September 7, 2022: Announcement of a Special Event
The 2022 Maplewood Invitational is a Grandmaster norm event (“the Event”) taking place the week of November 14th, 2022. This is a FIDE-rated, 10-player, round-robin chess tournament using classical time controls. The venue for the Event is the beautiful Manoir Maplewood in Waterloo Quebec, 90 km east of Montreal.
Organizers, Sponsors and Arbiters
The Event is being promoted and managed by Mr. Charles Lesperance and Mr. Salim Belcadi (“the Organizers”), both residents of Quebec who travel regularly to Toronto for both business and recreation. Mr. Lesperance is a Partner of OXO Innovation (OXO), a privately-owned translation and localization firm with headquarters in Montreal, Canada and operating in Brazil and Morocco. Mr. Belcadi is the President and a Board Member of Toronto’s Annex Chess Club (ACC).
OXO is a primary sponsor of the Event and was also a sponsor of ACC’s highly successful 2022 Ontario Open chess tournament. ACC is another primary sponsor of the Event and is contributing $1,000 cash plus free administrative, technical and logistical support. Fédération québécoise des échecs (FQE), Quebec’s chess federation, has indicated that it also intends to support the Event. A list of additional sponsors is also being finalized.
Mr. Aris Marghetis and Mr. Alex Ferriera will be lead and assistant FIDE arbiters, respectively. Mr. Marghetis’ world-class status as a recognized FIDE International Arbiter (IA), plus Mr. Ferreira’s experience as a National Arbiter of Canada, solidifies the reputation of the Event.
GM Norm Requirements
GM norm events are always difficult to organize since they have to meet minimum FIDE criteria in terms of the number of rounds played, the number of GMs participating, the average rating of the field and the number of chess federations represented. As well, norm-seeking players must also perform at a 2600 rating or above to successfully achieve a GM norm.
Participating players have now been set and will comprise a mix of Grandmasters (GMs) and International Masters (IMs) seeking a GM norm. ACC was responsible for inviting potential players to the Event. The Organizers trusted ACC’s ability to gather the right mix of players to reach an ambitious targeted average rating of 2450, thereby guaranteeing a minimum 6.5/9 performance requirement for a GM norm for all participating IMs. This unique Event will have the highest average rating for any Canadian chess tournament in decades.
The lineup of 10 players for the Event, with their chess federation flags and FIDE ratings, are as follows:
- GM Toms Kantans (Latvia), 2526
- GM Isan Ortiz (Cuba), 2520
- GM Omar Alemeida (Cuba), 2513
- GM Bator Sambuev (Canada), 2436
- IM Jason Liang (United States), 2469
- IM Shawn Rodigue-Lemieux (Canada), 2451
- IM Nikolay Noritsyn (Canada), 2446
- IM Artiom Samsonkin (Canada), 2421
- IM Sai Krishna (India), 2405
- IM Mark Plotkin (Canada), 2358
Funding and Prize Fund
Since little government financial assistance is presently available to support high-level Canadian chess players in their quests to achieve elite FIDE titles, norm event organizers must rely on corporate sponsorships and donations from individuals to help finance event operating costs.
For the Event, GMs will be receiving an appearance fee while IMs will be paying a participation fee.
In addition to the possibility of IMs achieving norms, a $1,500 prize fund is available to all participating players as follows: 1st place – $1,000; 2nd place – $500.
Collaborative Efforts and Acknowledgements
The Organizers have indicated their intention to make this an annual event. They also aim at establishing a new Montreal chess club that would maintain an interprovincial link to ACC. In this way, the two clubs can share resources including logistical capabilities and access to larger pools of both titled and untitled players and experienced arbiters. This collaboration will help tremendously when organizing provincial and international chess tournaments in both Ontario and Quebec.
The Board of Annex Chess Club views the support of norm events such as the 2022 Maplewood Invitational to be a desirable outcome for the Canadian chess community. This is the first time ACC has been involved with a GM norm event. Accordingly, the Board would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions of knowledge, experience and fundraising contacts, as members of the Maplewood Invitational Support Team that has been active in both Quebec and Ontario (sorted alphabetically by last name):
- Salim Belcadi
- Anna Burtasova
- Alex Ferreira
- Glenn Giffen
- Ismail Khachani
- Charles Lesperance
- Louis Lesperance
- Erik Malmsten
- Aris Marghetis
- Phil Rainville
- George Supol
Live Streaming and Replay
ACC members and the public will be able to follow or replay all of the Event’s games as they will be live-streamed from DGT smartboards.