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Leon Piasetski has won trophies as both the top junior and the top senior champion in Canada, and he still aims to keep winning tournaments.

Born in Montreal, Piasetski quickly became one of the country’s best chess players and earned an international master title in 1975. But university studies and professional life started competing for his time.

“I thought it was good to develop myself in other ways rather than be completely obsessed by the game,” he says. He spent most of his career as a university lecturer but always returned to competitive chess despite some periods of inactivity.

In 2016 he won the Canadian Seniors title, 46 years after his junior championship victory. He is hoping to win the senior championship yet again at a tournament this weekend in Halifax.

“It gets harder physically, of course,” says the 70-year-old, who now lives in Davis Bay, B.C. It’s also humbling to sit across from nine and 10-year-old kids who have grandmaster coaches and are out to win at all costs.

“I didn’t want to rely on chess for my livelihood,” he says. “When I was young I wanted to play against the big guys. I still want to be able to play grandmasters.”

Leon Piasetksi v Dusan Rajkovic, Yugoslavia, 1977

Handout

Both sides are threatening to Queen a Pawn. How does White win?

Piasetski comes up with the clever 44. Be6! Rxe6 45. Rb6! h1=Q46. e8=Q+ and White wins.