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World Class Events

Page history last edited by John Upper 9 years, 5 months ago

World Class Events at the RA Chess Club

2013 CYCC and 2013 Canadian Open Chess Championship (July 10-20, 2013)


Members of the RACC are organizing the 2013 Canadian Youth Chess Championships (CYCC) and the 2013 Canadian Open Chess Championship, to be held in Ottawa, July 10-20, 2013. For details, visit the event website.


Simul by GM Reinaldo Vera (July 19, 2012; 7:30 pm)


GM Vera returns to the RA Chess Club after a long absence. To celibrate we have invited him to play against us. Please feel free to join us for an interesting evening at the RA Centre.


Cost $30, less $5 for RA members.


Reinaldo Vera got his grandmaster title in 1988. He has won the Cuban Championship on two occasions. GM Vera was a member of the Cuban national chess team for more than two decades. GM Vera is a graduate of Havana University and has written for many chess magazines, including New in Chess, Jaque, and Peon de Rey. He is also a FIDE Senior Trainer, and the coach to the Cuban national chess team.


GM Vera is the author of two books in the Gambit Chess Explained series: The Meran Semi-Slav (2007) and The Nimzo-Indian (2008).


Simul, Active Tournament, and Lecture by GM Nigel Short (June 21, 23, 2012.)


GM Nigel Short scored +18 =1 -0 in his simul (his best score ever for a simul at the RACC), and won the Olympic Waive Active Tournament with a perfect 5/5.                                                                   

2012 Short Simul - intro


2012 Short simul (East side)Rd.4 Short-Hambleton

L-R: Nigel vs some old and new customers. RACC-Nigel Short Olympic Waive, rd.4 Short-Hambleton (full game in javascript player below); RACC President Gordon Ritchie introduces Nigel; on the table are three of the book prizes for best simul games by juniors vs Nigel. (open images in new Tab/Window for full size)

Rd.5 RACC-Nigel Short Olympic Waive Active. Board 1: Djerkovic-Short, Board 2: Hambleton-Hamilton.

2012 RACC-Nigel Short Olympic Waive




















Simul and Waive Games


(full report later -- sorry, computer problems)


Simul, Active Tournament, and Lecture by GM Nigel Short (June 21, 23, 2012.)


With wins in Gibralter in February --- ahead of eleven 2700+ GMs --- and Bangkok in April, GM Nigel Short returns to the 2700+ club. He celebrates with a tour of the World's chess hot-spots: Moscow in May, to comment on the World Chess Championship, and Ottawa's RA Chess Club in June, with three events on the agenda:


Simul:  Thursday, June 21, 7p.m.                                    (Price: $45; RA Member discount: -$5 )

Active Tournament: Saturday, June 23, 1pm-5:30.          (Price: $45; RA Member discount: -$5 )

Lecture: Saturday, June 23, 7pm-ish.                              (Price: $45; Active Tournament participant discount: -$5 )


This will be Nigel's third Simul at the RACC and we have no plans to change what has been a successful format (see reports below).


Nigel's Saturday evening Lecture topic is "How (not) to Prepare". In 2010 he lectured on his successful Candidate's matches against current World Championship challenger Boris Gelfand and former World Champion Anatoly Karpov. In 2011 he lectured about his less successful World Championship match against Gary Kasparov. The lecture will begin at around 7p.m., after about a 1-1/2 hour break for dinner following the end of the Saturday afternoon Active Tournament.


This year's novelty is the Olympic Waive Active Tournament. An Olympic Waive tournament is a fund-raiser for the Canadian Chess Olympic team(s); as such $20 from each entry goes to the Olympic fund. Nigel has agreed to play! Unless you have been invited to play in the top section of the Round Robins at the Edmonton International or the London Classsic, this is your best chance to play Nigel one-on-one in a tournament. To give everyone (including unrated players) a fair chance to play him, Nigel's opponents for Rd.1 and 2 will be selected at random from the bottom half of his score group. Normal Swiss pairings everywhere else. 

    Active Tournament Details: 

Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012; Rd.1 @ 1pm. Remaining rounds ASAP.

Rds: 5 

TC: 20 min + 5 sec

EF: $45 for non-RA Members; $40 RA Members. Register at RACC Thursday nights, or on site between 12:15pm and 12:45 pm

Prizes: $20 per entry goes to Canadian Olympic fund, the remainder goes to the winner. CFC caps or "Bobby Fischer Live" DVD to best score from bottom and middle 1/3. 

TD: John Upper

Note: CFC Membership is not required. Nigel's opponents for Rd.1 and 2 will be selected at random from the bottom half of his score group. Normal Swiss pairings everywhere else. TD will play as floater to guarantee no forced byes. Sets and Clocks supplied by the RACC.

photo: In May, Nigel showed he was ready for the RACC Active

by winning a rapid match against GM Granda Zuniga in Peru.


Simul and Lecture by GM Alexei Shirov (February 23-25, 2012)Gordon Ritchie and Alexei Shirov shake hands as the simul starts 


For the third February in a row, GM Alexei Shirov returned to Ottawa’s RA Chess Club for a simul and lecture. On February 23, he scored 19 wins, one draw, and no losses at the RA Club. The next night he travelled across the Ottawa River to Gatineau where he scored 18 wins and one loss, for a combined score of +37 =1 -1.



While it is not uncommon for a strong GM to play a simul without losing a game, even with the one loss Shirov’s result is particularly impressive because while most simul-givers take White in all their games, in his simuls Alexei concedes some of his advantage by alternating between White and Black. Usually. But a Friday afternoon storm dumped 10 cm of snow on Gatineau just before his second simul, keeping several of his opponents away. So when Alexei arrived at Gatineau’s Maison du Citoyen he found his opponents had taken not only all the available Whites (and as few as possible of the Blacks) but one player sat down as Black and turned the board around! Alexei good-naturedly didn’t object — “well... that’s what makes them happy” — even though it meant he played 15 of his 19 games as Black, including one stretch of ten Blacks in a row with a former 2300+ player at one end and two experts at the other! Imagine Kasparov or Petrosian doing that?

photo above R: RACC President Gordon Ritchie shakes GM Shirov's hand (but not his position or his confidence) at the annual simul.

Note: photos are in higher resolution than they appear. To view, Right Click on photo and select "View Image".


photos: (below) Already working hard in the opening against Bill Doubleday; I didn't like the way he was looking at my Kingside; ...Bb7 in a Lopez, without ...Bc5!??.

photo: (lower R) Just like 2011, Mate Marinkovic was the last player sitting, and just like last year he was up a pawn in a Rook ending, and just like last year... ? No.

RACC 2012 Shirov Simul  (East Side)

I didn't like the way he was looking at my Kingside

RACC 2012 Shirov Simul  (West Side)



















Highlight GamesLast man sitting... again

Shirov is famous as an attacker, and (of course) some of his simul games had him sacrifice for strong attacks (vs Dagenais and Upper) or turn a development or positional advantage into a winning attack (vs Cote and Ivanenko). But this time the dominant theme was endgame skill: on at least a half dozen boards Shirov entered endgames where he was between equal and lost, and won them all. Amos Kuttner was completely outplayed from  an equal rook endgame, and Roger Hubley missed a chance to exchange down to a very drawish opposite-coloured Bishop ending. Worst of all, fr om the ho me-team’s point of view, Mate Marinkovic and Bill Doubleday were both winning in tricky Rook endings and both lost. Only Saeid Sadeghi showed sufficient endgame resourcefulness to steer an inferior position to a dead drawn Rook ending. If there is an antidote to Shirov then surely Saeid has the patent: this is his third draw in three simuls against the Super-GM. Alexei got burned only once, in Gatineau he played an overly ambitious exchange sac from a passive position, and Pat Duquette’s solid play combined with a fingerfehler from Shirov to bring in the full point. My favourite game  features both Shirov’s talent for combinations and his endgame skill: against Michel Desjardins (who played in both simuls) he played an endgame combination which sets up an unavoidable and deadly exchange sacrifice.     Highlights | Complete Games 


On Saturday Alexei reviewed his simul games against those attending the lecture; in effect, a post-mortem with a Super-GM. Like any joint analysis, what you get out of it depends on what you put in. Some players had clearly reviewed their games carefully and were prepared to talk about where their OTB analysis differed from their books’ recommendations and computers’ evaluations. Others seemed reluctant to say anything, even when asked a totally normal post-mortem question like, “Did you consider this move?” It’s possible they were intimidated, but I find this difficult to understand, since I don’t find Alexei intimidating at all. Of course he knows vastly more about chess than I do; and he sees things much faster and more clearly than anyone I’ve met; but he’s prepared to share some of that with you if you ask — and that’s why we keep inviting him. So, if you’re lucky e nough to get the chance to analyze with him: do your homework, ask some questions, make some suggestions. You’ll get more out of it, and maybe Alexei will too:

During last year’s visit I told him about a Novelty I’d found a few years ago in an opening we both play. The day after this year’s lecture he showed up at the Club and played some blitz games against the regulars (TC: 5min v 2min; score: Shirov 8 - RACC 0). Then he told me he’d shown my idea to another 2700 player (who I won’t name), who wrinkled his nose at it and suggested a continuation I hadn’t considered. Alexei showed me their idea and.... [waffle]... the position is too complicated for me to come up with an adequate response to a pair of 2700's without a lot of silicon help. So the ball is back in my court. At the moment, I’m not optimistic.  


 A few of Alexei’s more interesting insights from the Saturday session are included in the notes to the games. Before you read them, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you more likely to cause a GM trouble in a simul by going into tactical complications or into a pawn ending? (vs Kuttner)
  • How about playing a line that is generally regarded as bad in a highly tactical opening like the Anti-Meran Botvinnik System? Isn’t that just crazy against a guy with as much experience in it as Shirov? (vs Doubleday)
  • How many moves would you want to play before accepting or forcing a draw in a simul? Five? Ten? Twenty? Never!? (vs Upper)
  • Do GMs get “take-backs” in simuls? (vs Duquette) I don’t know the answer to this. I’ve never heard that the simul-giver has the right to take back a move once played, and I have always assumed that a simul is just like a tournament game: touch move. But both Shirov and Nigel Short (last Fall) said that they believe the simul-giver has the right to take back a move until he has moved on to the next board. If so, it ought to be common practice to announce this at the start of the simul. Are there any conventions about this?


Thanks: to Gordon Ritchie for arranging and hosting Alexei’s visit, and to Marcel Laurin for running the Gatineau simul.


RA Simul: Highlights | Complete Games (in ECO order)

Gatineau Simul: Complete Games

Chessbase reposted this report, along with some extra pictures they cleverly took from our "photos" subdirectory :-)

text and photos: John Upper (March 6, 2012)

 Simul and Lecture by GM Alexei Shirov (February 23, 25, 2012.) 


GM Shirov will give a Thursday night simul (Feb. 23, 2012; 7 p.m.), and a Saturday lecture (Feb. 25, 2012; 2 p.m.) based on the simul games !? This is your chance for a game and post-mortem with a Super-GM.


Simul: Price depends on date purchased: November: $40; December: $45; January $50         (RA Member discount: -$5 )

Lecture: Price depends on date purchased: November: $40; December: $45; January $50      (RA Member discount: -$5 )


If you are an RA Chess Club member you may already have been lucky enough to meet and play Alexei Shirov: in his 2009 simul he scored +25 =9 -2, and in 2010 he improved to +27 =5 -1 (see full reports below). Even if you haven't been lucky enough to be at the RACC, so long as you have followed world-class chess at all in the last 15 years you already know about Alexei Shirov. His play is often compared to Mikhail Tal's --- probably more often than anyone else has ever been so compared. He is the author of two very popular game collections: Fire on Board, and Fire on Board II, and has made over a dozen Chessbase DVDs based on his games. His Elo rating is currently 2713 (see the LiveRating list). Recent career highlights include:

  • 2012 Vladimir Petrov Memorial Rapid (=2nd; Feb. 20, 2012)
  • 2012 Aivars Gipslis Memorial Rapid (1st; Feb. 12, 2012)
  • 2012 Keres Memorial (1st, )
  • 2011 Lublin RR (1st; perf. 2835) 
  • 2011 Keres Memorial Rapid (1st)
  • 2010 Shanghai Masters (1st; 2953 perf.)
  • 2010 Corus, Wijk aan Zee (2nd)
  • 2009 M-Tel Masters (1st; ahead of Carlsen, Topalov, Ivanchuk)



    Older Events
Video:  Juniors vs GMs in simuls   Excerpt from BBC special "How to win at Chess". Features Ray Keene, 14-year-old Nigel Short, Tony Miles, Dan King, and 8-year-old David Howell. 


Report on 2011 GM Nigel Short Simul and Lectures


On September 15-16, 2011 GM Nigel Short played 27 opponents at the RACC. Short emerged with a highly creditable +24 =1 -2 score. I write “emerged” but “survived” might be better: the nearly six hour long event ended at 1 a.m. local time (7a.m. in Nigel’s Athens home), and in his 67 laps of the playing hall Nigel walked nearly 2 kilometres without a break.
     Nigel was beaten by David Gordon and Mate Marinkovic, and held to a draw by Stijn de Kerpel. Honourable mention goes to Qiyu Zhou, who gamely defended a bad Sveshnikov endgame, and only blundered away the draw just before 1a.m. — Qiyu has a lot of potential, but she also has a normal bedtime for an 11-year-old on a school night.  (Highlights | Complete Games)


On Saturday and Sunday Nigel gave a pair of +4 hour lectures. Last year he lectured on his successful Candidates matches against Gelfand and Karpov. This year the subject was his 1993 World Championship match against Kasparov, and the tone was completely different in two ways.

     First, [SPOILER ALERT] Kasparov won. Nigel Short is one of only three people who can say (though I can't imagine him actually saying it), "If it weren't for Garry Kasparov, I would be World Champion". The other two are Anatoly Karpov (in 1985-1990) and Vishy Anand (1995). That the other two became World Champions before and after Kasparov was at his peak is both a testament to Kasparov's strength, and to Short's unhappy timing: to peak when Kasparov was at his peak.

     So, this time Nigel's lectures did not have a happy ending. Or middle. Or beginning: he lost the first game on time in an equal position, and Kasparov raced away to a 3½ - ½ start; it looked like the match was effectively over before the second week. “Back to the suffering”, was Nigel’s playfully mournful introduction to the Sunday session. Playful, but telling.

Not a bad move

     The second way the tone was different concerns Nigel’s comments on the moves themselves. Nigel said almost nothing about the PCA vs FIDE split the match created, or any of the side issues. We played through every game and, with the exception of two places where the result was already clear, we played through every move.

     This was the first time Nigel has lectured on his match with Kasparov. His most frequent remark was: “It’s not a bad move”. It’s not that he was trying to justify his play or “win the analysis”. Far from it. Nigel is more than capable of turning his acerbically candid wits on himself, and did so throughout the lectures:

  • Opening Preparation: Before the match he looked for a way to close the “chasm of knowledge” between “the best-prepared player in chess history” and his own “years of sloth and indolence”.
  • Time Trouble: “I wonder what the hell I was thinking about”, doing “lots of rechecking” of variations. (Games 1 & 5)
  • Pride vs Objectivity: Nigel should have forced a repetition at move 20 of Game 4 when Kasparov neutralized a line in the Poison Pawn Najdorf, but he stubbornly pressed on like: “an idiot. You can’t be too proud. I knew White wasn’t better but I was looking for a win and became completely unobjective.”
  • Missing Forced Wins: “So I am a patzer, a complete and utter patzer.” (OK, this one was ironic, since he was referring to the mind-bogglingly complicated, Game 10).
  • Opening Confusion: “It hurts, it really hurts that I did something so stupid.” (Game 15, switching 9...Nf8?! for 9...c6)


This match happened 18 years ago but these are still fresh wounds.


The loss still hurts, but Nigel’s most frequent remark was: “It’s not a bad move”.  Often this was followed by demonstrating a variation (sometimes an improvement, sometimes just a playable alternative), but more frequently it was said with something I think was surprise or relief. Why the surprise?

    As I said, this was the first time Nigel has lectured on his match with Kasparov, but it was also the first time he has carefully reviewed the games. A humbling part of 21st century chess is to put a game you're proud of into a computer, only to have some freeware engine point out a half-dozen game-changing mistakes. Nigel had the opposite experience: reviewing the games on his host Gordon Ritchie’s 12-core Rybka-Houdini monster, and checking team Kasparov’s variations quoted in Ray Keene’s book of the match, Nigel found the computer agreeing with his choices on many of the points where he was most widely criticized. Indeed, what looked in 1993 like a reckless disregard for his own pawn structure, looks to today’s players as reasonable compensation in piece activity. That he didn’t manage to turn that into victory is not because he played badly, but because he was playing the greatest player of all time.
    What I think happened last week at our Club is that Nigel Short discovered that although he lost the match badly, he played brilliantly. I’m glad I was there.


Last game





    Nigel’s necktie from Hangzhou silk market: $6
    Nigel Short Chessbase DVD for winners: $0
    Beating Nigel Short in a simul: priceless

  L-R: Stijn de Kerpel, Nigel Short, David Gordon, Mate Marinkovic


right: 11-year-old Qiyu Zhou hanging tough 5½+ hours into the simul,

while Nigel revives himself with a glass of Ireland’s favourite source of iron and B vitamins.



Thanks: to Gordon Ritchie for arranging and hosting Nigel's visit; and to Nigel for putting up with all my questions.

          Chessbase posted a shorter, earlier version of this report, with downloadable highlight games.

Simul Highlights

Complete Games (in ECO order; with notes)


report: John Upper, 9.26.11


September 15-18, 2011 : Simul and Lectures by GM Nigel Short

       Simul: Sept. 15, 7:00pm (Price depends on date purchased: June-July:$30; Aug:$35; Sept:$40; RA Member discount: -$5)

       Lectures: Sept. 17-18, 2pm start. (Price depends on date purchased: June-July:$150; Aug:$160; Sept:$175; RA Member discount: -$10)


Nigel Short 2010 simul vs boards 1-12

GM Nigel Short is on fire in 2011. Starting with 2nd in Gibralter in February (8.5/10, perf=2883; behind only Ivanchuk's rediculous 9/10 3000-ELO performance), Nigel followed with tournament victories in Tailand in April (=1st, 7.5/9), May in Angola (1st CUCA, 8/9); in June/July at the Commonwealth Championship in South Africa (=1st, 9.5/11), and in July/Aug in England at the British Championship (=1st, 8.5/11). He continues his successful 2011 World Tour with a return visit to Ottawa to give a simul and lectures at the RA Club. This year, Short will lecture on his World Championship match against Kasparov, against whom he is scheduled to play a Blitz match in Leuven, Belgium on October 9, 2011.

Short's career achievements are too many to list; they include:

  • three time Commonwealth Champion (2004, '06, '08), 
  • three time British Chess Champion (1984, '87, '98),
  • three time Olympiad Team silver medalist (1984, '86, '88).
  • individual Olympiad gold medalist (1986, 10/13 board 3)
  • 1993 World Championship Match vs Kasparov.
  • 1992 first player (other than Kasparov) to defeat Anatoly Karpov in a match (+4=4-2).


"Modern chess is much too concerned with things like pawn structure.

  Forget it. Checkmate ends the game."     - Nigel Short.

    quote #1 in Soltis's The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess (Batsford, 2008)

      photo:  Nigel Short @ RACC 2010 Simul.

see below for a full report on Short's 2010 simul and lectures.

Last Year's Prep Files for Nigel Short Visit: online, PGN, or Chessbase file (most complete).

Short discusses 14 of his "Greatest Hits" on this Chessbase DVD; and 15 more in Volume 2.


Brewing trouble on Boards 2 and 3 

 February 3-6, 2011.: Simul and Lectures by GM Alexei Shirov

Four days and five time zones from his disappointing result in the Tata Steel super tournament in Wijk ann Zee, GM Alexei Shirov played 33 opponents at the RA Chess Club in Ottawa.
     Shirov scored +27 =5 -1, which is particularly impressive as he played White and Black on alternate boards.  This was an improvement over his +25 =9 -2 score last year, and may have been because he loaded up on fresh air by skating 7km on the Rideau Canal that morning, or because his pretty wife Olga was in the room giving moral support. The home team still had something to cheer about, including Kevin Pacey’s win -- which earned him a $25 gift certificate donated by Strategy Games -- and junior Mate Marinkovic pressing until after midnight on the good side of a R+4 vs R+3 draw to end the simul.
     On Saturday and Sunday, Shirov lectured on his 2007 Candidate’s knock-out matches and discussed several of the simul games with the players.


Highlights from Shirov’s visit:

  • Alexei successfully managing a 7km skate on the Rideau Canal, while Olga sensibly stayed in the restaurant with Gordon Ritchie and enjoyed another traditional Canadian activity with an ice-cold liquid.Olga and Alexei on Dows Lake
  • A funny moment early in the simul, when Shirov, as White, forced a draw on move 15 by perpetualling Black’s Queen, and immediately apologized, saying he’d forgotten his analysis and had to force the draw or get a much worse game. I found this doubly funny. First, because his opponent had done exactly the same thing last year by perpetualling Shirov’s Queen on move 15 in a Gruenfeld. Second, although his opponent didn’t know it, he was playing a line recommended by Shirov in his Chessbase DVD on the Caro-Kann. (A good advertisement for his DVD’s, but will this discourage future Chessbase presenters from being so candid?) 
  • Being reminded how even super-GMs have trouble keeping their analysis straight, even in the most important games. Shirov told us he spent 30 minutes trying to remember the difference between 13...Qb8 and 13...Qc8 in the second game of his first round match against Robert Gwaze, and still got it “totally wrong”. Of course, Shirov then explained the difference between the two and why he ought to have remembered it.
  • Seeing that the problems of using computers to prepare — what to do when you don’t like 16.Nxa4 but the computer does... but the computer also keeps changing its evaluation? — are suffered by top GMs too. In his recent Crestbook interview, Ponomarianov complained that his former Second Loek van Wely did this too much when Ruslan thought he was paying him to use his own ideas. It is interesting to see how deferential Shirov is to computer evaluations: at least during lectures he is more comfortable following computer lines than his own intuition. In one way this makes sense: noone wants to look foolish saying a position seems “OK” when two seconds of computer analysis shows a tactical refutation. But Shirov has a “feel” for attacking chances that is on a par with Tal and Alekhine, and this can still show us things that today's computers can’t see. Of course, many sacrificial attacks can be proved unsound by computer analysis, but others — e.g. KID pawn storm, ...Rxc3 in Sicilians — take so long to play out that their benefits are still beyond the computer’s horizon until it gets intelligently prodded along. And this is where Shirov’s world-class intuition is irreplaceable, so it’s weird not to see him using it more. Personally, I’d rather hear more wrong assessments from Shirov that “this gives a strong attack” when the computer shows there is one very narrow road to a successful defence, if only because this would show me two things I wouldn’t otherwise know: 1) what a top GM’s intuition tells him, 2) that a position which might have seemed boringly equal actually hides a highly tactical sequence which few non-computer opponents could successfully navigate.
  • Hearing how a couple of good ideas from opponents in our simul will make him go back and rethink parts of his repertoire.
  • Hearing that the Botvinnik Semi-Slav is “dead”.  (What, again?) Not because of 23.f3! (van Wely-Smeets, 2005), but because of... well... I’ll leave the details for Shirov’s next game against it as White. But here’s a little hint: the stem game was played more than ten years ago.
  • During dinner on Sunday night I told Shirov about a Novelty I found five years ago but hadn’t had a chance to play. Three moves into the second variation Alexei burst out laughing when he saw the fourth move: “if Qc2 Rd2!”. In a busy restaurant, with the Super Bowl on TV, a live band across the room, in the middle of a meal, after two (?) glasses of wine, in a complex position and without sight of a board, Shirov still found the best move. Super GM’s are not like the rest of us.

Last man sitting [Marinkovic-Shirov, draw]


Thanks to:

Gordon Ritchie for organizing the event; Mrs. Ritchie for hosting the Shirovs; Tim Bouma for photos and video ; Peter Arseneau and Tim for skating excursions; the volunteers who helped set up and take down the simul gear; and of course, Alexei and Olga for coming.


Simul Games:

 -  Highlights (Updated! Feb22)

 -  Complete Games (in ECO order)


Tim Bouma took the photo of Olga and Alexei (above right) and has posted dozens of photos and a video montage.


Chessbase added a few extra photos and reposted this story for the world. 

ChessCafe's Gary Lane analyzes the simul game Desjardins - Shirov.


report: John Upper


February 3-6, 2011.: Simul and Lectures by GM Alexei Shirov

       Simul: Feb. 3, 7:30pm, (SOLD OUT)

       Lectures: Feb. 5-6, 2pm start. $150


GM Alexei Shirov comes direct from the Super-GM Tata Steel tournament at Wijk aan Zee to give a simul and lectures at the RA Club.

  • Shirov's ELO is 2722 (#24 in the world)
  • 2011 1st Keres Memorial Rapid
  • 2010 1st Shanghai Masters (2953 perf.)
  • 2010 2nd Corus, Wijk aan Zee
  • 2009 1st M-Tel Masters (ahead of Carlsen. Topalov, Ivanchuk)
  • 2007 World Cup finalist (+0=3-1 Kamsky)
  • 2005 Canadian Open (1st=)
  • 2000 FIDE World Championship finalist (+0=1-3, Anand) 
  • 1998 defeated Vladimir Kramnik in match (+2=7-0)
  • 1990 World U20 (1st=)
  • 1988 World U16 Champion 


Note: Shirov is rated 1 ELO point lower than at his RA simul last year (games here), so wins and draws should be easier this time!

He's coming again.

(by plane, not skiis)

November 18-21, 2010: Simul and Lectures by GM Nigel Short 


On Thursday November 18, GM Nigel Short played 29 opponents at the RA Chess Club, scoring 23 wins, 6 draws and zero losses.

     (in the order of the opponents Short faced)


On Saturday and Sunday Short lectured on his successful World Championship Candidates matches against Boris Gelfand and Anatoly Karpov, the latter of which made Short the first player other than Kasparov to defeat Karpov in a match.

Among the lecture highlights:

  • hearing the Budapest (g1 vs Karpov) described as a “condom opening" (use it once and throw it away)
  • hearing the long-time French defence afficionado's only partly tongue-in-cheek criticism of Black’s Bf5 in the advance Caro-Kann as ‘stupidly misplaced when it should be back on c8 where it is safely protected’.
  • watching Canadians politely stifle their skepticism when the famously proud Englishman claimed to have been attracted (attracted?!) to cricket when watching his national team play Test Matches in the late 20th century.
  • being reminded that having a super-GM rating doesn’t protect you from playing bad chess. Short said, “I played half-a-dozen pretty stupid moves”, “I played like crap”, and “This was complete rubbish”... and that was just about his play in game 2 vs Karpov.

Most intersting was studying the games as part of entire matches. When it comes to older tournaments and matches I know I’m not the only player who normally just looks at the most exciting games or the ones which overlap my opening repertoire. The result is that opening choices seem insignificant and bad moves are inexplicable. But seeing the games a parts of longer contests changes this. Here are two examples. In the sixth game of their match Karpov blundered (26...Qxd3??). Seeing this as an isolated move in one game makes it seem like a fluke. But seeing that move as part of a match shows it in a completely different light: in games 2 and 4 Karpov was under pressure as Black because Short steered him into defending pawn structures resembling the advance French, which was never part of Karpov’s repertoire; so when Karpov switched to the closed Spanish in game 6 and still found White getting the upper hand he must have felt that his Black defences were cracking. Now the bad move doesn’t seem to come from nowhere, but from several games of constant pressure.
    A second example: trailing 3½ - 1½ Gelfand chose the anaemic 5.e3 against Short’s QGD... and won! Unless you look at match games 2 and 4, and know something about the two players’ repertoires, you can’t understand why Short considers this a very clever opening choice by Gelfand, and why Short played so poorly.






Tim Bouma made the video above and took the picture on the right. He's posted dozens of pictures of all the players. You can see them here 

Chessbase added two different pictures and relayed this report  to the world! Reread it here.

Thanks to Gordon Ritchie for arranging, Stijn de Kerpel for running, and Halldor Palsson for driving. And thanks to Nigel for coming!


report: John Upper

Nigel Short (November 2010. Nov. 18, 7p.m sharp - Simul sold outLectures: Nov. 20-21 )Petrosian - Short 1978 simul

GM Nigel Short returns to Ottawa to give a simul at the RA Club.
Short's career achievements are too many to list; they include:

  • three time Commonwealth Champion (2004, '06, '08), 
  • three time British Chess Champion (1984, '87, '98),
  • three time Olympiad Team silver medalist (1984, '86, '88).
  • individual Olympiad gold medalist (1986, 10/13 board 3)
  • 1993 World Championship Match vs Kasparov.
  • 1992 first player (other than Kasparov) to defeat Anatoly Karpov in a match (+4=4-2).

He even has an MBE.


"Modern chess is much too concerned with things like pawn structure.

  Forget it. Checkmate ends the game."     - Nigel Short.
Quote #1 in The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess, Soltis (Batsford, 2008)

     Just because he's played for the World Championship doesn't mean you can't beat him.  

photo:  Petrosian - Short, 1978 simul, 0-1.

Prep Files for Nigel Short Visit: online, PGN, or Chessbase file (most complete).

Short discusses 14 of his "Greatest Hits" on this Chessbase DVD; and 15 more in Volume 2.


Alexei Shirov (February 11, 13-14, 2010)

On Thursday February 11, Super GM Alexei Shirov gave a 36-board simul at the RA Club. 


Club members won two games and drew nine, with Shirov taking the other 25.
That weekend, Shirov gave two six-hour lecture and Q&A sessions at the Club.



Gordon Ritchie, who deserves the credit for organizing this extraordinary visit, filed this illustrated report on Chessbase.

Tim Bouma took 165 photos of the simul, including the one on the right, and posted them on Picassa.



Shirov Simul games with notes: Online version | PDF

Games are in ECO order

(added, July 15, 2010)


photo: Pranav Sharma begins his upset win over GM Shirov.

2007 Canadian Open (July 2007)

RA Club members were instrumental in organizing the 2007 Canadain Open in Ottawa.


It attracted 280 players from around the world, including 22 Grand Masters (five over 2645 ELO).


The winner was GM Xiangzhi Bu (China); tied for second were: GM Nigel Short (England), GM Kamil Miton (Poland), GM Chanda Sandipan (India), IM Tomas Krnan (Canada), and GM Bator Sambuev (Russia, now Canada).







Chessbase Report by Peter Hum

Final Crosstable CFC



photo: Karoly Szalay's parents had winner Bu stay with them during the tournament.

Volunteering has its advantages!


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