Richmond chess champ sisters, ages 13 and 7, grab titles at world tournament

Life, as 13-year-old Richmondite Sherry Tian puts it, is “like a game of chess, changing with each move.”

And the Richmond chess champion should know, given that she and her seven-year-old sister, Eliza, stormed the podiums recently at the 2018 North American Youth Chess Championships (NAYCC) in Baja California, Mexico.

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“It was the moment of our lives,” she told the Richmond News.

After nearly four years of hard work and perseverance, Sherry, a Hugh McRoberts secondary student, earned the prestigious WFM title (Woman FIDE Master; FIDE is the French acronym for World Chess Federation).

At age nine, Sherry started learning chess at a local chess club called Vancouver Chess School and could only dream of becoming a chess grandmaster one day.

She practiced chess every day for at least three hours to inch closer to that dream and can now beat strong adult players, as well as getting into the top five of the Canadian Junior Girls leaderboard.

And earlier this year, Sherry became the BC Women’s Chess Champion and the 2018 Canadian Junior Girls (Under 20) Champion.

Eliza, meanwhile, was competing in her own U8 girls section in Mexico, despite only taking up chess a year ago, and the tournament was her first foray onto the international arena.

“I am so proud of my daughters not only because of their accomplishments in mastering the skills and mentality to win those key tournaments, but also, the most important, the grit, courage and audacity both of them, especially Sherry, managed to have in the face of difficulties or even failures,” said their dad, Alex.

“For most people, those qualities are hard to be understood or learnt from books or teachings and real-life lessons are often very costly.

“I am glad my kids were able to learn something from the game of chess before they face many real challenges in their life.”

The News reported two and a half years ago how a 10-year-old Sherry, a B.C. champion at the time, was beating adult women players and was en route to representing the province in the U.S.A.’s most prestigious girls chess tournament.

Back then, she was ranked number one in B.C., after rising through the chess ranks when her Grade 2 teacher noticed she had a talent for math, before placing her on an accelerated math program.

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