I am 8 years old and live in Halifax, NS. I just finished Grade 3 at Oxford School. My Scholastic Chess Rating is 937, and I’ve competed twice at the Canadian Chess Challenge (maybe it would have been 3 times, if the tournament had happened this year!) which means I have played chess on both sides of Canada- St. John’s and Vancouver! I am one of the highest rated players in my school chess club, which goes from Grade 2-9! I also have Type 1 Diabetes.
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?
My mom was playing chess on her computer when I was 5, and I was curious about the game. She showed me how to play, and then I soon got involved in my school chess club. The Oxford Chess Club is the best!
What is your favorite part of chess? Creating solid pawn structures? Finding checkmates against the enemy king? Figuring out complex endgame tactics?
I really like coordinating my pieces. It is very satisfying when you have well-coordinated pieces!
Who is your favourite chess player, and why?
Magnus Carlsen is my favourite chess player. I like that he was very strong even as a very young child. A couple more of my favourite players are Mr. Frank King and Mr. Laurie Parker. They have both taught me a lot of chess strategies and tactics and they support me in my chess playing.
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?
Meeting new people, and seeing my chess friends. I like the competition and the prizes, too. Of course, the prizes are better when you’re the one winning them, but I’m always proud of my friends who come out on top!
Do you have a favorite chess opening? If so, which one is your favorite and why?
I like the Grunfeld opening most. It is a defensive opening and allows you to castle early. Usually the opponent plays the Queen’s Gambit if you open with the Grunfeld!
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?
I would like to play at more Canadian Chess Challenges. I like the thought of chess playing allowing me to see more of our country. I would like to become a Canadian Master someday. There aren’t very many chess Masters and Grand masters with Type 1 diabetes. Playing chess with diabetes can be an extra challenge because your blood sugar can really make it hard to concentrate.
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?
Before the pandemic, I had been having weekly chess lessons, which I really liked. I play chess online with my chess club, and I love to do chess puzzles.
How has playing the game of chess impacted other areas of your life?
Playing chess has helped me make friends of all different ages. I feel more comfortable meeting new people. Chess playing has also helped me become really good at other games that use strategy.
Besides chess, what other sports or activities do you do?
I love to read, play video games and write comic books with my friends.