12 Greatest Chess Players in Canada of All Time

Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

Chess is a popular game in Canada, and the country is home to some of the best chess players in the world. Canada has produced some of the top chess masters in the world, who have had impressive results in major international tournaments.

These players have achieved great success in the game and have represented Canada on the international stage. In this article, we will look at the best chess players in Canada and examine their accomplishments.

1. Kevin Spraggett


Kevin Spraggett is a renowned chess grandmaster and is the fourth Canadian to have earned the title. Before him, Abe Yanofsky, Duncan Suttles, and Peter Biyiasas achieved the grandmaster title.

Out of all the Canadian grandmasters, Spraggett is the only one to have qualified for the World Championship Candidates Tournament, which is a prestigious tournament held to determine who will challenge the reigning World Chess Champion.

He earned his place in the tournament in 1985 and again in 1988, cementing his legacy as one of the top chess players in Canadian history.

2. Jean Hébert


Jean Hébert is a highly accomplished Canadian chess player, writer, journalist, and commentator. He has achieved the ICCF title of Correspondence Chess Grandmaster, which is an impressive feat. Additionally, he has been awarded the FIDE title of International Master.

These titles demonstrate Jean Hébert’s prowess and skill in the sport of chess. In 2009, Jean Hébert became the Canadian chess champion. This was a significant moment for him, as he had first won this title in 1978.

He was also the runner up for the title in 2007, but he lost in the playoffs. His performance in the playoffs was indicative of his talent and competitive nature. Overall, Jean Hébert has achieved impressive accomplishments in the chess world.

His dual titles of Correspondence Chess Grandmaster and International Master reflect his extensive knowledge of the game, as well as his dedication to the sport. His 2009 victory and 2007 runner up placement further demonstrate his skill and competitive spirit.

3. Dimitri Tyomkin

Dimitri Tyomkin is a Canadian chess grandmaster who has achieved great success in the international chess arena. He won the Israeli Junior Championship in 1997 and the European Junior Chess Championship in Tallinn the same year.

His victory in the Israeli Junior Championship was a major accomplishment, as he was one of the youngest players to ever win the title.

His triumph in the European Junior Chess Championship was an even greater accomplishment, as he was the first Canadian to ever win the title. Since then, Dimitri Tyomkin has established himself as a world-renowned grandmaster.

He has been invited to several prestigious tournaments, including the Chess World Cup and the FIDE Grand Prix.

His success in the international chess arena has earned him a great deal of respect from his peers and has helped to put Canadian chess on the map. Dimitri Tyomkin is an inspiration to many aspiring chess players.

His story of success serves as a reminder that anything is possible if you put in the hard work and dedication. He has shown that with the right attitude and determination, anyone can reach the heights of international chess.

4. Evgeny Bareev


Evgeny Ilgizovich Bareev is an accomplished chess player and trainer from Russia-Canada. He was officially recognized as a Grandmaster by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in 1989.

His expertise in the game was further acknowledged when he was ranked fourth in the FIDE World Rankings in October 2003. His Elo rating, a measure of a player’s skill level in chess, was an impressive 2739 at that time. Bareev has had an illustrious career in the world of chess.

He has won several international tournaments, including the FIDE World Cup in 2001, the European Team Championship in 2003, and the U.S. Open in 2006. He has also represented his native country at the Chess Olympiads in 2002 and 2004.

Bareev has trained many renowned players, including former World Champions Veselin Topalov and Ruslan Ponomariov. He is currently a trainer at the Professional Chess Association, as well as a regular commentator on chess tournaments.

He has also authored several books on the game, which have been well-received by chess enthusiasts. Evgeny Ilgizovich Bareev is a shining example of how hard work and dedication can help one reach the pinnacle of their chosen field.

His success serves as an inspiration to all aspiring chess players.

5. Daniel Yanofsky


Daniel Abraham Yanofsky was a remarkable individual who made significant contributions to the worlds of chess, law, politics, and writing.

He is best known for his achievements in the game of chess, making him an iconic figure in the Canadian chess world. Yanofsky was a formidable competitor, winning the Canadian chess championship eight times.

This impressive feat made him Canada’s first grandmaster and the first grandmaster of the British Commonwealth.

His success in the tournament circuit earned him international recognition and respect from the chess community. In addition to his success as a chess player, Yanofsky was also a respected writer and chess arbiter.

He wrote several books on chess and had a hand in the development of the Laws of Chess. This knowledge and expertise in the game made him an invaluable resource to the chess community. Yanofsky’s career also extended into law and politics.

He was a lawyer and was involved in the Canadian political scene.

He was a member of the Liberal Party of Canada and was a key figure in the development of the Canadian Bill of Rights. Daniel Abraham Yanofsky was a remarkable individual who made tremendous contributions to the worlds of chess, law, politics, and writing.

His legacy is one of achievement, creativity, and dedication to the game of chess.

6. Peter Biyiasas


Peter Biyiasas is an esteemed Canadian chess player who is internationally recognized for his achievements in the game. He was awarded the FIDE title of Grandmaster in recognition of his skill and ability.

He has had a successful career in chess, including winning the Canadian championship twice in 1972 and 1975. Additionally, he represented Canada in four international chess Olympiads and played in two Interzonal.

His talent and success led him to move to the United States in 1979, and he has been living in California ever since. He is a highly respected figure in the chess world and continues to be a great example of a successful chess player.

7. Nathan Divinsky

Nathan Joseph Harry Divinsky was a remarkable man who had a diverse array of talents and accomplishments. He was a Canadian mathematician, university professor, chess master, chess writer, and chess official.

He was highly respected in all of these fields, and he was also known for being the former husband of the 19th prime minister of Canada, Kim Campbell. Divinsky and Campbell’s relationship spanned from 1972 to 1983.

During their time together, Divinsky was an important part of Campbell’s political and personal life. He was a strong source of support and provided invaluable advice.

Divinsky also had a profound influence on Campbell’s views on politics, as well as her understanding of the importance of education. Divinsky was an accomplished man, and his legacy lives on in many ways.

His accomplishments in mathematics, chess, and university teaching have made a lasting impact on the Canadian education system. His marriage to Campbell also helped to shape the country’s history. Divinsky’s influence will continue to be felt for many years to come.

8. Jacob Ascher

Jacob Gottschalk Ascher was a renowned British-Canadian chess master. He was born to Isaac Gottschalk Ascher and had four siblings- Isidor, Albert, Hyman, and Eva. Ascher was highly accomplished in the chess world, having won the Canadian Chess Championship not once, but twice.

The first victory was in the 6th CAN-ch at Montreal in 1878/79, and the second was in the 10th CAN-ch at Montreal in 1882/83.

This is a remarkable feat, as it is not often that a chess player can win a championship twice. Ascher’s skill and success can be attributed to his dedication and hard work. He was a highly experienced player, having competed in several tournaments and matches.

He was also a member of several chess clubs and associations, giving him the opportunity to practice with other players and sharpen his skills.

Ascher was an inspiration to many aspiring chess players, and his achievements are a testament to the level of talent and dedication he held for the game.

9. Igor Ivanov


Igor Vasilyevich Ivanov was a renowned chess grandmaster who was born in Russia. In 1980, he defected from the Soviet Union and immigrated to Canada.

He was a four-time winner of the Canadian chess championship, and his accomplishments allowed him to represent Canada at an interzonal tournament for the world chess championship. Additionally, he was a member of the Canadian team at two Chess Olympiads.

Ivanov’s defection to Canada was a remarkable event in his career. He was able to make the most of the opportunity by establishing himself as one of the strongest chess players in the country.

His commitment to the game was evident through his four Canadian chess championship titles, as well as his participation in the interzonal tournament and two Chess Olympiads.

The tournament was a high-level event, featuring the world’s top chess players vying for the title of world champion. By making it to the tournament, Ivanov proved his worth as a chess grandmaster.

His involvement in the two Chess Olympiads is a testament to his dedication and skill. Igor Vasilyevich Ivanov’s career was a remarkable one. His defection from the Soviet Union to Canada opened up a world of opportunity for him.

His success in the Canadian chess championship and his representation of Canada in the interzonal tournament and Chess Olympiads are a testament to his skill and dedication to the game. He will be remembered as one of the greatest chess players of all time.

10. Yuanling Yuan

Yuanling Yuan is an accomplished chess player and entrepreneur from Canada. She achieved the title of Woman International Master in 2009, awarded by FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs).

In 2015, Yuan competed in the Women’s World Chess Championship, the highest level of international competition for chess players.

She has also represented Canada five times at the Women’s Chess Olympiad, a biennial tournament where teams of four from different countries compete in a variety of formats.

Yuan’s impressive career in the world of chess is a testament to her hard work and dedication to the game.

11. Mark Bluvshtein


Mark Bluvshtein is a remarkable chess player who has achieved great success in the game. Born in the Soviet Union, he later moved to Canada and became the youngest Canadian ever to achieve the title of Grandmaster in 2004. At this time, he was only 16 years old.

His impressive accomplishments did not stop here, though. Bluvshtein also achieved the title of International Master at the age of 13, making him the youngest ever to achieve this distinction. This success is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the game of chess.

He is an inspiration to all aspiring chess players who wish to reach the highest levels of the sport.

12. Sofia Polgar

Sofia Polgar is a highly accomplished and multi-talented individual. She has achieved success in a variety of disciplines, including chess, teaching, and art. She is an International Master and Woman Grandmaster as recognized by the World Chess Federation, FIDE.

She is also a former chess prodigy and has the distinction of being the middle sister of two Grandmasters, Susan and Judit Polgar. Sofia Polgar has achieved great success in the world of chess.

She has earned the prestigious FIDE titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster and is widely respected in the chess world. Her skills have earned her numerous awards, including the Hungarian Chess Championship in 2002 and the Woman Grandmaster title in 2003.

She has also participated in a number of memorable chess tournaments, such as the World Chess Championship in 2004. Sofia Polgar is also a highly regarded chess teacher.

She has shared her knowledge and expertise with students of all ages, offering lessons on strategy, tactics, and other aspects of the game. She also offers online chess courses for aspiring players. Finally, Sofia Polgar is a talented artist as well.

She has created a number of beautiful pieces of art, including a series of paintings based on the works of chess masters. Her artwork has been featured in several exhibitions and has been widely praised by art critics.

In summary, Sofia Polgar is a remarkable individual who has achieved success in a variety of disciplines. Her knowledge and skill in chess have earned her numerous awards, and she is an excellent teacher and artist as well.

She is the middle sister of two Grandmasters, Susan and Judit Polgar, and is a truly inspiring figure.


Canada has some of the best chess players in the world. Canada has produced several champions and many of these players have gone on to reach the highest levels of competitive chess.

In addition, Canada also has a strong chess culture, with a wide variety of tournaments and leagues for players of all skill levels. With so many talented players in the country, Canada is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the world of chess.

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Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez

I am a professional chess player for over 10 years, one of the youngest Grandmasters in the world and amongst the top ranked in the western hemisphere. I have been playing chess since I was a child, and it is something that I have always been passionate about. My passion has taken me to numerous tournaments around the world where I have competed against some of the best players in the world. Through hard work and dedication, I have achieved great success at these tournaments and have become one of the youngest Grandmasters in history. My goal is to continue to improve my game and reach new heights within this sport. LinkedIn