Sunday, October 17, 2010

Where Have I Been? At 39th World Chess Olympiad!

To all of my blog readers, you must've all realized that I haven't posted anything for almost a month! Well, it's not nothing happened in the past month, but rather TOO MUCH that had happened. To start off, I was away in Russia for 3 weeks to represent Canada at the 39th World Chess Olympiad held in Khanty - Mansiysk, Siberia. This was my second time representing Canada at the Olympiad, the first time being in 2008 when I was 14. However, this year I played on board 1 and took the responsibility of leading the entire women's team.

As for results, our team didn't perform exceptionally well nor exceptionally bad. We started off the tournament well but ended up around at our starting rank, being an average team. I, myself did pretty good and scored 7.5/11, finishing 27th of the 564 best female players in the world according to rating gain. Nevertheless, I was quite proud of my team because after all, we are the youngest Canadian women Olympiad team ever in history! :)

Upon my return a week and a half ago, my desk got piled up with huge stacks of homework to catch up on. Now you know why.

Anyways, something really really REALLY awesome took place yesterday at the Brookbanks branch here in Toronto but I'd like to save that story for later. Feeling the suspense yet? :)

The Olympiad reminds of why Chess in the Library ever existed. After my games, I would walk around and carefully observe all the other 150 countries. Team uniforms alone reflects how that country treats chess. Let's take a look at some pictures:

Team Netherlands

Team Turkey

Team Barbados

Team Malawi

Team Nigeria

Team Denmark

Team Italy

Team Cuba

And there are only a small portion of teams that showed team spirit! If the Canadian Team goes to the Beijing Olympics with EVERYONE where a red and white uniform, then why shouldn't the Canadian Chess Olympiad team members? Both competitions are at the world's highest level so why should there be a difference? Well, it is clear from the pictures above that not all countries differentiate in attitude between the Summer Olympics and the Chess Olympiad. As for Canada, there is sure a big difference!

Team Canada at the 2010 Beijing Olympics. What a team, eh?

Canadian Women Team at the 39th Chess Olympiad in Russia. From left to right: Dalia Kagramanov, Liza Orlova, WIM Dina Kagramanov and WIM Yuanling Yuan (me!).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the lack of uniforms for our chess teams (although having them would be nice), but rather reflecting upon the situation. Let's face it - chess in Canada is a lot less popular than many countries in the world, especially Europe. So why do those countries have uniforms? Because they either they've got a lot of government or corporate support. Now why would they receive such a support? Because chess is a popular game in that country and it is regarded as no different than other Olympic games. It's that simple.

Therefore, in order for Canadian chess to receive the same amount of support, we've got to make chess more and more popular here! That's exactly why I started Chess in the Library last summer - to promote chess and nothing else.


  1. Yuanling,

    I admire your leadership and initiative in popularizing chess. I hope that we can visit Canada in the future and bring my 12 year old son who also loves chess. He plays for his school and has recently played for the RP Kiddies Chess Team to the ASEAN Olympiad for primary students (APSSO) held in Indonesia.

    Here is our club's website where I am the President and the news article on my son.

    More power and God bless.

    Raul Sol Cruz
    President, Meralco Chess Club

  2. Hi Raul,

    I'm so sorry for the late reply to your comments! I haven't been receiving comments on my posts for a while so I totally forgot about them. :(

    Congrats to your son! So young and already on the path that leads to greatness! If you do visit Canada in the future, let me know.

    Best wishes to you and your family in 2011! :)