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This article was published 31/3/2015 (2228 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
On March 15, a pair of local youths strategically moved their way into first-place finishes in their respective grades at the Manitoba Provincial Scholastic Chess championship.
Martin Yin, a senior at John Taylor Collegiate, competed in two playoff games in the Grade 12 category to earn his spot after the round robin tournament resulted in a three-way tie.
In the final match, Yin says his opponent, Jitesh Kapoor, made a mistake which he then capitalized on early in the game allowing him to win with quite a few players still on the board.
"I’ve played since I was four or five, usually in my spare time just as a hobby," Yin said.
"I play sometimes online now, but when I was little I played with my parents."
Yin learned the tactical game from his dad. At school, he spends at least one or two lunch hours a week playing fellow students. Many of those matches are against Grade 11 player Richard Fetch.
"Some games they have time limits, those are called blitz games," Yin said. "Those ones take maybe two minutes, either online or at lunchtime."
He says he loves how every game is different and how you can always come up with new ideas or plans.
The winners in each category are invited to move on to the 2015 Canadian National Chess Championship in Quebec City on May 17 to 18.
With nationals coming up quick, Yin isn’t sure whether or not he will be able to attend, as he’s busy preparing for his AP exams.
While chess is certainly a passion for him, he has many other engagements such as badminton, track and field, and student council. He also volunteers regularly at Deer Lodge Centre.
As for Grade 9 champion Brock Beach, who resides in the West End and attends Kelvin High School, he can’t wait to take part in the out-of-province tournament.
"I’m not sure how I will do because it’s my first year going, I don’t know if I will end up getting first or eighth," Beach said. "I want to get at least third at nationals though, that is my goal."
Beach’s grandmother, Ingrid, said the trip will be a nice opportunity for him to use his French, as he studied French immersion at École Sacré-Coeur.
She jokes about being his grandmother/chess manager as she started taking him to games and tournaments all around the city and watched how quickly he mastered the game.
"I learned how to play last year," explained Beach. "I learned because there was a chess club at my old school (École Sacré-Coeur) and it had lots of good players."
Unlike Yin, Beach wasn’t brought up with the game but, since learning, he has tried to teach family how to play.
"I studied a lot when I first started playing, I studied opening tactics, end games, pretty much everything," Beach said.
He admits he was naturally talented from the start, but says he bought books to progress further and practices every chance he gets. He tries his talent in timed intervals as well, particularly online playing in five-minute speed rounds.
The two local competitors are familiar with one another. Beach said Yin is one of the most challenging opponents he has gone up against to date, along with his friend at school, Rayan Roy — who won a provincial title last year.
Beach is hosting a fundraising event called Bingo to send Brock on April 2 at Tong’s Garden (885 Henderson Hwy.) to make his nationals dreams a reality.
Each participant is responsible for funding their own trip and Beach is determined to make it happen. To find out more details about the fundraiser for Brock, email
Michelle Beach at firstname.lastname@example.org.