Knights, kings, and chess champs

Langley Open chess tourney attracts more than eighty people to Brookswood Seniors Centre

Though not known to be much of a spectator’s sport, the Langley Open chess tournament was labeled “very intense” by Langley Chess Club member and secretary, Brian Davidson.

“Each game runs three to four hours long – one in the morning and one in the afternoon,” Davidson explained. “They’re long days.”

The annual Langley Open was held over the Labour Day long weekend at Brookswood Seniors Centre, attracting 83 players – a record high with age ranges representing nearly a century’s worth of chess enthusiasts.

“The oldest player we had would have been in their eighties while the youngest would have been six or seven,” Davidson said. “It’s really good to see kids there – they’re very strong. Many come from Vancouver Chess School…you’d be surprised how good they are.”

Neil Doknjas, a 14-year-old club member and Langley Open participant has competed in tournaments all around the globe including the World Youth Chess Championships in both Greece and Slovenia.

Doknjas earned the second highest score of the tournament, which awarded him a spot in the next provincial level.

“It’s always fun to play chess no matter how intense a tournament gets. I enjoy the competitive aspects as well as the use of strategy.” Doknjas said. “Chess helps to develop good decision making and the ability to calculate or plan. A good work ethic is important in order to be successful.”

Davaa-Ochir Nyamdorj, a 23-year-old accomplished chess player came in first place, winning every match he played and beating Doknjas in the final round.

Both will now take part in the 104th B.C. Closed championship in New Westminster, Oct. 11 to 14 for a shot at the provincial chess title.

Doknjas’ entire family also lives and breathes the game – older brothers John and Joshua co-authored the chess book, Opening Repertoire: The Sicilian Najdorf, and have earned the top title at the Langley Open in previous years too.

“The B.C. Closed is on the Thanksgiving long weekend and is an eight player round robin,” Doknjas explained, who will also be competing against brother Joshua. “To prepare, I will solve chess puzzles and simply play practice games with Joshua and John.”

Davidson said this tourney is one of the final and largest qualifiers for the B.C. Closed tournament, which the Langley Chess Club has hosted for the past 15 years.

Doknjas won the Langley Chess Club Championship outright in 2014 and has taught lessons in and outside the community ever since.

Read More: The Kids are all right at Langley Open Chess Tourney

The Langley Chess Club is one of the oldest continuing clubs in Lower Mainland, operating for well over forty years.

Members meet Mondays, 7 p.m. at Brookswood Seniors Centre, 19899 36 Ave. New members are welcome.

For a full list of winners and results from the Langley Open, people can visit www.langleychess.com/results/open-results.

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