Kevin Spraggett

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Kevin Spraggett
Kevin Spraggett 2010.jpg
Spraggett in 2010
Country Canada
Born (1954-11-10) 10 November 1954 (age 68)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
TitleGrandmaster (1985)
FIDE rating2480 (June 2023)
Peak rating2633 (January 2007)

Kevin Spraggett (born November 10, 1954, in Montreal) is a chess grandmaster.[1] He was the fourth Canadian to earn the grandmaster title, after Abe Yanofsky, Duncan Suttles and Peter Biyiasas. Spraggett is the only Canadian ever to have qualified for the world championship Candidates Tournament, having done so in 1985 and 1988.[2] He has won a total of eight Canadian Open Chess Championships, seven Closed Canadian Chess Championships, and has represented Canada eight times in Olympiad play. Spraggett has also written for Canadian chess publications and published a chess blog.[3]

Chess career[edit]

Spraggett was raised in Montreal. One of seven children, his father taught him the rules when he was about seven, but he did not begin to take the game seriously until he was 14.[4] Spraggett tied for first in the 1973 Junior Canadian Chess Championship, but lost the playoff match to John MacPhail.[5] One of his key early tournament victories came in the 1974 Montreal Championship, where he scored 5½/6.[6] He had reached national master strength by this time, just before his twentieth birthday.[7] He attended McGill University, studying engineering; however, he left before completing his degree, in favour of becoming a chess professional.[4] Spraggett spent his early years developing his game in Canadian and American Swiss system open events, where the prizes were often low.[8] His younger brother Grant is also a strong player, having earned the FIDE Master title.[9]

He was awarded the International Master title in 1975, following a second-place finish at the Zonal Canadian Chess Championship in Calgary; Peter Biyiasas won.[10] Spraggett raised his game to meet the challenge of Igor Ivanov, who had settled in Montreal in the early 1980s after defecting from the Soviet Union. Those years saw Spraggett attain success in several strong tournaments, with victories in the 1983 World Open,[11] 1984 Commonwealth Championship, 1984 New York Open,[12] and 1985 Commonwealth Championship.[13] However, he did not play in an international grandmaster round-robin tournament until Wijk aan Zee early in 1985,[14] just after his thirtieth birthday, at which time he was the highest-rated International Master in the world.[15]

Spraggett won his first of seven Canadian titles in 1984, which qualified him into the Taxco Interzonal the next year. His fourth-place result at Taxco 1985, where he topped many more famous players, earned him the Grandmaster title, and seeded him to the Candidates Tournament.[16] He came in last at the Montpellier Candidates in 1985,[17] but qualified again for the next Candidates. In his first-round match at Saint John, 1988, Spraggett defeated world No. 3 Andrei Sokolov in a blitz playoff.[18] He then lost to Artur Yusupov in extra games in the 1989 Candidates' quarterfinal round at Quebec City.[19][20]

Spraggett has been a Canadian team member at eight Chess Olympiads (including a silver medal performance in 2000),[21] has eight victories in the Canadian Open Championship,[22] and has a host of tournament victories in Europe. He is widely considered to be the strongest player in Canadian chess history. His FIDE rating peaked at 2633 in January 2007, at age 52, and in the late 1980s he ranked consistently amongst the top 100 players in the world. Spraggett has resided in Portugal since the late 1980s, and plays most of his tournaments in Europe, although he visits North America every year or two on average. Among notable finishes in the 2000s was his victory at the Figueira da Foz International Chess Festival (2008, with 7½/9) and a clear second place at the Calvià Open (2007, with 7/9).[23][24]


  • World Open Champion 1983
  • New York Open Champion 1984
  • Commonwealth Champion 1984 (Hong Kong) and 1985 (London)
  • Seven Closed Canadian Chess Championship titles (1984, 1986, 1989, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2002)
  • Eight Canadian Open Chess Championship titles (1983, 1987, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000)
  • Tied first place Canadian Junior Championship 1973-4
  • Canadian Closed Blitz Champion 1996
  • Represented Canada at World Championship Interzonals (1985, Taxco, and 1990, Manila)
  • Represented Canada at World Championship Candidates' tournament 1985, Montpellier
  • Represented Canada at World Championship Candidates' matches (1988, 1989); he beat Andrei Sokolov (+2 –1 =9) in 1988 at Saint John, but was then eliminated by Artur Yusupov (+1 –2 =6) in 1989 at Quebec City
  • Represented Canada at World Championship Knockout (1997, 1999)
  • Represented Canada at Chess Olympiads (1986, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002)
  • Silver medal, Board 2, Olympiad 2000, Istanbul
  • Top rated Canadian at year-end 23 times (1980, 1982–90, 1992–2000, 2002-5)
  • Canadian Chess Hall of Fame 2000
  • Columnist for Chess Canada magazine 2006.

Notable chess games[edit]


  1. ^ "Kevin Spraggett". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 8 July 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  2. ^ "Kevin Spraggett". 10 November 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Kevin Spraggett". Chess Federation of Russia. 10 November 2022. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  4. ^ a b Abley, Mark (12 February 1988). "He's best Canadian chess player ever". The Gazette (Montreal).
  5. ^ "McPhail [MacPhail] Wins Chess Title". New York Times. 1 February 1973. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  6. ^ Brodie, Hugh (3 November 2003). "Montreal Chess Throughout the Years/Nouvelles des échecs de Montréal". Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  7. ^ CFC Bulletin, November 1974, p. 15.
  8. ^ Spraggett, Kevin (February 2000). "No regrets...well maybe one!". Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  9. ^ "Grant Spraggett". Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  10. ^ "Canadian Closed - Highlights". Fédération québécoise des échecs. 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  11. ^ Byrne, Robert (23 August 1983). "Chess (column): Five Finish in a Tie for First In World Open Tournament". New York Times. pp. C15. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  12. ^ Byrne, Robert (1 May 1984). "Chess (column): Canadian Wins First Prize In New York Open Tourney". New York Times. pp. C16. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  13. ^ Byrne, Robert (2 April 1985). "Chess (column): Canadian and Indian in a Tie at Commonwealth Tourney". New York Times. pp. C15. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  14. ^ "Wijk aan Zee Hoogovens 1985". Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  15. ^ The British Chess Magazine, May 1985, pp. 213-216.
  16. ^ "Taxco Interzonal (1985)". 1986. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  17. ^ "Montpellier Candidates (1985)". 1986. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  18. ^ Goodman, David (6 February 1988). "Spraggett of Canada Defeats Sokolov to Gain Place in Quarterfinals". AP. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  19. ^ Byrne, Robert (31 January 1989). "Chess (column): Building on a Clever Sacrifice, Spraggett Defeats Yusupov in the Second Game of Their Match". New York Times. p. 28. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  20. ^ Scott, Sarah; Bevand, Larry (5 February 1989). "Soviet Crushes Spraggett in Chess Final". The Gazette (Montreal).
  21. ^ Berry, Jonathan (25 November 2000). "Chess". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  22. ^ Berry, Jonathan (12 August 2000). "Chess". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  23. ^ "Tournoi International « Figueira da Foz »". (in French). 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  24. ^ "Viktor Mikhalevski wins Calvia International Open". 25 October 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2023.

External links[edit]