Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Oh. Canada.

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So much earnest labor is going into the confusion of sites covering the Canadian Open in Ottawa that we really must pay more attention. The overview and schedule are at this Canadian chess site. There's a fun learn-as-you-go blog to cover the event, and that links to some live and downloadable games. Some of the top games don't appear when both players decline to use the Monroi device. I hope they are getting all the scores by normal means for archival purposes. Results and standings are found yet elsewhere. That's where we find the 1700-rated teenager Dalia Kagramanov in a tie for 1st-12th with eleven Grandmasters after five rounds thanks to a skillfully played swiss gambit: winning by forfeit in the first round, losing in the second, and then winning three in a row against decidedly untitled opponents. Enjoy it while it lasts, Dalia.

That big leading GM pack includes top seed Nigel Short [actually rated two points lower than Bu Xiangzhi] and the Borschtmaster General himself, Alex Yermolinsky. Bu Xiangzhi and Milov are on 3.5. The estimated prize fund is just $20,000, so they must have made considerable efforts to bring in so many heavyweights. (They can't be there just for the poutine.) This has been seen before at Canadian opens, something to do with state sponsorship money being allowed for travel and appearance fees for specific players but not for prize funds. [Perhaps not, or at least not exactly. I'd misremembered something from 2005, see my 17:00 comment below.] It's a ten-round event with no draw offers before move 30 without approval. Yay. Friend of the Dirt (FODD) Arbiter Jonathan Berry is issuing yellow card warnings for first offense. Not sure what a red card means, but I'm sure it will make someone very unhappy. Double forfeit? In round five Mikhalevsky kept heaving pawns forward until Sambuev went under. Fun stuff. There was even a 1.g4 sighting on a top board, but it didn't exactly go well for White after the initial frisson of coolness after his first move.


Do you have to be such a snob Mig? Looks to me like Dalia is having a nice tournament, beating a couple strong players..and she's rated 1774 btw - I don't imagine any of us would like having 75 points chopped off our rating. If you can't say something nice..


what's your rating ?

Not to create any undue confusion, but for the sake of clarity, it should be known that poutine is a Quebec specialty, and that while Ottawa (Ontario) may have a few places that serve it, it really won't be prominent.

However, perhaps many of these players, who will also play in Quebec thereafter (Montreal International, 2650.9 average), were indeed lulled by the idea of poutine (not to be confused with any russian politician).


I'm not so sure that is an appropriate use of the verb "to lull." Usually, a person is "lulled into a false sense of hope" or "lulled into a state of...."

WRONG: "...were indeed lulled by the idea of poutine[.]"

RIGHT: "...were indeed lulled into thinking that they would eat poutine[.]"

Also, when telling well-known jokes ("poutine" vs. "Putin"), make sure to start with, "We have a well-known joke in Canada that first appeared when...." Otherwise, it appears as though you are trying to pass off the idea that you invented the joke. Sure, this is not a written assignment, but you should watch out for plagiarism, borrowings, and what not, if only for your own integrity.

Grammar Wiz

Mr Charbonneau used the verb correctly, since poutine is an exceptionally unhealthy dish lying in wait to ambush the diner (whose sense of proper diet is temporarily lulled) with its artery-clogging goodness.

And no joke was stolen: the poutine/putin pun could be arrived at quite innocently by GM's, ignorant grammar whizzers, no-talent Mercers and Miggish Canadaphobes alike...;)

Grammar Wiz....have you ever tried poutine? Once you have, just the idea of it will lull you. Grammar needs to catch up to reality here. :)

And very few people are going to doubt Pascal's integrity for using an old joke anymore than we doubt someone's integrity when they use a pun. Most humour of that type is borrowed and we'd never get the conversation going if we had to cite and attribute all our witticisms. Besides if Pascal had followed your advice on how to start a joke he'd have killed what humour remained.

ridiculous, as always. agree with the 1st 2 posts.

would be nice if monroi sued mig that time, so he learns a lesson..but they are just too nice...


I don't understand why there is no live transmission of the games by Monroi. Monroi, a Canadian company, appears to be one of the sponsors of the event, so it would make sense for them to promote their device by doing the live transmission. Does anybody know what is going on?

I understand there was an issue with the hotel's internet connection that prevented MonRoi from doing live transmissions. As a compromise, there is a pgn file available. It is updated regularly during rounds.

Hopefully you'll all see this helpfulness on my part as a reason to end this site's rampant and hateful canuckphobia. :)

As Pascal Charbonneau pointed out, poutine doesn't feature too heavily in Ottawa's haute cuisine. Therefore you'll have to look elsewhere for reasons why so many GMs are taking part. I know a lot of them had their participation sponsored, so the prize fund is less of an issue. There is also the chance that they'll take part in the Quebec Open or Montreal International next week.

Some of them might be headed down the road anyway. As the old joke says, the best place to go for good food in Ottawa is Montreal!

"Ridiculous, As Always."

This Shakespearean apercu absolutely MUST rotate as the Chessninja motto with "Because Losing Sucks".

It's neither Shakespearean nor an apercu, but rather more of a Migalovian imperative. But it only stands for a small component of the website, which includes (but is not restricted to) Canadian matters.

If I were in Dalia's position, I'd probably acknowledge that my results were unlikely. But I 'd still heartily celebrate a hell of a performance in Rounds 3-5. It's still a performance to be proud of, even if she blanks out from here. I strive to someday be that good.

"would be nice if monroi sued mig that time, so he learns a lesson..but they are just too nice..."
Mig doesn't need to be taught anything. He's free to say whatever he wants about 1700s tied with GMs after 5 rounds. Either it's just dumb luck, as he stated, or... it's just dumb luck.

sure hes free to express his hate and thoughts on his own site..

very high morals, what can i say..

he was not in ottawa, doesnt know much about the event, but still posts his ..oh well

and people will read this (yea, mig is popular) and will think that Canadian Open is such a bad tournament, maybe even avoid going to tournaments in Canada ..lol


There are at least two places on New York's East Side that offer Poutine and "Belgian" Fries. French Canadian and Belgian cuisine vie to be the most unhealthy, and you can both in one place. How convenient. At any rate, it is probably easier to score your Poutine in NY, than it would be Ottawa (which is in Canada, NOT Quebec).

If appearance fees are being paid out to the GMs, then they have a moral obligation (at least) to play out the games. It ought to be in the contract. The players probably don't mind it that much: Ottawa doesn't have that much to offer to the touristically minded.

I'm always fascinated to see how the trolls come up with a way to pretend to be offended by anything at all, no matter how innocuous. I said nothing at all negative about Dalia Kagramanov. Nothing. I was simply pointing out her place in the humorously improbable standings and pairings. Surely the presence of someone with that rating in the top group deserves comment. Why this should be an insult I can't imagine. Short, for example, just played Tiviakov while she played another 2100. In light of that, whether or not she's having a good tournament is hardly the point. It's a well-known phenomenon called "playing the swiss gambit" and hardly criticism.

I suppose I should start using exclamation points and smiley faces so morons can understand the obvious? How about, "Enjoy it while it lasts, Dalia!!! :-) ;-)"

"Ottawa doesn't have that much to offer to the touristically minded."

If what you mean ("touristically minded"??) is that there is little for tourists to see in Canada's capital city, you are mistaken. Your atonement begins here: http://www.ottawa.ca/visitors/attractions/index_en.html

"...Ottawa (which is in Canada, NOT Quebec)"

Ottawa is in Ontario and both Ontario and Quebec are in Canada.

Easy now DOug. Pretty soon you'll be mocking the Canadian national anthem in a headline.

Some precisions on poutine. English-speaking folks have a great word for poutine: comfort food. Unhealthy, perhaps, but kicks ass when coming out of a chess club/bar/home for a philosophical walk late at night for that last carb high. Quebec has the best poutine. Period. The cheese has to squeek and, excuses to my fellow canadians, but, your chess, I mean your cheese, does not squeek. Pascal, enjoy a poutine and cheers in those difficult times.


IA Jonathan Berry uses the Swiss Accelerated degressive pairing system (the one used in Cappelle-la-Grande, France). He "made a career" (without much success) trying to follow Phil Haley's footsteps.

Because he his Jonathan, although some people tried to explain to him why this system wasn't good for the Open, he went with it anyway. And of course, he believed he could even better the system (as I said, Jonathan IS Jonathan).

As far as Dalia Kagramanov is concerned (I think she is 13 or 14 years old now), her standing doesn't have much to do with a so called "swiss gambit".

"something to do with state sponsorship money being allowed for travel and appearance fees for specific players but not for prize funds."

Not true. Practically all the money raised for the open was through private sponsorship, although a number of foreign embassies put up some sponsorship to get their own GM's to attend.

The complete list of sponsors are listed on the main website, including embassies. Note that neither the Federal or Provincal Governments are listed.

I didn't make that up, honest. That's what one of the Canadian organizers told me in 2005 when Ivanchuk and Shirov played in the same event. Perhaps not the case this year, but I would be surprised if no public funds were involved. I'm sure someone there can inform us. Regardless, it's an impressive array of sponsors of all stripes. The consulates in particular are interesting.

Ah, wait, I found it. It's even more interesting, and I'd misremembered. This was from one of the organizers of Edmonton in 2005 (Adrien Regimbald) when I asked him about why they spent money to invite big guns instead of putting it into the prize fund:

"In our case, it wasn't actually a matter of choice. The money we used for appearance fees came from restricted funds. We raised these funds by volunteering at casinos, and the government places restrictions on how this money can be used. One expense that is expressly forbidden is prize money. owever, in my personal opinion, the expense has been worthwhile. Players of this calibre almost never venture into Canada, and this has been a tremendous experience not only for the club level players, but also as an opportunity for Canada's best players to play high level players they wouldn't often have a chance to play. As far as attendance goes, we have 223 registrations and 215 players actually playing. This is a huge turnout for a tournament in Western Canada, and is still quite large for Canadian standards in general when including Ontario and Quebec."

What a trip. The casinos are state-owned and volunteering there can generate money for events, but the govt. puts restrictions on how it can be spent. Pretty creative. I wonder if this year's event had anything similar or if it was all corporate sponsorship. I think the reason I keep these pages going is just to find out things like that.

Merci Gilbert, and since I am in Montreal, I will follow your suggestion. :)

Mig, unfortunately the creative way in which Edmonton raised funds has not been reproduced. Laws with regards to such things are generally provincial, ie would be different in Alberta from how they are in Ontario, BC or Quebec. I have not heard of any other province offering organizations to "run" a casino for a few days and keep parts of the profits. Note that it really is "running" it, you need volunteers to deal, handle cash, etc.

Alberta is still doing it, so expect some more events :) I am sure others have tried to emulate, but I can imagine it is not easy. Among other things, I am sure there is a huge list of clubs/non-profit orgs just dying to be in on it.

I guess the point of the law is you can't use money won through the state-owned casinos to hold ... private casinos with prizes! However, world-class chess players who come and do conferences, simuls, etc. is acceptable, as I think it ought to be.

It'd be interesting if somebody could dig up something similar in the US or anywhere else...they did put up quite a show!

But the Ottawa folks, as far as I know, did it a totally different way. Hats off to them.

PS: I am keeping it serious in case someone is watching my grammar or sense of humor and waiting to pounce/humiliate me :)

2005 was in Edmonton. The province of Alberta has an unusual method of handling gambling revenues. Non-profit organizations (sporting leagues, chess clubs, etc.) have the opportunity to provide labour in privately owned but heavily regulated casinos and bingo halls in exchange for a cut of the profits. Ottawa, of course, does not have recourse to this system.

This tournament is becoming very intersting.

Tonight the game Tiviakov-Yermolinsky finished in 15 moves (less than 20 minutes), once again challenging IA Berry.

Something is happening up there. Either:

a) The players have no respect for the Arbiters
b) The "no less than 30 moves draw" rule is unforceable in such a tournament and/or the players just don't care.
c) Both of the above.

Honestly, from some players comments, the general understanding seems to be that the organizers/arbiters screwed on a lot of things (including coming up with new "house rules" only a few days before the beginning of the event. In fact, players are complaining more than usual. As a well known GM said beforehand: "Give them all the money in the world if you wish, they are simply not chess organizers and therefore they will screw it up one way or the other".

And draw in 26 moves in the game Taylor-P├ępin as well.

What a blast !!

you cast the poor girl's tournament in the worst possible light-almost making fun of her for her success. hope she didn't come by your site for inspiration.

Now she's a "poor girl"? And "almost making fun of her?" Bizarre. I did nothing of the sort. I couldn't care less about her tournament. If she draws one of the GMs it will be interesting. (Although this bizarre pairing system seems to make it illegal for her to face a GM.) as of round five the interesting part was her place in the standings and the weird way she got there. Which is what I said. Any criticism or contempt for her is in your mind.

Hey Clubfoot,

"...Ottawa (which is in Canada, NOT Quebec)"

Ottawa is in Ontario and both Ontario and Quebec are in Canada.

Easy now DOug. Pretty soon you'll be mocking the Canadian national anthem in a headline.
Unlike most US Americans, I am reasonably knowledgeable about the geography of Canada. I was just having a bit of fun, giving a wink to any Quebecois independence supporters who might be reading the DD. I think that if you take the time to draw a Venn Diagram, you'll quickly notice that my statement is completely valid, since Quebec and Ontario are mutually exclusive.

You have me pegged wrong, though: I'm no USA jingoist. And I much prefer the Canadian Anthem to the Star Spangled Banner.

From the results site:

"Round 6: For humanitarian reasons, we allowed the offer and accpetance of an early draw in one game.
If anybody has humanitarian reasons of equal merit, we would allow it again."

I would imagine that applies to Tiviakov-Yermolinsky.

Funny thing Mig. Many Canadians think our anthem is lame and prefer the SSB. Politics is a different issue however. I share my birthday with George Dubya and am thinking of changing it (the shame...). My son however shares his with Kasparov which is VERY COOL :)

Having lived in Montreal my entire life, I think I know a thing or two about poutine. Mostly, I know that poutine is an experience rather than just a food and, like everything else, it can't be replicated in Canada's most boring city Ottawa. So you can say most players for lulled into playing in Ottawa but dulled by its inertia.

I don't understand why so many people are pretending to be offended by what Mig said about Dalia's situation. After all, if I had beaten two experts in a row as a B-class player, I would enjoy it, too! I think there are a lot of people that need to stop making up things to be offended at. Life's too short for that type of egocentric whining.

I still can't find any of the games or results. A thousand links to pairings, before round, after round, during? The results (or should I say pairings?) page is completely separate from the promotional. What is a draw for humanitarian reasons? Was somebody dying from hunger? This is the most Canadian website ever.

BTW, a few years back a great MMA promotion PRIDE put in a "yellow card" rule of its own, penalizing fighters 10 percent of the purse for inactivity. I have been a big favorite of something like that in chess. No need for ratings and game quality to suffer by forcing them to play on. But it's the kind of penalty that would make the players think twice, especially if they do it repeatedly.

Having been in Dalia's situation on at least one occasion (less than a year ago), I second Mig's (and stendec's) observation.

Last November I entered a tournament that had two schedules. They were officially called something like 3-day and 5-day, but the unofficial names were more telling: "strong" and "weak".

With my dislike for rapid chess, I played in the longer schedule; while most top seeds, as usual, opted for the 3-day.

I scored 4.5 / 5 in my initial weekend of "slow" chess against opponents from the 5-day schedule. Meanwhile the GMs playing the shorter schedule had played their first 5 rounds in a single day, all at G-30; not surprisingly, the fast time control contributed to a number of upsets.

So when the two schedules merged at the start of the second weekend, the merged wall chart began like this: Jacobs, 4.5; GM Yudasin, 4; FM Figler, 4; Sena, 4; and a 3.5 batch that included GM Izoria, IMs Bonin and Lenderman, FM Critelli, WFM Zenyuk and several others.

When that merged wall chart got replaced for the next round, I made sure to ask TD Steve Immitt to let me keep the round 5 version, so I could frame it. It will be a long time before I'll ever see another one with my name standing alone above that sort of crowd!

So I very much relate to the remark, "Enjoy it while you can!"

Alas, Steve Immitt did not use Canadian pairings. So I faced GM Yudasin, IM Lenderman and IM Bercys in my next three rounds, and managed just 0.5 point from those three encounters.

"BTW, a few years back a great MMA promotion PRIDE put in a "yellow card" rule of its own, penalizing fighters 10 percent of the purse for inactivity. I have been a big favorite of something like that in chess. No need for ratings and game quality to suffer by forcing them to play on. But it's the kind of penalty that would make the players think twice, especially if they do it repeatedly."

That's a great idea, but instead of framing the concept as a penalty that reduces the prizes, it should be given as a bonus, in order to induce fighting chess. It would actually be more useful for the organizers to have a free hand to reward the fighters, without having to resort to transparent criteria. After all, if players are inclined to draw, they can still placate the organizers by exchanging off all of the pieces, and agreeing to a draw on move 31. However, no real fight has taken place, of course. If the organizers are able to reward bonus "Fight money" by fiat, then it would make sense to give such a bonus to 40-50% of the GMs, since that would induce maybe 80% of the Top players to strive for the bonus.

I like it more as a form of penalty for a couple of reasons:

1. If I am the kind of the guy who likes to play it safe anyway, I am also more likely to play it safe by getting a draw rather than risking it for a bonus pay or an improvement in final standings (which, btw, often equal each other).

2. Making it "bonus" money requires an extra inflow of cash into chess. You could however easily redirect "penalty" money into brilliancy bonuses or next year's prize fund.

Mig, there was a typo:
"Enjoy it while it lasts, Dalia."

There fixed for you:
"Congratulations to you! Try to keep it going, Dalia!"

As much as I would like to run a blog dedicated to the mindless cheerleading of every amateur who had a good result, I don't have the time to do two.

Congratulations, Mig and zarghev! Try to keep it going!


There was a typo:

Mig, there was a typo:
'Enjoy it while it lasts, Dalia.'

There fixed for you:
'Congratulations to you! Try to keep it going, Dalia!'

Here fixed for you:

Mig, when you don't give love and kisses to an amateur, you hurt all our feelings--especially with cruel words like:
'Enjoy it while it lasts, Dalia.'

You must pander to our egos as fragile wanna-bes with all the enthusiasm of a parent watching his 3rd grader's baseball game with words like:
'Congradulations to you! Try to keep it going, Dalia (or zarghev, or any other name that is appropriate for the situation)'

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