Chess Connects Us - Tournament Recap

Judit Polgár organized her first Global Chess Festival in 2007, even before she retired from competitive chess in 2014.  The event has been growing steadily and the 2023 edition was no exception. With live activities in Budapest and a multitude of online activities the organizers brought together chess players from around the world. 

Although Magnus Chess Academy grew out of a local company, our growing online club includes students and coaches from around the world.  Two of our coaches and two of our students  were lucky enough to participate in Chess Connects Us Championship (CCUC), which was one of the online events associated with the Global Chess Festival.   

The CCUC was an eleven round online blitz tournament played on The tournament was played in two sections: Open (our coaches) and Youth (our students).  Chess clubs from around the world were represented, living up to the “Chess Connects Us” theme of the festival. 

This tournament recap features selected games from our players (annotated by the players themselves), along with some inspirational messages.  We were very proud to have the following players represent Magnus Chess Academy in this event:

  • FM Gustavo Cadena Montoya (coach)
  • WFM Uthra Pakkirisamy (coach) 
  • Will Moorhouse (student) 
  • Olivia Ryerson (student)

Results - Open Section

Our coaches had strong results in the very tough open section.  Coach Uthra finished with 7.5 / 11 and took 5th place on tie-breaks.  Coach Gustavo finished on 6.5 / 11, taking 14th place on tie-breaks. The Open section had over 60 players, including several titled players. 

Games - Open Section

Coaches Uthra and Gustavo have each provided two annotated games from the tournament. 

Keep Calm and Know Your Endgames

In her 2nd round game, Coach Uthra obtained a very strong position using the Mikenas Attack out of the English Opening.  Unfortunately, after missing a crushing tactic on move 20, it was time to save a draw.  Check out the game to see how Coach Uthra used her endgame knowledge to calmly make a draw with only seconds left on her clock.

Bishops have X-Ray Vision

In her 9th round game, Coach Uthra won a nice attacking game using the power of the bishop pair.  Review the game to see how Uthra used her x-ray vision to create pinning tactics along the h7-b1 diagonal.  


Bouncing Back with the Benko

Coach Gustavo teaches us how important it is to put bad results behind us.  Despite a tough loss in the first round he came ready to  “win at all costs” in the 2nd round.  Check out the game to see how Gustavo used the Benko Gambit to surprise his opponent.

Crushing with the Catalan

By the fifth round, Coach Gustavo was really enjoying himself (“Here we go!”) and played a very strong attack using the Catalan opening. Check out the annotated game to see how Gustavo’s opponent was unable to complete development before tactics erupted in the center of the board. 


Results - Youth Section

There were some very strong players in the Youth section.  Olivia finished with 4/11 and enjoyed the opportunity to play against some higher rated players from around the world.

Will had a fantastic tournament and took 1st place with 9/11.  He won his first four games, then lost two in a row, only to storm back and win his last 5 games.  Congratulations Will, you make us very proud! 

Games - Youth Section

Why we say “Good Luck” 

Will played some brilliant chess on his way to 1st place.  However, he reminds us that luck is part of the game too.  Check out Will’s notes to this game, where some luck was indeed involved.  



The Global Chess Festival and the tournament reminded us that Chess Connects Us.  Our coaches and students faced chess players from around the world and did extremely well. 

The following weekend, Olivia and her mom were seen playing in a local chess tournament.  We think that is another aspect of how Chess Connects Us.  You don’t need to play on the international stage to enjoy the game of chess.  You don’t need to be a master, or future master to have fun.  We love to see family and friends playing chess together.  

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