Through My Lens: a growing passion for chess

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Posted by CBC Communications.

A renewed popularity 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 am by no means a talented player, but I find that the game helps me develop my ability to strategize.

Gambling has flourished since the late 1980s in my home province with the creation of the Newfoundland and Labrador School Chess Association and the NL Chess Association for Adults.

At the beginning of my involvement in chess, I helped organize tournaments. Since my son graduated from Memorial University and moved to Alberta, photography has become my passion during chess tournaments.

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

The way the players focus and think captivates me.

In a game of chess, players sit down, play quietly and respect each opponent. Through their eyes and expressions, I can always tell the intensity of the players in the game. Some may look very serious, while others pretend to be serious in order to deceive their opponents.

Chess is a magical art. Interestingly, the skills needed to strategize and master the game can be applied to so many other areas of life – all without the player even knowing it.– Alick Tsui

I always use a telephoto lens to capture players’ facial expressions without causing distractions.

Chess is a magical art. Interestingly, the skills needed to strategize and master the game can be applied to so many other areas of life – all without the player even knowing it.

The game is also easily accessible to families and one of the best enrichment programs, helping many young people learn language, math and even music skills. Over the past three decades, I have seen many players excel at chess and pursue successful careers, whether in business, medicine or technology.

With the popular Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, failures have once again caught the interest of many, from the very young to retirees. Pandemic isolation has also led many people to practice chess online, allowing players to enjoy, learn and compete at any level in the world.

The next time you can play a game without social distancing, be sure to look into your opponent’s eyes and study their facial expressions – you might be able to read their thoughts.


Through My Lens is a new community series that features the perspective stories behind photos from across the East Coast.


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