A name that you might have heard in recently years is Nicholas Vettese.  Nicholas, or should I say, National Master Nicholas Vettese, is the youngest ever Canadian Master.  He became a NM at age 10 yrs, 11 mths and 11 days by achieving a CFC rating over 2200 and earning three 2300 performance norms.  Subsequently, Nicholas achieved the CFC rating of 2300 in June that year when he was 11 years and 3 months. He has also won the provincial championship for his grade three times since taking up chess (from Grades 3 to 5), and subsequently the National Championship for his grade from Grades 3 to 5).  He recently returned from his first trip to the World Youth and Cadets Chess Championships in Greece where he was one of the top performers on Team Canada and where he tied for 24th in the World in the U12 Open section.

One-on-One with National Master Nicholas Vettese

Here’s my interview with NM Nicholas Vettese:

How many times have you won the Ontario Chess Challenge Championship for your grade?

Nicholas:  3 times, Grade 3, 4 and 5.

2013:  Nicholas wins Canadian Chess Championship for Grade 3 with Larry Bevand announcing the winners.


How many times have you won the Canadian Chess Challenge for your grade?
Nicholas:  Same as above.  3 times, Grade 3, 4 and 5.

2015:  Nicholas wins Canadian Chess Championship for Grade 4.


What got Nicholas started playing chess and how did that tie into getting involved with Chess'n Math, and then CMA's Canadian Chess Challenge?
Sandra (Nicholas’ Mom): Nicholas learned how to play chess with the Chess'n Math program at the school lunch program.  He enjoyed chess in this program from the start.  He played his first tournament (scholastic) in 2012.  His next tournament was a qualifier run by Corinna Sin and with that he qualified to play the Ontario Chess Challenge.  He did not qualify for the Canadian Chess challenge in 2012, but he did the following year.  Nicholas has also gone to a number of Chess'n Math camps on PA days and in the summer holidays, and he always really enjoyed these.

What do Nicholas and Nicholas' parents remember about Nicholas' first CCC?
Nicholas and Sandra:  We enjoyed the opening ceremony with the marching in of provinces with flags and bagpipes.  I think the CMA always does a great job of making the CCC feel special.

Why do you continue to compete in the CCC each year?  Why do you feel this is important to support?
Sandra:  Nicholas likes to play in the CCC because he likes to have the chance to try and be the Canadian champion for his grade.  It is also a special event as mentioned above, and there are usually some fun opportunities to play bughouse with kids from other provinces.

Knowing what you know now, would you have invested all the time and your family's time into chess, as much as you have done over the years?  Why, and why do you feel chess is that important?
Sandra:  You do what feels right at the time.  We always went to tournaments when Nicholas wanted to.  There is less time recently for chess, though Nicholas still enjoys playing.  Chess is important because it helps with focus, and with dealing with stress, and losing, and difficult situations.

What do you think chess has given you; what positive impact has it had in your life? 

Nicholas:  See previous answer.  Of course, it is also important to have fun as well.  I enjoy seeing my friends at chess tournaments and playing bughouse and blitz.

What are your most proudest accomplishments in chess? 

Nicholas:  Winning the CCC in 2013, 2014 and 2015; Winning CYCC in 2015; 2nd in NAYCC in 2014.
I feel my greatest accomplishment was becoming National Master at age 10.  I had that goal in mind and was very happy to achieve it.

What advice would you give to kids playing chess today and to their chess parents?
Nicholas:  Kids should play chess because they enjoy it.  If they want to get better, they should practice tactics and play in tournaments.  They should also have fun with it.

What does the near future hold for Nicholas in terms of chess and life in general?
Nicholas:  I would like to become FM one day.  I am busy with a new school and more homework than I had before.  I am also in Spirit of Math and other activities.


Nicholas with the other 2015 Canadian Chess Champions.

Aside from enjoying a great game of chess, Nicholas also cherishes time spent with his family.  He has an older brother Chris and two caring and supportive parents, Sandra and Jeff.  The whole family are avid skiers and ping pong players.  Like any other 11 years old, he relishes his time playing computer games, watching movies, hiking, skiing and playing with his 3 cats.

From top clockwise:  Nicholas skiing, hiking in Iceland, and with his new kitten.

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:  “Christmas Time”


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.