Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yermo makes a mean borscht -- and he lectures today

Ottawa chess player Garland Best has been spending some quality time with two particular GMs playing the 2007 Canadian Open Chess Championship.

The reason? Garland is the vice-president of engineering at the Ottawa fibre optics company OZ Optics, which has helped sponsor GM Suat Atalik, IM Ekaterina Atalik and WFM Kubra Ozturk.
The 2007 Canadian Open's Turkish players are staying at the guesthouse of OZ Optics, which was co-founded by Turkish-Canadian Omur Sezerman, who is the company's CEO.
Garland has helped shuttle the players from the tournament site to the guesthouse occasionally, although GM Atalik's friend, GM Yermolinsky, is driving as well (a rental car, provided by the Canadian Open organizers).

All this to say, after Round Four, Garland found himself at his company's guesthouse, chowing down with the GMs. GM Yermolinsky had bought groceries earlier to re-stock the guesthouse's kitchen, and he was glad to invite Garland for dinner. "You have to stay for borscht!" GM Yermolinsky reportedly said.

"He makes a mean borscht -- a delicious borscht," Garland says.

In addition, GM Yermolinsky, a former U.S. Chess Champion who is the GM-in-residence at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco, is a mean lecturer. He will be sharing his insights into the Classical Variation of the Sicilian Defence at 1 p.m. today, of which he knows plenty. (See his latest book, Chess Explained: The Classical Sicilian, if you need proof.)

The fee to attend the lecture is $20. We're expecting it to be popular, so show up early.

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