April 29, 2019Print | PDF
For the first time in its history, Laurier’s Chess Club will be hosting the Canadian University Chess Championship, which pits chess aficionados from universities across the country against each other.
This past January, Laurier’s team came fourth out of 19 teams in the open tournament at the competition, which was hosted by McMaster University in Hamilton. At the end of the day, a tight vote among participating universities determined who should host it next. Laurier won.
“Being awarded the opportunity to host the 2020 Canadian University Chess Championship is an extraordinary honour,” says Hasan Shodiev, an instructor in the Department of Physics and Computer Science and chess supervisor. “We are confident that we will be able to organize a great and highly successful competition.”
At each competition, teams of four chess players are divided into either a championship league (for those with a Canadian Federation of Chess rating of more than 1800, calculated based on the player’s performance in past games) or open league. Games are timed and can run for a maximum of 75 minutes, with 30 seconds granted per move. At McMaster’s competition in January, 25 teams representing 10 universities attended, with some coming from as far away as British Columbia. Laurier’s club hopes its competition, which is planned for next winter, will attract even more players.
Laurier’s Chess Club hosts open games every week in the Concourse on the Waterloo campus. The club also hosts simultaneous chess games every semester. Professors, talented students and grand masters are invited to play multiple games at a time, walking from board to board in a set order. In the past, the club has invited international grandmaster Mark Bluvshtein and international master Natalia Khoudgarian, who has represented Canada at the Women's World Chess Championship and the Women’s Chess Olympiads and is a four-time winner of the Canadian Women's Championship. Vladimir Kitaev, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has also played several simultaneous games.
The Laurier Chess Club is made up of more than 25 members from across disciplines, including professors and students studying business, philosophy, physics and chemistry.
“People from every walk of life are playing this game,” says Thomas Serdioukov, a fourth-year financial mathematics major and president of the club. “You don’t need to know any formulas. Anyone can play and the more you play, the better you get.”
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