Tag Archives: John Wright

John Wright

Player Profile: John Wright (2224)

John Wright

One of the great things about having a chess club in the heart of downtown Toronto is the diversity of players we attract. We have girls and boys learning chess in our classes, and others rapidly rising through the ranks of our tournaments. We have adults who are taking up the game for the first time. And of course we have a number of players who have been playing tournaments much longer. But there are always surprises; you never know who is going to appear on a Monday night.

From time to time, a strong player from a far-off corner of the country drops by. A few weeks ago, a foreign IM stopped in. One night at the pub, we met a video gamer who has played only online blitz and has a master rating. And then, a couple weeks ago, John Wright showed up.

For those who aren’t familiar with the history of Canadian chess, or who haven’t browsed the Who’s Who section of the new CFC website, let me fill you in. John Wright was a player on the tournament scene back in the early 1970s, among the likes of Bruce Amos, Lawrence Day, Vlad Dobrich, Geza Fuster, Jean Hébert, Jacques Labelle, Duncan Suttles, and Ivan Theodorovich. More importantly, he has spent almost his entire chess career exclusively in another world of chess, a world where he became an IM and where Canada took a bronze medal at the Olympiad.

Have you guessed which parallel chess universe I’m talking about? John Wright had a long and distinguished career in the upper echelons of Canadian … correspondence chess! Unfortunately, as John puts it: “computer chess programs started to get so strong, they rendered correspondence chess obsolete.” Thus, John’s career in the world of correspondence chess came to an end with the demise of the game itself, in the mid 1990s.

The world of correspondence chess – “finding the perfect move”

John sees correspondence chess and over-the-board chess as two different games, each catering to a different kind of player. In CC (correspondence chess), it’s not necessary “to worry about accurately calculating variations in [your] head.” Instead, “it’s important … to have a sound, solid style with good positional understanding.” Furthermore, CC play offers more “creative satisfaction” to a positional player: “you can delve deeply into positions to find the perfect move.”

OTB (over-the-board) chess, on the other hand, “stresses the competitive aspect more than the creative. There is more excitement and tension, but also a lower quality of play.” In CC “you have to be patient, disciplined and hardworking,” but in OTB chess “it’s more important to be psychologically strong – cool under pressure with a strong memory and speed of thought.”

Although John initially made the switch to CC because of health problems, he found it was a game he enjoyed more, one his style was more suited to, and one in which he was “relatively stronger.” John attained master level at OTB chess, but in correspondence he got his rating over 2500, earned his IM title several times over, and won an Olympiad medal for Canada.

How it all began

Born in 1951, John learned to play chess at age 12, and was “immediately fascinated by the game.” To give some historical context, 1964 was the year a 20-year-old Bobby Fischer, already an international grandmaster since age 15, won the US Championship – yet again, but this time with an unprecedented 11-0 record. To this day, Fischer is one of John’s favourite players, along with Capablanca, Rubinstein, Petrosian, and Karpov – the great positional players.

John recalls, in those early days, studying The Game of Chess by Harry Golombek, Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca, and Masters of the Chessboard by Réti. These books helped him to become a “pretty good” casual player. Then, at 16, his family moved from the small town of St. Marys to the city of London, Ontario, and he began to play in tournaments. By 18, he was London City Champion and his rating passed the 2000-threshold.

Chess was by no means his only game. In high school, John “loved all kinds of sports,” and won the South-western Ontario championship with his high-school volleyball team. He believes to this day that physical sports are “the perfect complementary activity to chess.” He is in good company in this belief. The great Mikhail Botvinnik, “who became a trainer of young chess talent after his retirement, felt that [physical sporting activity] was of critical importance – even essential.”

The height of John’s OTB career came in the years 1970 to 1972. He “did a little travelling” in those years, and played in tournaments on both sides of the Canada-US border, achieving a rating over 2200 in both countries. These tournaments included the 1970 Canadian Open, where he “beat Dobrich, drew with Day, Amos, and Labelle, and lost to W. Brown and Benks”; the 1970 Manhattan Open, where he “tied for first with Soltis and Brandts, with a score of 4½/5, and beat several experts and masters”; and the 1973 Toronto Closed, where he “came third, beating Day, Dobrich, Fuster, and Theodorovich.”

John Wright, 1973

The correspondence career

From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, John had his impressive CC career. He was “always one of the top two or three-rated correspondence players in Canada” and he played four times on the Canadian Correspondence Olympiad team – including the bronze medal-winning team in the 11th ICCF Olympiad, 1992-1999.

Despite playing in a number of GM tournaments, and getting his rating over 2500, he “could never quite get the GM title.” Nevertheless, John is proud of a number of CC accomplishments, including an impressive 3.5/5 lifetime record against Jean Hébert – two wins and three draws, including a win when Hébert was the reigning Canadian OTB champ. John describes Hébert as “a most gracious opponent who praised my play highly on a number of occasions.”

White: Wright, John
Black: Hébert, Jean

1978 North American Invitational CC Championship III

E61 King’s Indian

How the chess world has changed in 40 years

John has finally come back to the world of OTB chess (“Nowadays if you played someone a correspondence game, you would only be playing their computer program”) but the OTB scene has changed a lot since the 1970s. For John, the biggest differences are the faster time controls (“For someone like me, it matters – I’m the type of player that needs all the time I can get!”) and the use of computer programs and databases.

You might think that John would be against computers, since they brought about the end of the game he loved, but in fact John sees them as a positive development: “I think overall they are a big plus.” Not only do they improve the game creatively by showing “all kinds of possibilities that you never would have suspected,” but they also facilitate the development of young players: “It’s due to their help that we see so many strong young players developing rapidly worldwide – I sure wish I’d had a computer program to play with when I was 12.”

The value of chess

I had to ask John, as someone who has been a serious chess player for almost fifty years, what he appreciates about the game. He spoke, first, of its value as mental training: he believes chess “has a lot of value in helping develop concentration, memory, general mental discipline, and good work habits.” But then he went on to discuss the pleasure of chess and the sense of accomplishment: “the most enjoyable aspect of chess is the sense of creative satisfaction from playing a good game.” Finally, he spoke of its social value: “it’s always good to meet others who share your love for the game.”

Nearly 60, John no longer wants to play “serious competitive chess,” but he has been wishing for a few years that he could find a local club where he can play chess for enjoyment. Going into round three of the ACC First Anniversary Swiss (he beat Joseph Bellissimo in round one and Wajdy Shebetah in round two) he is just hoping he can “still play a halfway decent game!”

John Wright’s 5 tips to improve your chess

  • Play as often as you can against strong players and afterwards analyze the games with the help of a computer.
  • Play over the games of great masters past and present – again analyzing them with the help of a computer.
  • Study good instructional books such as Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca, Modern Chess Strategy by Pachman, The Art of the Middlegame by Keres and Kotov, and The Art of Defense by Soltis
  • Buy books which contain hundreds of tactical quizzes (e.g., 1001 Winning Combinations by Reinfeld) and go over them again and again until you can solve them all quickly. That is what I did when I was 17 and my rating suddenly shot up rapidly.
  • Choose a few sound openings with both White and Black that suit your style and learn them thoroughly – go over them with the help of a computer.

.pgn for game

[Event “N.Am. Invitational CC Championship III”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “1978.??.??”]
[Round “?”]
[White “Wright, John”]
[Black “Hébert, Jean”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “E61”]
[Annotator “J.Wright”]
[PlyCount “113”]
[SourceDate “2011.09.27”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 ({I tried} 2… c5 3. Nf3 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 $5 {in a previous
CC encounter with John, but he also won that one brilliantly (JH).}) 3. Nc3 Bg7
4. Bg5 c5 {?! This would be more sensible after e2-e4 (JH).} 5. e3 O-O 6. Nf3
h6 7. Bh4 d6 8. Be2 g5 9. Bg3 g4 $2 {White has adopted a quiet but solid
opeing system agianst which Black can do little. With the text Black
impatiently seeks counter chances. The weakening of the K-side, however, is
not justified. As I learned from my games with John, he is at his best
exploiting positional weakness. This game is a fine example (JH).} 10. Nh4 cxd4
11. exd4 Qb6 12. Qd2 Nc6 {With my last four moves I expected to get good
central play due to White’s far-off N/h4 and B/g3. However, the “play” does
not amount to much while my K-side weakneess remains for a long time (JH).} 13.
d5 Nd4 14. Bd3 $1 e5 $2 {After this move Black is lost.} ({Better was} 14…
Nh5 {to prevent Bf4. From now until the end of the game Black plays the best
defence. However, the position cannot be saved.}) 15. dxe6 Bxe6 16. Bf4 $1 h5
17. O-O Ne8 18. Rae1 $1 Rc8 $1 {Black’s best chance.} ({If instead} 18… Qd8
19. Bg5 Qd7 20. Nd5 Bxd5 21. cxd5 Nf6 22. Bxf6 {and Qh6.}) 19. Bg5 Bxc4 ({If}
19… Nf6 20. Bxf6 {and Qh6}) ({or if} 19… f6 20. Be3 Bxc4 21. Bxc4+ {and b3}
) ({or} 19… Nc7 20. Bf6) 20. Bxc4 Rxc4 21. Be7 Nf6 22. Bxf8 Kxf8 23. Kh1 {
Preparing to open the game for his Rs (JH).} Qc6 24. f3 gxf3 25. Nxf3 Ne6 26.
Ng5 Nxg5 27. Qxg5 Rg4 28. Qd2 h4 29. Rf3 Nd7 30. h3 Rd4 31. Rd3 Rxd3 32. Qxd3
Ne5 33. Qe3 Ng6 34. Nd5 $1 Be5 {Black’s game looks almost tenable but, with an
exposed K and three isolated Ps, I had no illusions (JH).} 35. Qh6+ Ke8 36.
Nf6+ Ke7 37. Ng4 Qc2 38. Nxe5 dxe5 39. Qc1 Qf2 40. Rf1 Qb6 41. Qg5+ Ke8 42. Rc1
Kf8 ({If} 42… Qxb2 43. Rc8+ Kd7 44. Qf5+ {.}) 43. Qd2 Kg7 {Now that the
Black K is relatively safe White starts a Q-side attack! (JH).} 44. b4 $1 a6
45. a4 Qe6 46. Rc7 Nf4 47. a5 b6 48. b5 $1 bxa5 ({If} 48… axb5 49. a6 {.})
49. Rc6 Qe8 50. Qd6 axb5 51. Qf6+ Kg8 52. Rd6 Ne6 53. Qxh4 $1 ({If instead} 53.
Qxe5 {Black gets play with …} Qc8 {.}) 53… Qc8 54. Qg3+ Kf8 55. Qxe5 Qc1+
56. Kh2 b4 57. Ra6 {Black is defenceless against the threat of 58.Ra8+
followed by Ra7+ and Qh8+. A superb positional masterpiece for John and my
finest loss in the tournament (JH).} 1-0

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Pavel Peev wins Anniversary Swiss

ACC First Anniversary Swiss

We’ve named this club Swiss in honour of our one-year anniversary! It’s hard to believe it’s been just a year since we launched Annex Chess Club.

Final results (October 24)

With yet another win, this time over Wajdy Shebetah, Pavel Peev finished in clear first in the Premier section with a 4.5/5 record. In Reserve A, leader Yakos Spiliotopoulos finished clear first with 4.0/5. And in Reserve B, Josep Sobrepere ran his perfect streak through the whole tournament, finishing first with 5.0/5. Congratulations to the tournament winners!

Check complete results on the cross-tables, below.

Final results through Round 5:

Premier (>1800)

# Name ID# Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Pavel Peev 122223 2077 H— W18 W12 W2 W5 4.5
2 John Wright 112486 2224 W16 W5 W7 L1 D3 3.5
3 David Southam 102535 2102 H— W9 D6 W13 D2 3.5
4 Carlos Romero Alfonso unr. H— H— H— W12 W8 3.5
5 Wajdy Shebetah 148432 2124 W11 L2 W10 W6 L1 3.0
6 Hugh Siddeley 120619 2024 W17 H— D3 L5 W13 3.0
7 Rolando Renteria 152626 2298 D8 W21 L2 H— W14 3.0
8 Rhys Goldstein 110906 2024 D7 L10 W16 W14 L4 2.5
9 Robert Bzikot 132541 1924 H— L3 W20 W10 U— 2.5
10 Omid Nemati 130676 1806 H— W8 L5 L9 D12 2.0
11 Arkadiy Ugodnikov 146626 1842 L5 W17 L13 D18 D15 2.0
12 Bruce McKendry 111714 1895 H— W20 L1 L4 D10 2.0
13 Mohammad Zaki Uddin 152024 1778 H— H— W11 L3 L6 2.0
14 Pepin Manalo 112277 1820 H— H— W19 L8 L7 2.0
15 Andrew Pastor 127521 1912 U— H— H— H— D11 2.0
16 Joseph Bellissimo 147544 1895 L2 D19 L8 W17 U— 1.5
17 Nicholas O’Bumsawin 151261 1796 L6 L11 W18 L16 U— 1.0
18 Zehn Nasir 148198 1841 D20 L1 L17 D11 U— 1.0
19 Manuela Renteria 152627 1750 H— D16 L14 U— U— 1.0
20 Stephen Fairbairn 111839 2080 D18 L12 L9 U— U— 0.5
21 Jiaxin Liu 149747 1502 H— L7 U— U— U— 0.5

Reserve A (U1800)

# Name ID# Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Yakos Spiliotopoulos 151471 1646 W9 W2 H— H— W5 4.0
2 Marcus Wilker 102713 1689 W11 L1 W9 H— D3 3.0
3 Jack Maguire 144604 1494 D8 L6 W10 D7 D2 2.5
4 Hayk Oganesyan 152587 1332 H— W8 W5 U— U— 2.5
5 Edmond Jodhi 150171 1737 H— W10 L4 D8 L1 2.0
6 Mohammad Zaki Uddin 152024 1778 H— W3 H— U— U— 2.0
7 Erik Malmsten 100196 1865 H— H— H— D3 U— 2.0
8 Zhanna Sametova 145911 1629 D3 L4 H— D5 U— 1.5
9 Jiaxin Liu 149747 1502 L1 B— L2 U— U— 1.0
10 Alejandro Renteria 152628 1434 H— L5 L3 U— U— 0.5
11 John Warner 152782 1074 L2 U— U— U— U— 0.0

Reserve B (U1500)

# Name ID# Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Josep Sobrepere 152976 1223 W2 W9 W3 W5 W8 5.0
2 Alexandre Johnson 109239 1493 L1 W6 W11 W9 W3 4.0
3 Evnato Frias 152975 1125 W19 W4 L1 W7 L2 3.0
4 Dan Geambasu 134119 1426 H— L3 W6 H— W5 3.0
5 Bill Thornton 131181 1251 D6 W17 W15 L1 L4 2.5
6 Raymond Lin 150193 909 D5 L2 L4 W13 W17 2.5
7 Milan Cvetkovic 150817 1196 H— L13 W17 L3 W9 2.5
8 John Warner 152782 1074 H— H— H— W14 L1 2.5
9 George Supol 152286 1404 W18 L1 W13 L2 L7 2.0
10 Christopher Field 108098 1346 H— L16 H— L12 W19 2.0
11 Dannis Li unr. H— H— L2 H— D13 2.0
12 Hayk Oganesyan 152587 1332 W13 U— U— W10 U— 2.0
13 Jean-Marc David 151900 1127 L12 W7 L9 L6 D11 1.5
14 Jason Waugh 152118 951 H— H— H— L8 U— 1.5
15 Michael Litvinov 143512 1540 H— H— L5 H— U— 1.5
16 Hugh Siddeley 120619 2024 H— W10 U— U— U— 1.5
17 Francis He unr. H— L5 L7 H— L6 1.0
18 Jennifer Ugodnikov 151196 1161 L9 H— H— U— U— 1.0
19 Shabnam Abbarin 151181 1288 L3 H— U— U— L10 0.5

ACC First Anniversary Swiss

We’ve named this club Swiss in honour of our one-year anniversary! It’s hard to believe it’s been just a year since we launched Annex Chess Club.

GM Mark Bluvshtein gave an inaugral grandmaster lecture to officially open the club on October 18, 2010. A week later, eight players started our first Fall Swiss – Hugh Siddeley, Daniel Wiebe, Yakos Spiliotopoulos, Marcus Wilker, Shabnam Abbarin, Alex Ferreira, Ian Mahoney, and Lawrence Garcia. And the rest, as they say, is history…

Round 1 (September 12)

In round one of a Swiss, it’s always nice to hope for some big upsets. And indeed there were a couple impressive upsets (rating-wise) in the Reserve B section as Josep Sobrepere and Evnato Frias defeated opponents who out-rated them by 270 and 168 points respectively. In the Open section, there were a couple of impressive draws: up-and-comer (and recent Labour Day U2000 co-winner) Zehn Nasir drew expert Stephen Fairbairn, while expert Rhys Goldstein drew master Rolando Renteria. Finally, the good sportsmanship award for this round has to go to Jack Maguire, in the Reserve A section, who offered the draw (in a probably drawn position) to Zhanna Sametova – when she had only a minute left on her clock.

Monday September 19, we took a break from the tournament, as we were honoured to welcome GM Nigel Short to our club. Check full details about his visit.

Round 2 (September 26)

In the second round, the tournament swelled back to a more normal size. Welcome and welcome back to new and returning players! Currently, IMC John Wright is leading the Premier section, Yakos Spiliotopoulos is leading Reserve A, and there’s a two-way tie between Josep Sobrepere and Evnato Frias in Reserve B. All four leaders have perfect 2.0/2 records.

Round 3 (October 3)

After three rounds, IMC John Wright continues to lead the Premier section with a 3.0/3 record. In Reserve A, leader Yakos Spiliotopoulos took a bye and is now sharing the lead with Hayk Oganesyan. And in Reserve B, Josep Sobrepere defeated rival Evnato Frias to take sole possession of the lead with 3.0/3.

Monday October 10, we took another break from the tournament, as we hosted Thanksgiving weekend tournaments at ACC.

Round 4 (October 17)

With a win over John Wright, Pavel Peev now leads the Premier section with a 3.5/4 record. In Reserve A, only two games were played, while leader Yakos Spiliotopoulos took another bye and continues to lead with 3.0/4. And in Reserve B, Josep Sobrepere continued his perfect streak and is now leading with 4.0/4.

Round 5 results (October 24)

With yet another win, this time over Wajdy Shebetah, Pavel Peev finished in clear first in the Premier section with a 4.5/5 record. In Reserve A, leader Yakos Spiliotopoulos finished clear first with 4.0/5. And in Reserve B, Josep Sobrepere ran his perfect streak through the whole tournament, finishing first with 5.0/5. Congratulations to the tournament winners!

Round-3 games from boards 1 and 2:

White: Wright, John (2224)
Black: Renteria, Rolando (2298)

2011.10.03 ACC 1st Anniversary Swiss (3)

E95 King’s Indian: Orthodox
Toronto, ON

White: Siddeley, Hugh (2024)
Black: Southam, Dave (2102)

2011.10.03 ACC 1st Anniversary Swiss (3)

C18 French Defence: Winawer
Toronto, ON

.pgn for games

[Event “ACC 1st Anniversary Swiss”]
[Site “Toronto, ON”]
[Date “2011.10.03”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Wright, John”]
[Black “Renteria, Rolando”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “E95”]
[WhiteElo “2224”]
[BlackElo “2298”]
[PlyCount “85”]
[SourceDate “2011.10.12”]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 Nbd7 7. O-O e5 8. Re1
c6 9. b3 exd4 10. Nxd4 c5 11. Nc2 Ne5 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Nd5 Bg7 15.
f4 Nc6 16. Rb1 Nd4 17. Nxd4 Bxd4+ 18. Kh1 Be6 19. Bf3 Bxd5 20. exd5 Qf6 21. Re4
a5 22. Qe2 Kg7 23. g3 h5 24. Kg2 b6 25. a4 h4 26. Re1 hxg3 27. hxg3 Rh8 28. Bg4
Rh6 29. Re8 Rxe8 30. Qxe8 g5 31. Re4 gxf4 32. Rxf4 Qg6 33. Bf5 Qh5 34. Rg4+ Kf6
35. Qd8+ Kxf5 36. Qd7+ Ke5 37. Qe7+ Re6 38. Rg5+ Ke4 39. Qxe6+ fxe6 40. Rxh5 e5
41. Rh6 Kd3 42. Rxd6 e4 43. Re6 1-0

[Event “ACC 1st Anniversary Swiss”]
[Site “Toronto, ON”]
[Date “2011.10.03”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Siddeley, Hugh”]
[Black “Southam, Dave”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “C18”]
[WhiteElo “2024”]
[BlackElo “2102”]
[PlyCount “77”]
[SourceDate “2011.10.12”]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Qc7 7. Qg4 f5 8. Qh5+
g6 9. Qd1 b6 10. Nf3 Ba6 11. Bxa6 Nxa6 12. h4 h6 13. O-O Ne7 14. Bf4 Nb8 15.
Qd2 h5 16. Bg5 Nbc6 17. Bf6 Rg8 18. Rfe1 c4 19. Ng5 Qd7 20. a4 O-O-O 21. Qc1
Rdf8 22. f4 Kb7 23. Bxe7 Qxe7 24. Qa3 Qxa3 25. Rxa3 Re8 26. Nh7 Rg7 27. Nf6
Ree7 28. Kf2 a6 29. Ra2 Ka7 30. Rb2 Rb7 31. Ne8 Rge7 32. Nd6 Rb8 33. Reb1 Rc7
34. Ke3 Nd8 35. Ne8 Re7 36. Nf6 Nf7 37. Kd2 Nh6 38. Rb4 Ng4 39. Nxg4 1/2-1/2

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