Every chess player hopes for the opportunity to play a grandmaster some day, and some even dream of defeating one.
The odds on both counts are not especially good. While hundreds of millions of people play chess in person or online, the world chess federation has bestowed the official grandmaster title on fewer than 2,000 players. Canada has just eight active grandmasters.
In pre-pandemic times, the best chance to play a grandmaster might have come in the opening round of a Swiss-system open. Today, it’s possible to find a game in an online blitz tournament or to challenge a grandmaster during a streaming display.
The other path to playing an elite player is during a simultaneous exhibition, where the grandmaster takes on multiple players at once. Even then, it’s hard for the average player to make much headway.
My moment in the limelight came in 1997, when I played veteran Israeli grandmaster Leonid Gofshtein in a simultaneous exhibition. He only had eight challengers that day, a small number as some exhibits can include dozens of players.
Somehow I managed to win the game, in just 29 moves. It was a fun moment, but I resisted the urge to turn professional after that.
Leonid Gofshtein v Cecil Rosner, Winnipeg, 1997
What move did Black play to force his grandmaster opponent to resign?
29. … h5, and Black will win material on e4..