Prince Edward Island Travelogue

06.02.18 We had the pleasure of venturing up to Prince Edward Island over Memorial Day weekend. While there, we took in the Charlottetown Open, visited Prince Edward Island National Park, and experienced Island life Canadian style. We hope you enjoy this richly illustrated report with a selected game and Chess Federation of Canada crosstable from the tournament.

The beautiful north shore of Prince Edward Island

Thanks to Fred McKim for contributing to this report.

Chess Federation of Canada crosstable of the Charlottetown Open

Prince Edward Island is Canada's smallest province both in land area (the main island is slightly larger than Delaware) and population (the 2018 estimate is 152,768) but, ironically, it has the highest population density of any province. The landscape and natural resources are just beautiful and may best be described as pastoral. Visitors have compared the Island to Vermont with an ocean. Farming is prevalent in the Island's rich red soil and although it's the smallest Canadian province, PEI produces 25% of the country's potatoes.

The capital city of Charlottetown is home to about 36,000 residents which gives it a small, quaint feel but at the same time it has a multi-cultural, international flavor. We indulged in exquisite meals all over the Island with an emphasis on seafood!

Our hosts at the Dawson House Bed and Breakfast in Charlottetown treated us like royalty with exquisite accommodations and to-die-for breakfasts served in their welcoming dining room. Using the Dawson House as our command central, we made our way to the northern and eastern regions of the Island and also to the University of Prince Edward Island where we met Fred McKim, Chess PEI Director, who organized and directed the Charlottetown Open.

We hope you enjoy this pictorial travelogue of the Gentle Island.

Prince Edward Island is our neighbor to the northeast. From the Bangor area it's about a six-hour drive to Charlottetown. That trip is shorter than it seems though because the roads are virtually vacant the whole way.

The eight-mile-long Confederation Bridge connects New Brunswick with Prince Edward Island. Construction took place from October 1993 to May 1997 and cost $1.3 billion Canadian. Getting to the Island is free; coming back is $47.00 Canadian. image:

We began our adventure at the Dawson House B&B on North River Street in Charlottetown

which was just a short, enjoyable walk to downtown.

Our hosts Randy McGonnell and Stacey O'Neill

The Dawson House dining room

We weren't kidding about the breakfasts which included homemade croissants!

Homemade muffins, yogurt, eggs, French toast, fresh fruit, juices, coffees, teas and more

Just up the road, on University Avenue, is the University of Prince Edward Island home of the 2018 Charlottetown Open.

UPEI has a beautiful campus that melds the old school architecture of the Steel Building

with the more modern looking W.A. Murphy Student Centre.

In the center of campus stands the Clock Tower.

The Charlottetown Open was held in the Robertson Library Building.

Tournament organizer and director Fred McKim engages in the lost art of hand pairing.

Third-round pairings

A closer look at the pairing cards reveals the top two rows indicate color, (A number in the top row means the name of the player on the card will play the white pieces vs that player. If a number appears on the second row, the player whose name is on the card will have the black pieces vs that player.), the third row is per-round results, and the last row is total score.

The tournament was fortunate to have visiting master and top-seeded Robert Sasata from Saskatchewan. Putting up 3.5 points, Sasata was able to finish equal third with

Richard Bowes.

Rising to the top of the crosstable with 4.0 points in five games were Jason Manley and

Tony Wu.

Fred McKim finished equal fifth with

Derek Vihvelin.

Top Junior award winner Alexander Sasata

Yoav Gonen

Yaron Felter-Gonen

Bella Yang received the Most Improved award.

Anmol Verma took home the Second Most Improved award.

Mark Fowlie won the Top U1700 award.

Vadym Stoilor

Michael Yao earned the Top U1400 award.

Raymond Pilon

Leon Xing

Board 1: Robert Sasata (left) plays Richard Bowes

The co-champion of the Charlottetown Open Tony Wu (left) plays Derek Vihvelin in round four.

A wide look at the tournament room

This event used boards and pieces a bit smaller than we are used to. Rather than the standard 2.25 inch squares in the U.S., these boards had more like 1.75 inch squares and smaller pieces.

The other co-champion Jason Manley (right) plays Alexander Sasata in the tournament room and

analyzes with him in the skittles room. Please click below to replay this game.

Alexander Sanasta (1595) - Jason Manley (2157) Charlottetown Open May 27, 2018: Round 4, Board 2, 0-1

After the tournament, we headed north through some beautiful country.

The iconic dunes at Prince Edward Island National Park along the Gulf Shore Parkway on the north shore of the Island. image:

PEI features miles of beautiful beaches that were almost completely uninhabited while we were there during the last week in May.

Dunes, surf, and lots of space with very few people.

At the extreme western end of PEI National Park is Robinson Island.

The sand on Robinson Island takes on a distinct reddish hue.

This image does not do the Robinson Island Trail justice. The air was a fragrant mix of the sea breeze and lush vegetation that was just beginning to come alive with the onset of summer and the birds sounded like the finest philharmonic orchestra.

This ingenious contraption is a hand-crank-powered audio explanation of some of the archeological features of the Island.

Bikers and walkers share the Robinson Island Trail.

I had to document this as a testament to the thoughtfulness and planning that seems to be endemic to the Canadian Park System. It's a bike repair station out in the middle of the trail complete with tools, a pump, and a mount to hang your bike while carrying out necessary maintenance.

Just east of Robinson Island is Brackley Beach--highly recommended to us by the locals.

National and Provincial Park beaches are easily accessible via wide boardwalks.

Happening on a seaside restaurant in North Rustico,

we enjoyed this view right from our table.

And had this delightful seafood-mushroom combination baked into a piece of French bread with fresh green salad.

You could imagine and almost hear the stories told by this abandoned seaside shack in North Rustico.

We continued west to the town of Cavendish.

And more beautiful beaches and boardwalks.

We got a hot tip about a music venue that served great food so we made our way out to Mount Stewart and the Trailside Music Café and Inn about half an hour from downtown Charlottetown.

The café is an unassuming joint.

After an outstanding meal of seafood cakes, local organic greens, beets, potatoes and some craft beverages, we enjoyed the sounds of

Prism Shores and


The flags of Canada and all her provinces fly outside the Confederation Centre of the Arts in downtown Charlottetown.

You have to respect a town for taking on not only public recycling but also public composting!

Downtown Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Farewell PEI until text time!


Looks like a beautiful trip for a retiree like myself as soon as I acquire a passport . Pairing tournaments by hand , what other way is there ?

Enjoyed the pics and comments! I biked around the island the spring of 1994. We didn't have any chess games but we did have some food to die for...which I see they haven't lost their touch. Thanks for the memories, Dick

Dan neglects to mention that it is very easy for Americans to get a tournament membership card to play in the Maratimes, and it is always nice to see a tournament hall filled with people you've never played before, which can be difficult in Northern and Eastern Maine.

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