My name is Breanne Llewellyn. I am a grade 12 IB student at Halifax West High School. I have been playing chess and involved with the NSSCA for seven years. Last year I was the president of the chess club at my school and I am co-leading the chess club this year. I have won several awards from NSSCA including one for being the most dedicated chess player and the Outstanding Chess Advocate Award last year from my school. I have also won the provincial team championship in 2019 with my high school chess team.
Tell us about your journey into becoming a chess player. Was it a particular individual who inspired you or was chess something you found yourself?
After we finished our work when I was in sixth grade, my teacher would take out chess boards for us to play. I instantly found a great interest in the game. My father started to teach me how to play chess and within a few weeks he could no longer win against me.
My teacher persuaded me to participate in the NSSCA tournaments and I went from novice to the crown group within a year. I loved the competition and strived to do better in my games by lots of practice. As time went on, I was able to see tremendous progress through my games and had the pleasure to attend the 2019 Canadian Chess Challenge in Vancouver, B.C.
What is your favorite part of chess? Creating solid pawn structures? Finding checkmates against the enemy king? Figuring out complex endgame tactics?
I have always enjoyed solving tactics as a way to implement critical thinking and learning to think on my feet. With much practice, the tactics have definitely helped me in my games, to further my chess knowledge and grow as a chess player.
Who is your favourite chess player, and why?
My favourite chess player is the classic Bobby Fisher. When I was learning to play chess, I got the book “Bobby Fisher Teaches Chess” and I found it an awesome elementary book to start with.
I have also watched the movie “Pawn Sacrifice” once it came out and learned a lot about him through that. Bobby Fisher drew a lot of attention to the game as an eight time U.S champion. He won his first major tournament at the age of just 14. This inspired me to focus on further goals for chess.
What is your favourite part about the NSSCA tournaments and events? Is it the competition? Or is it perhaps seeing your friends and socializing at tournaments?
I enjoy the competition of the tournaments and to learn through my games. I always try to go through my games and analyze them so I can improve my chess etiquette for future tournaments and events. I love NSSCA’s events because they always find a way to incorporate chess in the community as well as the social aspects. Furthermore, I enjoy seeing friends and socializing considerably. I find that all of us not only have chess in common but much more as well. I have made some amazing friends through NSSCA and the chess community.
Do you have a favorite chess opening? If so, which one is your favorite and why?
I do not have a particular favourite chess opening but I tend to do the Closed Sicilian Defence often as well as Scandinavian Defence. I have been doing these openings for quite some time and I believe these openings are what accounts from my strong middle game. I found by performing these openings, I sometimes have a higher success rate.
How far would you like to go in chess? Do you want to become a chess master or do you see yourself simply playing casually for fun?
How far would you like to go in chess? Do you want to become a chess master or do you see yourself simply playing casually for fun? *
Improving at chess can be difficult! Are there any things you do at home or with others that has helped you improve your chess skills?
Practice is key to chess. As people say, “practice makes perfect” and chess is a prime example of this. in my free time I will go onto Chess.com or Lichess and practice games. I will also use these platforms to practice tactics, lessons and even watch videos. All of these have helped me improve at chess throughout the years.
How has playing the game of chess impacted other areas of your life?
Chess has impacted my life in more ways than one. Namely, it has helped me within my studies as a student. I find I am always using the skills chess has taught me, such as the critical thinking skills and leadership skills. These skills not only come into play among my studies but also within my day to day life and other activities that I do. I will always think back to starting to learn chess and just how much it has taught me and how I have grown as a person from it.
Besides chess, what other sports or activities do you do?
I am a longtime competitive swimmer with the Halifax Trojans Aquatic Club, I am on my school cross country team and track and field team as well. I am heavily involved in my school student government, being a minister on the Mental Health and Wellness Committee. I was a member of the Halifax Regional Arts Symphony Orchestra playing clarinet, but due to this unprecedented year, it is no longer going ahead. In addition, I am involved within my local community as a tutor and engage in many leadership events.