Day 3

My last full day in Windsor. As a neutral party who is not stressing too much about anybody’s results I might be the most relaxed person at the CYCC. I see how nervous the parents are.  The idea of not being able to control anything is scary. At least the kids are having fun while playing chess. The parents just wait patiently. It’s like sitting on “chess row”. It’s tough. Today, I told Jackie Peng’s mother that her daughter’s position seemed somewhat worse in an endgame where she had a piece for 3 pawns. When I later told her Jackie was completely winning, she could not have been happier and she showed it. This is just one of the examples…

On the flip side, I am seeing a very positive light to chess. Why do we all get into chess? Well, to put it simply, it’s REALLY fun in the beginning. All of the kids at the CYCC appear to be having tons of fun. I can see the joy in their eyes when they are playing chess. There is no suffering. This is often missing in top level chess. We forget what its all about. These kids have such passion for the game that is simply great to see. Analyzing games with the kids is a lot of fun, I can see (I think I can and am not just seeing what I want to see!) that they really enjoy it. They are much more sportsmanlike than most adults and have no egos!

Down to business. My day started with the usual game analysis at around 11am. It continued until about 7pm with a short lunch break somewhere in between. After a short break, Gary Gladstone and I decided to go to the Caesars Casino for a bit of blackjack. Yep, it’s not a game you are supposed to win in. We both came out on top;). Poker is a lot of fun, but it goes pretty slow in live after multi-tabling online. After the casino, decided to just have a relaxing time and rotated between the sauna and jacuzzi. It was good to see some of the chess players in the area. I definitely reached full relaxation there, which was needed after being around some very loud noises in the parents room the whole day.

I know you don’t care about my day, so I will go to the chess side of things now. So far, the CYCC is looking like a shocker. In fact, there are only two sections that have been decided before the last round. In the girls under 12 section, Kelly Wang has clinched first place with a perfect 6/6. At 1299, Kelly is the third rated player in her section. Congrats Kelly! In the under 8 boys section, Joshua Doknjas has clinched first place with a perfect 6/6. Joshua is the 5th rated player in his section with a rating of 1204. Congrats Joshua! The Doknjas family is very nice and is from BC! Below is a photo of the Doknjas brothers and me. Joshua is the second one from the left, and John is on the right. John has a strong 4/6 so far in the under 12 section. I embarrassingly don’t know the youngest one’s name but will find out. For clarification, I am the tall guy!

UPDATE-The youngest member of the Doknjas family is Neil who is currently 5 years old. Future of Canadian chess?!

Now to the exciting sections where nobody is dominant. In the under 18 section, Eric drew Paul Gelis in an interesting Sveshnikov. This allowed Aman to catch up to him with his win and now both players are tied for first with 5/6. Kevin Chung is sitting alone in third with 4.5 points.

I apologize for writing that Alexandra Botez is in the under 18 section yesterday. Alexandra is actually in the under 16 section. In my defense, she acts and looks more mature that she is. So the under 16 and 18 girls sections are combined. In the under 18 girls section Sonja Xiong has clinched first with 5/6. In the under 16 girls section, Alexandra is a point ahead of Samantha Powell. The final standings will decide which section gets more funding (I may be mistaken).

The under 14 boys section showed some more shockers today. Joey Qin drew both of his games today and now sits tied for third place with Konstantin Semianiuk behind the leaders, Tanraj S Sohal and David Itkin. Should make for an exciting finish.

The under 12 boys section is probably the most entertaining one of them all. This morning, Richard Wang lost to Michael Song. Currently, Richard is tied for fourth behind Terry Song, Michael Song and Edward Song (I am unsure about family relations). Richard joined in on some of the game analysis I have been doing in the last few days. I know from experience that it is hard to be the overwhelming favourite. The pressure is all on you and it often feels like it’s you against everybody else. Pressure is the highest. Worst of all, the tournament might not be as stimulating while playing lower rated players. I am not trying to make excuses, but Richard is a great player and so far he’s just having a tough tournament. This stuff happens.

I had the pleasure of analyzing a lot of games with Terry Song (rated 1915). Yesterday we looked at 2 games and today we also looked at 2. I was overly impressed with his play yesterday. In the 3rd round game Terry got into trouble in the opening with black because his opponent knew it better. After that, Terry fought hard and made a lot of the best moves to hold onto the draw. Very mature effort to save half a point and a sign of a great player. In the 4th round game, Terry out-calculated his opponent in an unfamiliar to him opening. I was very impressed. What was impressive about the game was that his calculations appeared flawless from what i briefly saw. In the round 5 game Terry again got into a bit of trouble in the opening but then saved himself with some precise calculation and mature liquidation into the endgame. In the 6th round, Terry calculated to perfection but then seemed to relax a bit and let his opponent back into the game. The game was a hard fought draw. I see a lot of potential in Terry and it has been a pleasure analyzing games with him. Good luck to Terry in the final game! Here is a picture of Terry and me.

Andrea Botez is still leading the girls under 8 section strongly with 5.5/6 and has created a half point cushion ahead of Catherine Gao. The last round should be an exciting one for all those involved and a very nerve racking one for all the parents!

On a side note, I was able to catch a photo of Zeljka from Monroi and of Patrick at their working station. As the arbiter, Patrick can’t smile too often in the playing hall but I was able to catch him this time! I wouldn’t smile either. These kids smell niceness and will try to take advantage of the arbiter for it. Patrick has been doing a great job throughout the event, as he always does. Zeljka has been updating everything to be up to date on the CYCC website at . I have seen Zeljka at many tournaments. She is always very cheery and hardworking. The photos she takes are always great and you should definitely check those out!

Below are a few photos taken just outside of the hotel overlooking the Detroit River and Detroit.

Here’s is the Hilton where the tournament takes place.

I am staying on the 21st floor (out of 22) of the hotel, with a beautiful view.

Comments are always appreciated. Let me know what there is too much/little of.


One Response to Day 3

  1. Mei says:

    Hi Mark!

    Love your blog! Fun to read, with lots of interesting stories!

    Nice to see that you are having a good time in Windsor – the playing venue looks amazing! Great work on the 14 wins; about the lost to Jackie Peng, I sense it might have something to do with your subconscious fear for being chucked onto the highway on the drive home should you have won?

    The organisers, players and parents are really fortunate to have you in Windsor – hope that everyone has benefitted from you being there.

    Have a safe trip home (preferably not via hitchhiking!),

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