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Canada’s most promising chess player is headed to Texas this fall on a four-year university scholarship that he feels will improve his game.

Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux of Montreal won every tournament in sight last year, including the Under-18 World Youth Championship. Among the year’s highlights was a shared first place in the Canadian championship and a remarkable 9-0 score in an international event.

Now he’ll take his talents to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which goes after chess prospects the way some colleges recruit football stars.

“It’s too bad Canada doesn’t have programs like that,” says the young Canadian international master, who was honoured earlier this year in the Quebec legislature with the national assembly medal for his chess achievements.

Though he’ll soon be in Texas, Rodrigue-Lemieux remains a proud Quebecer and will play for Canada internationally.

He plans to represent Canada in the prestigious World Cup in Azerbaijan this summer. He will also play in a few other events before the end of summer in pursuit of a second grandmaster title norm.

There’s also an added incentive: the higher he can push his rating before his studies begin in the fall, the more expenses will be covered by his university program.

Alexander Krastev v. Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux, Romania, 2022

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The Globe and Mail

White has just played 46.g3xh4. How does Black respond?

Black played Nxf4 and won after 47.h3 Ne2+ 48.Kh2 Qg3+. White can’t play 47.Bxf4 because of Bc5+.

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