Monday, May 25, 2009

Who Will Be Alberta's First Grandmaster

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not believe Alberta has ever produced a grandmaster. Walter Holowach may have been the strongest Alberta player relative to his contemporaries, having played in Olympiads, but that was before international titles were handed out so freely. He was a very accomplished individual in many area's including music and chess. A brief summary of his long life taken from the "Canadian Chess" website is below.

Walter Holowach (1909-2008)

  • Doctorate in violin/viola, Vienna Conservatory
  • Played first violin, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Long-time violinist Edmonton Symphony Orchestra; Concert Master 1957-8
  • Taught music, conducted; founded Empire Opera Company
  • Code breaker during World War Two
  • Manager, family business Expert Dyers and Cleaners Ltd.
  • Represented Canada at Olympiad 1939
  • Alberta Champion 5 years in a row without losing a game 1946-50
  • Sources: obituary; Contented Knights 1949-50

I have a couple of books from his chess library at home. Actually my kids won them as door prizes at a scholastic chess tournament after he had donated his collection to the Edmonton Chess Club. One of the books is kind of outdated but the other is a puzzle book so it will never go out of date.

So the question is: who will be the first Alberta Grandmaster. My first poll on this website deals with this topic and I've listed who I think has the best chance to acomplish this feat. My vote was for Eric as I think he has the best combination of skill, desire and drive, plus he has youth on his side and should continue to improve.

Please vote. If you have an opinion or you think I've missed sombody you can leave a comment here (negative comments will probably be deleted).

ps. Eric Hansen won as I expected followed by Richard Wang.

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