Matthew Geng

Smooth moves

Great work ethic pays off for Oak Bay chess champ

Matthew Geng has the moves.

With his second consecutive victory at the B.C. Youth Chess Championships in Vancouver  earlier this month, the Grade 7 student’s ascent up the local chess ladder booked him another ticket to the Canadian Youth Chess Championships, this time in Montreal where the 12-year-old hopes to push the limits of the game he loves.

“I think it’s really fun to play chess because it challenges my brain. I think it’s important for me to get higher and higher,” Matthew said. “It is a good thing to challenge your brain and a lot of people should do it.”

The Oak Bay resident took third in his age category in last year’s Canadian Chess Challenge in Ottawa and hopes another year of experience, culminating in a recent first-place finish in his category at the Grand Pacific Chess Championships in April where he beat out a field of more than 100 local players, help him improve on his 2013 third-place finish. His 20-year-old brother Tiantian, also a former B.C. Youth Chess Championship title holder, believes he will.

“I think he can go a long ways. As long as he keeps up his work ethic, he can go as far or maybe even a grand master title,” Tiantian said. “Even when he is in a losing position he doesn’t give up. … I think for his age he is very skilled.”

Matthew reads his chess tactics book every day, playing five to six games a week, preparing for the July tournament with players much older and more experienced than he, including World Youth Chess Champion Jason Cao, his brother Tiantian and father Li, who is also an avid chess player. The Glenlyon Norfolk Junior student credits his friends and family for much of his recent success.

“I think it’s a really big part to have a family that is so supportive and chess guided,” he said. “They teach me a lot of the stuff they learned and their experience (helps) to teach me.”

Buoyed by the support of his busy school, basketball and chess travel schedule which takes him from tournament to tournament, he hopes to represent both his family and his home town well as he prepares for the biggest tournament of his short, but successful career.

“It made me feel happy inside and accomplished of what I did and helped me to think, ‘keep on practicing and keep working hard,’” Matthew said. “It feels great to represent B.C. at the national championships and I feel really excited and really pumped up for it.”

Just Posted

Trial date delayed in case of slain Oak Bay sisters

Case of Andrew Berry, charged in deaths of daughters, will reconvene in three weeks

GALLERY: Snow Day in Oak Bay

Giant snowmen, tobogganing, and a quiet golf course

BC SPCA proposes fines for animal mistreatment, reduction in commercial trade

Animal welfare group’s ideas brought to Victoria councillors

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

New Victoria graving dock will offer high-paying jobs

New facility will reuse and treat any water required for repair process

GALLERY: Snow Day in Oak Bay

Giant snowmen, tobogganing, and a quiet golf course

Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest near Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

All aboard! Job fair ports this weekend in Victoria

Find out about the hundreds of jobs in Victoria’s cruise ship industry

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Sooke mom hopeful for funding to treat child’s debilitating arthritis

Jillian Lanthier ‘prays’ for $19,000 per-dose drug for her son

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Human remains found near Campbell River

Human remains were found in a rural area outside Campbell River, RCMP… Continue reading

Most Read