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A Romanian chess grandmaster and trainer is helping many of Canada’s most talented junior players achieve success on the world stage.

Gergely Szabo, 39, has been Canada’s secret weapon over the last decade in bringing a whole new generation of young players to international recognition. He has been Canada’s on-site coach for several high-profile youth championships around the world.

More recently, Szabo has teamed up with Victoria Doknjas to create the Juniors to Masters Chess Academy, which offers a national chess training program for promising Canadian juniors. Through a partnership with the Chess Federation of Canada, many young players have been sponsored to enter the academy.

Szabo says Canada has some strong chess competitors, but the lack of national training has held them back.

“Most Canadian juniors hit plateaus, get stuck for years, and perhaps give up competitive chess altogether,” he says. “We want to help Canadian juniors to break these barriers which are holding them back.”

Szabo’s latest contribution to Canadian chess development was in Romania last summer when he coached the Canadians entered in the world youth championships. At that tournament, Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux of Quebec was crowned the Under-18 champion of the world, and Rachel Chen finished ninth in the Under-14 category.

Gergely Szabo v. Stanislaw Zawadzki, Spain, 2004

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How does White finish off his opponent?

White played 27.Rxe5 dxe5 (if Bxe5 White has a nice move in 28.Bg7+ winning). 28.Bxf7 Bf5 29.Rxf5 gxf5 30.Bg7+ and Black resigned.

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