A Canadian is hoping to cap off his lengthy tournament career with a victory this month at the World Senior Chess Championship in Italy.
Jean Hébert, a two-time Canadian champion and one of Quebec’s strongest players for decades, competes in the 11-round tournament that runs Nov. 14-27 in Assisi.
While there is a modest cash prize for winning the event, the real incentive is that the top player automatically qualifies for the grandmaster title. For Hébert, an international master, that would be the crowning achievement of his career.
The Quebec Chess Federation is subsidizing his airfare, and a fundraising campaign helped him organize the funds to make the trip. He turns 65 just before the tournament and has been focused on the event since winning the Canadian Seniors Championship in Halifax this summer.
The world chess federation created the annual tournament in 1991, and the first winner was former world champion Vasily Smyslov. The tournament has since been split into two sections, for players over 50 and over 65. Competition in both is fierce.
In September another Quebecer, Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux, won the world under-18 championships in Romania. With a win, Hébert would demonstrate that Quebec excels at every age level in chess.
Vasily Smyslov v. Vladimir Liberzon, Riga, 1968
Smyslov as White finds a subtle way to force the issue. What is it?
Smyslov played 37.Bd2 Qb1 38.Bd5+ Kh8 39.Bc3+ Ne5 40.Nxe5 dxe5 41.Rxe5 and Black resigned.