I think I'm going to take a short little break from my usual blogs (although I suppose there haven't been too many lately), to talk about the Canadian chess scene. For those of you that don't know, I live in Ontario. In terms of chess, this would be considered fairly fortunate, as the majority of top level Canadian players live in the Toronto area. Unfortunately for me, I live in Northern Ontario and have to travel 5 hours by car just to get to T.O.
The nice thing is that I have no life and can go fairly often anyways :P.
The tournaments down in Toronto are really pretty amazing. Almost every tournament has a couple IM's and usually a GM or so. On top of that there are always at least a couple NM's playing along with these other masters in the open section. And then there's me, in the bottom two or three seeds, overjoyed if I actually win a game!
One of the best things about going down to these tournaments, is meeting new friends. As you immerse yourself in the chess culture, you can really learn a lot about the game. One good friend of mine I met down south is Roman Sapozhnikov. He's a national master with a Canadian rating of 2400 (well on his way to IM). A very dynamic player with an exceptional intuitive sense. It's fairly rare to get this from a master of his calibre, but he was actually nice enough to annotate one of his favourite games from his own praxis and share it with the chess.com community. To be honest, it's one of my favourite games too. Roman raises some serious questions in the opening, coming out with a typical white advantage. Black defends the game valiantly, but in the end black proves no match for Romans keen tactical sense, with or without queens on the board.