Through days, month or even years of preparation, young chess minds finally awaited the CYCC 2011, which took place July 6-9 at the Sheraton Hotel in Richmond Hill. It is probably the biggest event in the young chess community, as the top 3 finishers in each section receive the honor of representing Canada at the World Youth Chess Championship (in Caldas Novas, Brazil).
First stepping down the stairs of the hotel, players were checked off on the registered list, received knapsacks for those who registered early and were offered the option of buying a CYCC T-shirt. Then eager participants lounged against the wall, sharpened their skills in the skittles room and reviewed their games on the computer to prepare for the intense rounds ahead of them.
When the pairings were posted on the wall, these young chess bees furiously devoured this pot of honey. Jotting down the table number, opponent name and perhaps complaining about being paired with too strong a player. Before leaving, parents snapped the best candid shots they can of their kids starting their game, and hustled them onto the journey they've all been waiting for.
After the storm, arrives the calm. Players settled into their thinking caps and the entire tournament hall seemed to freeze in time, with the occasional interruption of 'adjust' and the sound of pressing the clock.
All this time, while observing these kids during my spare time through out my games, I contemplated the future of chess in Canada. Seeing an increasing amount of youth becoming interested in chess certainly shines a bright light on Canada's trek to chess glory. These kids will not only come to realize the intellectual excitement within this board game, but the life lessons it can teach with only 32 pieces and a chess board.
Art Director, CITL