REGINA – The Canadian Chess Challenge brought their 28th annual competition to Regina this year.
Played at the University of Regina, each province has a team of 12 players, one competitor from each grade, from grades one through 12.
Players will compete against their peers in their age group.
Grade 12 student Adam Dorrance has been playing chess since he was four and has been competing in the Canadian chess challenge for all 12 possible years. Now, he wants to teach younger players that chess is more than just sitting at a table.
“I try and help out the little kids and try and make them feel comfortable around here because first few years you do get really nervous,” he explained.
The game of chess has taken him around the world to places like Greece and Dubai.
“It’s definitely helped me broaden culturally and meet new people. ”
Nigel Reynoldson is a volunteer on the coaching staff for Team Saskatchewan. He was playing a friendly game in the cafeteria with fellow coach Zachary Lintott.
“Whenever you walk into a game of chess, it’s an even playing field. There’s no home ice advantage,” Reynoldson explained.
Natasha Sasata from Saskatoon is the grade 2 competitor for Team Saskatchewan. She has been playing since the age of four when her dad introduced her to the game.
She is one of only five girls competing this weekend.
“There’s a lot of boys and there should probably be a bit more girls playing chess,” Sasta said.
Still a minority game in Canada, the popularity is growing but the gender split is not yet equal.
Team Saskatchewan admits they have less players than most provinces, and less funding. Chess is not part of the education curriculum like other provinces but Team Saskatchewan coaches have plenty of advice.
“Take your time, take your time,” both coaches said.
“Every game is a clean slate,” Lintott said.
It’s all about keeping a clear head. “You want to go into the game thinking that this guys my equal and I can beat him if I try hard enough,” Reynoldson said.
Lessons that can be applied beyond the board, like being aware of actions, and reactions.
Larry Bevand is the executive director for the Chess and Math Association, Canada’s National Scholastic Chess Organization. Bevand emphasized how many life lessons are involved in chess.
“Anticipation, being able to anticipate, what the other ones going to do and how you’re going to react to it,” he said.
Every game, much like every day is a new beginning. It’s a lesson they say could apply to real life.