Vanderhoof’s first chess club tournament for all will take place on April 23 at Nechako Valley Secondary. The competition features two unrated events for school-aged participants only and all-age adult chess players to happen simultaneously throughout the day.
Registered players so far hail from communities across the region — such as Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George, Fraser Lake, and Burns Lake — including 13-year-old Kai Richardson from Williams Lake, who has been ranked top 10 for his age group in Canada since he was 9.
Richardson will also provide a free chess lesson and play an exhibition 10-person simultaneous chess match during lunch time at the event.
With all of the community invited to watch the games up close, the tournament is an effort to engage the community with chess, said organizer Dr. Jeff Obayashi, who also founded a chess club for youth last April to provide a brain-stimulating activity for kids in Vanderhoof.
So far, the youth club hosted at the NVSS library on Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. welcomed over a dozen players from five to 18 years old. In January, Obayashi also started an adult chess club, taking place on the last Saturday of every month from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Daily Perk Coffee House and Bistro.