Friday, August 21, 2009

Chess in the Library Tomorrow!

The library program will resume tomorrow. Everyone is invited!

Brookbanks Library (near Victoria Park and York Mills)
Pleasant View Library (near Victoria Park & Van Horne)

10 am to noon

Hazel's Jokes!

Why is a group of pawns like an office full of employees?
Everyone wants to get promoted!
(Note: All jokes are 100% original content courtesy of Hazel!)

Top Ten Questions continued...

Now for the two biggest questions I have been getting recently...

5. Why did you stop playing (for about two years)?
I stopped playing mainly because I became very ill. Many did not know, but even before the 2006 Olympiad in Turin, I was already seeing doctors and staying home for some time to recover. Physically, I was much better by the time the Olympiad rolled around, but mentally, it took me over a year to feel somewhat healthy again. Then, of course, it took a while to get going again, not just in chess, but in many areas of my life.

6. Why did you go to the 2008 Olympiad after your absence?
First of all, I want to confirm that my decision to go to the 2008 Olympiad was never for the free trip, as some may assume. Germany is a nice place to visit, but I would never miss school and use the federation's money if I didn't think the trip was about chess too.
So here's my story: A team member came to me in the summer of 2007, asking me to start playing again, and consequently, qualify for the Olympiad. It had been almost 1.5 years since I had last played, so obviously, I was very hesitant at the idea. I kept it in mind, but for another half year, I still hadn't played a game. Then a neighbour phoned, and asked me to start tutoring his child. When I began tutoring, I realised how much I missed playing chess. So I began signing up for some tournaments. Due to the timing, many people thought I was just playing to make the team, but from my point of view, that was the last thing I considered. After a few weeks, I got an email pleasantly asking me to join the women's olympiad. It took me some time to decide what to do. I've always loved the experience of travelling and playing chess with people around the world, not to mention being able to see all the great players and grandmasters. It was also my last chance before university, and I've had some pretty good results at past international tournaments. For those reasons, I decided to agree to go.
Now fast-forward to the fall, and everything had changed. I had moved schools, and the teachers were not very happy to hear about my trip. They made it seem like it was just vacation, and really pressured me to finish work and pack textbooks in my luggage. I almost decided to contact the CFC and give up my spot on the team, though many of my friends and people I knew told me otherwise, and I knew it would cause a big problem. I had been well-prepared, and studied chess almost everyday, but what I had underestimated was all the stress of the situation. If I could go back, I probably would have declined the offer in the first place. Nevertheless, I congratulate the achievements of my teammates, and wish the best of luck to future olympians!