Sorry for the delay...here are the next two questions on my list...
7. Is there someone you look up to in chess?
I have many, many favourites! I like watching games from players at all levels. In fact, I've learned that sometimes the most creative are the beginners! Anyway, I could go on and on about games and people I admire, but I'll restrict it to just a few.
For games, I really enjoy watching Michael Adams (I've been told I have a similar playing style to him), and reviewing the tactical brilliancies of Paul Morphy and Adolf Anderssen. However, on an overall level, I'm a big fan of Susan Polgar. Not only is she a woman and a grandmaster, she really puts in a lot of effort to promote chess, particularly in the US, but also around the world. She has been involved in numerous events and studies, and has incredible communication skills (I was so excited to see her host the closing ceremonies at the 2008 Olympiad + she was staying in the same hotel as our team...she even winked at me once in the dining hall...such a sweet person). If you wish to learn more about Ms. Polgar, please see my list of links!
8. There is a lot of controversy in chess nowadays. How do you deal with it, and how does it affect you?
By nature, I tend to avoid arguments, and furthermore, I've adopted a very positive attitude. While I respect the opinions of others, I cannot allow their judgements to completely cloud what I think about my goals, my beliefs/values, and chess in general. I've always believed that actions speak louder than words, and if you look at the ACTIONS taken in Canadian chess recently, you'll see it in a much more positive light. We have some great young talent, amazing instructors, and new programs in schools and libraries to help promote the game. One can argue that more can be done, but it needs to be taken one step at a time.
In all, controversy can help bring out different viewpoints, but dwelling on negativity can actually go against what we all believe in...a true chess community. I would say I'm relatively unaffected (by controversy), because I choose not to be, and I will continue to promote chess and support chess players in Canada.