Quebec’s Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux turns into world chess champion

A young Montrealer was crowned world chess champion in the under-18 age group this week. Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux could be the first Quebecer and the second Canadian to win a world title, says the Quebec Chess Federation.

Back from the resort town of Mamaia, Romania, where the tournament was held from September 5 to 17, Rodrigue-Lemieux admitted that being world champion is something “crazy” that he didn’t really expect.

The Montrealer scored 9 out of 11 points, beating opponents from 54 countries. He won seven games and had four draws, which counted for 1/2 point. He beat Kazakh Kazybek Nogerbek, who finished second and had a draw with German Marius Fromm, who finished third.

With the victory, Rodrigue-Lemieux obtained his first “grandmaster” standard at the age of 18, the highest title a chess player can achieve. He will need two more standards — victories at the world championships, for example — to earn it.

“He could become the youngest Quebecer in history to earn the title of grandmaster,” said Richard Bérubé, general manager of the Quebec Chess Federation (QCF).

Some 1,200 chess players are international grandmasters, according to the FQE, including Quebecers Kevin Spragget, Pascal Charbonneau and Thomas Roussel-Roozmon, who received the title at the age of 22.


Rodrigue-Lemieux said he was aiming for a top five or possibly top three finish at the World Youth Chess Championships, having previously won the Canadian Championship, held in Hamilton, Ontario, in July.

That win allowed him to represent Canada in Romania.

However, this was not his first time competing at the world championships. Back in 2013, he took part in the one held in the United Arab Emirates, “one of the best experiences of my life,” Rodrigue-Lemieux said.

“I started playing (chess) in extracurricular classes when I was in elementary school, and I got hooked right away,” he said. “And, soon, I was playing in some pretty big tournaments.”

Turning 18 this year, this was his last opportunity to compete in the youth championships. However, he is already taking part in tournaments open to all ages.

A student at the Collège de Maisonneuve studying humanities, with a major in law, Rodrigue-Lemieux wishes to continue his studies but has not ruled out a career in chess.

“Clearly, I want to go to university, but chess will also be part of my future,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 18, 2022.

Comments are closed.