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After a successful career in business and consulting, Brian Hartman has one major piece of unfinished business: becoming a chess grandmaster.

Once a top-ranked Canadian player, Hartman ran a successful consulting company for 15 years before selling it a few months ago. Though he’s still busy working with the new owners, he also wants to satisfy his long-time chess ambition.

“It’s the ultimate prize, really,” says the 65-year-old Parry Sound resident. “But it’s an achievement that’s very difficult to get.”

His plan is to compete in this month’s Canadian Seniors Championship in Halifax, and then play in the World Seniors where the winner automatically earns the grandmaster title.

Growing up in Hamilton, Hartman was inspired by Paul Vaitonis, who was a champion of both Lithuania and Canada. That inspiration led him to a spot on Canada’s Olympiad team and eventually an international master title.

But when offered the chance to take a run at becoming a grandmaster in the 1980s, he chose education over full-time competition, and doesn’t regret the decision.

Hartman knows that most players are at their peak in their twenties, but he is assessing his chances strategically. He is going to rely on his judgment and maturity to take the next step on his life-long journey of chess achievement.

Brian Hartman v Vince McCambridge, Chicago, 1985

Handout

How does White force a winning attack?

After 35. Nxf7 Nxf7 36. Rxf7 Kxf7 37. Qh8. Black resigned shortly afterwards.