2002 Canadian Zonal Championship
March 21st to April 1st, 2002
Just for a short moment the organizers heart started to sink on Wednesday morning. On my way to pick up Jean Hebert and his family from the airport, all was white as far as the eye could see. Was it possible that we had to postpone the first round, on the first day of spring, in Vancouver, due to a snowstorm?
Well, no, the sun came out, the snow melted and the 76th edition of our Championship, going all the way back to 1872 in Hamilton, could start on time.
The tournament got underway with a well-attended players meeting, which lasted a little less than an hour. Organizers and Directors laid out the next 12 days proceedings and fielded questions from the players. This kind of meeting is very helpful as it put players, TDs and Organizers on the same "score sheet", so to speak.
The Opening Ceremony, sponsored by the Vancouver Airport Conference Resort Hotel, Coke, Inniskillin Winery, the Granville Island Brewery and Second Cup Coffee was presided over by the Mayor of Richmond, Malcolm Brodie. The Mayor performed the coin toss with Alexandre LeSiege and Dale Haessel and afterwards made the ceremonial first move on board one.
Round one got underway at 3PM.
From a sporting point of view the tournament was quite exiting as the lead changed hand numerous times and the final outcome was in doubt till the last round.
The team of Tournament Directors Lynn Stringer, Mark Barnes, Lyle Craver and Serge Archambault presided over an event without incidents. The player's behavior throughout the eleven rounds was impeccable, despite the tensions and the high stakes. Good sportsmanship prevailed at all times.
Stephen Wright and Katherine Davies provided general assistance to the TDs and Stephen also entered all the games, flawlessly. These two also assisted Lyle Craver and Lynn Stringer in keeping the three demonstration boards up to date.
Knut Neven, who played in the tournament, updated the CFC's website after every round.
Bulletins were available on the net before midnight each day and in print prior to the next round. Pairings were made right after each round and published, giving the players the maximum time for next round preparations.
The team of Chris Herringer and Darren Lee provided live links to the net and the top two games were broadcasted via WCN, together with GM commentary. Pictures of the event were posted every day and WCN conducted and published a number of interesting interviews during the event.
The co-operation between TDs, WCN, Knut Neven, Katherine Davies and Stephen Wright throughout the event was simply superb and contributed greatly to a stress free environment. It was a real privilege for me to be associated with such a great team.
We averaged about 20 to 30 spectators a day who behaved splendidly and only twice a cell phone interrupted the quiet of the tournament room.
Press coverage was reasonable with TV and Radio stations as well as a number of newspaper articles. Pascal Charbonneau, our new Champion, got front-page coverage with, count them, four pictures!!
Congratulations to our new Champion who now joins this very select group of Juniors, who won the Canadian Closed.
Thanks to all who worked so hard to make this tournament run well, and thanks once again to all the players for coming and being such model sportsmen.
Peter Stockhausen Richmond, April 12th 2002
2002 Canadian Closed
and Zonal Championship