Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why I'm not playing in the Alberta Open

It seems like all my posts now are excuses as to why I'm not playing in a tournament. The Alberta Open is the most prestigious swiss event every year. This year it is being held at the Edmonton Chess club and surprisingly it appears that there will be less than 40 participants. The last time I played in it was two years ago at the West Edmonton Mall Hotel. I brought the family with me and I enjoyed it very much. I was hoping to play again this year, but after bringing the family to the Canadian Open earlier this year I couldn’t justify the expense of another chess excursion. With a $40 entry fee, $100 for gas $250 for hotels, plus food the total cost would have been about $500 and with Christmas approaching I figured there would be a better use for that money. On the positive side at least I do have a desire to play unlike when I passed on the Med Hat Open.

From of the pre-registered players list, I will pick IM Ihor Nester 2375 to win. I have never seen him before but he has the highest FIDE rateing and the only IM in the event, so he should be the favourite. If Eric Hansen was playing I would have picked him but it appears he is skipping the tourney. My other prediction would be that the junior players will perform better than their ratings. That of course is not a big stretch since they always seem to be underrated.

Another junior player who is over performing is wonderkid Magnus Carlsen who just demolished the opposition at the Nanjing Spring Chess tournament. I had predicted that he would be the highest rated player before the end of the year but he appeared to be quiet for most of the summer. Then it was revealed that he had been training with none other than Kasparov! If Carlsen’s first tournament after the training is any indication then Kasparov is worth every penny of the millions he is being paid. After this event Carlsen will join the elite club of players who have broke the 2800 rating barrier and should be #2 behind Topalov.