Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Battle at the Border Complete

The 4th annual tournament is now complete.  GM Pascal Charbonneau was the winner with a superb performance.  With a perfect score and full point lead going into the final round all he needed was a quick draw to secure the victory.  It was a great event and every year Jamin makes improvements.  The site was perfect and with only one game per table you didn't feel crowded during the games.  Credit should also go to Tony for running the DGT boards on boards 1-3, Jill for doing a great job as TD, and Robert for taking video and pictures.

Here is a re post of the final standings from the official website.

I've highlighted five players who I thought had great tournaments:

Brad Willis: faced tough opposition and had played well
Ali Razzaq: also a great result at 3.5/6
Jason Xiao: Highly underrated. Drew & won against 1900 opponents
Jason Danner: 2 wins and a draw against 1900 opponents
Nigel Reynoldson: Another underrated junior who played well

and five who are probaly not satisfied:

Hikaru Nakamura: Anything but 1st is disappointing for him I'm sure.
Eric Hansen: A couple of draws on day 2.
Richard Wang: This talented junior was the victim of two upsets.
Len Steele: Unfortunately had to face both of the underrated Sask juniors and could only manage draws.
Roger Blum: Last year had a great tournament so in order to balance the universe had to perform badly this year.

My final two games were a victory over Chris Achtemichuk (1730) and a loss to Alex Yam (2222).  I finished with 3/6 which is respectable.  I regret only my first and last games where didn't put up much resistance to a couple of masters. I played badly in the opening and was lost by the 12th move in both games.  I had the lead in my division until the last rounds when young Jason Xiao passed me by winning his last 3 games (perfect swiss gambit).

BATB R1 Gardner.pgn

BATB R2 McLeod.pgn

BATB R3 Willis.pgn

BATB R4 Reynoldson.pgn

BATB R5 Achtemichuk.pgn

BATB R6 Yam.pgn

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Battle at the Border Underway

The first four rounds are complete.  Two more to go tomorrow.  A very exciting tournament so far.  GM's Nakamura and Charbanneau are the stars of the tournament and met in round four in a very strange game.  You can go to the great tournament website here and see the games.  Surprisingly Pascal won!

I had a loss and a win yesterday and another loss and then a win today.  Yo-yo effect in full force so far, but tomorrow my first game is against someone close to my level.  Yesterday I didn't play great but with the large rating differences it probably didn't change my results.  I overlooked a move against Rob Gardner (2309) then beat an unrated kid (Fraser McLeod). 

My game against Rob reached this position in the opening.
Here I played 9.h5?? overlooking the simple 9...Nxe4! 
I cannot retake the N on e4 due to mate after Qxa2

I'm pleased with my games today as I played a strong game in a loss against a Brad Willis (2130) and then ground out an endgame to a win against underrated junior Nigel Reynoldson (1309).

When I have more time I will post my games and some more info and pics.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Answers to the Chess Challenge

I hoped to get more guesses, but anyway, here are the answers.

Late last year I emailed some old opponents to try to recover some of my lost games. The first game was one of three I recieved from Peter MacKean.  Peter is a doctor who moved to PEI in the 80's and instantly became the highest rated player in the province by 300 points.  I was able to take a half point this game and it might have been the firt time I did that against someone over 2000.  The year was 1988.


Game 2 was a recent game.  I happened to be in Edmonton on Thursday and played a round of their "Summer Open".  I was paired against Robert Richards and was able to pull in the full point.


The third game was also sent by Peter Mackean.  It was a win he had against GM Paul Keres in a simul!  His comments are included.

Keres-MacKean 1975.pgn

Game 1 ½–½ White__B__ Black __E__ decade_80_
Game 2  0-1  White__C__ Black __B__ decade_10_
Game 3  0-1  White_GM_ Black __E__ decade_70_

I guess Jamin gets the prize for being the closest, even though he labelled a famous GM a "C" player.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Chess Challenge For You

Here are three games spanning several decades. Your challenge, if you chose to accept it, is to match the players class to the games. To make it easier I will tell you that there are only 4 different players in the 3 games and one of the 4 players is a famous GM, one is an Expert, one is a B class player and one is a C class player. It shouldn’t be too difficult. If you want you can also guess which decade the games were played in.

After I get a few guesses I will fill in the info.

Game 1.pgn

Game 2.pgn

Game 3_0.pgn

So fill in the blanks with GM, E, B, C (and 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, or 10’s) and place your guesses in the comments.

Game 1     ½–½    White_____ Black _____             decade_____
Game 2      0-1     White_____ Black _____             decade_____
Game 3      0-1     White_____ Black _____             decade_____
Hint # 1 Only two of the games are regular rated games.
Hint # 2 I am in more than one of the games.
Hint # 3 All the games were played in Canada

to be continued....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recent and Upcoming Chess Happenings

World Championship

The world championship recently wrapped up in Sofia, Bulgaria. Anand managed to retain his title with an exciting victory over Topolov with the black pieces in the last game. The final score was 6.5 – 5.5 and we were spared from having to see the title decided in rapid games. I was able to check in on some of the live games while they were in progress, and they were almost always exciting hard fought battles. Both competitors deserve credit for the fighting spirit displayed.

It is good that there is now one undisputed world champion. Hopefully FIDE will not mess around with the world championship cycle and create havoc, like they have in the past. It was disappointing that I did not see any news coverage in the mainstream media about this event at all.

FIDE Election

I don’t know what to make of the current FIDE president election. It appears to be between the incumbent Ilyumzhinov and former world chess champion Karpov. Both are Russian and whichever one manages to get the Russian nomination will probably win. It is turning into a sleazy campaign and does not lead me to think that FIDE will eliminate the corruption within it’s system anytime soon.

US Championship

Three rounds are complete and the two favourites have to be Nakamura and Kamsky who share the lead with 2.5/3 after drawing with each other. The new format this year for this tournament is unusual as it combines a Swiss for the first 7 rounds after which the top 4 will continue in a round robin format. Top player could play each other more than once. I hope the format works out but I wonder how fair it will seem if tie breaks have to be used after round 7 to determine who continues in the round robin format. I expect and hope that Nakamura wins the title.

Lloydminster Chess

Of course the big event in Lloydminster will be when the above named GM Nakamura plays in our annual Battle at the Border Chess tournament Sept 4-6. It will be the biggest chess event to ever hit the Midwest. I have already started my training regime in preparation for this tournament, which includes playing the occasional online blitz game at chesscube and reminding myself that I really should finish that chess book that I started months ago. I did play some live chess against Al Tinio last week and although I had winning positions in at least two of the games I ended up being skunked 4.5-0.5 in 15 min games. I expected him to be even rustier then me but he’s been playing online.

Calgary Chess

The Calgary International is this weekend and should be exciting. Famous Philippine GM Eugene Torre, a close friend of Bobby Fisher, is playing. They have a reserve section that I could play in but I don’t have enough desire at the moment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not much to say

I see I haven't posted anything this month so I figured I would make this one short post.

I haven't played any chess lately and I haven't progressed any farther in my reading of Silman's Reassess Your Chess. Unfortunately we received bad news from relatives in the Philippines and so more important family issues have been my focus for the time being.

Today, though, I did get a chance to quickly go over the 3 games played in the world championship between Anand and Topolov. Very interesting so far. I am rooting for Anand but I must admit that I think Topolov will prevail. It was nice to see Anand recover from his poor first game loss with a strong second game win and a solid third game draw.

I see that Anand has won the fourth game with white. I was watching live from White's 20th move. After 22.Ng4 I tried to analyse the sac on h6 but of course I could not see if it was winning but I was pretty sure there must be at least a draw. Diagram shows position after 22...Rad8.  Anand followed up with 23.Nxh6 and finished the game in style.

The over/under 1800 tournament is this weekend in Edmonton. I have no interest in playing, especially since I have dropped below 1800. I would be the highest rated player in the group and therefore have to psych myself up every game to play someone lower rated which I would find very difficult. I predict the winners will not even be teenagers in both sections!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random "Deep Thoughts"

GM Kevin Spraggett, Canada's greatest player ever, is currently playing in an open tournament in San Sebastian, Spain. So far he has 3.5/4 points. Although he is now a controversial character in Canadian chess, back when I first started playing tournament chess, he was one of my chess heroes. It was exciting to read En Passant every two months and seeing his exploits as he tore through the North American tournament schedule and also through several cycles of the candidate tournaments. I noticed his second round opponent this week was WIM Silje Bjerke of Norway whom I played right here in Lloydminster at the BATB. Here is their game. My game against Silje can be found in a previous blog entry.


The Alberta championship and reserve is this weekend. It's a shame Eric Hansen and IM Proper are not playing this year. With their absence, I predict Pechenkin will win the championship. Although I would like to play in the reserve, I am just so tierd of travel and hotels. Since Jan it seems like every weekend I am travelling all over the praries. Three hockey tournaments, two swimming competitions, three schoolastic chess tournaments, Dr appointments, and work travel have taken me back and forth between Edmonton, Saskatoon, St. Paul, St Walburg, and Fort McMurray. A weekend at home sounds great now.

My next tournament might be a sectional in Edmonton or maybe the Saskatchewan Open if it is going to happen in April or maybe not for a while.

ps I'm on page 142 of Reassess Your Chess. Slow going but I'm almost half way through.

To be continued... got to go eat

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Active/Rapid Games

The only remotely serious games I've played in over 6 months has been a handful of active games. Jamin in preparation for his Dragon Themed Tournament this weekend asked if I wanted to play a couple of games last week. I gladly obliged. Although I lost all the games, when I looked over them this week I don't think I played horrible. Here there are for your enjoyment or scorn. Jamin had requested I not post them before the tournament to keep his preparation hidden from Keith so I did. I did run into Keith at the Saskatoon regional’s and he asked me which line we played (the Re8 or Nc4). I replied evasively that I played the a6 line without mentioning Jamin's moves.

Game 1 - White


Game 2 - Black


Game 3 - White


I will also post the 2 Active games I played in Edmonton last month just for completness since I belive they will be rated.



Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reassessing My Chess (PART 4)

Well I finally finished the next section in “Reassessing Your Chess”. It took me quite a while since I never seemed to have any extended free time, plus it was a long chapter. I had to make do with an hour here and there while waiting for my kids during their various activities or the odd lunch hour. Anyway here is my continuing “cliff notes” of RYC. Two good websites I found with pgn versions of the books examples are: http://dswitzer.net/chess/RYC/ryc.htm and http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chesscollection?cid=1005920 .

PART 4: Minor Pieces in the Middlegame


This section concerns the differences between minor pieces. Basically, how to recognize the situation, create an imbalance, nurture your favourable imbalance, weaken your opponents pieces, and finally capitalize on your advantage.

Chapter 1: The Bishop

Bishops can be divided into three categories:

1. Good- central pawns not on it’s color
2. Bad – central pawns block it
3. Active – can be either bad or good but it serves an active function

First Rule Concerning Bishops: If you have a bad bishop you must correct it in one of three ways.
1. Trade it for a better enemy piece.
2. Make it good by moving your central pawns of it’s color.
3. Make it actice by getting it outside your pawn chain.

Second Rule Concerning Bishops: Bishops are strongest in open positions.

Third Rule Concerning Bishops: They tend to beat out Knights in Endgames with passed pawns on both sides of the board.

Using The Bishop: These paragraghs contain numerous examples with lengthy explanations of the thought process involved in creating and following through with the correct plan to win with bishops. Some of the highlighted rules of thumb that stood out to me:
• Don’t play for traps hoping your opponent does something stupid
• After deciding your move ask yourself how it improves your position
• A pawn chain should be attacked at the base. It is not necessary to win it but to make it move or trade it
• Never pass (ie make a waiting move) and hope that a move comes to you next time. Every move should strengthen you position somehow.
• All calculation is done with a goal already in mind
• In an open position one must react quickly. Time is of the essence due to the open lines.
• In a closed position attacks are initiated with pawn breaks. Slow manoeuvring is alright.

Chapter 2: Understanding Knights

First Rule of Knights: They need advanced support posts to be effective.
• Knights on the 1st or 2nd rank are purely defensive
• Knight on the 3rd rank is defensive and ready to move to a more active post.
• A knight on the 4th rank is as good as a bishop and well positioned for attack and defense.
• A Knight on the 5th rank is often superior to a bishop.
• A Knight on the 6th rank is often a winning advantage.

Second Rule of Knights: They are useful pieces in closed positions.

Third Rule of Knights: They are the best blockaders of passed pawns.

Fourth Rule of Knights: They are usually superior to Bishops in endings with pawns on only one side of the board.

More “Rules of Thumb”
• In closed positions pawn breaks on the wing take on great importance.
• Don’t be afraid of “ghosts” ie. Your opponents threats that don’t go anywhere.
• When attacking the king don’t just check. First cover the escape squares and then build a mating net.

Chapter 3: Dogs vs. Cats / Bishops vs. Knights

This chapter contains various examples where one type of minor piece wins out over the other type of minor piece.

The Anti-Knight Technique: Take away all the advanced support points of your opponents Knights and they will be ineffective and your Bishops have a good chance of winning. Before entering into a B vs. N position ask yourself the following:
1. Is the position open or closed?
2. Will there be support points for his Knights?
• If so can his Knights get to them?
• Does it matter if they do?
• Can your Bishop reach an even better position?

More “Rules of Thumb”
• Never leave yourself with no favourable imbalance or chances to create them.
• If center files are open it is rarely a good idea to decentralize one forces.

Chapter 4: The Power of Two Bishops

The usual way to combat two Bishops is to do one of three things:
1. Create a blocked position
2. Create advanced support points for your Knights
3. Trade off one of your opponents B’s and obtain a more manageable B vs. N position.

Some More Rules of thumb (some repeated)
• If your against two powerful Bishops trade your B or N for your opponents B and leave a more manageable B vs. N situation.
• A Q + N is a better combination than a Q + B
• The way to battle Knights is to take away all their advanced support points

Chapter 5: The Two Knights Victorious!

Some examples of positions (usually closed) where two Knights prove superior.


4 test problems to solve that demonstrate the ideas taught in the previous teachings of the section.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Active Chess in Edmonton

I was in Edmonton this weekend and figured I would play a couple of Saturday afternoon active games.  I did not know that the Edmonton Chess Club was now CFC rating their Saturday games.  If I had known, I might not have bothered.  The CFC active ratings are so unrepresentative of strength that they are a joke and I have been avoiding CFC active tournaments on principle.  As an example from the CFC Top Alberta Active List; 19 Eric Hansen 1924?, 36 Thomas Kaminski 1756?, 43 Terry Chaisson 1715.  Since I was already there, I went ahead and played.

Both my games were loaded with terrible blunders on my part.  Missing one or two move replys, and even thinking I won a piece and not noticing an opponent's Night was protectiong his Bishop.  I did win the first game and draw the second but they were games that I shoud have won easily.  I doubt that I will ever post them, not because there is nothing to learn from them, but because I am embarassed by my mistakes.

I have been very busy with family commitments and work related issues lately so I have not played much and I am still stuck in the middle of Part IV of "Reassess Your Chess". 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Wijk aan Zee - Results

A great tournament just wrapped up in Netherlands. As per my previous blog concerning the age of the participants, it looks like the youth group had the best average result, followed by the most experienced. Grouped by decade of birth the results are:

GM Fabiano Caruana ITA 2675 51 1992      5.5
GM Magnus Carlsen NOR 2810 1 1990        8.5
GM Sergey Karjakin RUS 2720 21 1990       7.0
AVERAGE 90'S                                           7.0

GM Hikaru Nakamura USA 2708 28 1987     7.5
GM Jan Smeets NED 2657 73 1985               4.5
GM Leinier Dominguez CUB 2712 25 1983    6.5
AVERAGE 80'S                                            6.2

GM Peter Leko HUN 2739 12 1979               6.5
GM Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2788 4 1975        8.0
GM Sergey Tiviakov NED 2662 62 1973       4.5
GM Loek van Wely NED 2641 104 1972      5.0
GM Alexei Shirov SPA 2723 20 1972            8.0
AVERAGE 70'S                                           6.4

GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2749 8 1969        7.0
GM Viswanathan Anand IND 2790 3 1969    7.5
GM Nigel Short ENG 2696 38 1965              5.0
AVERAGE 60'S                                           6.5

This bodes well for the future at the top level of chess. In the B and C sections the youngest players also excelled.

• Calsen was strong throughout the tournament.
• Shirov had un unbelievable start but then slowed down and was passed.
• Kramnik was also strong throughout.
• Anand was the only undefeated player but with 11 draws it looked like he was holding back in preparation for his championship match vs Topolov.
• Nakamura played the most exciting/risky chess but stumbled in the middle of the tournament with a couple of losses.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reassessing my Chess (Part 3)

PART 3: Calculations and Combinations


Promises to introduce Kotov’s method of calculation and a system that allows you to understand when combinations may or may not exist.

Chapter 1: Calculation

How many moves ahead does a GM see? Reti says one move but examples from Alekhine display many, many more. The trick is “you only bother calculating once the correct plan is clear and once you settle upon a plan that helps your plan come to fruition.” Normally you need to at least calculate at least a couple of moves ahead to make sure everything is in order and sometimes you have to look much deeper. Silman uses a couple of his own games as examples and then shows the famous Reti-Alekhine 1929 game. I followed the game in one of my databases with Kasporov’s along with Silman’s analysis. One thing Silman mention that I hadn’t considered before was that in a game with one player attacking queenside and the other kingside, a trade of queens usually helps the player attacking queenside. This seems obvious but the Reti-Alekhine game is an exception.

Silman suggests two things to improve calculation:
     1. Go through a GM game collection looking at possible candidate moves and writing down all your analysis in a notebook.
     2. Read Kotov’s book “Think Like a Grandmaster.”

Chapter 2: Rules of Combination

For a combination to exist one of these factors must be present:
     1. Open or weakened King
     2. Undefended pieces
     3. Inadequately defended pieces

So don’t look for a combination all the time but rather only when you see one of these factors in a given position. A position from Alekhine-Junge 1942 is used to demonstrate. GM Averbach has stated that the vast majority of combinations are based in one way or another on the theme of double attack. A Aronin-Kantarovich miniature is used as an example and demonstrates the rule that you shouldn’t open the position if your are behind in development.

Two problems finish the chapter from Kolvick-Silman 1989 and Amateur-Muller corr 1928-29.

Over all it gave me some new ways to think about positions, which is always good, but nothing too concrete yet.  I feel there needs to flesh added to the bones of ideas presented so far.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wijk aan Zee Super-GM Starts on Saturday

Looking at the list of players I noticed something interesting.

Title Player                      Nat.     Rating  rank   born
GM Magnus Carlsen       NOR    2810     1     1990
GM Viswanathan Anand  IND     2790     3     1969
GM Vladimir Kramnik    RUS      2788     4     1975
GM Vassily Ivanchuk     UKR      2749     8     1969
GM Peter Leko              HUN     2739    12    1979
GM Alexei Shirov           SPA      2723    20    1972
GM Sergey Karjakin       RUS     2720    21    1990
GM Leinier Dominguez    CUB    2712    25    1983
GM Hikaru Nakamura    USA     2708    28    1987
GM Nigel Short              ENG     2696    38    1965
GM Fabiano Caruana     ITA      2675     51    1992
GM Sergey Tiviakov      NED     2662    62     1973
GM Jan Smeets              NED     2657    73    1985
GM Loek van Wely        NED     2641   104   1972
Average rating: 2719 – Category: 19

If you rearrange the players by age you see there is four decades of players representated and they if they were teams they would be fairly evenly matched. 

GM Fabiano Caruana ITA 2675 51 1992
GM Magnus Carlsen NOR 2810 1 1990
GM Sergey Karjakin RUS 2720 21 1990

GM Hikaru Nakamura USA 2708 28 1987
GM Jan Smeets NED 2657 73 1985
GM Leinier Dominguez CUB 2712 25 1983

GM Peter Leko HUN 2739 12 1979
GM Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2788 4 1975
GM Sergey Tiviakov NED 2662 62 1973
GM Loek van Wely NED 2641 104 1972
GM Alexei Shirov SPA 2723 20 1972

GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2749 8 1969
GM Viswanathan Anand IND 2790 3 1969
GM Nigel Short ENG 2696 38 1965

So which decade contains the winner?
I'm cheering for the youngsters because they play exciting chess, and for the old timers because they are my age.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reassessing My Chess (Part Two)

PART TWO: Thinking Techniques and the List of Imbalances


Silman’s advice in the first paragraph of this section is sage: “If you want to be successful, you have to base your plans on specific criteria on the board, not on your mood at any given time.” I have to admit that at times, this is particularly failing of mine. In my last tournament I decided I was going to play aggressively before I even showed up. Not surprisingly, I did well in games where my position justified my style but suffered in the games where my position did not lend itself to this strategy.

Chapter 1 - What is A Plan:

Silman borrows Golombeck’s definition. “Planning is the process by which a player utilizes the advantages and minimizes the drawbacks of his position...always based on a diagnosis of the existing characteristics of a position...most difficult when the position is evenly matched and easiest when there is only one plan that satisfies the demands of the position.”

Chapter 2 – Imbalances and the ‘Silman Thinking Technique’

Another quote: “The real goal of a game is too create an imbalance and try to build a situation in which it is favourable for you”. In the book, seven types of imbalances are listed:

1. Superior minor piece
2. Pawn structure
3. Space
4. Material
5. Control of a key file or square (what about diagonal?)
6. Lead in development
7. Initiative

Next the Silman thinking technique is introduced.  This is a 5 Stages process.

1. Figure out the positve and negative imbalances for both sides
2. Figure out which side of the board you should play on. (only where you have favourable imbalance).
3. Don’t calculate. Instead dream up your fantasy position.
4. Figure out how to achieve your fantasy position. If it’s not possible, find another dream position.
5. Only now calculate your candidate moves that help you achieve your dream position.

The remainder of the chapter follows one of Silman’s games in which he explains his thinking process as the game progresses and at the end a problem to solve in which you must identify the favourable imbalances and come up with a plan. The solution at the end of the book continues from the problem position (another Silman game) and again explains the thinking process. I found that by going to chess.com I was able to locate the games and then follow them while reading along with the book without requiring a chessboard and pieces.

The second chapter of this Part of the book I found extremely insightful and by itself worth the price of the book - (If I had bought it and not borrowed it). I noticed that I am reading the 3rd edition from 1994 and I see that there is a 4th edition coming out soon. When I return the book maybe I will order my own 4th edition copy.

Coming next....... Part Three : Calculation and Combinations

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reassessing my Chess (PART ONE)

Last Friday I got together with Jamin for a few quick games and to borrow his copy of "How to Reassess Your Chess" by Jeremy Silman. Jamin highly recommended the book for me and told me it would improve my play. Although I am a skeptic at heart, I plan on reading it thoroughly and I do expect to see some significant improvement. I will track my progress here a section at a time.

Explanation of the purpose of the book and who it aimed for. The targeted reader description seems to describe me to a tee. It states that if I want to improve, I will have to destroy and then rebuild from scratch my chess foundation. It also states I might get worse before I get better!

Review of the most important endgame theories.
Chapter 1 Understanding the King: Opposition, Outflanking.
Chapter 2 King and Pawn Endgames: Basic K + 1p vs. K positions
Chapter 3 Rook and Pawn Endgames: Lucena & Philidor positions
Overall Part One was rather basic with nothing that I haven't already seen and learned elsewhere.

Coming next: Part Two. This looks more interesting.

ps. If your wondering about the games we played, Jamin skunked me 4-0 even though he had 10 min to my 15 min. None of the games were very close but in the 3rd, after blundering a pawn, I thought I had a piece winning combination but missed a queen check that recaptured the lost piece after trading many pieces. I guess I need to read more.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Chess Predictions

My annual list of predictions on the global and local chess level

1. There will be a change at the top this year as I believe the world champion will be dethroned. Although I really admire Anand and will be cheering for him I don't think he will hang onto his crown.

2. Carlsen will once again end the year as the highest rated chess player in the world. He will even extend his lead in the rating list and while others will battle for the world championship he will become the unofficial world champion.

3. Kevin Spraggett is on top of the Canadian FIDE rating list by 3 points but I predict he will not be the highest rated Canadian by the end of the year.

4. Speaking of Spraggett, I predict his long awaited article on the problems in the Canadian chess world will finally be published on his webpage (Apr 1st would be a good day). It will be filled with lots of innuendo and some new info to me about what happened to Canadian chess when I was no longer an active chess player (1994-2007). It will lead to lots of discussion and accusations on "chesstalk" but not much else.

5. In 2010 Eric Hansen will pass Proper to become the highest FIDE rated Albertan. It may be some time before he relinquishes this position. He will get his IM title and be working on a GM title.

6. Robert Sasata will hold off MacKinnon to maintain the top spot on The Saskatchewan rating list. I hope he has a chance to play more chess this year but with a young family I know how difficult that can be. Mackinnon will continue his rating climb but will have to wait to overtake the master.

7. The 2010 Battle at the Border chess tournament will be the biggest and best by far and will draw stong players from all over western Canada.

8. Richard Wang will become the youngest Alberta master in some time and surpass Hughey and Rekhson on the rating list. They, of course, will continue the decade long bickering over the single digit difference between them and ignore the fact they have been passed by a preteen.

9. Two of the biggest rating gainers will be Wang in Alberta Jason Xiao in Sask.  It's no coincidence that they are both juniors.

10. I will defeat a higher rated opponent this year. I have to put this in because I failed to accomplish this in 2009, but I'm not sure how much chess I will get to play this year.

There it is. Do you agree, disagree? Let me know.