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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Successful 89th Montreal Open Chess Championship

Yesterday I got an email from Janet Newton (Jan), here is what she wrote:

"Dear Alexandra,

Here is an update on the 89th Montreal Open Chess Championship held in Montreal, Quebec September 11 - 13, 2009.

Early in June I read about this tournament. As you know, one of our goals is to promote more chess femmes to play in local tournaments and this one seemed ideal for our purposes. Not too big and not too small, and in Don McLean's hometown. Don is an original founder of Goddesschess and its long-standing webmaster.

We made our offer to fund some prizes for the female players in the B, C and D classes, and our communication had an unexpected result. We received a "yes, thank you", which we hoped we would, but our offer, coming out of the blue, so it seemed to the organizers, had the effect of energizing everyone involved in putting the 89th Championnat together!

New ideas were cooking! The organizers decided upon an intense effort to attract as many female players as possible and also scholastic level players. New initiatives were started -- Early on, Goddesschess was approached for and agreed to provide funds to assist in this endeavor. You and your website became involved when a request was made for your assistance in getting the word out to WGMs who might be interested in appearing at the Championnat. The organizers were determined!

Goddesschess was not involved directly in the process of finding a WGM who would come to Montreal to play in the Championnat, but the organizers kept us informed on developments. Ultimately, WGM Salome Melia (GEO 2441), who read about the Championnat's quest for a WGM at your, was decided upon and the organizers kicked into high gear! Would she be able to get the paperwork processed to get a visa in time? Everyone was on pins and needles!

It was a happy ending after much suspense. WGM Melia arrived on time. The organizers had made all arrangements to provide for the WGM's comfort, including providing a place to stay, meals, and showing her many of the wonderful sights and attractions that Montreal offers when she stayed some days after the conclusion of the Championnat. They also arranged for WGM Melia to play a simul at a popular local chess cafe, Pi.

So, you see, Alexandra, that you and your played an important role in bringing the Championnat and WGM Melia together.

Don McLean was onsite all three days of the Championnat and took over 100 photographs and several videos. They can be found here.

The organizers' efforts to attract more chess femmes met with great success! In all, 19 females registered and 17 actually played in the 89th Championnat. This was about 10% female participation rate, out of 191 players. In the 88th Championnat, approximately 5% of the players were chess femmes. The 191 players was also the highest participation in the Championnat since many years ago!

WGM Melia was the second highest rated player at the Tournament, and she performed excellently, finishing in 2nd place overall in the Open with 4.0/5. She won the title, an old Championnat tradition that was revived this year, as Female Champion of Montreal.

Here is a summary of the final standings of the winners in the Open and Class sections, and all of the chess femmes who played:

Class A:

1 Hebert, Jean MI 2418 +32 +14 +5 +11 =2 4½ 1300,00
2 Salome, Melia GMF 2441 +22 +13 +18 =3 =1 4 235,00
3 Jiang, Louie MF 2278 +31 +15 +12 =2 =4 4 235,00
4 Gerzhoy, Leonid MI 2412 +16 =8 +10 +7 =3 4 235,00
5 Mai, Lloyd 2194 +29 +9 -1 +24 +13 4 235,00
6 Barbeau, Sylvain MF 2365 =20 +41 +8 =9 +12 4 235,00

Class B:

1 Kayembe, Doris 1943 +47 +42 +4 +3 +8 5 650,00
38 Wang, Kelly 1529 -27 -16 -46 +52 +53 2 45,00 (Goddesschess prize)
40 Yang, Marguerite 1317 -10 -34 B--- -20 +50 2
52 Wang, Yan 1620 -48 -45 -50 -38 B--- 1

Class C:

1 Ross, Samuel 1595 +50 +18 +5 +15 =2 4½ 188,33
2 Chang, Michael 1553 +54 +40 +17 +4 =1 4½ 188,33
3 De Gongre, Stephane 1575 +41 =13 +19 +27 +9 4½ 188,33
22 Lee, Mei Chen 1516 +56 +49 -4 -18 +41 3 35,00 (Goddesschess prize)
38 Trottier, Claire 1202 =10 +30 -27 -13 =52 2
48 Ma, Indy 1371 H--- =24 -39 -46 +55 2
53 Bilodeau-Savaria, Cendrina 1109 -11 -21 =45 -57 +60 1½
56 Paquette, Esther 992 -22 -17 B--- -33 -47 1
61 Del Agua, Jesrael Noelle unr. -6 F32 U--- U--- U--- 0

Class D:

1 Saine, Zachary 1034 +30 +23 +20 +2 +5 5 170,00
18 Brichko, Kate 1054 +25 H--- -7 -10 +28 2½ 25,00 (Goddesschess prize)
21 Dormeus, Sandy 850 -12 +30 +23 -4 -16 2
22 Dubois, Lorraine 989 -20 +29 +16 -3 -14 2
27 Gao, Christine 1105 -4 =11 -14 -15 +31 1½
29 Nazarov, Stephanie 743 -9 -22 H--- -28 +32 1½
32 Gao, Catherine 747 -2 -16 -30 -25 -29 0

I understand that the organizers asked the participants in the Championnat to fill out and turn in a survey, and many complied. I do not know the particulars of the survey, but I was told that there was overwhelming support from all of the players, young and old, female and male, for another Championnat next year just like this year's. Don McLean quoted one of the fathers of a young chess femme who was playing in the Class C section, "by adding flowers (women and children) to the trees, (chess kings and princes) something quite precious and magical was discovered."

I have also been told that for the 90th Championnat, the organizers will not settle for anything less than 20% female participation!

I did many posts about the action at the 89th Championnat at the goddesschess blog and Don McLean also posted information and links at the goddesschess."


I'm very glad to hear that my blog helped Montreal to find a strong WGM and I hope that one day this blog will be the leading portal for women's chess player and tournament organizers. I believe that if we work together and cooperate, our efforts will allow many more people to learn about our wonderful game and there will be more women's chess events, and ultimately more women will play chess.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion



  • At September 19, 2009 at 4:17 PM , Anonymous René said...

    20% ladies participation is a great target, I hope it will go up even more after that.

  • At September 19, 2009 at 8:59 PM , Blogger Jan said...

    Hello Rene,

    I am confident that the organizers of the 90th Montreal Open Chess Championship will try their best to achieve their goal of 20% female player participation, and we at Goddesschess will support them in whatever ways we can.

    Jan Newton


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