Some News

I will be going to Philadelphia in the end of the month to play in the World Open. I have never played in the tournament, which is supposed to be the biggest annual open tournament in the world. A lot of strong players appear to try to cash in on the $25,000 first prize. I will then play in the Canadian Open, which will take place at The Westin Harbour Castle in downtown Toronto. I haven’t played in Canada in 2 years and I haven’t played in Toronto in much longer than that. It will be nice to play in front of the home crowd.

In other news, there will be a segment about me this Friday on Global News, Channel 3 in Ontario, between 6 and 7pm. The segment is a part of a series called Generation Inspiration. More about that after the show airs.

This Saturday, I will be attending the Chess in the Library 2nd Annual Festival. Chess in the Library (CITL) is one of the most positive organizations ever seen in Canada and it promotes chess programs in libraries across Canada. CITL keeps expanding due to the great work of its members.


Off to Havana

I am currently waiting for boarding at Pearson Airport. I am flying to Havana to play in the Premier Group of the Capablanca Memorial. My section will have a 10 player round robin, with 9 GMs, and a 2560 average rating.

The games start on Wednesday. I thought it would be a good idea to arrive in Havana two days before the tournament starts. There will be no “settling in” with the first few rounds. No easy games and a lot of hard fought battles. Some of the players who played in Toluca will be taking part here as well.

Time to fly!

Off to Mexico

It’s snowing outside of my window in Toronto. Perfect time to go away for another tournament. This time it will be the American Continental Chess Championship, in Toluca, Mexico. The tournament has been put together in the last minute, since it was originally planned to take place in September. With the change of the World Cup cycle, it had to move to a much earlier date.

I have not found an official tournament website. Not sure if games will be broadcast. There should be about 20 players over 2500 in the solid event. The tournament starts on the 19th and ends on the 24th. Nine rounds in six days. I am flying out tomorrow.

Since I got back I have done a lot of work on my own. I have also  been working a lot with NM Liam Henry, a good friend of mine, as my second. This included a lot of work on all stages of the game. I have also done some work with IM Igor Zugic, who (still) promises to play in a tournament or two in 2011. Thanks to both for the help.

I haven’t played in a tournament in 2 months now. The hunger is back. Working on chess is different from actually playing chess. Simuls and lectures are interesting but in a different way. Time to do what I love most about chess: the competition. It’s time!

There Is No Place Like Home

I got back to Toronto yesterday afternoon. Toronto is “warm” by comparison to Moscow. It’s great to be back after my five week trip. It will be important to rest up before leaving for my next tournament. I hope to have my upcoming tournament schedule fixed within the next week.

To come is a summarizing post about the Tata Steel Tournament which will include, among other things, photos not seen before. Then I will provide tournament coverage of the Aeroflot Open event which finished on Wednesday. I started the tournament ranked 52nd and was paired up the first round!

I will be giving a lecture at the Annex Chess Club on Monday, February 28th. I would recommend to check out the video on the front page of the site, entitled Chess Is Awesome. Details of my lecture can be found here. I look forward to seeing many of you come out and enjoy the good atmosphere of the ACC!




I arrived to Moscow yesterday afternoon. I had the pleasure to have dinner with relatives that I have not seen in a few years. I was feeling tired after traveling from Brussels as I went to sleep. I feel very energized after a 12 hour hibernation.

You can follow the action of the 2011 Aeroflot Open here. The Opening Ceremony takes place tonight. The first round takes place tomorrow at 3pm, Moscow time. I am going to meet up with Thomas Roussel-Roozmon later today. I have not seen Canada’s newest Grandmaster since he had achieved the title at the Olympiad.

My coverage of Wijk aan Zee is not fully over just yet. To come are game analysis from Hikaru Nakamura, photos, and a summary of the event. All of these features will come after I am back home.

I would recommend people to check out Jon Ludvig Hammer’s Blog. Hammer always writes in an entertaining fashion, the same way he is in real life.

Time for an exciting tournament. It’s going to be 9 rounds of top level competition!

What’s To Come

I arrived to Brussels today. I will be spending the next week here until I go to play in Moscow for the Aeroflot Open. I will start annotating my games from the event tomorrow. You can expect 13 very hard fought games. A lot of blood was shed in the C-group, with very few draws. I will also provide a play by play of how the players were treated. This was the best organized chess tournament I have ever attended. The whole organizing committee needs to get credit for that.

The tournament report will also have a lighter side, including Holland against The World soccer matches which had some world-class chess names, including the world’s highest rated player.

Congratulations to Hikaru Nakamura for winning the A-group! Hikaru will annotate a game for my blog. I hope to have that game posted on here by the end of February.

I would also like to thank everybody for their support throughout this very long event. It’s always nice to read your positive comments.

First Trip of 2011

I sit at the Toronto Pearson Airport as I write this quick update. I am about to leave for the longest trip I have even taken, lasting over five weeks. First I will play in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee. I have been trying to get into the event for years and even played a qualifier in an attempt to get into the 2010 version of the event. The event is the Wimbeldon of chess, with the best players in the world competing in the top group. The drawing of lots for my section, the C section, will occur tomorrow evening. First round starts on Saturday.

I will then have a week to spend in Europe before my next tournament. I plan to go to Brussels, a place I have never visited. The week should give me plenty of time to regain some lost energy and see a beautiful city. I will also have some time for blogging there.

From there I will go to play in the Aeroflot Open. I saw the list of participants recently. This will be a very strong event. I expect to be rated at about the 25th percentile of the A group. A blitz tournament will follow the event on February 17th. I will be back to Toronto on February 18th.