Defeating a grandmaster is every chess player’s dream

Every chess player hopes to have the opportunity to play a grandmaster one day, and some even dream of defeating one.

The odds on both counts aren’t particularly good. While hundreds of millions of people play chess in person or online, the World Chess Federation has awarded the official Grandmaster title to less than 2,000 players. Canada has only eight active grandmasters.

In pre-pandemic times, the best chance to play a grandmaster might have come in the first round of a Swiss system open. Today, it is possible to find a match in an online blitz tournament or challenge a grandmaster in a streaming display.

The other way to play an elite player is in simultaneous exposure, where the grandmaster faces several players at once. Even then, it’s hard for the average player to make much progress.

My moment in the limelight came in 1997, when I played veteran Israeli grandmaster Leonid Gofshtein in a simultaneous show. He only had eight challengers that day, a small number as some exhibitions can include dozens of players.

Somehow I managed to win the game, in just 29 moves. It was a fun time, but I resisted the urge to turn pro after that.

Leonid Gofshtein vs. Cecil Rosner, Winnipeg, 1997

What move did Black play to force his grandmaster opponent to resign?

29. …h5, and Black will gain material on e4..

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