Lots of excitement in Medellin this past weekend as the final rounds of the Continental Championship were played. Six qualification spots for the upcoming (September, Georgia) World Cup were in doubt until literally the last minute. When the smoke settled, no Canadian was among the qualifiers, unlike the 2015 edition of the same tournament.
How the Canadians fared
Canada was represented by four players. The organizers provided accomodation, while I understand that the CFC threw in a few hundred dollars to each player (probably part of the $80,000 that the CFC received in return for giving their vote to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov a couple years back). Crumbs, really. Each player had to pay their own airfare and meals.
As we can see from the above table, even though Kovalyov scored an excellent 8 points (10th place), he still lost rating points. Infact, with the exception of Oussedik, all of the Canadian players lost rating points! This is mostly because of the large number of relatively low rated South American players who were allow to participate. Compounded by the fact that ELO’s in South America are deflated relative to North American ELO’s.
The game that killed Kovalyov’s chances
It was Anton’s 10th round game against Argentine GM Diego Flores that destroyed his chances to qualify. Up until that point everything seemed to indicate that Anton was enroute to secure one of the six qualification spots. However, everyone is allowed an off-day, and that is exactly what happened. To be fair, however, Flores brilliantly exploited his opportunities, playing one of the most impressive crushes of the tournament.