FM Lefong Hua has been a steady fixture at the Canadian Chess Challenge for well over the last decade; first as a player starting in Grade 1 and now as the coach for Team Quebec.  Not only is Lefong a superb player, because he encourages great team spirit and values and respects each of his team players, Lefong is also an exceptional coach. 

1. Top picture: Friendly blitz with Luke McShane (U10 champion) at the WYCC 1992.
2. Middle picture: Prize ceremony at the WYCC 1992 where Lefong finished in 5th position and was standing beside future top GMs:  From Left to Right:  Francisco Vallejo Pons (Spain), Etienne Bacrot (France), Luke McShane (England), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Lefong Hua (Canada), Surya Shekhar Ganguly (India).
3. Bottom picture: Team Quebec at the CCC 1990.
4. Bottom right picture: Lefong as the Grade 1 champion, proudly holding one of his first trophy at home.

One-on-One with FIDE Master Lefong Hua

Here’s my interview with FM Lefong Hua:

How many times did you win the Quebec Chess Challenge Championship for your grade? 

Lefong:  I won the Quebec Chess Challenge 10 times in total, from 1989 to 2000.  I finished in second place in grade 9 (1997) and 11 (1999).

How many times did you win the Canadian Chess Challenge for your grade? 

Lefong:  I won the Canadian Chess Challenge 8 times in total, from 1989 to 2000.  I didn’t participate in 1997 and 1999.  I finished in 2nd place in grade 3 (1991) and 6 (1994).

Do you hold any CCC records? 

Lefong:  I first set the CCC record in 2000 (Calgary) by winning it 8 times.  This record was later on tied by Lloyd Mai (Ontario) when he was in grade 12, winning it 8 times as well. In 2014 (Winnipeg), Tanraj Sohal broke the record by winning CCC 9 times.  I still hold a Quebec Chess Challenge record by winning it 10 times.

How did you get started playing chess and how did that tie into getting involved with Chess'n Math, and then CMA's Canadian Chess Challenge?

Lefong:  I first started to play chess in grade 1. My babysitter first introduced me to the game.  Then I played a lot with my father, who quickly realised I had a talent for chess.  This is when he brought me to CMA tournaments, where we met Richard Bérubé (today the Fédération québécoise des échecs (FQE)  General Director).  I immediately took private lessons with him, which helped me improve very quickly. I managed to win my first CCC in grade 1.  Loving the experience to not only compete for myself but also for a team (Quebec), I decided to go all the way with CCC until I was in grade 12.

Team Quebec at the 2015 Canadian Chess Challenge.

Lefong:  After my last CCC in 2000, there was a certain nostalgia.  In 2006, I decided to get involved again as a coach.  I think my experience as a player really helped me being a better coach, since I can understand the needs of today’s players.  There is nothing more rewarding than spending a whole week-end with 12 champions each year.

What is your favourite CCC memory as a player?  What is your favourite CCC memory as a coach?

Lefong:  I have many great memories as a player.  Winning CCC for a first time in grade 1 was very special. As a kid, nothing made me happier than earning a big trophy!  I also remember that in 1995, my brother Lethyn Hua (grade 3) and I (grade 7) were both CCC champions, a great moment for my family.  Winning CCC in grade 12 was also very special, but I was very emotional knowing it was my last CCC.  My best memory as a coach is definitely being part of Team Quebec winning the CCC in 2009 (Toronto).  We had an amazing run and managed to beat Ontario in the very last round by the smallest margin, 6.5 to 5.5. Beyond all those amazing performances, I am proud that I have developed many friendships through this tournament.  I remember all those years having fun playing beside Quebec teammate GM Pascal Charbonneau who was one year younger than me.  I am also still very close to Justin Deveau (New Brunswick Team Captain), who I met in 2000 when we were both players.

Why do you continue to be involved with the CCC each year?  Why do you feel this is important to support?

Lefong:  Being involved with CCC is my way of saying thank you to CMA.  This organization sponsored me for a lot of tournaments such as WYCC (World Youth Chess Championship).  I have also been raised to always remember who was there for me when I first started, and that would be CMA for my chess career.

What are your most proudest accomplishments in chess?

Lefong:  My biggest accomplishment in chess is definitely my 5th place (U10) at the WYCC in Germany, 1992.  The field was packed with guys like Luke McShane, Alexander Grischuk, Etienne Bacrot, Francisco Vallejo Pons, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Levon Aronian, etc.  I managed to beat Ganguly in the final round, earning 7.5/11.

Lefong:  My father always told me that there are a lot of similarities between chess and life, and that I needed to use the good things about chess and apply them to life.  Chess has provided me a way of thinking, how to find the best move in given situation, etc.  It has also helped me to bounce back from the worse situations in life.  Without chess, I would for sure not be the same person.

What is your job today?

Lefong:  I am a professional chess teacher.  On top of being Quebec Team Captain, I teach for CMA in their after-school activity program.  I am also involved with the Quebec Chess Federation, trying to help Quebec top players reach new summits.

What advice would you give to kids playing chess today and to their chess parents?

Lefong:  The best advice I would have for kids is to never give up.  Chess is so tough because you play against an opponent every game.  No matter how hard you try, it’s possible that it will not be enough.  Work harder, train harder, always push forward.  The reward of being a champion is worth every effort you can imagine.  Parents, just be patient with your kids.  It is normal to be stuck at a certain level, and kids need you to encourage and support them.

Coaching at the CYCC 2015 in Windsor, ON.

What does the future hold for FM Lefong Hua?

Lefong:  My last serious tournament was in 2003, and I stopped playing chess to focus on studying.  I love teaching chess but at the same time, I miss playing.  I still think I have the potential to become an IM (International Master) one day.  I hope that in the future, I will be able to take some time off in order to play again.


I hope that you all have enjoyed the first 3 months of our weekly Chess ‘N Math chess blog.  We will be taking a short break and then return with more interesting and exciting chess blog topics. 

I want to thank NM John Doknjas for providing interesting articles on various chess lesson topics. 

I also want to thank NM Adam Dorrance, NM Nicholas Vettese, Lauri Lintott, FM Marc Ghannoum, IM Tom O’Donnell, and FM Lefong Hua for their time spent on the informative interviews. 

And I want to especially thank Larry Bevand for giving me this creative opportunity to write and make use of my photography and communication skills.  So, until next time….

God bless,


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


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.