Young chess enthusiasts making moves in Timmins

·2 min read

Chess players from all over the province are converging on Timmins.

École secondaire catholique Thériault is hosting this year’s Provincial Franco-Ontarian chess tournament from May 3 to 5.

The gym will be set up with all of the chess boards, said Valérie Vachon, the cultural and student life lead at École secondaire catholique Thériault.

There are over 200 students from 27 schools from as far away as Toronto competing at the event, and there are 11 students from the Theriault chess club who will be playing.

Nicholas Loyer and Dimitry Pinard, both Grade 9 students at Thériault, are competing.

Loyer, who has been playing chess since he was four years old, said he enjoys the strategy of the game.

“I’m hoping to win,” said Loyer about the competition. “I like trying to out-think my opponent.”

Pinard, who has been playing for about five months, said it’s been a great outlet for him.

“It’s a good way to relieve stress,” said Pinard. “I’m looking forward to having fun with my friends.”

The winners of this tournament will move on to the nationals being held over the summer in Calgary.

“They have a chance to qualify for the nationals,” said Vachon. “You never know who you are going to play against, and you could play with someone who is very, very good, so they’ll all learn from each other.”

When Thériault hosted the event in 2018, there were around 400 participants. Vachon said they’re pleased with the expected turnout this year.

“We were hoping for the same amount as in 2018, but after the pandemic, it’s harder,” said Vachon.

“It’s a brand new year, and we’ll take any chance to give occasion for the kids to get together and have fun and meet new people with the same interests, so they have a chance to exchange and learn,” she said.

Vachon said giving the students a chance to interact with francophone students from other communities is a great chance to learn as well.

“The reality in Timmins is not the same as the reality in Toronto,” she said. “There’s going to be a nice exchange between all these kids.”

This is the 14th annual event, with high school and elementary school students of all skill levels competing over the next three days. The tournament is not open to the public.

Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,