Grandmaster Eric Hansen from Calgary is the 2012 Canadian Chess Player of the Year. Congratulations, Eric!
Eric won both the overall Player-of-the-Year vote and the Fan Ballot, the former determined in the main by a poll of Canadian chess journalists (such as they are) and the latter by votes from the fans! In the overall vote, soon-to-be-IM Aman Hambleton finished 2nd, Canadian Champion GM Bator Sambuev 3rd, and Canadian Junior Champion IM Richard Wang 4th.
2012 was quite a year for Hansen. In July, he won the Canadian Open in Victoria; in August, he tied for 5th at the World Junior in Athens. He then scored 7.5/10 for Canada at the Olympiad in Istanbul (qualifying for the GM title); and then 8.5/11 at the Continental in Mar del Plata (tying for 1st and qualifying by playoff for the 2013 World Cup). How could anyone not vote for him after a year like that!
He is now ranked 2nd in Canada by FIDE rating, behind GM Kevin Spraggett – or 3rd if inactive players are included (GM Mark Bluvshtein, now retired, still holds the top rating).
Check here for a more complete list of 2012 Canadian chess player accomplishments and past player-of-the-year winners.
David Cohen has organized the “Canadian Player of the Year” award each year for the past ten years. As David explains, “The purpose is to recognize the achievements of a Canadian chess player in 2012; and to gain some publicity for Canadian chess.” He also thanks Michael von Keitz of CFC and Larry Bevand of CMA for their help.
In the rapid Round-Robin playoff to determine the four qualification spots for the 2013 World Cup, Eric won with black in a must-win situation in the final game to earn the fourth spot.
Congratulations to Eric for a clutch performance to finish a great tournament!
Canadian GM Mark Bluvshtein, now retired from chess, finished tied for first in the 2011 event in Toluca, Mexico.
Eric Hansen was the only Canadian in this year’s event. He is currently Canada’s second-highest FIDE-rated player, behind Kevin Spraggett.
Here’s the final round of the playoffs, where Eric (playing black in a must-win situation) saves his spot in the World Cup:
The Canadian Closed Chess Championship, May 6-11, Guelph, ON
The Canadian Closed is an invitational Canadian Championship. It is also a Zonal qualifying event for the 2011 World Cup in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia – part of the 2011-2013 World Championship cycle.
GM Bator Sambuev won the tournament, earning his title as Canadian Champion with impressive, fighting chess. And it came down to an exciting finish. Through 8 rounds, Sambuev was tied for the lead with IM Eric Hansen, from Calgary, Alberta. Then, in round 9, both players won their games. So it came down to a rapid playoff to break the tie.
The tournament was broadcast live by MonRoi – check the site for photos and games. There were some issues with the MonRoi site, though – see the ChessTalk thread.
The Canadian Closed always features some of the strongest players in Canada. Here are the top 20 players by result:
1 GM Bator Sambuev (2750) 7.5/9
2 IM Eric Hansen (2572) 7.5
3 IM Leonid Gerzhoy (2629) 6.5
4 IM Nikolay Noritsyn (2584) 6.0
5 IM Raja Panjwani (2450) 6.0
6 Arthur Calugar (2401) 6.0
7 Michael Kleinman (2301) 5.5
8 FM Robert Hamilton (2370) 5.5
9 FM Shiyam Thavandiran (2463) 5.0
10 FM Hans Jung (2289) 5.0
11 Morgon Mills (2056) 5.0
12 Victor Plotkin (2422) 4.5
13 Miladin Djerkovic (2280) 4.5
14 Roman Sapozhnikov (2451) 4.5
15 FM Michael Dougherty (2312) 4.5
16 John Upper (2169) 4.5
17 David Filipovich (2174) 4.5
18 Michael Humphreys (2273) 4.0
19 Zi Yi [Joey] Qin (2353) 4.0
20 FM Dale Haessel (2233) 4.0