Halkidiki, Greece - October 24 to November 6, 2015

The 2015 World Youth & Cadets Chess Championships (WYCC) recently concluded in Greece.  As Head of Delegation for Team Canada, I was part of the team that included Chess Federation of Canada (CFC) President Vlad Drkulec and CFC Youth Coordinator Frank Lee who coordinated and organized the 56 players and 6 coaches who proudly represented Canada at the WYCC 2015.


This year was the last year that all twelve sections from U8 Open, U8 Girls, …, U18 Open, and U18 Girls would be together in one big event.  After this year, the U8, U10, and U12 sections will become the World Cadets Championships, while the U14, U16, and U18 will become the World Youth Chess Championships and play at different venues and during different times of the year.  In 2016, the former will meet in Batumi, Georgia and the latter will meet in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Top Canadian Performers at WYCC 2015

Out of 11 WYCC games:  CM Nicholas Vettese, U12 Open (7 pts.), CM Nameer Issani, U10 Open (7.5 pts.), Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux, U12 Open (7 pts.), WIM Qiyu Zhou, U16 Girls (7 pts.), IM Razvan Preotu, U16 Open (8 pts.), Max Chen, U8 Open (7 pts.), and Jeffrey Xu U14 Open (7.0 pts.)

To see Team Canada’s full results:  http://chess-results.com/tnr187414.aspx?lan=1&art=25&fedb=CAN&turdet=YES&flag=30&wi=984

Also, check out the WYCC 2015 Official website:  http://www.wycc2015.org/

The Journey to the WYCC 2015

Team Canada players began their journey to the World’s in their home provinces competing in their provincial youth chess championships.  From there, they travel to the Canadian Youth Chess Championship (CYCC) where our National Youth Champions are determined.  Funding for our 12 Canadian Youth Champions cover their flights, accommodations, food, and FIDE and tournament registration fees at the WYCC.  This year’s CYCC in Windsor, ON was very well attended which helped provide some additional funding for players who won or tied for second and third places in their sections.  The Windsor – CYCC 2015 group were also the sponsors for the Team Canada at WYCC 2015 team shirts.  Thanks to Isabella Hui, Andrew Peredun, and Chau Diep for their help in the design and distribution of the sharp looking Team Canada shirts.

The CYCC and WYCC games have longer time controls.  At the CYCC, the time control was 90 minutes + 30 second increments, which only allowed for 2 rounds to be played per day.  At the WYCC, the time control was even longer with 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.   The WYCC only held one game per day for the 11 rounds with one day off on October 30th.  Players can get very mentally fatigued if they aren’t careful, so it is important for them to get plenty of rest and stay healthy and physically fit.


The normal routine for our Team Canada players was to wake up and have a nice buffet breakfast at the Porto Carras 5 Star Resort, where the tournament was held.  After breakfast, each player had their scheduled time to meet with their assigned Team Canada coach.  This year, with such a large delegation, Team Canada required 6 coaches onsite:  GM Gergely Szabo, IM Romeo Milu, IM Aman Hambleton, FM Andrew Peredun, NM Mikhail Egorov, and NM Mike Ivanov.  During the morning prep time, coaches and players would search for and review games of the opponent and answer any questions.  Then the player would get some exercise, relax, or continue with more prep on their own and have lunch before the round started.

After the game, players would meet up with their assigned coaches and review the game; as well as have dinner and hang out with other Team Canada players.  Then off for a good night’s sleep until the next day when the routine started up again.


Mid-way through the WYCC, there was a free day where players could go on 1 day tours of the surrounding area or simply rest.  Luke Pulfer’s Mom, Julie, coaches soccer back home and volunteered to organize the Team Canada soccer game that included Canadian players and coaches as well as some US players.  Thanks Julie – awesome turnout!


Thanks also goes out to Nicholas Vettese’s Mom, Sandra, who organized the ever popular Bughouse tournament which featured lively partner play and cool prizes – replica Spartan helmets and Canadian pins!


The WYCC arbiters were very serious about potential cheating.  Half of the technical meeting with the arbiters, Team Captains, and Head of Delegations, involved discussion about cheating.  There was even a form that players could fill out if they suspected their opponent of cheating.  Players were not allowed to talk to other players, coaches, Team Captains, Head of Delegations, etc. while they were still playing their games. 

As such, access to the 4 different playing halls was very strict and photos were only allowed up until 5 minutes before the round started and then accompany persons were asked to leave the playing halls.  So we were fortunate to have several parents volunteer to take photos in order to capture all 56 players.  Thanks goes out to:  Vivek Srinivas, Anabelle Kovatcheva, Vivien Lai, Toto Surya, Connie Zhou, Bo Zhang, Isabella Hui, Sandra Vettese, Janos Farkas, Isabelle Rodrigue Lemieux , Lisa Li, and Victoria Jung-Doknjas. 

Some of their handy work can be found on the CFC’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Chess-Federation-of-Canada-163031117086480/?fref=ts

Special gift package for all Team Canada Players!

After the final round, Sandra Vettese, Anne Ouellet, and I coordinated the Team Canada Awards and Celebration, where we gave thank you gifts to all the volunteers and where each of the players received a very special gift package:  Along with their FIDE WYCC participation certificate and the WYCC 2015 poster, each player received a chessboard with Greek letters – the very same boards that they played on at the WYCC 2015.

From L to R:  Victoria Jung-Doknjas, Yilin Li, Aman Hambleton, William Graif, Romeo Milu, Razvan Preotu, Gergely Szabo, Stephano Lee, Mike Ivanov, John Doknjas, Andrew Peredun, and Qiyu Zhou.  The U16 Open and U16 Girls players accepting their FIDE WYCC certificates, WYCC posters, and Greek chessboards.


Neil Doknjas (far left) made a short speech to thank the Team Canada Coaching Team: "Coaches, on behalf of Team Canada, we would like to thank you and give each of you a signed chessboard from all your assigned players." And 6 players, Maïli –Jade Ouellet , Joshua Doknjas, Nicholas Vettese, Max Chen, Joanne Foote, and Jezzel Farkas, presented their respective WYCC coach a Greek chess board signed by his players.


Back Row, L to R:  Coaches Aman Hambleton, Romeo Milu, Gergely Szabo, Mike Ivanov, Mikhail Egorov, and Andrew Peredun.  Front Row, L to R:  Sandra Vettese, Victoria Jung-Doknjas, and Anne Ouellet.  Coaches and Head of Delegation are presented with Greek chessboards signed by Team Canada Players.  (Later, CFC President Vlad Drkulec and CFC Youth Coordinator Frank Lee also received similar signed chessboards).

The World Youth & Cadets Chess Championships is a great opportunity for our young Canadian players to get international experience as well as to be part of a big national team representing our homeland.  Our Canadian players can test their chess expertise among the best youth players in the world and at the same time are blessed with an opportunity to travel outside their part of the world to enjoy new sights, make new friends, and take part in an experience of a lifetime.

Chess’n Math has proudly sponsored two of Canada's World Youth Champions, FM Jason Cao and WIM Qiyu Zhou, and encourage all Canadian kids to go for their chess goals and to remember above all, to enjoy their journey along the way.

Thank You

Congratulations to our Team Canada players for a well-fought WYCC.  Thank you to all the parents and families for their support and enthusiasm for our Team Canada. Without your support, all of this would not be possible.

Thank you to CFC President Vlad Drkulec and CFC Youth Coordinator Frank Lee who both put in many hours to form our Team Canada.  They have both been HUGE supporters of our players including fighting for funding to get 6 coaches to support our large team this year, funding in terms of paying for FIDE and registration fees for our players who came 2nd or 3rd or tied for 2nd and 3rd at the CYCC, and for the Team Awards.

Head of Delegation, Victoria Jung-Doknjas’ Final Remarks to Team Canada at WYCC 2015: "I hope you will carry with you many fond memories of being part of this special Team Canada and I want to thank each of you for your enthusiasm, support of one another, and for your hard work in getting to the WYCC.  God bless you all and safe travels home. "

This blog entry was written by Victoria Jung-Doknjas.  Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged.  Please email:  CMAChessBlog@gmail.com with your comments.

Next week’s blog entry:  National Master John Doknjas’ Monthly Chess Lesson on “Discovering Your Opponent’s Plan”

About us

The Chess and Math Association (CMA) is a non-profit organization which, with our provincial coordinators, aims to promote chess in schools in Canada.