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ACC Drum and Dance Swiss

drum and dance

From pow wows to Caribana, summer in Toronto is full of drumming and dancing.

At Annex Chess Club, there will be no regalia in sight, and no steel band in earshot. But we will make our moves to a rhythm that is inside us as much as it is outside. We will enter a state of concentration and focus for a performance that demands training and technique, rigour and endurance, continual creativity, and perfect timing.

Daniel Wiebe

The Drum and Dance Swiss is a five-round regular club tournament, divided in three sections by CFC rating – Crown (minimum 1800), Reserve A (under-1900; minimum 1400), and Reserve B (under-1500). Tournament games are CFC-rated.

Rounds are every Monday night, July 7 to August 11, except August 4, Caribana weekend.

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Round 1 – July 7

The tournament starts with 42 players. Round One of a Swiss sees underdogs battle favourites as the top half of each section is paired against the bottom half.

In the Crown section, three games are taken by the favourites, two are drawn, and veteran Arkadiy Ugodnikov scores an upset victory over young Daniel Zotkin.

Arkadiy Ugodnikov
Arkadiy Ugodnikov

In the U1900 section the underdogs score fifty percent, as Mark Patton, Daniel Pirri, and Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy all defeat higher-rated opponents, three favourites win their games, and there is one draw.

Finally, in U1500, the favourites dominate, taking five of eight games. There is one draw, and underdogs Jeffrey Zhu and Qi Zhou each score a full point.

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Round 2 – July 14

Round Two pits first-round winners against winners; only a few finish with 2.0/2. Atop the Crown section are Rodrigo Oliveira, defeating Daniel Wiebe, and Bill Evans, defeating Dave Southam.

In the U1900 section, Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy is in a groove, as he follows up a win against Ulli Diemer in Round 1 with a win against Marcus Wilker in Round 2. Vigneswaramoorthy is in good company atop the section, joined by veterans Bill Thornton and Hooshang Abbarin.

Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy
Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy

In U1500, unrated Qi Zhou has 2.0/2, with a Round-2 victory over Mark Gelowitz, as does Adam Goldfarb, with a win over Jean-Marc David.

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Round 3 – July 21

Round Three sees the leaders go head to head, aiming for sole possession of first place.

Before the round, club arbiter Tyler Longo announces the success of two of our young players at the 2014 Canadian Youth Chess Championship in Montreal. Nicholas Vettese came 2nd among Canadians under 10, and Cindy Qiao came 3rd among Canadian girls under 12. Congratulations, Nicholas and Cindy!

Tyler also mentions the absence of many of our players who are currently competing in the 2014 Canadian Open Championship, also in Montreal. Club Champion Michael Humphreys, in particular, has done well in the top section; he’s undefeated against a GM, two IMs (one of whom he beat), and an FM. Initially seeded 41st out of 43 players, his 2.5/4 score puts him in 12th place. Good luck, Humphreys!

When the games begin, the top section sees Rodrigo Oliveira and Bill Evans face off on board one. At the end of the night Oliveira comes out on top, and he now leads the tournament through three rounds with 3.0/3 in the Crown section.

Rodrigo Oliveira
Rodrigo Oliveira

In U1900 play, leaders Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy and Bill Thornton face off on the top board, while Jack Maguire (back from parental duties at CYCC) faces the third leader Hooshang Abbarin on board two. Vigneswaramoorthy wins his second game in a row from the black side of a King’s Indian, while Maguire takes out Abbarin. Vigneswaramoorthy now leads the section with a perfect 3.0/3 and has already knocked out three top seeds, but he’ll have to face two more challengers before it’s over. Maguire, for one, just a half point behind at 2.5/3, does not plan to let him off easy next week (see comments below).

In U1500, there’s still no clear leader, as Tigran Ghazarian and Dennis Li, from the 1.5 group, win their Round-3 games (with Li knocking Adam Goldfarb out of the top point group) while Qi Zhou, with a bye this week, stays level with Ghazarian and Li at 2.5/3. The trio of leaders will have two more rounds to sort it out, but with another five players just a half point behind it’s anyone’s guess what the final standings will be.

Games from Round 3

Here’s the game from top board in the Crown section: Rodrigo Oliveira’s win from the black side of a QGD.

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Round 4 – July 28

Before the round, Tyler Longo announces the Harbourfront Centre Chessfest, August 10, and the Labour Day Open, August 30 to September 1. When the round starts at 7:30, players include the Washimkar brothers returning to the club. Welcome back, Atharva and Arhant!

In the Crown section, top board sees the undefeated leader Rodrigo Oliveira, with 3.0/3, face a challenger from the 2.5-point group, Miroslav Stefanovic. In the end, Oliveira takes a full point – see game below – and now leads with 4.0/4. Oliveira has one more round to play, but with only one player with 3.0/4, whom he has already beaten, nobody can catch him.

In U1900, it’s Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy, with 3.0/3, facing challenger Jack Maguire. Maguire, known for his daring gambit play, essays the Portuguese variation of the Scandinavian Defence (1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. d4 Bg4+ – allowing 4. f3 and 5. c4 to hold the pawn), which Vigneswaramoorthy answers by giving the pawn back with 4. Nf3, and succeeds in holding Maguire to a draw – see game below. Holding sole possession of the lead with 3.5/4, Vigneswaramoorthy may yet be overtaken by one of the players with 3.0/4, Maguire included. But if he wins in Round 5, Vigneswaramoorthy will undoubtedly be the lowest-rated player ever to take the middle section at Annex Chess Club.

Finally, U1500 play sees Tigran Ghazarian defeat Dennis Li to take sole possession of first place with 3.5/4. Ghazarian, who was this year’s Canadian Chess Challenge grade 1 champion, is the youngest player in the tournament.

Tigran Ghazarian
Tigran Ghazarian

Games from Round 4

Here are the games from top board in the Crown section (Oliveira wins against Stefanovic’s Slav) and top board in U1900 (Vigneswaramoorthy is “up to the Portuguese challenge” – see comments).

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Round 5 – August 11

In the Crown section, Rodrigo Oliveira defeats Jonathan Yu to win the tournamaent with a perfect 5.0/5 record. Congratualtions, Rodrigo!

In the U1900, Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy finally has his winning streak ended when he runs up against Hooshang Abbarin. Abbarin spoils Vigneswaramoorthy’s hopes, and hands the section to Jack Maguire, who wins first place with a 4.0/5 record after a final-round win over Daniel Pirri. Congratulations, Jack!

Finally, in U1500, young Tigran Ghazarian holds his lead, defeating Qi Zhou to take first place with 4.5/5. Congratulations, Tigran!

The next tournament starts on Monday, August 18, at 7:30 pm. Players, please arrive before 7:00 pm unless you’ve pre-registered.

Section winners, Ghazarian and Maguire, may each play up in the next higher section. And the Crown section will now be FIDE-rated.

Final Results after Round Five

SwissSys Standings. Drum and Dance: Crown

# Name CFC ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Rodrigo Oliveira 152923 2086 W17 W10 W3 W5 W4 5.0
2 Armand Jess Mendoza 156958 1861 D14 L4 W12 W8 W3 3.5
3 Bill Evans 103309 2024 W18 W6 L1 W7 L2 3.0
4 Jonathan Yu 126131 2072 H— W2 H— W9 L1 3.0
5 Miroslav Stefanovic 154500 1970 H— W14 W15 L1 D6 3.0
6 David Southam 102535 2201 D9 L3 W14 W10 D5 3.0
7 Arkadiy Ugodnikov 146626 1947 W8 H— H— L3 X13 3.0
8 Daniel Zotkin 146857 2200 L7 H— W17 L2 W15 2.5
9 Nicholas Vettese 154199 1949 D6 H— W13 L4 L14 2.0
10 Daniel Wiebe 132137 2032 W12 L1 H— L6 D16 2.0
11 Wajdy Shebetah 148432 2030 H— H— U— W15 U— 2.0
12 Hanyuan Ye 144844 1749 L10 U— L2 W14 W17 2.0
13 Jianqiu Chen 157842 2058 F15 W18 L9 W17 F7 2.0
14 Hugh Siddeley 120619 2073 D2 L5 L6 L12 W9 1.5
15 Josep Sobrepere 152976 1807 X13 H— L5 L11 L8 1.5
16 Alex T. Ferreira 127516 2048 H— H— U— U— D10 1.5
17 Chris Udrea 155000 1926 L1 W19 L8 L13 L12 1.0
18 Greg Beal 101490 1710 L3 L13 H— H— U— 1.0
19 Tyler Longo 135360 2031 H— L17 H— U— U— 1.0

SwissSys Standings. Drum and Dance: U1900

# Name CFC ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Jack Maguire 144604 1579 W7 H— W2 D3 W8 4.0
2 Hooshang Ab-barin 152910 1647 W11 W8 L1 W4 W3 4.0
3 Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy 153938 1413 W17 W19 W9 D1 L2 3.5
4 Mark A. Patton 104721 1545 W13 L9 W15 L2 W10 3.0
5 Atharva Washimkar 153285 1765 H— H— U— W17 W7 3.0
6 Arhant Washimkar 153286 1435 H— H— U— W20 W9 3.0
7 Richard Morrison 135889 1382 L1 B— W17 W9 L5 3.0
8 Daniele Pirri 132983 1422 W18 L2 H— W10 L1 2.5
9 Bill Thornton 131181 1698 W10 W4 L3 L7 L6 2.0
10 Marc Ben-Avraham 145628 1444 L9 D13 W16 L8 L4 1.5
11 George Supol 152286 1417 L2 L17 W19 H— U— 1.5
12 Arkadiy Ugodnikov 146626 1947 H— H— U— U— D14 1.5
13 Daniel Sirkovich 145096 1779 L4 D10 H— H— U— 1.5
14 Antonios Valkanas unr. H— H— U— U— D12 1.5
15 Benito Surya 153755 1675 H— H— L4 H— U— 1.5
16 Claudio Sottile 148499 1488 D19 L18 L10 B— U— 1.5
17 Ulli Diemer 153538 1606 L3 W11 L7 L5 U— 1.0
18 Adie Todd 125156 1663 L8 W16 U— U— U— 1.0
19 Marcus Wilker 102713 1723 D16 L3 L11 H— U— 1.0
20 Vlad Nitu 154215 1759 H— H— U— L6 U— 1.0

SwissSys Standings. Drum and Dance: U1500

# Name CFC ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Tigran Ghazarian 155438 1156 W22 H— W12 W9 W4 4.5
2 Mark A. Gelowitz 126627 1442 W11 L4 W19 W7 W9 4.0
3 Adam Goldfarb 153496 1320 W21 W13 L9 H— W10 3.5
4 Qi Zhou unr. W16 W2 H— H— L1 3.0
5 Jeffrey Wang Zhu 154705 609 W15 H— H— W6 U— 3.0
6 Howard Halim 153419 1083 W7 L12 W8 L5 W14 3.0
7 Kevin Corlis unr. L6 W11 X15 L2 W17 3.0
8 Zaynah Bhanji 155866 843 D10 H— L6 W18 W12 3.0
9 Dennis Li 153129 1200 H— W10 W3 L1 L2 2.5
10 Raymond Lin 150193 1218 D8 L9 W14 W15 L3 2.5
11 Larissa Souchko 145490 1008 L2 L7 B— X19 U— 2.0
12 Eli Teram 107314 1238 H— W6 L1 H— L8 2.0
13 Jean-Marc David 151900 1351 W14 L3 H— U— U— 1.5
14 Areez Bhanji 156144 877 L13 H— L10 W22 L6 1.5
15 Alex Geddie 155388 1142 L5 W20 F7 L10 U— 1.0
16 Rahul Gangolli 156023 1060 L4 H— H— U— U— 1.0
17 Kaizen Liu 152053 1047 H— H— U— U— L7 1.0
18 Vicknan Harichandrabose unr. H— H— U— L8 U— 1.0
19 Denis Ceastov 156165 626 H— H— L2 F11 U— 1.0
20 Richard Morrison 135889 1382 H— L15 U— U— U— 0.5
21 Luka Svirac 158025 850 L3 H— U— U— U— 0.5
22 Rahman Durdyklychev 156700 806 L1 U— U— L14 U— 0.0

Dance to the rhythm in Toronto

Honour the elders at the Na Me Res Pow Wow – June 21
Celebrate emancipation at Caribana – July 8 to August 2.
Afrofest - July 5-6
Afrofest – July 5-6
Salsa on St. Clair - July 19-20
Salsa on St. Clair – July 19-20


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“When you appreciate the power of nature, knowing the rhythm of any situation,
you will be able to hit the enemy naturally and strike naturally.”

~ Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings, 1645


Leonid Gerzhoy is Toronto Open Champion!

851 by 315

2014 Toronto Open Chess Championship

Sponsored by: The Pump
The Pump

Hosted by: Annex Chess Club
Location: 918 Bathurst, Toronto, ON
Dates: Easter weekend – Friday April 18 to Sunday April 20
Format: 6-round Swiss
Sections: Crown, U2200, U1600
Top players: GM Sambuev, IM Gerzhoy, IM Samsonkin and IM Cheng

Flyer | Final standings | Games | Prizes and Sponsors | Pictures | Facebook

Tournament Champion

The winner of the tournament, with 5.0/6 (+4 -0 =2) in the Crown section, becoming 2014 Toronto Open Chess Champion, is IM Leonid Gerzhoy

2014 Toronto Open Champion, International Master Leonid Gerzhoy
2014 Toronto Open Champion,
International Master Leonid Gerzhoy

Tournament Webpage

Full details, cross-tables, games, and photos are on the tournament page.

Welcome Spring Swiss

spring flowers

Welcome, Spring!

It’s finally here! Spring flowers are poking up, TIFF is up and running, and the weather is starting to get nice enough to sit on a patio – maybe even without a winter coat.

At Annex, we’re launching our ACC Welcome Spring Swiss. Five rounds. Three sections (by CFC rating):

  • Crown (minimum 1700* to qualify)
  • Reserve A / U1800* (minimum 1300*)
  • Reserve B / U1400*

* The rating floors/ceilings are 100 points lower than usual, because we’ve temporarily lost a number of our top players to the Toronto Closed – running concurrently with the regular club tournament. Lower cut-offs help to even out the sections.

All club tournament games are CFC-rated. “Welcome Spring” rounds are on Monday nights, April 7 to May 12. We’re closed April 21 for Easter Monday – but don’t miss the Toronto Open on Easter weekend, April 18-20.

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Round One – April 7

The first round gets started with 42 players sitting down to 21 David-versus-Goliath match-ups. It’s the way the first round is always paired in a Swiss tournament.

At the end of the night, the Goliaths have won most of their games, as they usually do in chess, but there are a few draws – and even some upsets. Top- and middle-section Goliaths mostly walk away unscathed – other than Hooshang Abbarin, who falls to Bill Thornton. But the U1400 section is rife with David-over-Goliath triumphs as Larissa Souchko, Kaizen Liu, Tigran Ghazarian, and Howard Halim all emerge victorious from their battles against much higher-rated opponents!

Larissa Souchko
Larissa Souchko

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Round Two – April 14

In the Crown section, young Nicholas Vettese, already rated 1974 and top on the Canadian Under-10 list, may soon have his rating over 2000. At least he’s 2-0 in this tournament after defeating Harmony Zhu last round and now Adie Todd this round. Nicholas will enter Round Three in a two-way tie for the lead with Hart House player, Jonathan Yu.

In the U1800 section, Bill Thornton is a giant killer, rolling through the top-rated players in the section. He follows up his Round-One victory over Hooshang Abbarin by knocking off Ulli Diemer. Bill is now in a three-way tie for the lead with Jack Maguire and Marcus Wilker.

Bill "Giant Killer" Thornton
Bill “Giant Killer” Thornton

In the U1400 section, there’s still a big group at the top as Richard Morrison, Raymond Lin, Nick Mourtos, and Alex Geddie are in a four-way tie for the lead at 2.0/2.

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Round Three – April 28

In the Crown section, young Nicholas Vettese, second-place finisher in the Toronto High School Chess Championship at UTS last week – and he’s only in grade 4 – is in the lead with 3.0/3 after a win against Jonathan Yu. Joseph Bellissimo is half a point behind at 2.5/3.

Nicholas Vettese
Nicholas Vettese

In U1800, Jack Maguire is in the lead with 3.0/3 after a win against Bill Thornton. Marcus Wilker is half a point behind at 2.5/3.

In U1400, Richard Morrison has a perfect 3.0/3 and sole possession of the lead after a win against Nick Mourtos. There’s a two-way tie for second place as both Alex Geddie and Raymond Lin have 2.5/3.

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Round Four – May 5

New leaders emerge in the Crown and U1800 section, going into the last round.

In the Crown section, Joseph Bellissimo takes over first place, with a win over Nicholas Vettese. Joseph now has 3.5/4. Hugh Siddeley, with a win over Daniel Zotkin, joins the 3.0-point group and is Joseph’s probable opponent in the final round.

In U1800 action, Marcus Wilker manages to hold on for a win against Jack Maguire’s sharp Alapin-Diemer gambit. Marcus now leads the section with 3.5/4. Ulli Diemer, recovered from his Round-Two loss to Bill Thornton, wins his game against Hooshang Abbarin to join the 3.0-point group. Ulli is now due to face Marcus (for the first time!) in the final round.

Ulli Diemer
Ulli Diemer

In U1400 play, Richard Morrison continues to dominate the section. This round he adds Raymond Lin to his list of defeated opponents as he posts a perfect 4.0/4 record through four rounds. Can Richard win the section with a perfect 5.0/5? Alex Geddie, with 3.5/4, is his likely opponent in the last round.

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Round Five – May 12

Joseph Bellissimo wins the tournament with a last-round draw against Hugh Siddeley to finish with 4.0/5. Siddeley finishes tied for second with Nicholas Gellner at 3.5/5.

Joseph Bellissimo
Joseph Bellissimo

In U1800, Marcus Wilker is held to a draw by Ulli Diemer and finishes with 4.0/5. Armand Mendoza ties for the lead by points with a last-round win over Jack Maguire, but Wilker wins the tie break, based on their Round-2 game.

In U1400, Richard Morrison is perfect with 5.0/5, winning his last-round game against Alex Geddie. Jean-Marc David finishes second with 4.0/5.

See full results below – also available at Chess-Results.com.

Note that the club is closed on Monday May 19. Then, May 26, we’re hosting the GTCL Cup! And June 2, we’re launching another regular club tournament, the “Celebrate Summer” Swiss, played on five Mondays in June.

Games from Round 4

Ulli Diemer, who has lost to Jack Maguire’s Blackmar-Diemer Gambit many times, asked me to post my Round-Four win over Jack. He also thought that the final position in his own game was interesting – he wasn’t sure Hooshang should have resigned. What do you think?

Final Results

Welcome Spring Swiss Crown

Ranking Crosstable after Round 5

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd Pts.
1 Bellissimo Joseph 2051 CAN 3w1 5b1 6b1 2w½ 4
2 Siddeley Hugh 2076 CAN 17b1 7w0 9b1 11w1 1b½ 3.5
3 Gellner Nicholas 1837 CAN 1b0 19w1 8b½ 15w1 7w1 3.5
4 Ferreira Alex T. 2069 CAN 16b1 0 11b1 3
5 Shah Omaray M. 2030 CAN 19b1 1w0 12b1 3
6 Vettese Nicholas 1974 CAN 14w1 18b1 7b1 1w0 0 3
7 Yu Jonathan 2092 CAN 11w1 2b1 6w0 3b0 2.5
8 Longo Tyler 2039 CAN 3w½ 0 2
9 Mahoney Ian 1751 CAN 2w0 14b½ 2
10 Sobrepere Josep 1746 CAN 0 0 15b1 2
11 Zotkin Daniel 1973 CAN 7b0 15w1 17b1 2b0 4w0 2
12 Chen Jianqiu 0 CAN 0 18b1 5w0 2
13 Humphreys Michael 2307 CAN 0 19w1 0 2
14 Zhu Harmony 1792 CAN 6b0 17w0 19b1 9w½ 2
15 Surya Benito 1703 CAN 11b0 18w1 3b0 10w0 1.5
16 Shebetah Wajdy 2120 CAN 4w0 0 0 1
17 Bergenstam Olof 1932 CAN 2w0 14b1 11w0 0 0 1
18 Todd Adie 1718 CAN 6w0 15b0 12w0 19b½ 1
19 Cheryachukin Yury 1813 CAN 5w0 3b0 14w0 13b0 18w½ 0.5

Welcome Spring Swiss U1800

Ranking Crosstable after Round 5

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd Pts.
1 Wilker Marcus 1623 CAN 13b1 2w1 5b1 4w½ 4
2 Mendoza Armand Jess 1553 CAN 19w1 1b0 20w1 9b1 5w1 4
3 Thornton Bill 1509 CAN 11b1 4w1 5w0 9b1 3.5
4 Diemer Ulli 1643 CAN 9w1 3b0 13w1 11b1 1b½ 3.5
5 Maguire Jack 1646 CAN 16b1 6w1 3b1 1w0 2b0 3
6 Patton Mark A. 1595 CAN 17b1 5b0 9w0 15w1 13b1 3
7 Chin Adrian 1558 CAN 18b1 0 2.5
8 Supol George 1373 CAN 15b½ 18w½ 11w0 17b1 2.5
9 Gelowitz Mark A. 1434 CAN 4b0 16w1 6b1 2w0 3w0 2
10 O’bumsawin Nicholas 1734 CAN 15b1 0 0 2
11 Ab-Barin Hooshang 1699 CAN 3w0 8b1 4w0 15b½ 2
12 Sirkovich Daniel 1788 CAN 20b1 0 0 2
13 Radpey Abdolreza 1377 CAN 1w0 -1 4b0 16w1 6w0 2
14 Renteria Manuela 1569 CAN 0 0 -1 2
15 Armstrong Robert J. 1603 CAN 8w½ 20b1 10w0 6b0 11w½ 2
16 Pirri Daniele 1472 CAN 5w0 9b0 17w1 13b0 20w1 2
17 Goldfarb Adam 1367 CAN 6w0 16b0 18w+ 8w0 1.5
18 Sottile Claudio 1454 CAN 8b½ 7w0 17b- 0 1
19 Vigneswaramoorthy Vinorth 1332 CAN 2b0 0 0 1
20 Allen Joshua 1541 CAN 12w0 15w0 2b0 -1 16b0 1

Welcome Spring Swiss U1400

Ranking Crosstable after Round 5

Rk. Name Rtg FED 1.Rd 2.Rd 3.Rd 4.Rd 5.Rd Pts.
1 Morrison Richard 1305 CAN 15w1 5b1 11w1 4b1 3w1 5
2 David Jean-Marc 1360 CAN 10b0 9w1 12b1 8w1 6w1 4
3 Geddie Alex 1095 CAN 6w1 8b1 4w½ 11b1 1b0 3.5
4 Lin Raymond 1183 CAN 12b1 10w1 3b½ 1w0 9b½ 3
5 Ghazarian Tigran 987 CAN 7b1 1w0 6b0 12w1 10b1 3
6 Gangolli Rahul 897 CAN 3b0 15b1 5w1 13w1 2b0 3
7 Teram Eli 1258 CAN 5w0 17b1 9w½ 13b1 3
8 Halim Howard 916 CAN 17b1 3w0 10b1 2b0 11w1 3
9 Li Dennis 1214 CAN 2b0 18w1 7b½ 4w½ 2.5
10 Souchko Larissa 1080 CAN 2w1 4b0 8w0 19b1 5w0 2
11 Mourtos Nick 1139 CAN 18b1 13w1 1b0 3w0 8b0 2
12 Rashid Jian 953 CAN 4w0 14b1 2w0 5b0 17w1 2
13 Liu Kaizen 1059 CAN 14w1 11b0 19w1 6b0 7w0 2
14 Cvetkovic Milan 1286 CAN 13b0 12w0 15b1 16w1 0 2
15 Pamwar Manish 1075 CAN 1b0 6w0 14w0 -1 19b1 2
16 Zhu Jeffrey Wang 901 CAN 14b0 0 1.5
17 Hillel Alexander 1177 CAN 8w0 7w0 18b+ 12b0 1.5
18 Schneider Mitchell 908 CAN 11w0 9b0 17w- -1 1.5
19 Smith Cedric 874 CAN 13b0 10w0 15w0 1

This page was created by program Swiss-Manager

Spring flowers

spring flowers
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are one of the first flowers to appear in Ontario each year. The header image is from a 2014 photo by Ali Sauer.

Toronto Players in Reykjavik

TYLER LONGO | Reykjavik, ISL | 2014/03/05 (2014/03/11)

Tyler Longo

Hello! I decided to write about my experiences travelling to the N1 Reykjavik Open in Iceland. I’m travelling in a group of five Canadian players, including Geordie Derraugh, Daniel Abrahams, Alex Ferreira, Jonathan Farine, and myself. There are 12 Canadians total playing in the event, including GM Hansen and IMs Panjwani and Porper.

Full disclosure: I’m awful at writing… but there will be guest writers over the coming days.


Arrival – Tuesday March 4

Geordie and I took a red-eye Monday evening and arrived at Keflavik airport at 6:30 AM, the morning of Round One. The airport is about an hour out of town, so after loading up on some snacks and adult beverages at the duty-free, as we had heard food/drinks are extremely expensive in town, we hopped on a shuttle to the city. I wish I could say it was scenic, but the weather was a bit dreary.

Pic 1

Our group rented a spacious apartment with a full kitchen and two bedrooms. Dan, Alex and Jonathan had arrived the morning before and were already settled in. On their free day, they had already explored the city and thankfully did some grocery shopping.

Pic 2

After a quick nap we were off to the tournament for Round One. The tournament is being played in a beautiful new music hall called Harpa, right on the harbour. The whole building is based on an open modern concept, with hallways connecting the various large rooms. The playing hall is large and spacious, and overlooks the Reykjavik harbour, with the two adjoining rooms used for live commentary and skittles. The organizers are doing a great job, and the whole tournament feels extremely professional.

Pic 3

Round 1 – Tuesday evening

In Round One I played black against Gudmundur Kjartansson, a friendly 26-year-old IM from Iceland. I decided that I was going to use some of these lopsided matchups to work on my dismal opening repertoire, so I tried to go for a Hedgehog type position I was unfamiliar with. Unfortunately my lack of comfort showed and I was slowly and completely outplayed.

The real story of Round 1 was Dan drawing 2700-rated Li Chao on board 2, an amazing result! He was even winning at one point. Alex had jokingly promised to buy Dan two beers if he had won, so we all agreed one drink was fair.



Round 2 – Wednesday March 5

Wednesday would be the only day with two rounds played. In the morning I played white against a 1500-rated Icelandic player. I achieved a great position in the Semi-Slav, with a big centre and a bishop pair. Slowly he ran out of space and around move 27 his position crumbled.

Round 3 – Wednesday evening

In the evening round I was black against Johan-Sebastian Christiansen, a 15-year-old master from Norway. I got a decent Reti position which I prepared out of the opening. Unfortunately I used most of my time for the first 20 moves, and found myself with only about 30 minutes to make the time control. The position was more or less equal until he allowed 25… c4!, after which Black is clearly better. Despite my lack of good technique (which was witnessed in all its glory by Henrik Carlsen, Magnus’ father… apparently some faces of disgust were made) I eventually won. I only had time to quickly annotate it.

Unfortunately in Round 3, Alex and Geordie were paired against each other, a pretty miserable situation after travelling this far for a tournament.

Pic 4

My score is now 2/3, a great start! In Round 4 I’ll be white against Alexandr Ponomarenko, a 21-year-old IM from Ukraine. Tomorrow morning we are going with a group from the tournament on a tour of the Golden Circle, which includes some of Iceland’s geological wonders, as well a quick stop to Bobby Fischer’s grave. I’ll share some more impressions of Reykjavik and Iceland over the coming days.


Golden Circle Tour – Thursday March 6

On Thursday, our group woke up early to take part in a tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle. There was so much interest from players in the event that the organizer sold enough tickets to fill two buses! The route took us to some of the geological wonders in central Iceland. Our first stop took us to Þingvellir, where the North American and European tectonic plates are drifting apart and form a spectacular rift valley. Our tour guide mentioned that this was an extremely popular spot for divers, as the visibility in the lake at the rift is unparalleled in the world. Unfortunately the visibility wasn’t ideal, but we still got some nice shots.



It’s amazing how the conditions change in a second here: One moment it will be snowing and you can barely see in front of you, and a few minutes later the sun will come out and you can see for kilometers. Our guide pointed out that this winter has been particularly rough, and most residents had to use winter tires this year (which I found hilarious coming from Toronto).

Our next stop took us to Gullfoss, a picturesque waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river. As someone who sees Niagara falls on a regular basis, I suppose I’ve been desensitized to waterfalls over the years, but this one is a sight to see. From a distance, it looks like a small waterfall:


Alex, the pioneer that he is, decided to walk over the chain into a restricted area to get a closer look. After seeing this, almost all 70 chess players in the group followed him. When you get closer, you can see some amazing views of the water plunging into a crevasse below



Our next stop took us to Haukadalur valley, an area with multiple geysers, including the frequently erupting Strokkur geyser. I’ve now learned first hand there are multiple stages to witnessing a geyser erupt: The first time, you’re in the area but completely don’t expect it. You ask your friends which one of the multiple geysers is going to erupt seconds before it happens, and then it scares the living daylights out of you. The second time, everyone is standing really close with their camera trying to get footage of it erupting, but the moment you let your guard down, it erupts and scares you all over again:

Our final stop was a newly founded Bobby Fischer Centre in Selfoss, with multiple pictures and paraphernalia from the 1972 World Championship match, and from his final days in Reykjavik. The former president of the Icelandic Chess Federation gave a great speech about that match and his experiences with Bobby. The trip also included a short stop to Fischer’s final resting place, in a small cemetery at a church near the Centre.


Round 4 – Thursday evening

The trip took us back to Harpa just minutes before the round, so I didn’t really have time to prepare for my game against IM Alexandr Ponomarenko. I played something I’m comfortable with, and had an acceptable position out of the opening. The interesting moment arose when he responded to e4 with e5. I responded with Raf1, after calculating a long variation which we played in the game. Unfortunately after the intended Rxf4 Qxf4 Bxb7, I assumed he could not play Qxd4 as I would just take on d8. Too bad my rook is pinned. One day I’ll learn the rules. I played on for a few moves in a losing ending, before calling it a day. I don’t have as much time to annotate my games in detail as I would have liked, but I present it here regardless:

Both Eric Hansen and Raja Panjwani were on the top boards in Round 4, and so far it looks like all the Canadians are playing well. You can see their results here.

In Round 5 I’m playing Marcel Marentini, a 2155-rated player from Switzerland. Friday is the first day where we can sleep in, so I look forward to being well rested for the round.


Round 5 – Friday March 7

Today was the first day that there were no activities planned, and no morning round. As a result, most of us slept in for the first time in days. We spent the afternoon preparing for our games and walking around the city, which included a brief visit to the Icelandic Phallological Museum (I’ll leave it at that).

Speaking of preparation, some players in our group prepare for their games in unusual ways (Jon, when he finds out he’s playing someone one of us has already played earlier in the event: “How was his handshake?… It’s so relevant!”)..

In Round 5 I was black against Marcel Marentini, a 2155 player from Switzerland. So far in this event, all of my white opponents have played 1. c4 against me, a move which you rarely see at my level in Canada. Marcel was no exception. We ended up transposing into a Queen’s Gambit exchange variation, and at some point I decided to ambitiously grab a pawn but allow him to attack my weak king. Then I grabbed a second pawn, and he got some more counterplay. Then I grabbed an exchange, because at this point I may as well. Eventually I gave the exchange back, and despite a couple missteps, had a winning Q+R ending. It was an extremely complicated game where I basically never had the initiative. Thankfully, I had all the material. My score is now 3/5, which I’m extremely happy with, given I’ve played up four times now. My goal coming into the event was to have a performance rating over 2200, and I’m hovering around that right now.

After the round, our group went to one of the local pubs for a couple of drinks around 10:00 PM. It was interesting to find out that apparently last call is 5:00 AM (in Canada it’s 2:00), and they don’t usually get busy until far later at night. Our game tomorrow is earlier in the afternoon, so we planned to have a later night and experience the nightlife another evening.

Saturday I’m paired against FM Awonder Liang, a 10-year-old(!) from the US rated 2237 whom Alex played earlier in the event.

Round 6 – Saturday March 8

The weekend rounds both start at 1:00 in the afternoon, so after a quick breakfast at our flat it was down to business. I was white against Awonder Liang, an extremely young FM from the US who has broken enough age-related records to have his own Wikipedia page. I got a playable position out of the opening, but I started making some small inaccuracies that made it extremely difficult to develop my kingside. I lost in 49 moves. I was pretty disappointed in myself as until this game I felt like I was playing pretty well, but for some reason for this game I couldn’t really put up a fight.

We spent some time preparing for the game the night before, and Alex and Jon both decided to play a similar variation of the French. They were also on side-by-side boards. Early in the round, I wandered over to to see the same position on both boards after the 7th move. I can only imagine what their opponents must have been thinking when they noticed their Canadian opponents were playing the same moves against them (they both immediately deviated when I walked by).

Saturday night was the Even Steven tournament, a blitz event where lower-rated players get time odds depending on their Elo difference. Of all the blitz events I’ve played in at open tournaments, this one was by far the most enjoyable. It was extremely casual, even with multiple titled players. Almost everyone had a beer by their side. I didn’t play particularly well but that’s OK… I even lost to Geordie which is pretty surprising given our past blitz results.

After the blitz tournament on Saturday, our group decided we should try to experience the nightlife. I can honestly say it was one of the more enjoyable nights I’ve had in a long time. We went to a pub at around midnight, and the first thing we noticed was a large wheel hanging over the bar with multiple slots with different drink amounts ranging from 1 beer to 8 beers (I’ll get a picture of it soon!). You pay 2000 kr (about $20) to spin it; after quickly calculating the expected value of the proposition, and realizing it was a slight ripoff, Jon and I split a spin anyways and immediately won 8 pints (an 18-1 shot). Our group ended up spinning it three more times that night, and somehow won 8 pints again twice more.

In general, Icelanders are extremely friendly. The pub was completely packed, but many people made a point to approach us and strike up a conversation. Our group ended up getting split up as we were all busy talking to our new friends, including a handful of Icelanders, a delightful couple from England and a mother and daughter from the US. In the end I had a lot of free drinks that night, a favour I’ll have to repay one day! At the end of the night, Alex was extremely popular as everyone wanted to buy his shirt, but they were disappointed to find out they would have to travel all the way to Canada to find their own. We stayed until last call around 5 AM.


Round 7 – Sunday March 9

Obviously some of us were a little exhausted for the early afternoon round on Sunday. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the hall, were the multiple cameras trying to get an interview with Garry Kasparov, who’s visiting the tournament as part of his campaign for FIDE presidency. He’ll also be on site tomorrow.

I was paired against Tobias Hellwig, a 2180-rated player from Germany. I really didn’t have time to prepare, but my opponent did as he immediately side-stepped all the Queen’s Gambit Accepted variations that I’m comfortable with by playing 2. g3. Regardless, I got a great position with a free attack on his king, and was completely winning at multiple points during the game. Unfortunately, I again used too much time in the opening and found myself with about 10 minutes to make 20 moves. I missed the best continuation a couple of times, and eventually lost my advantage. I then compounded my error by stubbornly continuing to play for a win, and of course I then lost. It was extremely frustrating to say the least, but I’m still having a good tournament with 3/7, and a performance rating hovering around 2100. At least our group is performing far beyond their level, as Jon won again against a master and now has 4.5/7.

Tomorrow I’m paired against Dagur Kjartansson, a 1600-rated player from Iceland. We’re also hoping to do a Northern Lights tour, weather permitting. I also promise there will be more pictures in the next entry (I haven’t taken anywhere near as many as I would like).


Round 8 – Monday March 10

On Monday the round didn’t start until the evening so we had a free morning and afternoon. Most of us decided to take it easy and prepare for our games but Edward Porper and Dan Kazmaier, two Canadians from the west coast, decided to rent a car for the day to do some exploring of a nearby volcano, and invited some of our group along. Daniel Abrahams ended up being the only one of us to accept their offer, and set off to the Harpa to meet them at 9:30 am. Unfortunately, the rented smart car was a little light for Icelandic weather and they found themselves struggling through thick clouds, heavy winds, and unplowed roads. For several stretches the car couldn’t top 30 kilometers per hour, and at one point was felled by snow getting stuck in the chassis. The trip was abandoned before the desired end when it was decided that the car could not both make it all the way to the volcano and back to Reykjavik in time for the tournament, and also that the car might end up stranded too far from civilization. Turning around had to be assisted by a couple of human pushes since the road was too small, even for the smart car. At least it sounded like a great adventure (and secretly I’m a bit jealous as the morning was a complete wash)

Before the round I snapped a couple of pictures of Harpa and the playing hall:




The weather is still pretty dreary:


Garry Kasparov was in Reykjavik as part of his campaign for the FIDE presidency, and stopped by the tournament hall for a book signing and a very awkward speech before the round. It was extremely busy so getting a good picture was hard, but Jon managed to snap a shot of him signing a copy of My Great Predecessors for my friend Daniel Wiebe:


In Round 8 I was white against Dagur Kjartansson, a 1662 from Iceland (with a great handshake!). I went for another Colle-Zukertort, a position with which I’m extremely comfortable, but at some point I overestimated my chances and started making some mistakes. I completely missed the defensive resource 19… Bc6, and overreacted so I decided to sacrifice an exchange for a protected pass pawn and some attacking chances. From that point on I kept making some inaccuracies, but thankfully Dagur never really capitalized on them and I eventually won on move 34. Neither of the last two rounds I’ve played has been ideal, and I suspect the length of the tournament is taking its toll (I haven’t played a long open tournament in a couple of years now).

Hopefully I can recover tomorrow with the black pieces against Sverrir Orn Bjornsson, rated 2126 from Iceland. Tomorrow features another Hart House match-up, this time between Jon and Geordie. It’s unfortunate that we travel halfway across the Atlantic to face who we normally do on a Friday night. Alex jokingly vowed never to travel to a chess tournament again unless everyone has identical ratings, to avoid these unfortunate in-house pairings.


Round 9 – Tuesday March 11

Tuesday was the first day where the weather was more cooperative. Most of the snow had melted, and the sun actually came out for the first time. As a group we had discussed taking a visit to the Blue Lagoon, a natural outdoor spa about an hour outside of Reykjavik. The trip was extremely expensive though (almost $100), so only Alex and Jon decided to go. Geordie, Dan and I decided to take a trip to the Pearl, a glass structure on top of a large hill in downtown Reykjavik used for geothermal water storage. The visibility was great today, and you could get some outstanding views of the city and the surrounding mountains. When we went on the Golden Circle tour, our tour guide pointed out a new “skyscraper” in downtown Reykjavik, which was causing a fuss with some of the locals (I guess they feel it’s an eyesore). By Toronto standards, it’s tiny, but it’s unique enough in the skyline that you can distinctly see it from the Pearl.




For the ninth round, I was black against Sverrir Orn Bjornsson, a 2126-rated player from Iceland. I played the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, my main response against 1. d4, and it was immediately clear that he was uncomfortable. I won a pawn quickly in a queen-less middlegame, giving him some counterplay, but nothing serious. Throughout the game I had a good position, but over the next 30 moves I was having trouble finding the best way to untangle my pieces. Eventually I got in time trouble (again), and just blundered the game away. I didn’t have time to annotate this game, and it’s extremely complicated, but the losing mistake was 32… Rf8 which just gives up an exchange by force. I was extremely annoyed with myself. Throughout the tournament I’ve been having trouble converting great positions, and have even stubbornly turned some of my winning positions into losses, when they should at the very least be easily drawn. After we ate dinner, some of the guys pointed out that getting good positions against stronger players is the first step towards improving; I just need to work on converting them into wins. I’ll probably spend more time working on my endings over the next few months.

Alex, Geordie, and I withdrew after this round, as the flights back to Toronto were significantly cheaper tomorrow than on Thursday. My final result then is 4/9, with a performance rating of 2045, and gaining 13.5 Elo. My goal was to perform over 2200, so I didn’t quite meet my goal, but I feel like I played at that level for at least the first six rounds. The last three rounds were a different story, and I’m sure fatigue and the dreary weather were both factors. Jon is having a great tournament worth mentioning, and is gaining some 50 Elo (his K is still 30 as he’s newly established, but this is still a great result).

I’ll write one more entry tomorrow, as we have a few hours to kill before our evening flight and plan on doing some more exploring.

More coverage of the 2014 Reykjavik Open

The tournament runs March 4 to 12. Most rounds start at 16:30 Reykjavik time (11:30 EST/12:30 EDT), but weekend rounds are at 13:00 (8:00 EST/9:00 EDT) and the final round is at 12:00 (8:00 EDT).

  • Visit the official site;
  • check the results page;
  • watch the live stream with FM Ingvar Johannesson and WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni;
  • ingvar and fiona

  • … and check back here for updates from Tyler about our Toronto players in Reykjavik!


Gibraltar 2014

2014 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival – January 28 to February 6

rock of gibraltar

Played annually at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar, the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival is “the most prestigious open tournament in the world”!

Williams and Krush

The 10-round Masters tournament (with a top prize of £20 000) is definitely one of the strongest open tournaments in the world. At the top of the player list, there are ten 2700+ GMs – including English GM Mickey Adams, Ukranian GM Vassily Ivanchuk, and American GM Gata Kamsky – followed by another seventeen 2600+ GMs – including GM Nigel Short (2683) and 14-year-old Chinese GM Wei Yi (2603) – but at the bottom of the list, there are unrated players and players with ratings in the 1500s.

With sizeable women’s prizes (the top prize is £15 000), the event also attracts some of the world’s strongest women players: Anna and Mariya Muzychuk, Bela Khotenashvili, Viktorija Cmilyte, Tan Zhongyi, and Natalija Pogonina, among others.

Rounds in the main event start at 15:00 CET (09:00 EST) each day. In the mornings, there are parallel “Amateur” (U1900) and “Challenger” (U2250) events.

The Canadian contingent

Canada is represented at Gibraltar by GM Kevin Spraggett, GM Eric Hansen, IM Aman Hambleton, IM Edward Porper, David and Jason Kenney (father and son duo from Nova Scotia), and Lali Agbabishvili – from Hart House Chess Club!

GM Kevin Spraggett
GM Kevin Spraggett
GM Eric Hansen
GM Eric Hansen
IM Aman Hambleton
IM Aman Hambleton
IM Edward Porper
IM Edward Porper
Lali Agbabishvili
Lali Agbabishvili

Off to a good start

It’s a decent first half for the Canadians at Gibraltar. Here’s the summary table.

Seed Name Rating 1 2 3 4 5 Pts. Rank Perf. Rtg+/-
39 GM Hansen Eric 2559 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 4.0 21 2628 +5.50
43 GM Spraggett Kevin 2544 1 1 ½ 1 0 3.5 28 2673 +9.80
65 IM Hambleton Aman 2481 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 3.0 105 2259 -11.40
79 IM Porper Edward 2446 1 ½ 0 0 1 2.5 114 2357 -4.10
182 Kenney Jason 2112 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 3.0 111 2099 +16.05
206 Kenney David 1999 0 0 0 0 1 1.0 238 1785 -45.30
219 Agbabishvili Lali 1941 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 2.0 164 2230 +19.50

Game Highlights

In Round One, Lali Agbabishvili (1939) – 8th top woman player in Canada – scores a nice upset as she gets a draw against Italian IM Alessio Valsecchi (2418) in a Symmetrical English.

Then in Round Two, IM Edward Porper (2446) scores a draw against GM Nigel Short (2683) from the white side of a Nimzo-Indian.

In Round Four, GM Kevin Spraggett destroys GM Nigel Short (2683) in 22 moves after Nigel plays a “dodgy” variation of the modern Steinitz. Check Kevin’s interview with GM Irina Krush (starting at around 2:48:00).

In Round Five, Jason Kenney (2112) beats his first IM, winning from the black side of a Caro Kann against Israeli IM Leon Lederman (2257).

In Round Six, GM Eric Hansen wins convincingly from the white side of a French McCutcheon against Norwegian GM Simen Agdestein (2627). His interview with GM Irina Krush starts around 3:47:00. Hansen has 5.0/6 going into Round 7, where he’ll have white against Hungarian GM Richard Rapport (2691) on board 6.

GM Eric Hansen after his win in Round Six
GM Eric Hansen after his win in Round Six

In Round Seven, GM Eric Hansen draws GM Richard Rapport (2691), while IM Aman Hambleton draws GM Emil Sutovsky (2663).

In Round Eight, GM Eric Hansen draws Indian GM Pendyala Harikrishna (2706). Hansen has 6.0/8, and he’s white against Chinese GM Li Chao (2680) on board 7 in Round Nine. Good luck, Eric!

In Rounds Nine and Ten, Hansen finishes with two draws for a final score of 7.0/10, undefeated (!) with +4 -0 =6 record, good for 14th place. Nice work, Eric!!

Round Ten also sees Lali score her third win against 2100+ opposition. Lali finishes with an even 5/10, +3 -3 =4. Seems like you’ve got to be over 2200 FIDE to beat her these days! Way to go, Lali (picking up almost 50 FIDE rating points)!!

See complete final Canadian results.

2014 tradewise gibraltar

gibraltar monkey