2014 Canadian Open U 2000 Blog (Armstrong)

The “Day Prior” – Friday, July 18 (Blog # 1)

Introduction

Well, the biggest annual Canadian chess tournament, the Canadian Open, is now upon us in Montreal, Quebec. And for all the chess aficionados across Canada, tuning in to the day by day struggles, I, Bob Armstrong, have to hand out a warning. I am once again inflicting myself on the Canadian chess public, and posting my 2014 Canadian Open U 2000 Blog!

After a 35 year absence from playing in Canadian Opens, I, starting with 2006, have now played in 7 of the 8 consecutive Canadian Opens. I don’t remember which year I started blogging my tournament section, but I know I have done it for at least three years now (one of the years, when I played in the Toronto International, rather than the BC CO, I blogged it).


Usually, the Chess ‘n Math Association (Larry Bevand) has graciously consented to my posting my blog on their national discussion board, Chesstalk. In that forum, I was averaging 500 views per day for my 8 – 10 blogs (varied a bit from year to year).
This year I am trying something different. FQE inquired whether I might blog for them this year, and we agreed that my blog would not be on Chesstalk this time, but right on the FQE website. I noted that my French was merely minimal now (though I was almost able to get along in Quebec in my younger years – but both my adult kids have resided here in Montreal now for many years – a consequence of Ontario French Immersion). FQE advised that this was satisfactory, and that they would not be having someone translate it…..what they hoped to achieve, through people coming to their website for the blog, was to raise the profile of Quebec chess in English Canada. So I am hopeful that I may be able to go some way in achieving this for them. One of their tournament staffers will be working with me to do the technical posting of the material I present to them.

My Prior CO’s/TIO

I have to say, that I treat the Canadian Opens as a “chess holiday”! My recent prior eight adventures ( 7 CO’s outings and the 2012 Toronto International Open…which, as I said, replaced the 2012 CO in BC) were fabulous – lots of chess, good socializing, doing some touristy things, and getting some R&R between rounds.
Speaking about “chess”, how did I do in this prior eight years? Well, I did a little digging for my 2013 blog, and I’ll reproduce it here and update it:

1. 2006 – Kitchener – Sections - Played in the U 2000 Section (1999 to 1600) – rated 1711 – finished with 5/9 (slightly over 50 %), tied # 21 - # 30 out of 81 players; performance rating of 1832.

2. 2007 – Ottawa – One Section Swiss (with hyper-accelerated pairings) - Was in the U 1800 Class Prize group (1999 to 1800)  – rated  1746 – finished with 5.5/9 (over 50 %), tied # 73 - # 113 out of 280 players. Shared a Class Prize – tied for # 3 - # 15 (the split meant a very modest payoff!) –  performance rating of 1928.

3. 2008 – Montreal – Sections - Played up a section in the U 2000 Section (1999 to 1800) – rated 1783 – finished with 6.5/9 (72 %), tied # 4 - # 8 out of 77 players. Shared some prize money (again, rather modest due to split) – performance rating of 1940. With this tournament I was given an FQE rating of 1845.

4. 2009 – Edmonton – One Section Swiss (no acceleration) - Was in the U 2000 Class Prize Group (1999 to 1800) – rated 1831 – finished with 4/9 (slightly under 50 %), tied # 110 - # 139, out of 203 players; in my class I finished tied # 30 – # 40 out of 48 players – performance rating of 1797.

5. 2010 – Toronto – One Section Swiss (hyper-accelerated pairings) - Was in the U 2000 Class Prize Group (1999 to 1800) – rated 1800 (ranked last of 56!) – finished with 4.5/9 (50 %), tied # 111 - # 150, out of 265 players; in my class, I finished tied # 25 - # 44 out of 56 players – performance rating of 1829.

6. 2011 – Toronto – Sections – Played in U 2000 section (to 1600) – rated 1744 - 76 players & I was ranked # 27 – finished # 20/31, with 5/9 pts. – had a TPR of 1690, and lost 19 rating points.

7. 2012 – Toronto International – Sections – Played in the U 1900 section (to 1600) – rated 1645 – 34 players and I was ranked second-last – finished # 23/26, with 2.5/7 pts. – TPR of 1629 – lost 3 rating points.

8. 2013 – Ottawa – One big swiss (no acceleration) – 178 players - played in the U 1600 prize group – rated 1590 (hadn’t been in the 1500’s for about 7 years) – finished # 127/148, with only 3.5/9 pts. –   but gained 2 rating points (TPR – 1602)!

So here I go again in 2014 in Montreal, this time in the U 2000 section. I am rated for this tournament using my FQE rating, achieved in the 2008 CO – 1845. But I’m afraid it has been some years now since I’ve been there in my CFC rating (now 1645). But in either case, I would be in the U 2000 section. As of Friday’s registration list update, there are 79 players in the U 2000 section. With my FQE rating, I am ranked # 22/79. But the truth is 1645 (sigh) – at this rating I am not even a dark horse ………. # 73/79!  From this distance, I can’t even see the top seeds in my section! And with a first prize of $ 1000!

Prepping Is Important

At my Scarborough Chess Club in Toronto, our last tournament went to June 26 (my club closes for July & August). Since then I have played no chess games. For those who know me, they know I have never really studied chess (except to analyze my own games). So doing no studying or prepping for this tournament really doesn’t affect me much – just in the same situation as always…..relying on my native talent……which, if I had any…has now left the building! But I simply love to play officially rated tournament chess, and I just let the chips fall where they may. And I definitely am not preaching myself as any role model for upcoming juniors. I am the anti-role model – do the exact opposite to get better! Study, play a lot, and do prep for your opponents if given a chance.

The Montreal CO

The CO starts today, Saturday, July 19 with Rd. 1 @ 1:00 PM. We will be playing in the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel (the same one the CYCC has been held in for the last four days – finished yesterday with play-offs). So I am doing this blog in the wee hours of the first day of the tournament (Sat.), though blogging about the “day prior”….Friday.

Expectations for the 2014 CO

- I am shooting for a tournament performance rating in the high 1700’s (which I haven’t achieved since May 2012!)
- I am shooting to bring my CFC rating back up into the 1700’s
(rather modest, but I hope achievable, goals.)

The Blog Plan

- hope to report on the playing day by the next morning before noon (but I will shoot for it to be as early as I can manage it, and working with the FQE staffer, who has to find time in his rat-race to post it for me).

Favourites/Dark Horses

I will designate the 1900’s as the “favourites” (though I know there will be some sharp-shooting lower rated juniors that will also come to the top soon enough). There are 6 of them out of 79.

“Favourites” (1900’s)

1. Villeneuve, Robert – 1993 – QC
2. Have, Didier – 1992 - QC
3. Weston, Paul – 1963 – QC
4. Rodrigo-Lemieux, Shawn – 1927 – QC
5. Chang, Michael – 1912 – QC
6. Sarra-Bournet, Marc – 1911 - QC

I will designate the 1800’s the “dark horses” – there are 11 of them out of 79.

“Dark Horses” (1899 – 1850) (note – since my rating is really now an old inflated rating, I will not include myself, despite my 1845 FQE rating). There are 11 of these.

1. Leblanc, Paul – 1893 – BC
2. Pinho, Tiago – 1889 – Portugal
3/ 4. Nardone, Raul – 1887 – QC
3/ 4. Barko, Maxim – 1887 – QC
5. Lee, Brendon – 1875 – ON
6. Yie, Kevin – 1874 – ON
7. Gunapalan, David – 1872 – QC
8. Langlois-Remillard, Alexis – 1860 – QC
9. Libersan, Mattieu – 1857 – QC
10/11. Miettinen, Eric – 1854 – QC
10/11. Itkine, Victor – 1854 - ON

The U 2000 Prize Fund

Top Finishers - $ 1,000; $ 600; $ 300; $ 200;
U 1900 - $ 250
U 1800 - $ 150
Best Female - $ 125
Best Senior - $ 125
Best Junior (U 20 as of Jan. 1/14, according to the FQE website) - $ 125
Best Cadet (15 years and less, according to the FQE website) - $ 75

Day Prior – Friday, July 18
(Rd. 1 Today, Sat. July 13 @ 11:00 AM )

The week before this, my wife and I were being visited by my son and his partner at Spirits’ Den (our hobby far

m/swamp 3 hrs. drive northwest of Toronto). My wife and I have mutually agreed that our farm is a computer free zone…so….no chess (I now hate trying to study with a board). It just so happened that they were able to stay ‘til Thursday at the farm, and we returned to Toronto Thurs. night late. This allowed me to give them a ride to Montreal yesterday (they live in Montreal).


My good chess friend, also a Scarborough Chess Club member, Mario Moran-Venegas,was going to drive us all, but then plans changed and he got a ride with us. Mario and I have attended a number of CO’s together previously, with him doing the driving. Mario has, therefore, from time to time figured rather prominently in some of my prior blogs. So he is back again this year in his role of Watson, to my Sherlock! And although he does seem to regularly up-stand me, I would ask that you all refrain from sending him marriage proposals, as has happened in prior years  .

So at shortly after 10:00 AM yesterday, the four of us set of to Montreal. I dropped the two kids off at their place, and then we headed for the hotel (GPS is so nice – I don’t have one (not techie at all), but Mario did, and his was, fortunately, portable!) We got registered, settled in to our room, and then went down to see who was still around from the CYCC (playoffs had been held yesterday morning). 
We first met Rebecca Giblon (we’ve played a number of times in Ontario weekend tournaments) who had tied for first in the U 18/U16 Girls section, but came 2nd  after the play-off (However, I may be wrongly remembering our conversation on this – the cross-table seems to show her third)– still an excellent result. Congratulations Rebecca!
Then we met Sandra Vettese, with her husband Jeffery, and their older son (Nicholas, the younger son, came second in the U 10 Open). Jeffery and I have been discussing all things in the world over the last year or so, on Facebook, but had never met, though we both felt that we did know each other. We agreed we’d carve out some time to talk face-to-face later in the tournament.

Aris Marghetis was arbitting the CYCC, and we met him in the hallway, on his way to somewhere to keep all things in order.

We went into the playing hall, and two of my junior friends from Ontario, Mark Plotkin and Zach Dukic saw me and waved from the front of the hall. Mark came over and we chatted a bit. They play in the U 1600 Open, and Mark had come third, and Zach fourth. Congratulations guys.

Then out in the hall again, we met the CFC President, Vlad Drkulec, of Windsor, Ontario, along with Zoltan, another Windsorite, who has numerous times volunteered to help supervise Windsor junior players at tournaments. Mario joined us and we discussed the recent CFC Presidential elections (Vlad was elected to a second term). We also discussed the recent, somewhat controversial, CFC Executive decision to endorse the FIDE Presidential incumbent, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (the Challenger is 13th World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov).

Then a chess friend, Victoria Jung-Doknjas, of BC, and a friend of hers came up to speak to Vlad about the WYCC in South Africa. She told me that her son Joshua (she has three playing) came second in the U 16 Open section in a play-off – congratulations Joshua!

Dinner

Mario and I were now starving, so we left, and went to a great pizza place at Square Phillips and St. Catherine. We then returned to the hotel, for me to do my blog and he to do non-studying (playing games on-line – mustn’t take this tournament too seriously!). He also assumed the coveted role of Blog Researcher, checking some of my facts from memory (my memory is awful!)

The Blog # 1

I had advised Roman (staff for FQE) that I would shoot to get him this Blog # 1 by 11:00 PM Friday night). Well it took longer than I thought, and so didn’t get it off to him ‘til Saturday, in the wee hours of the morning (a bit past 1:00 AM). So when he’ll be able to fit posting this on the website into his busy schedule, I am not sure, since I missed our mutual deadline (which was apparently quite fine for him to post it before midnight). But it will get posted sometime today. And it will likely be the case that my Blog # 2 ( of Day 1 of the tournament) will get to him sometime in the late evening of today (before 11:00 PM), and he’ll also be able to post it today before midnight. (Roman : I got it online way later than I wanted to due to the crazy first day... sorry!)

Invitation

I hope you enjoy my musings and fact reporting over the course of this Canadian Open. It will help to make this blog even more interesting if viewers post their responses, facts they may know, their own stories, in response to my daily material, if commenting on my blog is possible on the FQE website (I had forgotten to inquire on this when we made our current arrangements). If possible, I hope to hear from many of you as the week passes! I will try to respond whenever it seems appropriate, if it is possible.