Youngsters battle head-to-head in a chess competition in Semiahmoo Mall Friday. (Henry Sikorski photo)

Chess tournament held at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre

Youngsters test their skills in new chess club venue

Twenty-six young chess players from South Surrey and White Rock got an opportunity to test their chops Friday evening at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre.

Organizer Henry Sikorski explained to Peace Arch News the day before that there are about four chess groups in the South Surrey area, and many youngsters take lessons on a regular basis.

Sikorski set up an open chess tournament in the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre from 6-8 p.m. each Friday for kids to test their abilities against each other.

“This is a venue where you have a chance to show off your stuff, how much do you know?” Sikorski said. “The new kids on board are going to get spanked because some of the other kids are stronger.”

Losing, Sikorski noted, is part of the game.

SEE ALSO: Young South Surrey chess player wins regional tournament

SEE ALSO: B.C. chess champs help raise funds for Surrey Food Bank

“We always say if you lose a game, guess what? You’re also learning. This is life, you don’t always win. You lose, you learn and you go to your coaches.”

Sikorski also hosts weekly chess competitions at the White Rock Library on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:45 p.m. and Saturdays from 1:30-4:45 p.m. The youth that attend, he said, range in age five to 13 years old.

Another reason to start the weekly gaming sessions, he added, was to support the local Chinese residents.

“Our kids, I would say about 98 per cent are Chinese. Let’s just face it, the parents pay for these activities for their kids. I thought this would be nice for a community kind of support. The kids are playing chess, while the Chinese moms are visiting each other.”

The Semiahmoo Shopping Centre food court Friday was separated into two different sections, one for parents and one for players.

Sikorski, who named two national masters living in the area, said he hopes to host a rated tournament once a month.

“The only way to get good at chess is you have to play against other opponents.”

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