FM Dale Haessel (Calgary, Canada, 2168)
46 years old.
The lowest ranked player in the competition, is very capable of upsetting players of a very high caliber. In the 2012 edition Dale upset GM Victor Mikhalevski thus preventing the GM from possibly winning the first place in the competition. In the last round of the 2013 edition of the event, Dale managed to draw GM Nigel Short. His best tournament occurred in the 2011 Calgary International where he scored his only IM norm to date.
Dale is the only player who has played in all 9 Edmonton Internationals. His best performance to date occurred in 2008 when he scored 4.5/9.
IM Richard Wang (Edmonton, Canada, 2365)
15 years old. If Eric Hansen was the trailblazer of Alberta Chess, Richard is on a mission to break his records. Already a two time World Youth Championship Bronze medalist, Richard has had a tremendous last year. In 2012 Richard finished third in the Canadian overall championship, a performance which earned him an IM title. He won the Canadian Junior (20 and under) championship and tied for third in the Canadian Open. At the age of 15 Richard can already start thinking about the next step of becoming a Grandmaster.
This will be Richard's 5th Edmonton International. So far, his best performance was actually in the last year's edition when he scored 5.5/9 (according to traditional scoring system as a 3 point scoring system was used last year) and finished 3rd.
GM Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine, 2738)
45 years old.
One of the greatest chess players of the past 25 years.
GM Ivanchuk is currently ranked 16th in the world but he has been ranked as high as number 2 on several occasions.
His tournament wins include winning the Linares Super-tournament 3 times, winning Wijk Aan Zee, Tal Memorial, M-Tel Masters, etc... Vassily won the 2007 Blitz World Championship and finished Runner-Up in the 2001 FIDE World Championship.
This will be GM Ivanchuk's first appearance in the Edmonton International; however, he has played in the Canadian Open in Edmonton back in 2005, when he shared first place.
GM Wesley So (Philippines, 2744)
20 years old.
This top player from the Philipines is also one of the top young players in the world.
His list of notable achievements is constantly growing.
In October, 2008 Wesley broke Magnus Carlsen's record as the youngest ever player to break the 2600 threshold. In 2009 FIDE World Cup he famously knocked out the International's top player, GM Vassily Ivanchuk in what was considered a shocking result at the time.
It seems like last year, Wesley's game reached a new level as he surpassed the 2700 threshold and won a very strong tournament in the Netherlands, the Hoogoven 17th Unive Chess Tournament.
Last year, Wesley took his first trip to Alberta as he convincingly won the Calgary International with a score of: 8/9!
Currently Wesley studies business at the St. Louis University where he is part of a very strong chess team which includes many other top young players.
This will be Wesley's 1st Edmonton International appearance.
GM Irina Krush (USA, 2484)
30 years old.
Last year Irina finally achieved the 3rd GM norm and became one of the few women to hold the overall title of Grandmaster.
GM Krush won the US Women's Championship on five separate occasions and she is current defending champion. She is a regular member of the US Women's national team, which she lead to the Bronze medal at the Chess Olympiad in 2008.
This will be Irina's second appearance in the Edmonton International. In her previous appearance in 2011, she finished fourth with a score of: 5.5/9.
IM Raja Panjwani (Kitchener, ON, Canada, 2440)
24 years old.
IM Panjwani is on his way to becoming one of Canada's next Grandmasters. He already has one GM norm behind him and there is little doubt that as long as his academic pursuits as a graduate student at Oxford will not get too much in a way, he should be able to accomplish this goal.
This will be Raja's second appearance in the Edmonton International. He tied for fifth in the 2008 event with 5/9.
FM Vladimir Pechenkin (Edmonton, Canada, 2311)
36 years old.
In recent years the Edmonton International was not Vlad's best tournament as he often struggled to win despite the fact that he was often difficult to beat for others. The Edmonton International is not known for its propensity for draws but in the 2011 edition, he managed to score 8 draws that went along with one win!
If in good shape Vlad is capable of showing a good result, which he proved at the 2012 Calgary International where he earned an IM norm. Hopefully, Vlad's new role as the Executive Director of the Alberta Chess Association will not stand in a way of showing good chess results.
This will be Vlad's 6th appearance in the Edmonton International. His best result was a tie for fourth at the 2011 edition with 5/9.
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GM Anton Kovalyov (Canada, 2636)
22 years old.
Last year Anton officially changed his federation to Canada, as he resided in Montreal since 2009. This propelled him to becoming the highest rated player in the country. In his 22 years Anton had quite an interesting life as he was born in Ukraine but spent much of his childhood in Argentina, a place where he really grew up as a chess player.
Among Anton's major chess accomplishments, we can include his win in the 2010 Quebec Invitational and first place at the very strong Foxwoods Open early this year.
This will be Anton's second appearance at the Edmonton International. In 2012 he finished third with 6/9.
FM Elect Alex Yam (Calgary, Canada, 2299)
29 years old.
Alex Yam is the 2014 AB Champion. He qualified to the International by winning an Edmonton International Qualifier event. During the tournament his FIDE rating surpassed the 2300 mark which earned him the FIDE Master title.
This will be Alex's first appearance in the Edmonton International.
Sam Shankland (USA, 2632)
22 years old.
Currently ranked sixth in the US. GM Shankland's major accomplishments include: tying for first in the 2008 World Under 18 championship and taking 3rd in the 2011 US Championship. Last year GM Shankland was selected to be a member of the US National team for the first time as they played a match against China.
This will be GM Shankland's first ever Edmonton International and first tournament in Alberta.