GM Jonathan Rowson wins Canadian Open

Scotland No.1 Jonathan Rowson was in excellent form in July 2000 when he won the Canadian Open in Edmonton, Alberta.

The 23-year-old Scot shared first place with well known GMs Kevin Spraggett and Joel Benjamin. Rowson drew with both the co-winners and was particularly unlucky not to beat Benjamin after going a pawn up.

Rowson's best scalp was a last round victory against Peter Wells, the English GM based in Hungary.

Canadian Open Rd 10, White: Peter Wells (England, 2506), Black: Jonathan Rowson (Scotland, 2499) Opening: Wade Variation.

1 d4 d6 2 Nf3 Bg4 3 e4 Nf6 4 Bd3 e6 5 h3 Bh5 6 0-0 d5 7 Nbd2 Be7 8 c3 0-0 9 exd5 exd5 10 Re1 c5 11 dxc5 Bxc5 12 Nb3 Bb6 13 Bg5 h6 14 Bh4 Nc6 15 Bf5 g5! It looks risky to break the pin but Rowson has judged that the bishop on g3 is a liability.

16 Bg3 Ne4 17 Bxe4 dxe4 18 Rxe4 f5 19 Re6 Qxd1+ 20 Rxd1 f4 21 Bh2 Rad8

21...Bxf3 doubles the pawns but gives the white king a breathing space on g2. By not exchanging White's has back rank problems.

22 Rxd8 Rxd8 23 Nfd2 Bf7 24 Re2

24 Rxh6? blunders to Bxb3.

24...Bc4 25 Re1 Ne5 26 Nxc4

If 26 Rxe5 Bxb3 as above.

26...Nxc4 27 Kf1 Nxb2 28 g3 f3 29 g4 Bxf2

Rowson converts to an endgame of rook and probably two pawns v two minor pieces. If he waits with 29...a5 then White might be able to get away with Nd4.

30 Kxf2 Nd3+ 31 Kf1 Nxe1 32 Kxe1 Re8+ 33 Kf1 Re2 34 Bg3 Rxa2 35 Nd4 a5 36 Nxf3 a4

White lost on time but Rowson must be winning eg 37 Be5 a3 38 c4 Rc2.

There are opportunities to watch top Scot Jonathan Rowson playing live from the comfort of your home computer. Rowson is a regular competitor at the Internet Chess Club ( where he plays three minute chess (maximum time for whole game is six minutes) under the handle Gumptious. Shrewd play has taken Rowson's ICC rating to a peak of 2820.

From the diagram Rowson (White) is to play and win against GM Valery Popov in a recent ICC game. White won with 22 Bh5! Rg7 23 Rxf7! Black resigns since 23...Rxf7 24 Qf2 wins.

(Scotland on Sunday, August 13, 2000)

Canadian Open David Ottosen reports (from TWIC): The Canadian Open was held from June 8-16 in Edmonton Alberta Canada.

The tournament featured five International Grandmasters (Kevin Spraggett, Joel Benjamin, Igor Novikov, Peter Wells, and Jonathan Rowson), as well as three International Masters (Tom O'Donnell, Dave Ross, and Dmitri Tyomkin).

Entering the last round, there was a three way tie for first, between Spraggett, Benjamin, and Wells. After the expected short draw between Spraggett and Benjamin, the two co-leaders settled in to watch the game Wells-Rowson, which ended in a dramatic win on time (in a position both players agreed was winning for Rowson regardless) for the young Scottish GM, pulling him into a tie for first.

Meanwhile, on Board 3, the ICC observers were predicting a rapid demise for O'Donnell, but he dug in and held on to draw with Novikov, leaving them both out of the first place tie.

Speaking of ICC, the top three boards were broadcast live on the ICC every day, to an interested crowd of approximately 30-50 observers.

More information about the tournament can be found at: including the crosstable and pictures of the event.