This past Sunday marked Chess'n Math's first tournament of 2016, and what it a tournament it was! Players came from far and wide, not only to compete for the montly title, but to get out ahead in the 2015-2016 Grand Prix standings. All in all 31 players attended and played in U8, U10, U12, and U16 sections. Among them were familiar faces, including returning section-winners Daniel Xu, Alex Stopic, Russell Kuo, and Marc St-Laurent. However, there were also some strong players playing in their first CMA tournaments of the year, including Svitlana Demchenko, William Rajsic, David Gan, and Benjamin Yu.
Unlike normal CMA tournaments, where players are divided based on rating, tournaments in the Grand-Prix series divide players into sections based on age. This created an interesting dynamic, as players faced largely unfamiliar competition for the first time in months. Interestingly, this dynamic seemed to show itself in the way some players approached their games. Normal openings were tossed away, and players seemed to analyze more before moving. In the early rounds, play seemed a bit more conservative, with several games, many in the U12 section, lasting longer than normal. Eventually clocks were brought out and thoughtful gazes gaveway to quick endgames. Later rounds however saw much more aggressive play, with quick mates in the U8 and U16 sections, and fast paced action in the U10 and U12 sections.
Slowly but surely, each section wrapped up its games. In the U8 section Daniel Xu cruised to victory, going a perfect 5/5. Honourable mention in the section goes to Vincent Qin, who won 4 games in a row but fell just short of catching Daniel after losing their first round matchup. The U10 and U12 sections featured almost identical storylines with ties for first (U10: Dylan Li - Matthew Zhu; U12: David Gan - Licheng Zhou) and third place finishers a half point behind (U10: Subaru Ishii, U12: Benjamin Yu). Lastly, the U16 section featured a dominant performance by first place finisher Svitlana Demchenko and a solid effort by second place finisher William Rajsic. Well done to everyone who played!!
ATTENTION ALL CHESS PLAYERS: There is another tournament coming up soon! CMA's february tournament, and the Regional Qualifier for the Ontario / Canadian Chess Challenge is coming up on February 14th. That's one week from this coming Sunday. This tournament is going to be one of the best of the year, as spots in the Ontario Chess Challenge and the possibility of getting an expenses paid trip to the Canadian Chess Challenge are on the line! Check it out here: http://chess-math.org/event/regional-qualifiers-ontario-chess-challenge-ottawa