What to do on the last long weekend of the summer?
Well, if you’re the Doknjas brothers, the answer is spending three days with 43 other people inside the hall of the Brookswood Seniors Centre, competing in the Langley Open 2014 chess tournament.
For the brothers, John, 14, Joshua, 11, and Neil, 9, chess is a serious business.
The boys were taught the game by their father, Dave, when they turned five. At seven they began to compete in chess tournaments. The brothers spend two hours each day studying the game and techniques of chess masters.
One of the brothers’ tournament competitors, Butch Villavieja, a national chess master and the 2012 BC Closed Tournament champion agrees that studying the masters’ games is important to player’s growth.
“Chess is a game of mind games and you need to understand the principles in order to win games . . . by studying the masters’ moves you are looking for the meaning of the move.
“You will get ideas . . . you will learn pattern recognition . . . and then be able to implement it in your own game [and] develop your own system,” he said.
The Langley Open 2014 is run as a “Swiss format” tournament. The details of this style are important to the players involved, but to the casual observer, it means it is a non-elimination tournament with pre-determined rules on the pairing of opposing players.
This tournament has six rounds (games) and each player will play in each round.
At the end of the sixth round, the player with the highest score, determined by calculations involving the player’s moves and win/loss ratio is declared the tournament winner.
Tournament director Brian Davidson said the Langley Open tournament is, “fairly significant [and] the winner gets to go to the BC Closed [tournament], so it is a qualifier.
“There are only six or eight qualifier tournaments in B.C. each year and this is the last one, so if you haven’t qualified up until now and you want to be in the B.C. championships, then you have to play here.”
In the final results, the brothers made an impressive showing.
John and Joshua tied for second, along with Savvas Kyriakides.
All three won five of their six rounds, and take home $200 and bragging rights.
Nine-year-old Neil came in about halfway through the pack, winning three of his six games.
Tournament champion is Bindi Cheng, a chess international master who won $550, a trophy and will now move on to compete for a championship in the B.C. Closed Tournament being held in October.
Below: The Doknjas brothers, John, 14, Joshua, 11, and Neil, 9, compete in the Langley Open 2014 Chess tournament, held over the Labour Day weekend at the Brookswood Seniors Centre.