Day 4-Final

The last day is always  the most exciting one at the CYCC. Most sections are decided on this day. Playoffs occur in some to determine the winners. Pressure is at its highest. A lot of kids don’t handle the pressure all that well. Champions are made. Whoever doesn’t believe nerves are running high have never competed at the highest level at anything. It gets intense. Some people can’t sleep. I was relaxed though and slept like a baby!

My day was a pretty short one work-wise. I was analyzing games with kids in the morning and then needed to make myself available for the Closing Ceremonies (CC). It seemed a bit strange to me at first that the CC was not a combined one, and was instead taking place for each section after its games ended. The reasoning behind my original skepticism was that a combined CC would be a good finishing touch on a very well run event. On a flip side, everybody needed to go home. With most people living in Ontario, they wanted to drive home ASAP after their stay in Windsor. Very understandable. The CC did not suffer from this but was a bit disorganized having so many separate components to it. Everybody was tired and everybody wanted to go home. This format achieved this the fastest.

John (Coleman) decided on an unprecedented idea. Why do we have 2 year sections instead of 1 year sections? John got double the number of trophies and gave out not only the usual under 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 but also prizes for the Junior year. Somebody in their junior year was eligible for 6 trophies! The final standings can be found at to show the final standings in more detail. I will mainly talk about the winners.

The under 8 boys section was decided before the last round. Usually with a guaranteed win before the last round, people let up a bit and relax. Apparently, not everybody does. Joshua “The Crusher” Doknjas surely does not. Do not be fooled as to how adorable Joshua is, he will crush you at the chess board. Joshua scored a win in the last round to finish off at a perfect 7/7 and won the section by a full 2 points!!! Below is a picture of Joshua and me. The trophy is about Joshua’s size but he may have deserved an even bigger one!

The Cinderella story occurred in the girls under 8 section. Andrea Botez scored a phenomenal 6.5/7 in the section and was a point and the half ahead of the field. Congrats Andrea! Andrea’s father, Andrei, told me that he was not sure about taking Andrea to Windsor and that it was a last minute decision. Nobody ever says anything about father’s intuition, but I think Andrei has it;). Andrea’s photo below is taken from Zeljka’s site

The boys under 10 section was a competitive one with three kids who finished tied for first at 5.5/7. After the playoffs, Yuan Chen Zhang clinched first place, Jason Cao clinched second and Daniel Zotkin got third. In the end of the day, anything can happen in rapid time control playoffs. It takes strong nerves to win a long and grueling playoff.

The under 10 girls section was the most lopsided section at the CYCC. Kelly Wang took the clear lead after the 2nd round and never looked back to finish at a perfect 7/7 which was 2.5 points ahead of second place! Congratulations Kelly for a very dominant performance!

The under 12 boys section was the biggest and most competitive section throughout the event, drawing 40 players. After 7 rounds, 4 players were tied for first place. Before the last round, Richard Wang was half a point behind the three leaders. The three leaders all settled for draws and so Richard had a chance to catch up and did just that. The four player playoff that ensued was a long one. I saw both Richard Wang and Guannan Terry Song winning their first games in style. In the following game which they played against each other, Richard sacrificed two pieces for a rook and a pawn which showed the potential of an attack. They soon agreed to a draw. That is when I had to make my way back to Toronto.

Yesterday, I saw Richard at the Canadian Open. Richard told me that he lost the playoff while playing a further playoff one-on-one with Terry. Richard forgot about the time and lost on time. In the end of the day, Terry got first place, Richard got second, Edward Song third and Michael Song got fourth. The Song’s are unrelated. Congratulations Terry for the great win! This experience of a tough playoff and section will make everybody in the section better, and I look forward to seeing Richard get back and be stronger than ever. Everybody has a hiccup here and there. Richard displayed great sportsmanship while talking about the event to me yesterday. Terry and Richard are the two most nicest and most mature under 12 boys I have ever met!

The girls under 12 section showed a dominant performance by Jackie Peng with a perfect score of 6/6. There were only 7 players in the section and so every player got a bye. Zhanna Sametova got second place with 5/6. I analyzed a game with Zhanna and she showed great potential. I look forward to seeing her play more events. Zhanna’s dad plays soccer with my dad in Toronto. Small world! Melissa Giblon got third place in the section with 4/6. She will be hungrier than ever at the next CYCC. Melissa was the last remaining player at my Windsor simul. Below is a picture of Jackie as she was on her way to beating me at the simul!

In the boys under 14 section, Tanraj S Sohal won outright with 6/7. This could be considered a big surprise as Joey Qin, rated 2340 was in the section but finished 3rd after losing a playoff to Konstantin Semianiuk for second place. The two were tied at 5.5/7.

The girls under 14 section showed a lot of drama. Going into the last round, Rebecca Gilbon was leading with 5/6 and Regina-Veronicka Kalaydina (the top seed) was tied for second at 4.5 points. In the last round, Rebecca lost to Chang Yun who played the role of spoiler, allowing Regina-Veronicka to win first place with 5.5/7. Yan Wang then beat Rebecca in a playoff for second place. Dissapointing day for Rebecca, but I know that she is a fighter and she will come back stronger than ever next year.

The boys under 16 section was won convincingly by Roman Sapozhnikov who slowed down towards the end and drew his last two rounds but still finished clear first at 5.5/7. This was a tough section but Roman built a solid lead in the beginning of the event and then held on. Photo is taken from

The girls under 16 and 18 sections were combined, but for the purposes of this report I fully separate them. Alexandra Botez won the girls under 16 section with a strong 6/7 score. What’s impressive is that Alexandra is 14 years old and she competed with girls in the under 18 section as well. Below is a picture of the under 16 prize winners and me. I ran into Alexandra at the Canadian Open yesterday, where she was waiting for her opponent but was patient about it. I believe (no hard evidence) that her opponent left his home very late after deciding to watch the World Cup Final (Go Spain!).

The under 18 girls section was taken convincingly by Sonja Xiong with 6/7. Marguerite Yang got second place with 4 points, and Marina Roussel was 3rd. Sarah Campeau finished fourth and was the cheeriest person in the older groups, while most of them were all too serious… You may (should!) remember Marina from the portrait of me which she drew in an earlier post (shown again below). A photo of the prize winners (missing 1) and me is below.

The boys under 18 section went down to the wire. Eric Hansen and Aman Hambleton were tied for first place at 5/6 going into the last round. Eric found out how hard it is to win in the last round with black, and was held to a draw by Brendan Fan. Aman on the other hand, was able to win his game and with it clinch first place. Congratulations Aman!

There were a lot of upsets at the CYCC this year, most notable the winners in the boys under 12, 14 and 18 sections. It really showed how competitive and talented those kids are.

I hope that everybody who came to Windsor had fun, I know I did. The event was very professionally organized and I hope to be back to Windsor soon. Thank you to John Coleman, Patrick, and all of the volunteers for making it all possible. Zeljka did a great job providing live coverage of the games and great pictures!

Below is a picture of two proud fathers, Andrew Giblon and Andrei Botez. Andrei’s two daughters won both of their sections this year. Andrew’s two daughters won their two sections last year, but had a tougher going this time around. These two men might have a monopoly on Canadian Women’s chess in 5-10 years. They are also two of the nicest parents in Canadian chess.  Photo taken from


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