SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
IM Renier Castellanos Rodriguez (born 1982) won the 2nd annual POM sponsored Quebec Elite Championship today with an impressive 6.5 points from 7 games. GM Anton Kovalyov finished in 2nd place with 6 points. GM Bator Sambuev, Steve Bolduc and Zi Yi Qin tied for 3rd position with with 5 points. A total of 36 players participated in the tournament.
Probably Quebec’s most important chess event after the Quebec Open, the tournament took place between the 8th and 11th of October (Thanks Giving Weekend). While not very top-heavy in terms of native Quebec masters–missing were Canadian Champion IM Jean Hebert as well as GMs Alexandre Lesiege and Pascal Charbonneau–it was nice to see so many players in the rating range 2000-2200 take part. In particular, it was good to see ex-Canadian Champion (2004) IM Eric Lawson come out of retirement!
Eric Lawson: one of Canada’s most talented IMs
The prize fund was a guaranteed $5,000 put up by Multi Marques–POM and SMART–as well as Samson Belair / Deloitte et Touche. First prize was a cool $2,000.
The key match-up took place in the 6th round, between Castellanos and Kovalyov. Castellanos was a half point ahead of his rival (who had been nicked for a draw by the talented Eric Lawson earlier in the tournament), and it was imperative that Kovalyov win this game if he was to keep alive his own chances…
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 22nd MOVE
Renier certainly did not avoid complications in this game, and after some wild complications the above messy and mutually difficult position was found on the chess table. White played a spectacular drawing combination beginning with 23.Bxe6ch! The game soon ended in a perpetual check.
GM Anton Kovalyov took second place and with it $1,250. Living in Montreal with his family these past 3 years, Anton has established himself as the number 1 player resident in Canada. Even so, he is virtually ignored by Toronto organizers and snubbed by the CFC autocrats.
Another important encounter was the 5th round encounter between Lawson and Castellanos. After a complicated middlegame where White seemed to be pressing most of the time, Castellanos gained a small positional advantage when Eric over pressed and then made a horrible tactical oversight that cost him dearly:
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 30th MOVE (30…Qxe4)
IM CastellanosIM Lawson
Here White should play 31. Qxe4 Nxe4 32. Rd4! Nc3 33. Kf2! with a slightly inferior but defensible ending. Instead, probably in time trouble, Eric hallucinated:
31. Rxe6?? fxe6 32. Bxe6 Kh8 33. Qxe4
No doubt Eric had counted on Black recapturing the White Queen, but overlooked a Zwischenzug…33… Rc1 ch!
But Eric Lawson played a great tournament and defeated GM Sambuev with the Black pieces in round 4:
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS