Bluvshtein's baptism of fire

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
When I met GM Mark Bluvshtein this summer in Budapest, he told me that in one month he was going to play the strongest tournament in his career: the 10 player round-robin Montreal International 2007, where he would be seeded 9th (!) below players such as Ivanchuk and Kamsky. After some busy months Mark found the time to tell us about how he experienced this high-class event.

The Montreal International tradition started in 2000 and became an annual event, with the 8th edition taking place July 19th-28th 2007. The tournament has always been a Round Robin event made to give Canadians norm opportunities as well as opportunities to gain valuable experience against some of the best players in the world.

Andre Langlois has been organizing the event each year, always making it better than the last one. The 8th edition was the strongest to date. This was my fourth time participating in the event.

After becoming a Grandmaster at the age of 16, I have never been overwhelmed by opposition, until this summer. The participants were: Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2762), Kamsky (USA, 2718), Eljanov (Ukraine, 2701), Short (England, 2683), Harikrishna (India, 2664), Sutovsky (Israel, 2656), Tiviakov (Netherlands, 2648), Miton (Poland, 2648), Charbonneau (Canada, 2503), and I (Canada, 2520). The average rating of the tournament was 2650, by far the strongest tournament I have ever played in to date.

I am a huge chess fan, and I always saw Ivanchuk, Kamsky and Short as untouchable chess gods. In this tournament I got the chance to play against as well as interact with all of these great players.

After drawing Kamsky and Eljanov in the first 2 rounds, I beat Charbonneau and drew Miton to stand at 2.5/4. My confidence level hit sky high. Then the true strength of these guys came out, I lost 4 games in a row to Harikrishna, Tiviakov, Ivanchuk and Sutovsky to stand at 2.5/8. In the last round I was paired against Nigel Short who had a disastrous tournament. I was fortunate to come out on top.

Ivanchuk won first place with a convincing 7/9, a full point ahead of Tiviakov. Ivanchuk is the number 4 player in the world on the July 1st 2007 rating list. He is expected to be the number 2 player in the world on the next list due to his recent results.

I knew before the tournament that all of these guys are elite chess players, but as the tournament progressed I also had the opportunity to find out how nice the players are off the board.

I would like to thank Andre Langois, as well as all the sponsors for the most unforgettable tournament of my life! It has been a very long time since I felt so excited to play each game. I can hardly wait for next year's tournament.

>> watch this game in a separate window
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