Monday, November 7, 2011

Teammates Head to World Youth Chess Championships

Four teammates (three girls and a boy) from Windsor constitute 10% of the 40 member team Canada will be sending later this month to the World Youth Chess Championships:

From The Windsor Star

Chess mates headed for world tourney
Four of 40 on Canada team from Windsor
By Kristie Pearce, The Windsor Star
November 7, 2011

From left: Jeannie Zhang, 8; Rachel Tao, 12; Lily Zhou, 9.
Photograph by: Dax Melmer, The Windsor Star
Together, the three young girls can't help but have fits of giggles as they joke around.  But once they sit in front of a chessboard, it's game on.

Jeannie Zhang, 8, Lily Zhou, 9 and Rachel Tao, 12, won their way on the Canadian chess team and will play in the World youth Chess Championship in Caldas Novas, Brazil later this month.

Windsor makes up 10 per cent of the 40 member team with eight-year-old Rohan Talukdar rounding out the local field.

Zhang, Zhou and Tao all finished in the top three in their age and gender groups at the Canadian Youth Chess Championship in Richmond Hill in July.  All four children are members of a chess class for advanced kids who meet weekly at the Sobeys at Tecumseh Mall.

Chess master Vlad Drkulec is one of the many coaches who work with the kids.  He said he's been focusing on getting them to slow down their game.  In Brazil the children will play five-to six-hour games.  On average, the children are used to playing threehour games. Drkulec said the coaches instruct the kids to wait at least one minute before making a move.

"They learn very rapidly at this age," Drkulec said. "They're improving quickly."

Last year, Minya Bai, who is also in the class, represented Canada in Greece at the 2010 World Youth Championship.

Tao hopes to one day become a chess master. "It's a challenging game and every game I play is different," she said.

Tao's father introduced her to chess. When she started to show talent and defeat her father in matches her parents hired Frank Lee as a coach.

This will be the girls' first time to Brazil.  "I get to represent Canada," Tao said. "I like that."

All three said they are both nervous and excited to play against children from around the world.
"It's going to be very challenging," Zhang said.

After each match the coaches sit with the children and analyze the game move by move.
Tao said she finds this helpful, "especially when I lose. I learn not to make the mistake again."

Talukdar and Zhang won the Ontario Youth Chess Championship held in Kitchener in May.
The children and their families leave for Brazil Nov. 17.  They will play nine games in 11 days. A win gives them one point, a draw a half point and a loss is zero. The player in each age group with the highest score will be named World Youth Champion.

"Chess teaches them discipline," Drkulec said. "Any lapse in concentration has consequences."
Drkulec was brimming with pride as he talked about his students.  "We're hoping for big things for them," he said.

You can follow the Canadian team's progress at

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