A Defending Champ on Arriving in Italy
By GM Larry Kaufman   
October 26, 2009
Larry Kaufman, on the cover of the July 2008 Chess Life
I arrived in Condino, Italy today for the World Senior after many problems. First I had a great deal of trouble getting to my pre-tournament destination of Florence due to a transit strike. Then today I was told to take a train to Breccia and then a bus to the tournament area, but when I got to Breccia I was told there was no bus here! I ended up taking two buses to some town a fair ways off and then a taxi. Then when I went to the tournament site I was told that the opening ceremony was cancelled. But despite all this, everything is on track now.

The tournament is much stronger than the one I won last year, with the number of Grandmasters rising from 11 to 16. Well 20% of that increase is due to the GM title I got by winning last year, but still....Also this year there appears to be a strong Elo favorite, namely GM Vitaly Tseshkovsky at 2549. Others around 2500 include last year's co-winner GM Mihai Suba, GM Cebalo, and GM Vasyukov. Among the women (who play in their own section, though sometimes some women do play in the men's section) we find the former Women's World Champion GM Nona Gaprindashvilli.

I believe there are eight Americans this time (I'll verify this later on), down one from last year. Among them are New Orleans' master Jude Acers and the super-veteran Dan Mayers.

As for my own chances of winning, they are probably even lower than the 5-10% I estimated before last year's event. The field is tougher, I'm a year older, and my motivation, though still strong, is less than last year as I can't get a second GM title! But I'm doing everything like last year, bringing a powerful computer, having prepared well, and in general I have no excuse (so far) if I don't do well. I do hope to finish among the prize winners, not so much for the money but to prove, if only to myself, that last year wasn't a complete accident. I do still retain the one key advantage I had last year -- I can play almost any good opening, while many of my opponents are as predictible as the sun rising in the east.

See a CLO interview with Larry Kaufman shortly after he won the World Senior Championship last year. Look for more updates from Kaufman from the scene and see the official website here.