(translation of Russian column) By MICHAEL SPIVAK Learn from the best - simultaneous game play
On the first Sunday in November, 2016 the chess club “Erudite” had a vist from a well-known local chess palyer: International Master, member of the Canadian team at the Olympic Games of 1976 and at the Pan American Championships of 1974 – University of Manitoba Professor Irwin Lipnowski.
Lipnowski played 11 boards against young players aged 7 to 15 years. As acknowledged by the master, he had hoped to win all the games in half an hour, but the high quality opposition of the younger players prevented this. At the third hour of the game at half-boards, it was still a close contest. Some of the games ended in a deep endgame. In the end, the skill and experience of the venerable guest brought his stunning victory on all boards, but as Lipnowski said after the match - it wasn’t easy; he had to work hard to win.
Followin up that first meeting with Irwin Lipnowski, our club “Erudite” will start the tradition of holding simultaneous games on a regular basis with the strongest players in Manitoba. Such meetings provide on the one hand, the recognition and respect of the best chess players and on the other hand, will allow the continuity of generations and the transfer of expertise to younger players.
The history of “Erudite” club
I founded The Children’s Chess Club in early 2011 at the private school “Erudite”as a cultural and educational center in Manitoba. The first students were children of primary elementary school age who, at the time of the start of classes did not know how to play chess. Intensive classroom training and homework assignments in conjunction with practice led to positive results. One year later, a graduate of the club won first place at the Manitoba championship among schoolchildren of his age. A year later, students from “Erudite” won first, second and third place in their age categories.
Students of the club confidently played chess in city competitions where they won a large number of medals and award ribbons. Only participating in a portion of 2012 (when the club “Erudite” became actively involved in competitions), they brought in 19 awards: six of them in first place, ten in second place, and three in third place. In the same year, the Winnipeg team achieved victory in a friendly Internet match with a team from Montreal.
With each new year, the club has grown not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. Despite the fact that a few strong players moved to other cities with their parents, the club has grown from ten to forty students. New student groups appeared: a beginners group, a middle group which played in city and provincial tournaments, and an advanced group whose members were rated in the top 50 players in the province. All groups were separated by skill level, not by age.
In 2015, I received an invitation from the Russian organizing committee for “World Games of young compatriots” to organize a Canadian team for adolescents aged 12 to 15 years. The organizers sent a requirement restriction: “... teenagers who speak the Russian language”. This restriction significantly reduced the number of candidates for selection. In Canada, a lot of Russian-speaking students played good chess, but some of them could not participate in the selection because some had problems obtaining an entry visa, some had personal plans for the tournament period, and some parents decided not to let their children go alone on a long trip. Chess clubs of other cities refused to participate, saying “no one was interested,” or they simply did not respond to the request. Only a team of players from Winnipeg was selected; a qualifying tournament was held, the results of which determined the team members.
The hosts in Russia enthusiastically greeted more than 600 people from 34 countries. Former world champion Anatoly Karpov gave a speech and a few days later he played a simultaneous game with teenagers.
When the tournament started, our team was faced with the tournament favorites, the chess masters of the Russian and Israeli teams. After experiencing initial losses they did not give up and began climbing up the rankings. As a result, they finished 13th out of 26 teams, which was a decent result.
As of the end of 2016, the club ”Erudite” is the largest children’s chess club in Manitoba. Among the students, a lot of club representatives are from the Jewish, Russian, and Chinese communities, as well as from other countries of the former USSR.
Classes are conducted at the club, both in Russian and English languages. “Erudite” is dynamically developing and taking an active part in the activities of the Manitoba Scholastic Chess Association.
The club is open to all fans of the ancient game.