I was born in Montreal, Canada in 1954 and can’t remember exactly when I fell in love with the game. When I was 15 I played in my first nationally rated tournament…and I lost the very first game! My Irish genes made me a talented fighter by nature, so I quickly bounced back. At 17 I was a Master level player; at 18 I qualified for the National Team; at 20 I was an IM.
Then there was a long lull. In Montreal in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s there were no opportunities to get a GM-norm. (The world and the rules have changed since.) I feel that I was GM-strength at age 22, but had to wait until 30 to officially be awarded the GM title. In between, I won virtually every major North American Open tournament (except the US Open, where I only finished 2nd), and twice the CommonWealth Championship.
In the summer of 1985 I qualified for the Candidates Tournament , at the time only the 5th North American to do so, after Fischer, Reshevsky,Benko and Robert Byrne. (Yasser Seirawan qualified a week after at the Biel Interzonal –becoming number 6–and we both played in the Montpellier Candidates Tournament later that year.)
A few years later (1988) I was back in the Candidates Matches, defeating Andrei Sokolov but then losing to Artur Yussupov. Soon afterwards I moved to Portugal (married!) and have been resident there ever since.
I have won the Canadian Zonal as well as the Canadian Open on numerous occasions (too many to care to remember) and I have played on the Canadian National Team eight times. I continue to play with the Canadian flag even today.
I play a lot less now a days, but I am still a pretty strong practical player. I have also earned an excellent reputation as a worldclass coach/trainer over the past twenty-odd years or so, and I have worked (and continue to work) with some of the world’s best.
Besides writing this blog, I have written dozens of chess articles reproduced in numerous languages. I will publish four (4!) e-books sometime in the next 6 months. As well, I have served on the FIDE Journalist Commission for the past 2 years (2014-2016)
Another one of my pupils, Joao Costa, a talented Portuguese master who has represented Portugal at the Olympiad.