Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Canadian Open Survey Results

The quantitative results of the 2007 Canadian Open Player Survey can be found here.

A total of 150 players, including 32 elite players, completed the survey (or portions thereof) after the last round of the Canadian Open. This represents over 50% of the total players who participated (approx 280). Over the coming weeks, I hope to have all of the qualitative comments posted as well. Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey.

Tim Bouma on behalf of the 2007 Organizing Committee.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Chessbase: Chinese dragon wins Canadian Open has published an illustrated article on GM Bu's victory in the 2007 Canadian Open and his adventures in Ottawa. Read the full article here.

Photo: GM Bu on Parliament Hill (Ottawa River and Musueum of Civilization in background)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Round 10: Final Standings and Wrap-up

Final Standings in the 2007 Canadian Open Chess Championship are available from the Chief Arbiter, Jonathan Berry, at:

At the top, we had 1. Bu, 8/10, 2-6. Tomas Krnan (Canada), Kamil Miton (Poland), Chanda Sandipan (India), Bator Sambuev (Russia), and Nigel Short (England). All are Grandmasters (GM's) except Krnan (International Master). These five were half a point off the pace with 7.5/10 scores, worth $1,500 CAD each.

The group at 7 points had no fewer than 15 players in it, all titled (8 GM's, 3 IM's and 4 FM's). This should provide the reader with an idea of the depth of the field!

Class prize winners and complete tournament listings should be available at the above link or at before too long.

I should also mention that the event produced one additional IM norm for a Canadian (other than Noritsyn, whose IM norm (his 4th apparently, and so a bonus one actually) was reported in the Round 9 blog entries. British Columbia Junior Bindi Cheng garnered his 1st IM norm by virtue of his last round win over Montreal's FM Lefong Hua - congratulations!

It's been a long week for many people (myself included), but I hope that you have found the blog entertaining and informative - I tried to capture the flavour of the live commentary as much as possible (less humour perhaps, but next time you may simply have to make the trip to Ottawa!). You'll have to forgive my early formatting woes and I promised it improved a bit as things went on. Next time I'll make it even better!

Any comments/questions can be directed to That's it for now - have a great summer!

Round 10: Full Circle

In the end, it was pre-tournament favourite, GM Xiangzhi Bu of China, (who outrated England's Nigel Short by a mere 2 FIDE rating points on the new July 2007 list), who made it to the winner's podium in clear and undefeated first place. With a final score of 8/10, and a $5,000 CAD first prize, he began the event with a win on Board 1, and finished it the same way this morning against uncompromising Swiss GM Vadim Milov:

Milov - Bu: Slav Defence, 4.e3

This was Bu's 4th consecutive Slav, playing with either colour, although here Milov played a solid line which dissuades an early ...dxc4.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Be4!?

An attempt to provoke f2-f3, after which White's N/h4 will lack a natural retreat square. It is likely to take on g6 in any case, as planned, so it is worth mentioning that f2-f3 also softens up White's K-side, and the dark squares in particular.

7.f3 Bg6 8.Qb3 Qc7 9.Bd2 Be7 10.cxd5 cxd5

Not fearing the open c-file, Black plays to provide a more active post for his N/b8, reserving d7 for the King's knight if needed.

11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.0–0–0 Nc6 13.Kb1 a6 14.Rc1 Nd7


Now that Black's knight has left the K-side, White offers a pawn. Bu was not likely tempted, but 15...Rxh4?! (15...Bxh4? 16.Be1! wins) 16.Rxh4 Bxh4 17.e4!, and 17...Nxd4?! 18.Qa4! x-rays along the 4th rank hitting N/d4 and B/h4 (after a subsequenct exd5). With Black's bishop and King position so loose, I am certain Bu did not consider capturing for very long.

15...Rc8 16.g4 Rxh4 17.Rxh4 Bxh4

With a White pawn on g4 blocking the 4th rank, and an extra move in development, Bu now decided to test Milov's idea.

18.f4 Bf6 19.f5!?

Consistent. White is trying to open lines while Black's King is still uncastled.

19...Na5 20.Qc2 gxf5 21.gxf5 Nc4 22.Bxc4 Qxc4 23.fxe6 fxe6 24.b3!?

Move order is important here. 24.Qg6+ Kd8 25.b3 is also possible, but White's choice keeps some flexibility with the White Queen's choice of entry. Black is under a bit of pressure, but the pawn sac still has a specualative look to it.

24...Qb4!? 25.Qh7 Rc6! 26.Qh5+ Kd8 27.Be1 Nb6 28.Qh2

Sometimes the best defence is liquidation. Black's last forces a series of exchanges while trying to make the most of that extra pawn.
29.Qb8+ Kd7 30.Nxa4 Rxc1+ 31.Kxc1 Qxe1+ 32.Kc2 Qe2+ 33.Kb1 Qd3+ 34.Kb2 Qb5!
Bravely playing for the win. Many players would succumb to nerves and acquiesce to a draw by perpetual, but Black still wants to be shown why his pawn shouldn't count for something.
My initial suggestion of 35.Nc5+!, (which looks pretty crushing), is met by the mundane 35...Qxc5, winning. Oops, guess I better change that to 35.Nc5+?? I did mention that this game was played (and analyzed) at 10 am, after a week long of 6 pm starts. Well, I need some excuse for hanging pieces, right?
35...Be7! 36.Qxg7 Qe2+ 37.Kb1 Qd3+ 38.Kb2 Qxe3 39.Nc5+ Kc6 40.Nxb7?!
This turns out poorly, but Black is already quite a bit better if this doesn't work. 40.Qxe7 Qxd4+, and 41...Qxc5 certainly looks like no picnic for White.
40...Qf2+ 41.Kb1?
It appears that 41.Kc3! may be a better try, but Black can always try 41...Qe1+ and 42...Qb4, leading to a Queen endgame with an extra pawn, and perhaps more importantly two central passers. White may find a draw, but it looks to be a very depressing task.
41...Qf5+! 42.Kb2 Qf6! 43.Na5+ Kb5 0–1.
At least another pawn is dropping, and Queens are coming off. Another fine and controlled win by the 2007 Canadian Open Chess Champion.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Canadian Open: Group Photo of Invited Players

Group Photo of 2007 Canadian Open Invited Players

Back Row (l-r): GM Victor Mikhalevski, GM Suat Atalik, GM David Howell, GM Valeriy Aveskulov, GM Tomas Likavsky, GM Xiangzhi Bu, GM Nigel D. Short, GM Mark Bluvshtein, GM Frank De La Paz Perdomo
Front Row (l-r):GM Vadim Milov,GM Arkady Vul, IM Ekaterina Atalik, GM Sergey Tiviakov, GM Abhijit Kunte, GM Chanda Sandipan
Absent: GM Kamil Miton, GM Bator Sambuev, GM Andrey V. Rychagov, GM Alex Yermolinsky, GM Hoang Thong Tu, GM Anton Shomoev, GM Sipke Ernst, GM Borislav Ivkov

GM Xiangzhi Bu wins the Canadian Open

GM Xiangzhi Bu (8.0 points) claims first prize in the Canadian Open.
Photo: Bu (left) is presented with the Maurice Smith Trophy by Hal Bond, President of the Chess Federation of Canada.

In second with 7.5 points: IM Tomas Krnan of Canada, GM Kamil Miton of Poland, GM Chanda Sandipan of India , GM Bator Sambuev of Russia, and GM Nigel Short of England

Final standings are available here.

Round 10 games can be viewed at Monroi or Junior Chess (DGT Chesstheatre).

PGN files, courtesy Monroi, can be downloaded here.

Photos after Round 10 and the closing ceremony are available here.

Round 10 underway

Round 10 of the Canadian Open is underway. Live games from Monroi are available here. Photos taken shortly before and at the beginning of Round 10 are available here:

Photo: GM Kamil Miton and GM Chanda Sandipan on Board 2