Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 Elaine Howie Fund

Hi Everyone,

Apologies for the long delay. It's been a hectic few months, as I'm sure it's been for everyone. Nonetheless, I have not forgotten about this blog, and will continue to offer the Elaine Howie Fund through it. To refresh your memory, the Elaine Howie Fund provides recognition for junior chess players in Canada based on their performance & other factors throughout the year. Please see the posts labelled "Elaine Howie Fund" for more information, including last year's recipients. Lists will be composed after December 31, 2011, with the final list determined in late January/early February. If you wish to nominate someone as a potential recipient, or if you would like to contribute to the fund, please send me an email (see "About Me" on the side bar). In general, I collect fund dollars in place of holiday gifts, but I will not turn down contributions that can benefit the kids. The same process applies as what was used last year - $100 is guaranteed to go out to one junior, and for every $100 after that, another junior will receive a monetary prize. Twelve juniors in total, including those receiving monetary prizes, will receive a special 2011 Elaine Howie Fund pin & certificate. I will be looking at the results of juniors (<18 years old) from any province in Canada. Good luck!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Marvelous Monday - Quote

Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.

Ralph Charell

Saturday, July 2, 2011

CITL Quiz Answers


1. CITL's logo is blue.
2. When the quiz was created, CITL operated in 20 library branches. However, a 21st library confirmed its participation in the program just before the festival!
3. WIM Yuanling Yuan is President of CITL.
4. For a list of branches, please visit
5. CITL operates in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.
6. CITL started operating in 2009 at the Brookbanks branch.
7. Brookbanks won the 2010 CITL Festival.
8. Answers may vary.
9. Barrie (this is when CITL had 20 branches).
10. Answers may vary; most said they like chess!

Fun Chess Quiz

1. b) Thousands of years ago (though we had a good joke going about chess being invented 'yesterday')
2. c) GM Viswanathan Anand
3. a) Hedgehog Chess
4. c) Italian
5. d) More than 250 moves (actual number = 269 moves)
6. b) Encyclopedia of Chess Openings
7. d) A rook on the 7th rank
8. a) GM Bobby Fischer
9. c) Blind Chess
10. b) Knight
11. d) Bulgaria
12. c) 400
13. c) draw
14. c) veterinarian
15. a) cat

More Happy Face Coupons

I will be visiting the Canadian Youth Chess Championship on July 9, and the Canadian Open on either July 10 or July 16. I highly recommend attending, since these are two of the largest, most prestigious, tournaments in Canada!

(I will bring ten happy face pins per event, since I have extras from previous tournaments)

CYCC website:

Canadian Open

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

What a great country! Keep supporting Canadian chess :)

Image designed using CorelDRAW

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Brain Teaser!

As mentioned before, I have switched the Tuesday and Wednesday topics for this week.

This one's kind of silly, but here it goes...

Monkeyopolis has a population of 12,345 monkeys. To regulate such a large group, Monkeyopolis' head monkey, Guyrilla, has made a new rule regarding 'monkey do chess' ( If a game is won, the losing monkey must give two bananas to the winning monkey. If a game is drawn, the monkeys must exchange one banana each in good faith. Fred Isachimp decides to play in a 'monkey do' tournament. He comes in with fifteen bananas. After all five games, his score is 3.0/5.0. Exactly two of his games were drawn. Assuming no bananas are consumed, created, destroyed, or given away outside of what is required by the new rule, how many bananas does Fred walk home with?

Answer below

If you said seventeen, good try, but Fred got a 1 point bye in his first game. He took home fifteen bananas. Since tournaments don't award byes to the same person (or monkey) twice, "fifteen or seventeen" is the most logical answer. That is, assuming Fred was in the pairing system every round, with no 1/2 point byes or withdrawn games.

Okay that one wasn't a very fair trick, so I'll have more brain teasers from Monkeyopolis some other time...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Twisted Tuesday - Artsy Stuff/Funny Pics

Hey Everyone!

Chess art is a Wacky Wednesday topic, but it's raining out here in T.O. (again) and photos always cheer me up :) I decided to switch the Tuesday & Wednesday topics for this week, so that I could share these with you today.

PART I: Chess art...or at least my attempts at it...

1. My first attempt at graphic design using CorelDRAW. It's a lot harder than it looks!

2. What can I say? Chess is cool!

3. Chess cat teaching birds how to play. You may question the irony of it, or how good a coach the cat could be if it holds the pencil the wrong way around, but hey, it was past midnight when I drew this!

PART II: Summer baking

I went on my usual baking craze this year. These are just a few of my creations...

1. A brownie that's too cute to eat.

2. A cupcake that's too cute to eat.

3. More cupcakes that are too cute to eat, and happen to look like checks.

4. Fudge that is NOT too cute to eat. Alright, guys, now you can dig in!

PART III: Bits and pieces from the CITL Festival

1. An "Activities" sign unintentionally made the perfect spot for kids to test out pens (notice the pen marks).

2. Mickey Mouse made his appearance on this sign.

3. This sign didn't actually get used but I think it's quite retro :)

4. Someone submitted this cute answer without a name. I love how kids write "pawn" as "pond". Chess kids are awesome.

5. The CITL t-shirt design, by Lennart, is stunning. I think I'll use it again to promote CITL in WLU's chess club. FM Hans Jung mentioned the nearby Waterloo Library as a potential opportunity if we get enough volunteers.

PART IV: A gift for mom's birthday

1. This is not chess-related, but I spent three days making it! Anything that takes three days of my time deserves a place on my blog!

2. Mom's reaction to finding out I spent three days hiding out with a latch hook.

3. Caught with nowhere to turn.

PART V: Random

1. Garfield is great...just thought I'd mention that.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Marvelous Monday - Joke!

Why do chess players despise the recent postal strike?
Answer: They can't send their "checks" in the mail.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

CITL Festival + Quizzes

The Chess in the Library Festival yesterday was awesome! We have an amazing, new executive team, and a great year to come. Everyone should pitch into this program - we're hoping to build a nationwide movement for the benefit of kids, families, and chess fans everywhere!


I had the honour of hosting the CITL activities. We had a puzzle contest, a CITL quiz, and a fun chess quiz. The puzzles were derived from (some were slightly modified, since we had five levels of difficulty). I will be posting the quiz questions here. Answers will be posted in a few days.

Thanks so much to Lennart, Stefan, and other volunteers who helped set up the puzzles/quizzes + assist the kids. Thanks to WIM Yuanling and CITL sponsors for providing twelve chess book prizes. With your help, the events were very successful.

Thanks also to GM Mark Bluvshtein for making a stellar speech on behalf of volunteers...including a joke about broccoli :) Eat broccoli and play chess!!! Mark's blog:

Congrats North York Central Library for taking home the big trophy! Both the library and the trophy are beautiful - a good match!

Now for the quizzes:


1. What colour is CITL's logo?
2. How many library branches does CITL currently operate in?
3. Who is President of CITL?
4. Name three branches and leaders of those branches.
5. Name three provinces CITL operates in.
6. What year did CITL start operating and what was its first branch?
7. What library branch won last year's festival?
8. Find the names of five CITL participants + something cool about them!
9. In what town did CITL most recently open?
10. What's one thing you like about CITL?

Top score at the festival: 10/10
Second highest: 8/10

Fun Chess Quiz

1. When was chess invented?

a) Millions of years ago
b) Thousands of years ago
c) Hundreds of years ago
d) Yesterday

2. In May 2011, who was the top ranked chess player in the world (FIDE rating 2817)?

a) GM Garry Kasparov
b) GM Magnus Carlsen
c) GM Viswanathan Anand
d) GM Hikaru Nakamura

3. One of the following is not a true chess variant. Which is it?

a) Hedgehog Chess
b) Bomb Chess
c) Bug Eyed Monster Chess
d) Chicken Chess

4. “Scacchi” means chess in what language?

a) Greek
b) Spanish
c) Italian
d) Chicken Language

5. The longest game of chess ever played lasted how many moves?

a) Between 100 and 150 moves
b) Between 150 and 200 moves
c) Between 200 and 250 moves
d) More than 250 moves

6. What does ECO stand for?

a) Educational Chess Organization
b) Encyclopedia of Chess Openings
c) Early Childhood Opportunities
d) Easy Candle Oils

7. What is a “pig” in chess?

a) A player that eats too much before a game
b) An isolated pawn deep in the opponent’s territory
c) A move that wins a lot of material
d) A rook on the 7th rank

8. Who said “chess is life”?

a) GM Bobby Fischer
b) GM Anatoly Karpov
c) GM Mark Bluvshtein
d) GM Alexander Alekhine

9. What did the USSR (around Russia) ban in 1930?

a) Simultaneous Chess
b) Correspondence Chess
c) Blind Chess
d) All Chess

10. Which chess piece was once called an “asp”?

a) Pawn
b) Knight
c) Rook
d) King

11. Which country was the first to issue a stamp with a chess theme?

a) Poland
b) Armenia
c) United States
d) Bulgaria

12. How many possible positions exist after white and black make their first move?

a) 200
b) 300
c) 400
d) 500

13. The first game between astronauts in space and people on earth ended in a:

a) win for the astronauts
b) win for people on earth
c) draw
d) crash

14. GM Judit Polgar’s husband held what type of job?

a) magician
b) construction worker
c) veterinarian
d) plumber

15. GM Alexander Alekhine found what kind of animal to be good luck?

a) cat
b) dog
c) rabbit
d) elephant

Top score at the festival: 7/15
Second highest: 6/15
Top score by a volunteer: 8/15


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Totally Thursday - Tournament Announcement

Consider attending the 2nd Annual CITL Festival, being held at North York Central Library this Saturday. I will be there all day helping with activities, so come pick up a happy face pin if you're around! As usual, I will only have free pins for the first five people who submit the coupon above to me at the event. Coupons will be available for the CYCC and Canadian Open soon!

For more information about the CITL Festival, check out Yuanling's blog:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Personality Quiz

Happy summer! Now that spring cleaning season is over, it's time to figure out your chess organization habits :)

What is your typical organization habit on the chess board?

For each of these questions, select the answer that suits you best!

Question 1: In the middlegame, what are you most likely to do?
(a) Attack certain areas of the board with specific pieces, having little emphasis on other areas and pieces
(b) Coordinate between many pieces, making sure you structurally control as much of the board as possible
(c) Sometimes go for spontaneous attacks, and sometimes coordinate pieces quietly

Question 2: How often do you sacrifice a pawn?
(a) Rarely
(b) From time to time
(c) Very often

Question 3: In the first ten moves, do you tend to castle?
(a) Depends on the opening
(b) Sometimes, but it isn't the highest concern
(c) Always

Question 4: Of the following, what type of endgame would you most likely enter into?
(a) Tight pawn endgame
(b) Unclear endgame with a couple pieces (rooks or minors, same for both sides) and pawns
(c) Highly unbalanced endgame involving pawn races and asymmetric material (such as B vs. N, opposite colour bishops, R vs. minor, etc.)

Question 5: Where is the majority of your focus directed?
(a) Can be anywhere on the board, often multiple areas where you see the most play
(b) Usually an area on one of the wings where you have the strongest initiative; the other areas don't seem to matter as much
(c) The centre

Total up your points:

Q1 (a) 3 points (b) 1 point (c) 2 points
Q2 (a) 1 point (b) 2 points (c) 3 points
Q3 (a) 2 points (b) 3 points (c) 1 point
Q4 (a) 1 point (b) 2 points (c) 3 points
Q5 (a) 2 points (b) 3 points (c) 1 point


5 points - 8 points
You don't mind a mess -

Who needs organization when you only have to create an advantage in one area of the board? You go against traditional thinking and come up with your own terms - spontaneous attacks, material imbalances, ... - as long as you feel you can benefit, there's no need to worry if a large part of the board is a mess. However, don't let your rebellious side take away from basic structure. Make sure you are logically placing pieces and deciding on good moves that will emphasize your creative potential.

9 points - 11 points
You're dynamic -

You follow the best of both worlds - a bit spontaneous, and a bit coordinated. This gives you the most possibilities in your games. Only thing to watch - make sure you're not allowing the possibilities to overwhelm you, or try so hard to fulfill both sides of the coin (spontaneous, coordinated) that you miss out on important chances in one or the other. Get to know situations you'll likely encounter, such as different openings, and determine how you should effectively deal with them.

12 points - 15 points
You like to keep organized -

Coordinating pieces and following general structural rules are key elements in your decision making. Anything that looks a bit "off", such as a sacrifice, is avoided - in fact, you could probably write a whole book on how to keep your position stable. While many envy your elegant play, try to be open to different possibilities. Positional rules are often guidelines that can be followed in most cases, but not all. Take time to look for creative solutions!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Taking a Break

Hey Readers,

I won't be updating my blog from June 15 - June 21.

Thanks for visiting! Feel free to browse my past posts, or participate in the 'hair contest'.

Be back soon!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Twisted Tuesday - Chess Puzzles

Brad Schaefer, a past MIT student, held campus-wide puzzle competitions, including a few chess puzzle selections. What a cool idea!

Find his work here:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Camel Story - the story continues!

Please read my past camel posts before reading this one (click the "Camel Story" label on the side bar)!

"Suddenly, the same neck she visioned enrobed with jewels felt stiff. No, it certainly was NOT a necklace. It was a huge metal chain, and there was no way to escape! Without hesitation, Mansur began to pull her away."

"Shhh...don't you dare make a sound. Look, I know I'm not the nicest guy in the world, but I promise to keep you safe. Once we get through this, you'll thank me a million times over. Those lavish riches, those jewels, they will be yours. You will be the most decorated camel in all of Egypt. Trust me."

Gamala stared in disbelief. How could she possibly trust a man so cruel? A chain around the neck - how could he? Just the other day, she was a free camel. Hungry, but all the freedom in the world. How could she trust someone who took that away from her? Yet, what choice did she have?

Mansur rounded a corner into a bustling marketplace. What a scene! People from all over the city talking, laughing, crying with joy. Exquisite linens of the most precisely chosen threads dancing in the gentle wind. A mosaic of finely painted glass shimmering upon every grain of sand. And every type of fruit and vegetable you could ever imagine. It was simply amazing!

"We're looking for the stall of Zaima the potter," Mansur said to a young fellow roaming the square, "He has important news from my father."

"Go eight thousand cubits (about four kilometres) down this path and you will find the stall on your left."

"Ah, I see. Thank you for your service, kind man."

Mansur proceeded down the path, through the market and into a dark patch of land on the outskirts of town. He seemed relentless - Gamala figured this news must be very important. Her legs ached in exhaustion, but the thought of being dragged around was a lot worse than putting up with tired feet. Even so, she was terrified.

Finally, at what seemed to be the end of the path, a small stall appeared. This stall looked worn down, abandoned, and didn't seem to be selling anything in particular. Was this the right one? Slowly, they approached. Even Mansur started to sweat, and if you looked closely, you could see a frightened gulp sliding down the lining of his throat.

"Hello? I am here to discuss matters about my father. I have brought a camel as you asked."

Gamala winced. She didn't know what to think of Mansur's comment.

Suddenly, a short man appeared from the back of the stall. "Yes, I have been expecting you. I regret to say I'm the holder of bad news - your father passed away the other day. I knew him well, and he would have liked to see you, but he did leave something for your taking. Wait right here."

The man reached for a small bag, and then another one, and another one. "Bring these with you to the Ma'at tournament. Look inside, but don't let others peek. Your father worked his whole life collecting what these bags contain. Perhaps this camel can help. Take care with what your father has provided, and as I told you before your arrival here, it will surely make you very rich."

To Be Continued...

"Camel Story" posts will be made each month - follow along for updates about Gamala and Gamalo, and the Ma'at tournament. The anticipated ending to the story will be posted in December 2011.

Chess Comics

This is the "extra post for the weekend" I wrote about yesterday. When I think of weekends, one of the first things that comes to mind is the weekend newspaper full of comics! I love scanning through them from time to time. Now I've found a link which contains hilarious comics...about chess!

See for yourself:

Wednesday/Thursday last week

Wednesday - Yes/No Quiz (new)

Answer Yes or No to the following questions:

1. Do you find black and white movies more appealing than colour ones?
2. Do you ever think triangular, hexagonal, or octagonal shapes look odd?
3. When you see a picture of a horse, does it automatically remind you of a knight?
4. Do you get double vision when you see clocks?
5. Have you become an expert at examining facial expressions of people sitting directly across from you?
6. Does an empty table (or a single table rather than rows of them) make you feel confused?
7. Do you like to divide paper into halves or quarters?
8. Did you get thrown out of a restaurant/picnic for playing with the (checkered) tablecloth?
9. When someone takes out a checkers game, do the pieces look "amateur" to you?
10. Have you become accustomed to the way your hands look and move?

If three or more of these apply to you, you've probably been staring at a chess board/game too long!

Thursday - Contest!

Again, my hair theme...

Send an email containing a professional chess player's name - one that you think gets the best haircuts! Please, no attachments, since it will likely be considered spam. Just a name, and maybe a line or two about why you chose that player. Whoever comes up with the best suggestion gets a special "Checkmate!" stuffed teddy bear, similar to the ones I gave out at the 2010 OGCC.

Contest closes at 11:59 PM (EST) on June 30, 2011. Canadian residents only. Prize must be claimed at either the 2011 CYCC, 2011 Canadian Open, or a chess event in the Greater Toronto Area. No age restriction.

To ensure your email is considered, type "June Contest" in the subject line! Good luck!

Marvelous Monday - Joke!

Why don't chess kings like bad weather?

Answer: You wouldn't want pawn storms coming at you either!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tournaments & Results

Oriole Chess Club
- Junior Tournaments
- Every Sunday
- Oriole Community Centre, Toronto
- 12:45 - 1:00 pm registration, 1:15 pm start
- $12 per tournament, $80 for membership + ten tournaments
- Snacks and drinks provided
- Room Notice:

Chess for Children (Swansea Chess Club)
- Every Saturday
- Swansea Town Hall Community Centre
- 12:45 - 1:00 pm registration, 1:00 - 4:00 pm tournament
- $15 per tournament, family discount available

Knights of Chess Sunday Rated Tournaments
- Every Sunday
- 5635 Yonge Street, Suites 201 - 202, Toronto
- 3:30 - 3:55 pm registration (pre-registration by phone or email recommended), 4:00 - 6:00 or 7:00 pm tournament
- $18 per tournament, family discounts available

* The three regular tournaments listed above can also be found on the CMA calendar

Chess in the Library (20 locations and counting!)
- free games and lessons!
- 2nd Annual Festival on June 25, 2011 (North York Central Library)

2011 KWCC Teams Active Challenge
- June 18
- Kitchener City Hall
- 10 am registration, 10:30 am start
- $40 per team of four
- Equipment provided

St-Jean-Baptist Chess Tournament
- June 24 - 26
- Laval University, Quebec City
- $4000 guaranteed prizes
- See link for further details

London June Open
- June 25
- Hillside Church, London
- 9:30 - 9:55 am registration, 10:00 am start
- $20
- Bring your own equipment

Chess Camp at Sea with GM Emil Anka
- June 28 - July 5
- Victoria, BC

Montreal Summer Chess Camps
- Check out other summer chess camps in Toronto and Ottawa,,

North American Youth Championship
- June 25 - 29

Eastern Ontario Open
- June 30 - July 3
- RA Centre, Ottawa
- See link for times and fees (discounts available)
- Accommodations available
- CFC and FIDE rated
- Bring your own equipment

CYCC (Richmond Hill, Ontario)
- July 6 - 9
- Update:

Canadian Open (Toronto, Ontario) + chess camp
- July 9 - 17
- FIDE Arbiter Course:
- Registrations:
- Accommodation Needed:
- General Questions:
- GM Dejan Bojkov free lecture:

- July 22 - 24
- UPEI, Charlottetown
- More Info:

Quebec Open 2011 + chess camp
- July 23 - 30
- Norm opportunity
- Camp:
- Registrations:

6th Edmonton International
- July 27 - August 1

2011 BC Open
- July 30 - August 1
- Executive Airport Plaza Hotel, Richmond, BC
- See link for schedule
- $60 by June 24, $65 by July 26, $70 on site, additional $20 to play up a section
- Accommodation deal available until June 1
- $1000 guaranteed prize fund
- All equipment provided

Toronto Summer Camp with CMA and Wanda's Creative Clay (build a chess set & learn to play)
- August 15 - 19
- $495 per child (includes tax and materials)
- 10% discount before July 15
- 24 kids max.
- More details:

Montreal City Championship
- September 9 - 11

Braeside Men's Chess Clinic
- September 24
- Braeside Camp, between Cambridge and Paris, Ontario
- 10:00 - 10:30 am registration, 10:45 am start
- $35
- Light lunch and BBQ dinner included
- Hans Jung teaching clinic, simul at noon
- For all levels of experience

Alliston Chess Open
- October 14 - 16
- Gibson Centre, Alliston
- 6 pm Friday, 11 am & 4 pm Saturday/Sunday
- $60, add $10 on-site or to play up a section, discounts available
- Bring your own equipment
- Pizza lunch provided on Saturday
- Unrated youth tournament on the side ($30)

Richmond Friday Chess

Tournaments in Victoria, BC

Various CMA Events for Juniors (many locations across Canada!!!)

CMA Fee Increase

CFC Fee Increase

CMA Chess Lessons
- Private Instructors:
- Adult Chess Program:

More Tournaments Outside Ontario

FQE (Quebec) Calendar
- Facebook/Twitter:
- Guides to New Website:

Maritime Chess Schedule
- Summer Tourneys:
- 2011 NB Open in Fredericton (June 24 - 26):

FIDE (International) Calendar
- more international:

Tournaments in the U.S.
- Manhattan Open:,
- USCF Site:

Monroi chess events

Scarborough Chess Club
- (site may not be working at the moment)

Simcoe County Chess Club

Eastern Ontario Chess Association

Kitchener-Waterloo Chess Club

Annex Chess Club

Ajax Chess Club

Saguenay Chess Club

Mississauga Chess Club for Kids

Edmonton Chess Club (Mondays, Thursdays) and Calgary Chess Club (Tuesdays)

More Clubs

*If you wish to have your tournament/club listed, feel free to send me an email!*

Some Results:
April 23 - June 12

Continental Championship, April 19 - 24

Philadelphia Open, April 20 - 24
Sasa Kulic 5.0/9.0 (tied 27th of 105)
Myriam Roy 4.5/9.0 (tied 44th)
Michael Song 3.0/9.0 (tied 79th)
Rejean Tremblay 3.0/9.0 (tied 79th)

2011 Alberta Closed, April 22 - 24
1st: IM Eric Hansen 5.0/5.0
2nd: IM Edward Porper 4.0/5.0
3rd: Nicolas Haynes 2.5/5.0

KW Spring Active, April 23
1st: Andrew Peredun

Canadian Junior, April 21 - 25
1st: Roman Sapozhnikov 7.5/9.0
2nd: Arthur Calugar 7.0/9.0
3rd & 4th: Joey Qin, Michael Kleinman 6.0/9.0
Top Girl: Jackie Peng 4.5/9.0

Grand Pacific Open, April 22 - 25
1st: WGM Nino Maisuradze 6.0/6.0
2nd: Loren Brigham Laceste 5.5/6.0
3rd to 10th: NM Alex Yam, Harry Moore, FM Jack Yoos, Roger Patterson, GM Igor Rausis, John M. Williams, NM Tanraj Sohal, Ross Richardson 4.5/6.0
1st: Leo Stokes 6.0/6.0
2nd: Ben Seran 5.0/6.0
3rd & 4th: Luke Pulfer, Howie Hare 4.0/6.0
Photos and more:,

2011 OGCC, May 7

Canadian Closed, May 7 - 11

Ontario High School Chess Championships, May 14 - 15
1st: Karoly Szalay 5.0/5.0

Calgary International, May 19 - 23
1st & 2nd: IM Enrico Sevillano, GM Jesse Kraai 6.5/9.0
3rd to 5th: IM Eric Hansen, FM Dale Haessel, IM Edward Porper 6.0/9.0
1st & 2nd: Nandor Tot, NM Alex Yam 5.0/6.0
3rd: Jim Daniluk 4.5/6.0

36th Annual Keres Memorial, May 20 - 23
1st & 2nd: IM Georgi Orlov, Maxim Doroshenko 5.5/7.0
3rd to 5th: FM Bindi Cheng, Butch Villavieja, Joe Soliven 5.0/7.0
1st & 2nd: Hiva Menbari, Igor Kurganskyy 6.0/7.0
3rd: Robert North 5.0/7.0
1st: Gopal Singh Hayer 5.5/7.0
2nd: Constantin Rotariu 5.0/7.0
3rd: Marcel Holtmann 4.5/7.0

Ontario Open, May 21 - 23
1st & 2nd: GM Bator Sambuev, IM Leonid Gerzhoy 5.0/6.0
3rd: IM Nikolay Noritsyn 4.5/6.0
1st: Ian Finlay 5.5/6.0
2nd & 3rd: Daniel Wiebe, Stuart Brammall 4.5/6.0
1st: Zhanna Sametova 5.0/6.0
2nd & 3rd: Owen Qian, Henry Grayson 4.5/6.0
Unrated: Ryan Gonsalves

Canadian Chess Challenge, May 2011
Cool Stats:,
Side Events:

OYCC, May 28 - 29

IM Arthur Calugar

Sherbrooke Open

Chicago Open
IM Leonid Gerzhoy 6.5/9.0 (tied 5th)

GM Mark Bluvshtein in "Chill" Magazine

2010/2011 Grand Prix Winners


CanBase (game database) updates -

Eye Movement Research looking for participants -

Canadian Denton Cockburn in Jamaica -

IA Vlad Rekhson, FA Michael Von Keitz -

RIP Ed Glinert (father of Stephen Glinert) -

CFC Presidential Candidates Serge Archambault & Pierre Denommee -

Illness + Happy Birthday Mom!

Hey Everyone,

Sorry for the delay - I've been unwell the past few days & couldn't use the computer (looking at the screen was giving me headaches so I took a small 'computer holiday'). I'm still feeling a bit exhausted, but I'll catch up on all the missed posts tonight and tomorrow.

- Wacky Wednesday post
- Totally Thursday post
- Tournament update
- Camel story continuation
- An extra post for the weekend

And of course a Marvelous Monday post tomorrow!

Btw, happy birthday Mom!!! Mwah xoxo


P.S. Come to the CITL 2nd Annual Festival on June 25!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Busy Today

Hey Readers,

I will be away from my computer for most of today. The 'Wacky Wednesday' post will come up either tomorrow or tonight if I get back in time.

For now, here's a link to a funny chess video:


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Twisted Tuesday - Puzzle Link, F.M. Answers

Answers to "Facial Matters" - how many did you guess?

Vassily Ivanchuk Michael Adams Alexandra Kosteniuk
Magnus Carlsen
Levon Aronian

Monday, June 6, 2011

Marvelous Monday - Joke!

What is one difference between how a computer (computer vs. human) chess game is played and how an over-the-board (OTB) chess game is played?

Answer: In computer chess, opponents constantly 'glare' at each other!

This is just the joke version - there are actually a lot of differences.

Some opinions about OTB vs. Online chess -


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Totally Thursday - Tournament Announcement

Please consider attending the last CMA tournament of the season this Sunday (at Marshall McLuhan C.S.S., 1107 Avenue Rd.). Lots of prizes, gifts, and more! I will visit in the afternoon - the coupon above can be used to obtain happy face pins. You do not need to be a direct participant in the event to claim a pin.


Full tournament update coming within the next week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Facial Matters (new)

Keeping up with my 'haircut' theme, here's a cool new puzzle. Can you identify a grandmaster from his/her hairstyle and general facial structure? Try below - this first batch is not too difficult, but we'll try some more in the future! Answers will be posted within the next week.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Twisted Tuesday - News

Interesting links containing recent chess news!

Chess match from outer space -
("Chess is a great game that challenges the mind and helps young people develop critical thinking skills that will serve them well in math, science and all aspects of their future careers" - Greg Chamitoff, NASA astronaut),

Here's a community idea, UK volunteers create a giant chess board for kids -
Solitaire Chess app available -

Kubb ("Viking Chess") lawn game combines chess and horseshoes -

Chess robots -,

"I keep making good moves, until my opponents collapse." (S. Reshevsky) -

Chess in curriculum -

Bobby Fischer Against The World movie project -,,

Robert Hamilton teaches chess in Fredericton -

Lennox Lewis talks about chess -,

Also check out some Chess in the Library news at the bottom of this blog page.

Would You Rather? - my answers

1. Would you rather see chess combined (in some way) with soccer or with basketball?

Soccer? Chess players need to get out more to exercise. Well, at least I need to!

2. Would you rather play chess at noon or at midnight?

If this question was asked five or ten years ago, I may have chosen midnight, since I used to focus better when it was dark out. However, now that I'm older, I don't have much energy past midnight, so I'd rather play chess at noon.

3. Would you rather get an extra hour on your chess clock in a standard weekend game (not the active 30 min. or short time control games) or an extra pawn? Assume your opponent is not granted the same benefit.

As long as the time control isn't too short (like in blitz/active), it's usually not a critical factor for me in chess. Why? It's the way my brain works - I tend to work towards deadlines. If I'm given more time, I change priorities and get a bit relaxed about some things (for instance, I get up to eat or walk around more, meaning some of my clock time isn't used very efficiently in terms of focusing on the game). If I have less time, I use it more efficiently for one or two tasks, and forget about other things (for instance, I stay at the board and wait until later to eat/walk). On the other hand, an extra pawn can make a huge difference, especially with many of my games going into the late middlegame or endgame.

4. Would you rather pay $100 for one 'amazing' chess book or $20 each for five 'okay' chess books of similar size to the 'amazing' book?

I do admire quality, so I would consider going for the 'amazing one' if it contains original ideas by a respectable author. However, in general, I would choose the five 'okay' books. One reason is I like some variety to compare different perspectives and change things up every now and then. Second, I find it difficult to drop $100 on one book. Lastly, I don't use all the content in most books anyway. I use them to get ideas, and then expand on my own or with a coach.

5. Would you rather go to a 5-week chess training camp (half-day, five times per week) with an instructor of choice or get 5 weeks of private lessons (say, a couple of hours, once or twice per week) with an instructor of choice? Assume the instructor only teaches in groups at the camp, but individually in private.

In my current situation, a private instructor would be much more convenient. With private instruction, lessons are tailor-made for the individual student instead of generalized. Anyone who has spoken with chess experts/masters can understand that needs are different as you progress, and you rely more on direct study in certain areas, rather than touching on a little of everything. On the other hand, if you are just starting out with chess (especially kids), group camps provide amazing support & motivation, as well as a general view into a variety of topics you need to get going. It really depends on your personality and experience.

New Haircut!

Hey Readers,

I missed another Monday post, but I have a surprise for you! Instead of blogging, I went to get a new haircut. It turned out really well - reminds me of my chess-playing days :)

Here are some photos:

Me! A big change :S

My hair puffs out a bit from certain angles haha.

Even my teddy is happy about my haircut :)

Hope everyone's enjoying the beautiful weather.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Totally Thursday - Weird Fact/Link

I got a paper cut on my finger today - not very nice when you're cooking, that's for sure. Yes, you can get paper cuts from cracker boxes! I should have known better. Since it's been on my mind constantly, I decided to look up something to do with chess and fingers. What I found was quite strange...

Did you the eighth century AD, Indian chess players had to cut off a finger if they lost?

Wow, that makes me feel better about only getting a paper cut. With the number of times I've lost, I'd have no fingers left!

Here's the link (don't worry, it's all trivia, no images or extensive details):


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Chess Art

These shoes look awesome! Check out this pair, and a few other excellent pieces of chess art at

There are also some great art & videos at I especially like the 'Chess Simul and More' video!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Twisted Tuesday - Variant

Try 'Anticipation Chess'!

After making each move, you must immediately decide what type of piece you will move next. This leads to crazy scenarios where the king can be in check, but is not necessarily entitled to move away. Even so, you cannot capture the king - the game ends when one side checkmates.

It's a lot of fun to try:

Would You Rather?

Here are the weekend answers & five new questions...hope everyone had a nice holiday!


1. Would you rather learn an opening from a top grandmaster or from a player the opening is named after (assuming you are learning an opening named after a person, such as Petroff, Philidor, etc.)?

I think it would be cool to learn an opening from someone it was named after. While you can almost always find some sort of great instructor to teach you openings (if you have the time and $ of course!), it's a unique opportunity to be taught the underlying principles of an opening from the original perspective.

2. Would you rather win a game with a queen sacrifice or with a 10-move forced combination?

Both are fantastic, especially when a brilliancy prize is involved, but a 10-move forced combination requires more technique and insight in most cases (that would be my choice).

3. Would you rather go on vacation to play in a large chess tournament or go on vacation without a chess board in sight (but come back to chess after the vacation!)?

When I used to go on European chess trips, I often wondered how much nicer the trip would be if all my time was devoted to siteseeing rather than preparing for chess games. However, as I grew up, I realized many of those chess trips weren't so bad afterall - through the tournaments, you get to meet a lot of people with similar interests yet different styles + have something interesting to do (play chess or enjoy the tournament atmosphere) + the days you do look around town are more highly-valued. Considering these factors, I would usually lean towards the large chess tournament. However, given my current circumstance, there's no way for me to prepare for a large tournament, so I'll have to settle for smaller vacations without chess :(

4. Would you rather participate in a chess camp/event or be an instructor at a chess camp/event?

Teaching chess is hard work! It's really rewarding for everyone, but wow, it can be exhausting if you care about instructing properly. I still love teaching roles once in awhile, but it would be cool to be a participant again!

5. Would you rather play chess against the Prime Minister of Canada (Harper) or the President of the U.S. (Obama)?

Maybe Obama...if I lose, Obama seems more sympathetic than Harper...and if I win, I can hide back here in Canada hahaha!


1. Would you rather see chess combined (in some way) with soccer or with basketball?

2. Would you rather play chess at noon or at midnight?

3. Would you rather get an extra hour on your chess clock in a standard weekend game (not the active 30 min. or short time control games) or an extra pawn? Assume your opponent is not granted the same benefit.

4. Would you rather pay $100 for one 'amazing' chess book or $20 each for five 'okay' chess books of similar size to the 'amazing' book?

5. Would you rather go to a 5-week chess training camp (half-day, five times per week) with an instructor of choice or get 5 weeks of private lessons (say, a couple of hours, once or twice per week) with an instructor of choice? Assume the instructor only teaches in groups at the camp, but individually in private.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Totally Thursday - Hilarious Video Link

Take care when using a computer near a chess game...especially if you see the Just For Laughs folks around!

Alexandra Kosteniuk posted this video on her blog last month:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Fun Vocabulary

Here are five words that should be part of chess vocabulary, but aren't at the moment:

1. The 'pork' - a tactic involving both a pin and a fork

2. The 'nopening' - an uncommon move order at the start of the game that either makes no sense or should be avoided

3. The 'shussle' - quick movement/shuffling of a person's body or chair to avoid a distraction (such as an intrusive spectator)

4. The 'COMET' - a completely obvious move everyone tries in a certain situation

5. The 'primate' - the best way to end the game

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Twisted Tuesday - Strategy Advice

Those who know me have probably caught me staring into space sometime in the past - yes, I was one of those kids occasionally sitting in the back of the room, staring into space, and thinking to myself. Not surprisingly, I was having one of those days today. Don't get me wrong, I got a lot accomplished throughout the day, but every now and then a random idea would pop into my head, the first being the fact that 'timing of things is so important'. If you think about it, timing dictates a lot in our life. Simply the time and related circumstance of an event can cause it to succeed or fail. Likewise, in chess, when to play moves and how to manage the time on your clock can be crucial factors.

I decided to make a list of ten tips to help you manage time in chess. There are many more things that could be said, but we'll leave those for another day (or feel free to comment).

1. Calculate forced, realistic, and pattern-oriented moves first. This should be common sense, but it's so easy for the human mind to get distracted. There's really no point spending a bunch of your valuable time calculating inefficient or unrealistic options.

2. Arrive on time and remember to press your clock!

3. Really get to know the position and its underlying strategy on your opponent's time, so that you can focus on actual moves/tactics on your own time.

4. If you are constantly low on time, find out where the problem is occurring. Is it in the opening, middlegame, or endgame? Is it in your attack or defense? Does it involve certain trouble pieces? Once you know where the problem is, you can work to improve the situation.

5. Come to the game with fresh energy. Eat & sleep well + don't pressure yourself too much. A friend of mine advised me to relax an hour before each exam - something similar could apply to chess. Basically, if you feel drained and tired during your game, you will have to use extra time to organize your thoughts, not to mention your motivation.

6. Be flexible - don't get stuck on certain 'rules' like you must take 'x' amount of minutes per move. You have to adjust the way you manage your time in each situation. If it's a straightforward game and you are 99.99% sure a certain move is the best move, you don't need to spend all day looking for a better one. On the other hand, if it's a complicated game, and a crucial move, you may want to spend a larger chunk of time thinking - just don't go overboard because you still have the rest of the game to complete.

7. Practice, practice, practice! Try to include a variety of positions, opponents, tactics, strategy, and so forth into your studies/tournaments. The more patterns you're exposed to, the easier moves will come to your mind.

8. Stay calm, but never too calm! Almost everything in life is about finding a balance. If you panic, you won't be able to sort your thoughts efficiently. If you go into vacation mode, you may not be thinking at all! So try to find that balance and use it to your advantage.

9. Develop consistent habits - when I was younger, I used to bring juice, a teddy bear, and a certain set of pens & scorepads to each game of a tournament. I would write out my moves in a certain way, and sometimes even look at the board a certain way. While it may seem over the top, these habits helped me focus efficiently, because when you get used to your surroundings in a consistent way, you don't think about as many distractions. Of course, I would change things up occasionally (between tournaments) to keep myself from going insane (haha) but overall, my habits were quite regular.

Note: While there are many acceptable habits you can develop, make sure the habits themselves are not overly distracting to you or others.

10. Even though timing is important, don't let it overrule your thinking process. It's similar to a test - it's better to get 50 questions correct in a longer amount of time than 100 questions wrong in a shorter amount of time. Your first priority is to find reasonable moves. Your second priority is to find them efficiently.

Further resources:

or search 'time management chess', 'timing moves in chess', etc... as you can see, there are many articles about this important issue :)

Good night!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Select Pieces of Recent News

I've got an awful headache, so bear with me...this is to make up for last Thursday.

A Harvard economist played chess -

Deaf athlete relates NBA to chess - “And so you learn to be a visual player. And you're out there, you're playing chess. You have to rely on strategy and intelligence and not just brute force and athleticism all the time." - Lance Allred -

New 'Gangsta' and 'Shorty' chess pieces? -

Hip-Hop Chess Federation unites chess and rap -

"Queen to Play" chess movie -

To make elementary school chess compulsory or not? -

3D Standing Chess -

Artificial Intelligence (chess and computers) -

The Importance of Defense (Susan Polgar) -

Quiet Moves in Endgames (Ronan Bennett, Daniel King) -

Alex Beach, 12, chess master & genius despite autism and partial blindness -

Book claims that genetics determine success more than "tiger parenting" -

Chess according to Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory" -

(NOTE: These are just some of the many articles online. You may wish to use them to get ideas & research further :) I try to include a broad selection of news for this purpose, rather than specific articles about tournaments alone.)

Marvelous Monday - Would You Rather?

Five "Would You Rather?" Questions - my answers next weekend

1. Would you rather learn an opening from a top grandmaster or from a player the opening is named after (assuming you are learning an opening named after a person, such as Petroff, Philidor, etc.)?

2. Would you rather win a game with a queen sacrifice or with a 10-move forced combination?

3. Would you rather go on vacation to play in a large chess tournament or go on vacation without a chess board in sight (but come back to chess after the vacation!)?

4. Would you rather participate in a chess camp/event or be an instructor at a chess camp/event?

5. Would you rather play chess against the Prime Minister of Canada (Harper) or the President of the U.S. (Obama)?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Poetic Attempt

Pieces, pieces, pieces,
They glitter in the light.
Opening up the position
Perhaps a pawn and knight.

Bishops take diagonals,
Rooks on files and ranks.
Fortress in the centre,
And storms along the flanks.

What a fight it is!
Both sides under stress.
Realizing one mistake,
Could end up in a mess.

Anticipating many possibilities,
Not sure what to do.
Just so many pieces,
Squares and thoughts too.

Pieces, pieces, pieces,
They aim near and far.
Making golf look easy,
When all you need is par :) (haha not so easy)

Just how to win this game,
With pieces all around?
It seems like a game of hide and seek,
Where you're always lost or found.

But now you see a brilliant move -
The best you've ever seen!
It all makes sense when pieces
Have trapped the powerful queen.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Totally Thursday - Blogger Error

Sorry to everyone who checked the blog yesterday for a Thursday post. Blogger was not allowing access to accounts for most of yesterday, and also this morning.


I will add an extra post to what I have planned later this weekend or Monday. In the meantime, check out some of the Chess in the Library posts below (find links at the bottom of this blog)!

Have a nice day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Personality Quiz

Let's try something new for a change. Personality quizzes are popular in magazines, so why not include them in a blog?

What type of 'chess animal' are you?

For each of these questions, choose the answer that suits you best!

Question 1: How do you usually win your games?
(a) Brilliant checkmate
(b) Long, drawn-out endgame
(c) Perhaps win some material, then use the advantage later on to checkmate

Question 2: What is your first instinct when you realize a king's castle is open?
(a) That king is not safe!
(b) There may be a way to get an advantage!
(c) What a great chance to attack!

Question 3: If there was one type of piece you feel you couldn't play without, what would it be?
(a) Queens
(b) Minor Pieces (Knights or Bishops)
(c) Pawns

Question 4: When you see yourself playing black against a higher-rated opponent, what result do you tend to anticipate?
(a) Loss
(b) Draw
(c) Win

Question 5: If your position gets closed, you immediately
(a) Decide on a new plan
(b) Try to open up the position
(c) Reorganize your pieces, but let the closed structure remain

Total up your points:

Q1 (a) 3 points (b) 1 point (c) 2 points
Q2 (a) 1 point (b) 2 points (c) 3 points
Q3 (a) 3 points (b) 2 points (c) 1 point
Q4 (a) 1 point (b) 2 points (c) 3 points
Q5 (a) 2 points (b) 3 points (c) 1 point


5 points - 8 points
You're a bear -

You tend to sit back and wait for something to happen. You like solid structures and calm positions. However, if your opponent causes too many disruptions, you unleash your inner strength. To improve, bring your strength to the next level - take initiative as soon as there is an opportunity - don't wait for your opponent to make the first attack, otherwise you risk getting too passive.

9 points - 11 points
You're a chameleon -

No one really knows what's on your mind. You 'change the colour' of each of your games by adding unique twists and turns. Sometimes you choose to stay calm like a bear, sometimes you push ahead like a lion, and sometimes you do something really extraordinary. To improve, be aware of your tendencies and situations, then match various styles to appropriate positions.

12 points - 15 points
You're a lion -

You are always on the prowl for a fresh way to attack. You like unbalanced, unclear positions. People fear your fierceness, and may try to hide or fight back. Either way, you are always ready for a challenge. To improve, keep up with tactical themes, and make sure to build your attacks thoroughly (rather than spontaneously). Of course, not all positions call for an immediate attack, so be patient - even lions need up to 20 hours rest per day!

Wasn't that fun?

(Note - this quiz is just for fun, not for serious training. You should consult your instructor or further resources before determining your precise style. Quiz was designed by Hazel :) Hope you liked it - more to come in the future!)