The 48th Canadian Open Championship by Pinnacle Consultants, Inc., took place July 9–17 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. First prize was shared by Grandmasters Joel Benjamin, Dejan Bojkov, and Walter Arencibia with scores of 7/9. There followed a 13-way tie for 4th at 6.5, shared by IM Leonid Gerzhoy, GM Mark Bluvshtein, CM Alex Shabalov, GM Eduardas Rozentalis, IM Nikolay Noritsyn, GM Vitali Golod, IM Artiom Mamsonkin, GM Eugene Perelshteyn, FM Bindi Cheng (who made his final IM norm), IM Tomas Krnan, GM Luis Manuel Perez Rodriguez, IM David Cummings, and FM Shiyam Thavandiran.
The event had other sponsors—including Don Valley North Lexus and Toyota, the BMO Financial Group, and the Toronto Star newspaper—and featured a total family-friendly chess experience with camps for kids, guest lectures and simultaneous exhibitions, and exhibits by several chess artists. MonRoi broadcast selected games live and compiled photo galleries on their tournament site.
This was my own first game-a-day major FIDE event in 27 years. My play was not up to my standard when I won Buffalo’s Mayor’s Cup in June on tiebreaks over IM Mladen Vucic, defeating him in our individual game. Still, my 5.5/9 had a GM, IM, and WIM for company though they faced better fields, and I enjoyed it immensely. Overall there were 12 GM’s, 14 IM’s, and 17 FMs and WIM’s in the 152-player Open section, plus 76 in the Under-2000 section won by John Doknjas, Alexander Strugach, Jordan Palmer, and Sam Haziprodromu on 7/9, and 52 in the Under-1600 section won by Rodrigo Oliveira alone on 8/9.
Dejan Bojkov recovered from an opening-round loss to Bradley Willis rated 2094. In a nice show of sportsmanship he abbreviated his Monday 7/11 guest lecture on Bulgarian GM Antoaneta Stefanova whom he trains, and presented the loss as an example of how Black can create kinetic energy with pawn sacrifices on the Black side of a Tarrasch French.
The event reunited me with fellow 1970’s juniors Benjamin and GM John Fedorowicz, who gave a lecture and a simul (respectively) on Wed. 7/13, and with Irina Krush from Kasparov-World in 1999 as we formed a lecture double-bill on Thursday, though on separate topics. My lecture presented my work on chess cheating cases and on “Intrinsic Ratings” with Guy Haworth of the Univ. of Reading (UK). A copy of our paper to be presented next month at the world’s foremost conference on artificial intelligence may be found
All-in-all it was a marquee event for chess appreciation, with hard-fought games emblemized by two Rook+Bishop vs. Rook marathons in the same night, both won. I express thanks on behalf of all to organizer David Cohen and his staff, the sponsors, and the many volunteers who even did things like make sure I and the teenage player I was staying with knew our way around Union Station.