Thirty-seven years ago this summer the 11th Canadian Open was held in Montreal . One of the strongest open tournaments in Canadian history, the tournament boasted a handful of the top players in the world as well as more than 600 participants! Ljubomir Ljubojevic , one of the top 5 players in the world at the time, was the convincing victor.
The Canadian Open was held at Place Bonaventure, Montreal La Presse was the sponsor of the Canadian Open
Roger Lemelin (1919-1992), CEO and editor of the largest French language newspaper in Quebec, La Presse , was the single biggest promoter of chess in Montreal ever. Starting with the wildly successful Quebec Open in 1972 soon after the Fischer-Spassky match and continuing until 1979 with the Tournament of Stars (which brought Karpov , Spassky and Tal to Montreal), Lemelin put Montreal on the world chess map.
La Presse sponsored a good many open tournaments in Montreal during those years. I remember that during the 1974 Canadian Junior Championship (Hart House, Toronto) Jean Hebert and I received 75 dollars each from La Presse to help cover our expenses.
Lemelin was born in Quebec City. From 1944 to 1952, he was a Canadian correspondent for the American magazines Time and Life and, from 1972 to 1981, chief executive officer and editor of La Presse.In 1980 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 1989, he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.
Lemelin also wrote the long-lasting TV series based on Les Plouffe, a great success on CBC’s English and French networks in the 1950s, and the scenarios for the popular screen and TV adaptations of the same novel, directed by Gilles CARLE.
(you can click on the photos)
was the worthy winner of the open, with an impressive 10 points from 11 games! Enroute to this title, he defeated GM Vlastimil Hort
, GM Duncan Suttles
, GM Miguel Quinteros
and IM Lawrence Day
. He also drew with GM Bent Larsen
and future IM Leon Piasetski
The Canadian players did quite well. Duncan Suttles achieved one of his best results ever, finishing in 2nd place alone with an impressive 9.5 points. IM Bruce Amos finished with 9 points tied with GM Bent Larsen. Leon Piasetski and IM Lawrence Day finished the tournament with 8.5 points each.
Almost all of the top Canadian players participated (I was working at the time). Looking closely at the crosstable you can see names like Maurice Fox (photo on the right,mutiple Canadian Champion), IM Zvonko Vranesic, IM Laszlo Witt and Ignas Zalys. Bryon Nickoloff and Peter Nurmi also participated. So did Robert Wachtel , Walter Dobrich and Denis Allan. My brothers Jim and Grant represented the Spraggett family. You can even see Larry Bevand’s name among the participants!
The organization of the Canadian Open was nothing short of superb, as you can see from the above chart. When you have a great sponsor like La Presse then it is not difficult to do a professional job!
THE GAME THAT DECIDED FIRST PLACE!
Suttles – Ljubojevic
Canadian Open 1974
1. g3 g6 2. Bg2 Bg7 3. e4 c5 4. Ne2 Nc6 5. O-O Nf6 6. c4 d6 7. Nbc3 a6 8. a3 Rb8 9. f4 Be6 10. f5 Bd7
Suttles plays fast and loose in this game. He gambits a pawn or two in an effort to force the Yugoslav superstar on the defensive.
11. b4!? cb 12. ab Nxb4 13. d4 Rc8 14. Qb3 a5 15. h3 O-O 16. g4 Qc7 17. Bg5 h6 18. Bh4 gf 19. gf Qxc4 20. Qd1 b6 21. Rf3 Bc6 22. Rc1 Qa6 23. Rg3 Kh8 24. Qd2 Rg8 25. Bxf6 ef 26. Nf4
It appears that Suttles’ attack is not enough against a sound defense
26… Kh7 27. Rg4 Bh8 28. Rh4 Rg5 29. Kh2 Qb7 30. Bf3 Qe7 31. Re1 Bb7 32. Nh5 Bg7 33. Rf4 Qc7 34. Rc1 d5 35. ed Rxh5 36. Bxh5 Nxd5 37. Ne2 Qd6 38. Bxf7 Nxf4 39. Nxf4 Rxc1 40. Bg6 Kh8 41. Qxc1 Qxd4 42. Kg3 Bf8 43. Qc7 Qe3 44. Kg4 Bf3 45. Kg3 Be4 46. Kg4 Qf3 47. Kh4 Qf2 48. Kg4 Qg1 [0:1]
SUTTLES WOULD HAVE BETTER LUCK AGAINST THE DANISH SUPERSTAR:
Larsen was one of the top 10 players in the world for more than a decadeSuttles, Duncan – Larsen, Bent
Canadian Open 1974
1. c4 e6 2. g3 f5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. d3 O-O 6. Bd2 a5 7. Nf3 d6 8. b3 e5 9. a3 Bxc3 10. Bxc3 Nc6 11. b4
A position with chances for both sides.
11… e4 12. Nd4 Ne5 13. O-O Qe7 14. Qd2 Neg4 15. Nc2 ab 16. ab Rxa1 17. Bxa1 Ne5 18. f4 ef 19. ef f4 20. Re1 fg 21. hg Qf7 22. Bxe5 de 23. Rxe5 Qg6 24. g4 c6 25. Qe3
White has a winning position; however, Suttles almost loses the game!
25… h6 26. Nd4 Rd8 27. Re7± Qg5 28. Ne2 Qxe3 29. Rxe3 Kf7 30. Nc3 Be6 31. b5 Ra8 32. bc bc 33. Ne4 Nxe4 34. Rxe4 Ra2 35. Bf1 Kf6 36. Be2 g6 37. Kf2 h5 38. g5 Ke7 39. Ke3 Kd7 40. Re5 Bf5 41. f4³ h4 42. Bf3 h3 43. Rc5 h2 44. Bxc6 Kd6 45. d4 Ra1? [45… Bh3 46. Bh1 Bg2 47. Ra5 Rxa5 48. Bxg2 Ra1] 46. Bg2 Bh3 47. Bd5 Rg1?? 48. Rc6 Ke7 49. Rxg6 h1Q 50. Bxh1 Rxh1 51. Rh6 Ra1 52. d5 Bf5 53. Rf6 Bc2 54. c5 Rd1 55. Re6 Kf7 56. Re5 Rd3 57. Ke2 Rd4 58. c6 Rxf4 59. c7 Rc4 60. d6 Ba4 61. Re7 Kg6 62. d7 Bxd7 63. Rxd7 Kxg5 64. Kd3 Rc1 65. Ke4 Kf6 66. Kd5 [1:0]
BUT LARSEN PLAYED A GREAT GAME AGAINST MONTREAL IM LASZLO WITT:
Witt, Laszlo – Larsen, Bent
Canadian Open 30/ 7/1974
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Be2 Be7 7. O-O a6 8. a4 Nc6 9. Be3 Qc7 10. f4 O-O 11. Nb3 b6 12. Bf3 Rb8
In those days I was very interested in this system of the Sicilian, from both colours. I studied this game with great care and learned a lot about the line.
13. Qe2 Na5 14. Nd2 Rd8 15. Kh1 Bb7 16. Qf2 Nd7 17. Rae1 Nc4 18. Nxc4 Qxc4 19. Be2 Qb4 20. Bd3 Qxb2 21. Bd4 Qb4 22. e5
Laszlo was a player who had no fear of any player, regardless of their reputation! Here his pawn sacrifice does not quite work, however. Larsen ends up winning a great game.
22… de 23. fe f5 24. ef Bxf6 25. Bxf6 Nxf6 26. Qg3 Kh8 27. Qe5 Qh4 28. Ne4 Bxe4 29. Bxe4 Ng4 30. Qg3 Qxg3 31. hg Rd4 32. Bf3 Nf6 33. Rxe6 Rxa4 34. Rd1 a5 35. Rb1 b5 36. Bc6 h5 37. Kg1 Ra2 38. Bxb5 Rxc2 39. Ree1 Rc3 40. Kh2 g6 41. Re6 Kg7 42. Bd3 Rxb1 43. Bxb1 Rc1 [0:1]
Portuguese legend, IM Joaquim Durao, has often told me how much he enjoyed the Canadian Open in Montreal. It was his first time in Canada!
Larsen B. – Durao J.
Canadian Open 1974
1. g3 g6 2. Bg2 Bg7 3. c4 c5 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. b3 d6 6. Bb2 Bd7 7. d3 Nf6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. e3 a6 10. Nge2 Rb8 11. O-O b5
I have always been a student of the great Larsen. His games in the English opening are a gold mine of ideas. Here Larsen continued with 12.Nd5 with a small edge. Later, after much manoeuvring in a more or less balanced position, Larsen got the edge in an interesting ending:
The ending is not so clear. But Larsen’s technique is amazing
39. Kd3 Rc3 40. Kxd4 Rc2 41. a4 Rxh2 42. Kxd5 Re2 43. Kc5 Re4 44. Rf3 Kg7 45. b4 Kg6 46. a5 Kh5 47. Rh3 Kg4 48. Rh6 Kxf4 49. Rxa6 Re5 50. Kc4 Ke3 51. Rf6 f4 52. a6 f3 53. a7 Re8 54. b5 [1:0]
MAYBE THE BEST GAME OF THE TOURNAMENT!
Ljubojevic L. – Day L.
Canadian Open 1974
1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 a6 5. Nf3 b5
Very provocative, very much in the style of the Canadian IM. However, it involves too much risk when facing a top-ten player.
6. Bd3 Bb7 7. a4 b4 8. Ne2 Nd7 9. c3 bc 10. bc c5 11. Rb1 Rb8 12. O-O e6 13. f5 gf 14. ef e5
White to play and start a very strong attack!
15. Rxb7! Rxb7 16. Bxa6 Rc7 17. de Nxe5 18. Bb5 Kf8 19. Ng5 Nf6 20. Nf4 Kg8 21. Nd5 h6 22. Nxf6 Bxf6 23. Ne4 Kg7 24. Bf4 Qe7 25. Re1 h5 26. h3 Rcc8 27. Re3 Rcd8
There is just no defence anymore!
28. Rg3 Kf8 29. Nxf6 Qxf6 30. Bg5 Qg7 31. Be7 Kxe7 32. Rxg7 h4 33. Qd5 Kf6 34. Rxf7 Nxf7 35. Qe6 Kg7 36. f6 Kg8 37. Qg4 [1:0]
Canadian IM Bruce Amos is one of the strongest players that Canada ever produced. His style of play has always impressed me: clear, simple, classical and very effective. Unfortunately he stopped playing around 1977. Here he gives a future Canadian Junior Champion a fine lesson.
Amos, Bruce – Nurmi, Peter
Canadian Open 29/ 7/1974
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cd 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. g4 h6 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. h4 Bxd4 13. Rxd4 b5 14. Be2 Bb7 15. Rhd1 Rc8 16. a3
16… d5 17. ed Bxd5 18. Qe3 Qc5 19. Kb1 Nb6 20. f5 Rc7 21. fe O-O 22. Nxd5 Nxd5 23. ef Rcxf7 24. Qd2 Nf4 25. Bf3 Ne6 26. Bd5 Nxd4 27. Qxd4 Qxd4 28. Rxd4 Kh7 29. Bxf7 Rxf7 30. h5 g6 31. hg Kxg6 32. a4 Kg5 33. ab ab
34. c4 bc 35. Rxc4 h5 36. gh Kxh5 37. Kc2 Kg5 38. b4 Kf5 39. Kb3 Ke5 40. b5 Kd5 41. Kb4 Rf1 42. Rc2 Kd6 43. Ka5 Ra1 44. Kb6 Kd7 45. Kb7 Rb1 46. Rd2 Ke8 47. b6 Ke7 48. Kc7 Rc1 49. Kb8 Rb1 50. b7 Rb6 51. Rd4 Rb1 52. Kc7 [1:0]