidays

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone! Annex Chess Club re-opens in the new year on January 9 with Rd. 2 of the ACC New Year Swiss.

After-chess Chess

It’s a weekly tradition to meet at Pauper’s Pub after we close the club for food and drink, chess analysis and tandem games.

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ACC New Year Swiss

The last tournament of the year is also the first tournament of the new year. It runs on December 12, January 9, 16, 23, and 30. This 5-round Swiss is divided in three sections, Crown, U1900, and U1500. Rounds start at 7:30 each Monday night. New players are welcome any round, but please complete registration by 7:00 pm to ensure you’re paired. Please email us to request a bye if you’re not able to attend a round.

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Round One – December 12

In the first round, there are a string of David over Goliath upsets in the Crown section as current club champion Michael Humphreys (2331) is upset by Lambert Liu (1972), Jelvis Calvelo (2206) by Sergey Malakhovets (2054), and Daniel Zotkin (2226) by Max England (2056). The topsy-turvy results continue in U1900 as top seed Hooshang Ab-Barrin (1716) falls to Maksym Gryn (1543).

Next week is the ACC December Rapid, a 6-round tournament in one big section, played at a time control of 9′ + 3″.
Visitors are welcome! $15. CFC Active-Rated.

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Round Two – January 9

After two rounds, there’s a three-way tie for the lead among David Southam, William Li, and Sergey Noritsyn. All three have perfect 2.0/2 records.

In U1900, it’s Toronto Dragons manager Glenn Giffen tied at 2.0 with Maksym Gryn and Eric Pei.

In U1500, pairing problems leave Kevin Li with a full-point bye and the lead at 2.0/2 while Larissa Souchko and Ivan Noritsyn win to rise to 1.0/2.

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Round Three – January 16

Before the round starts, veteran Toronto player Erik Malmsten discusses the role of knights in chess and some tips for thinking about knight moves in a lecture called Beware the Cavalry!” 6:50 to 7:20 pm.

In the Crown section, David Southam takes his third win in a row, this time against Sergey Noritsyn, taking clear first with 3.0/3, while William Li and Lambert Liu are just half a point out at 2.5/3.

In U1900 play, Maksym Gryn and Eric Pei draw, while Glenn Giffen takes a bye, and the three stay tied for the lead with 2.5/3.

Finally, in U1500, Dragan Jevtic wins to take first with 2.5/3, while Ivan Noritsyn, Kevin Li, and Evgeny Kalmanson are just half a point out at 2.0/3.

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Round Four – January 23

In the Crown section, Dave Southam wins again, this time against William Li, for a perfect 4.0/4, while the closest challenger, Sergey Noritsyn trails by a full point at 3.0/4. Can Southam win the event with a perfect 5.0/5?

In U1900 action, Ulli Diemer defeats Kevin Li while Maksym Gryn, Eric Pei, and Glenn Giffen all take byes, leaving the section with a four-way tie for the lead at 3.0/4.

In U1500, Jevtic Dragan holds his lead at 3.5/4 with a win over Ivan Noritsyn, while Evgeny Kalmanosn stays just half a point out with a win over newcomer, Andrew Kirou.

Rd 4 Game of the Week

Here is John Fines’ fine submission: in which he draws against the young phenom, Max England.

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Round Five – January 30

In the Crown section, Dave Southam faces club champion Michael Humphreys in the last round. And he comes up with a draw to win the section with 4.5/5 a point ahead of his closest rival, William Li, who takes clear second with 3.5/5.

In U1900, the four-way tie becomes a two-way tie as Ulli Diemer and Eric Pei both win their games to finish with 4.0/5. But it’s Eric Pei who wins the section on head-to-head tiebreak. Congratulations, Eric!

In U1500, Dragan Jevtic needs just half a point against Evgeny Kalmanson to take the section. And in the end, he gets the full point to take the section with 4.5/5, ahead by a margin of 1.5 points!

Congratulations, once again, Dragan Jevtic, Eric Pei, and Dave Southam!

Dave Southam wins the New Year Swiss with 4.5/5 in the Crown section

Next week is Round One of the “What’s My Name” Swiss. Register by email or on site before 7:00 pm.

Ranking cross-tables after Round 5

ACC New Year Swiss Crown

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd Pts. 5.Rd
1 Southam David 2176 CAN 18w1 4b1 5w1 2b1 3w½ 4.5
2 Li William 2173 CAN 11b1 10w1 6b½ 1w0 5w1 3.5
3 Humphreys Michael 2331 CAN 8b0 18w1 7b½ 10w1 1b½ 3
4 England Max 2056 CAN 13b1 1w0 16b1 12w½ 9b½ 3
5 Noritsyn Sergey 2158 CAN 16w1 -1 1b0 6w1 2b0 3
6 Stefanovic Miroslav 2150 CAN 12b1 2w½ 5b0 11w1 3
7 Shebetah Wajdy 2022 CAN 19b1 3w½ 0 12b1 3
8 Liu Zhanhe (lambert) 1972 CAN 3w1 9b1 0 0 2.5
9 Mcsherry Peter 2081 CAN 14b1 8w0 4w½ 2.5
10 Malakhovets Sergey 2054 CAN 15w1 2b0 13w0 3b0 19w1 2
11 Mendoza Armand Jess 1905 CAN 2w0 15b½ 17b½ 14w1 6b0 2
12 Fines John 1864 CAN 6w0 19b1 4b½ 7w0 2
13 Zotkin Daniel 2226 CAN 4w0 10b1 0 2
14 Ugodnikov Arkadiy 1814 CAN 9w0 11b0 -1 2
15 Calvelo Jelvis 2206 CAN 10b0 11w½ 0 1.5
16 Qiao Cindy 1882 CAN 5b0 -1 4w0 0 1.5
17 Malmsten Erik 1923 CAN 11w½ 0 0 1.5
18 Washimkar Arhant 1983 CAN 1b0 3b0 19w½ 0 1
19 Akophyan Nika 1799 CAN 7w0 12w0 18b½ 10b0 1

See full results at

ACC New Year Swiss U1900

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd Pts.
1 Pei Eric 1271 CAN -1 2b1 3w½ 9b1 4
2 Diemer Ulli 1600 CAN 14b1 1w0 17b1 11w1 3b1 4
3 Gryn Maksym 1543 CAN 4b1 8w1 1b½ 2w0 3
4 Ab-Barin Hooshang 1716 CAN 3w0 14b1 8w1 3
5 Vigneswaramoorthy Vinorth 1611 CAN 18b1 0 11w1 3
6 Giffen Glenn 1552 CAN 7w1 10b1 0 3
7 David Jean-Marc 1442 CAN 6b0 13w1 9b0 15w1 2.5
8 Armstrong Robert J. 1619 CAN 13w½ 3b0 18w+ 10w1 4b0 2.5
9 Ramesh Bharath 1707 CAN 16b½ 7w1 1w0 2.5
10 Belcadi Salim 1666 CAN -1 6w0 8b0 13w1 2.5
11 Li Yun Hong (kevin) 1375 CAN 16w1 2b0 5b0 2
12 Wilker Marcus 1592 CAN 13b1 0 0 2
13 Zhang Henry Xianrui 1453 CAN 8b½ 12w0 7b0 15w1 10b0 1.5
14 Qiao Joey 1450 CAN 2w0 4w0 -1 0 1.5
15 Stahlbrand Kevin 0 CAN 0 13b0 7b0 1
16 Gelowitz Mark A. 1500 CAN 9w½ 11b0 0 0 1
17 Abbarin Shabnam 1478 CAN 2w0 0 0 1
18 Allen Joshua 1408 CAN 5w0 8b- 0 0 0.5

See full results at

ACC New Year Swiss U1500

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd Pts.
1 Jevtic Dragan 1333 CAN 13w1 3b1 5w1 2b1 4.5
2 Kalmanson Evgeny 1076 CAN 7w0 -1 8b1 12w1 1w0 3
3 Finkelstein Michael 1173 CAN 9w0 13b1 1w0 5b1 2.5
4 Teram Eli 1088 CAN 11b0 5w0 13b1 6w1 2.5
5 Noritsyn Ivan 943 CAN 10w0 4b1 6w1 1b0 3w0 2
6 Qiu James 893 CAN 5b0 13w1 4b0 2
7 Li Yun Hong (kevin) 1375 CAN 2b1 -1 0 0 0 2
8 Geddie Alex 1143 CAN 2w0 0 13b1 2
9 Razmgir Rahim 0 CAN 3b1 0 0 0 1.5
10 Pei Eric 1271 CAN 5b1 0 0 0 0 1
11 Supol George 1394 CAN 4w1 0 0 0 0 1
12 Kirou Andrew 0 CAN 0 2b0 0 1
13 Souchko Larissa 958 CAN 1b0 3w0 4w0 6b0 8w0 0

See full results at

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ACC Sub-Zero Swiss

It’s been a warm October, but with the end of daylight savings time the nights are suddenly darker and soon the city will start to freeze over.

Toronto chess players are celebrating the dark nights and sub-zero temperatures by playing in the ACC Sub-Zero Swiss. This club tournament runs on five Monday nights – November 7 to December 5 – in three sections: Crown, U1900, U1500. (Check the club page for more on how our regular tournaments work.)

Rounds in the tournament start at 7:30 pm each Monday, and new players are welcome to join in any round – or even to drop in for just one round – but please register by 7:00 pm to make sure you’re paired.

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Round One – November 7

Thirty-two players are signed up for Round One, and more will probably join by Round Two. New players are welcome to join in any round!

In the Crown section, Michael Humphreys, William Li, and Jelvis Calvelo are victorious, and will enter Rd 2 with a full 1.0/1.

In U1900, Nika Akophyan, Hooshang Ab-Barin, Bharath Ramesh, and Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy earn the full point, and enter Rd 2 in a four-way tie.

And in U1500, Dragan Jevtic, Mark Patton, Kevin Li and Tal Zisckind are the four victors who will battle for the lead in Rd 2.

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Round Two – November 14

Under a full moon and with the World Chess Championship in full swing, half a dozen new players join in Round 2, including three new players in the Crown section. On top board, Michael Humphreys beats William Li, while Jelvis Calvelo beats Peter McSherry. Humphreys and Calvelo enter Rd 3 tied for the lead at 2.0/2.

In U1900, Nika Akophyan beats Hoosang Ab-Barin, while Vigneswaramoorthy and Ramesh take byes, so Akophyan is alone in first with the only perfect 2-0 record.

And in U1500, Dragan Jevtic and Kevin Li earn a full point to head into Rd 3 tied at 2.0/2.

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Round Three – November 21

Sunday is the Toronto Santa Claus parade, our first snow is perfect for the occasion, and the Sub-Zero Swiss finally lives up to its name! Only three players in the tournament are still perfect through three rounds, and they lead each of the three sections.

In the Crown, Michael Humphreys defeats Lambert Liu to make it a perfect 3.0/3, pulling ahead of Jelvis Calvelo, who takes a bye.

In U1900 play, Nika Akophyan beats Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy to maintain a perfect 3.0/3 and hold sole possession of first place.

And in U1500, it’s Kevin Li, with a win over co-leader Dragan Jevtic, who takes sole first with a perfect 3.0/3.

Two more rounds to go. Will the leaders take it all the way? Will they stay perfect through two more games?

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Round Four – November 28

In the Crown, Michael Humphreys draws, but it’s still enough to stay in clear first at 3.5/4 as William Li stands alone in second with 3.0/4

In U1900, Bharath Ramesh takes out leader, Nika Akophyan, while Hooshang Ab-Barin defeats Bob Armstrong, so there is now a 3-way tie for first at 3.0/4.

Finally, in U1500, Kevin Li is mistakenly paired with a player who had withdrawn, so he takes a full-point bye to stay in first at 4.0/4. He earns it the hard way, though, by winning his game in the middle section, where he makes a cameo appearance.

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Round Five – December 5

Round 5 is the last round! See final results below.

Games of the Week

A new tournament starts next week – the ACC New Year Swiss

Final ranking cross-tables after Round 5

ACC Sub-Zero Swiss Crown

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd Pts.
1 Humphreys Michael 2329 CAN 4b1 2w1 13b1 5w½ 3b½ 4
2 Li William 2155 CAN 15w1 1b0 11w1 10b1 6w1 4
3 Calvelo Jelvis 2188 CAN 11b1 14w1 1w½ 3.5
4 Malakhovets Sergey 2032 CAN 1w0 15b1 7w1 6b0 10w1 3
5 Noritsyn Sergey 2152 CAN 10b½ 8w1 1b½ 7w½ 3
6 England Max 2024 CAN 7b½ 10w½ 14b½ 4w1 2b0 2.5
7 Southam David 2201 CAN 6w½ 4b0 13w1 5b½ 2.5
8 Washimkar Arhant 1931 CAN 9w½ 5b0 11b½ 14w1 2.5
9 Zotkin Daniel 2188 CAN 8b½ 0 13w1 2.5
10 Qiao Cindy 1864 CAN 5w½ 6b½ 12w1 2w0 4b0 2
11 Fines John 2013 CAN 3w0 -1 2b0 8w½ 12b½ 2
12 Ugodnikov Arkadiy 1825 CAN 14b½ 13w0 10b0 -1 11w½ 2
13 Liu Zhanhe (lambert) 1959 CAN 12b1 1w0 7b0 9b0 1.5
14 Mcsherry Peter 2135 CAN 12w½ 3b0 6w½ 8b0 1.5
15 Mendoza Armand Jess 1923 CAN 2b0 4w0 0 0 0 0

Check latest results on the chess-results server.

ACC Sub-Zero Swiss U1900

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd Pts.
1 Akophyan Nika 1751 CAN 5w1 2b1 7w1 3b0 6w1 4
2 Ab-Barin Hooshang 1592 CAN 11w1 1w0 12b1 6b1 10w1 4
3 Ramesh Bharath 1675 CAN 4w1 1w1 0 3
4 Giffen Glenn 1538 CAN 3b0 5b1 7w½ 2.5
5 Diemer Ulli 1626 CAN 1b0 4w0 11b1 8w0 12b1 2
6 Armstrong Robert J. 1646 CAN 12b½ 13w1 2w0 1b0 2
7 Vigneswaramoorthy Vinorth 1644 CAN 10w1 1b0 9w0 4b½ 2
8 David Jean-Marc 1417 CAN 0 5b1 0 2
9 Li Yun Hong (kevin) 1292 CAN 0 7b1 0 2
10 Zhang Henry Xianrui 1325 CAN 7b0 -1 12w½ 2b0 2
11 Belcadi Salim 1715 CAN 2b0 12w½ 5w0 -1 2
12 Qiao Joey 1446 CAN 6w½ 11b½ 2w0 10b½ 5w0 1.5
13 Chen Harry (siqi) 1463 CAN 6b0 0 0 1

Check latest results on the chess-results server.

ACC Sub-Zero Swiss U1500

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd Pts.
1 Li Yun Hong (kevin) 1292 CAN 10w1 -1 2b1 -1 6b1 5
2 Jevtic Dragan 1336 CAN 11b1 12w1 1w0 3b1 4b0 3
3 Geddie Alex 1045 CAN 13b0 14w1 12b1 2w0 7b1 3
4 Supol George 1376 CAN 0 5b1 2w1 3
5 Kalmanson Evgeny 1045 CAN 12b0 11w1 8b0 4w0 10w1 2
6 Goldfarb Adam 1398 CAN 7b1 0 1w0 2
7 Teram Eli 1100 CAN 6w0 11b1 3w0 2
8 Ma Yue Ran 1263 CAN 5w1 0 0 2
9 Finkelstein Michael 1165 CAN 0 0 11w1 2
10 Noritsyn Ivan 941 CAN 1b0 11w0 12w1 5b0 1.5
11 Souchko Larissa 979 CAN 2w0 5b0 10b1 7w0 9b0 1
12 Patton Mark A. 1390 CAN 5w1 2b0 3w0 10b0 0 1
13 Zisckind Tal 1367 CAN 3w1 0 0 0 0 1
14 Pancer Jeff 1072 CAN 3b0 0 0 0 0.5

Check latest results on the chess-results server.

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Chess for everyone