Twin brothers – and chess champions – Andrew and Peter Qiu are starting their own club in White Rock in an effort to get more people involved in the sport the two are most passionate about.
Competing both locally and internationally, Andrew and Peter, and their friend Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux, started their own organization called Canadian Chess Society in December 2022, and are working to get clubs rolling on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
“When we started the organization, we were hoping to spread the game of chess to our community because in recent years, the popularity of chess has grown exponentially,” said Andrew, a Grade 11 student at Semiahmoo Secondary.
“So many people are playing chess right now so we’re sort of riding this momentum (to) introduce more and more people to the game of chess.”
As he walks the hallways of his high school, Andrew said he now regularly sees his peers playing chess electronically, on laptops or mobile phones.
Founding partner Rodrigue-Lemieux, 18, holds the title for World U18 Chess Champion, while the 17-year-old twin brothers represented Canada at the World Youth Chess Championship 2022 that took place in Romania and have competed in other North American tournaments.
Andrew’s love for the game began early, when he was just four years old in China – where he and his brother were born – and has carried on ever since.
“The long-term benefits of this game are amazing because it’s a board game which requires you to concentrate and focus for a long period of time and memorizing and recognizing patterns,” he said.
“It really (promoted) my critical thinking, problem-solving skills and my concentration, which I think has been the most beneficial one.”
A chess club runs at White Rock Library on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the upper floor. The twins and other members of their chess non-profit volunteer at the games.
Soon, however, the organization wants to run their own club at the library and also start a mini teaching school at another location for beginners to learn how to play.
“Chess in Canada isn’t that popular. It doesn’t have as much recognition so we’re just trying to get more people to play chess,” Andrew said.