Through my lens: a growing passion for chess

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Published by CBC Communications.

A renewed popularity of the game of chess among young players can help develop valuable life skills. (Alick Tsui)

My passion for chess grew when my son started playing in elementary school. I’m by no means an experienced player, but I find the game to help me develop my strategy.

The game has flourished in my province since the late 1980s with the formation of the Newfoundland and Labrador School Chess Association and the NL Chess Association for Adults.

In the early days of my chess engagement, I helped organize tournaments. Since my son graduated from Memorial University and moved to Alberta, photography at chess events has become more of my passion.

Chess players can judge the intensity of the game by the eyes and facial expressions of their opponents. (Alick Tsui)

I am fascinated by the way players focus and think.

In a chess game, the players sit, play calmly and respect every opponent. I can always tell the intensity of the players in the game through their eyes and facial expressions. Some may look very serious while others pretend they are serious in order to deceive their opponents.

Chess is a magical art. It’s interesting that the skills of planning and mastering the game can be transferred to so many other areas of life – all without the player even realizing it.– Alick Tsui

I always use a telephoto lens to capture the players’ facial expressions without being distracting.

Chess is a magical art. It’s interesting that the skills of planning and mastering the game can be transferred to so many other areas of life – all without the player even realizing it.

Easily accessible for families too, the game is one of the best enrichment programs that helps many young people acquire languages, math, and even music skills. Over the past three decades I’ve seen many players excel in chess and have successful careers, be it in business, medicine, or technology.

With the popular Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit‘Chess has re-awakened the interest of many, from the very young to the retired. The pandemic isolation has also led many people to practice chess online, allowing players to enjoy, learn and compete against each other at any level worldwide.

The next time you can play a game without social distancing, make sure to look your opponent in the eyes and study their expression – maybe you can read their mind.


Through My Lens is a new community series that showcases the point-of-view stories behind photos from across the east coast.



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