Ladies and Gentlemen
Manitoba and Iceland have long had special ties when it comes to chess.
A century ago, an Icelandic immigrant, Magnus Smith, settled in Winnipeg and soon became the city's top chess player. He went on to win the Canadian championship in 1899, 1904 and 1906.
Then, after the Second World War, a Winnipeg grandmaster inspired a whole new generation of Icelandic players. Abe Yanofsky of Winnipeg came to Reykjavik to take part in a tournament and give exhibitions. One of our international Grand Masters, Fridrik Olafsson, has said that Mr. Yanofsky was an inspiration to a whole new group of young Icelandic chess players.
I am pleased that Manitoba chess organizers have invited Icelandic grandmasters to many of your major events, including the Canadian Open tournaments of 1986, 1994 and 1997. And of course Helgi Olafsson was here last year to participate in the Abe Yanofsky Memorial Tournament.
I wish all the participants the best of luck with their games, and let the tournament begin.