Noritsyn enroute to take Canadian title
Canadian Championship Flops (again)
The 2017 Canadian Zonal in Montreal miscarried long before it even saw the light of day. Up to two weeks ago, only 3 of Canada’s top 60 FIDE-rated players had even signed up. By the time the tournament began on Tuesday of this week, that number had risen to 7. A grand total of 7 of Canada’s top 60 rated players are participating in this year’s Zonal. This number includes 2 GMs (both from Montreal) one of whom dropped out by halfway point, having already ruined his tournament and probably not wanting to play 2100-rated players for the rest of the 9 round event.
There is no point anymore to the blame game. The CFC, Canada’s official chess organization, is beyond shaming. The CFC leadership deliberately killed all funding to any and all adult chess activities in Canada years ago. What the CFC does with Kirsan’s $80,000 that was given in 2014 in return for its vote at FIDE’s presidential election is anybody’s guess…but you can probably figure that one out easily enough.
But that is not all there is to be ashamed of. The CFC also intentionally scheduled the tournament so that Canada’s most promising juniors could not participate because it conflicted with final exams in high school. When the protests started to roll in, the CFC refused to budge. Then there was the complete lack of financial conditions; what’s more, even GMs and IMs had to pay entry fees, contrary to the CFC’s official rules. Cash prizes are based on entries, deliberately low so that out of town players can not even cover their expenses.
The Quebec Chess Federation volunteered to organize and stage this year’s tournament. No other organizer was interested. The tournament is being held in some windowless basement. There is no real LIVE coverage. PGN files are only made available 6 to 8 hours after the games, but not always. Last night’s games are still not available at the time of writing this.
The spartan ‘official’ website is the only link to the outside world. Canadian chess fans must feel like they have travelled back in time 15 to 20 years. There is virtually no coverage of the tournament in international chess blogs and/or news services. The photos posted on the website are of poor quality and out of focus.
Ofcourse, the FQE could have done a much better job. The current FQE president, Bernard Labadie — one of my oldest friends– used to organize some of the classiest chess events in France that I had ever had the privilege to attend (Bernard was born and lived in France most of his adult life). Surely he could have done a much better job.
But in Canada, with the CFC doing its best to actively destroy adult chess, Bernard probably was under pressure to organize a Canadian Championship that would chase away players, potential sponsors, spectators, fans and the media. The CFC has once more succeeded in failing. Sadly.