New Brunswick

Fredericton chess player, Cynthia Cui, going to world championships

In the world of rooks, pawns, and bishops, Cynthia Cui is queen. The 12-year-old from Fredericton is going to the World Youth and Cadets Chess Championship in Greece in October.

Cynthia Cui will be representing Canada at the chess world championships in Greece in October

Cynthia Cui, left, will be going to the chess world championships in Greece. She is being coached by Robert Hamilton (right). (Philip Drost/CBC News)

In the world of rooks, pawns and bishops, Cynthia Cui is queen.

The 12-year-old from Fredericton is going to the World Youth and Cadets Chess Championship in Greece in October.

Cynthia has the ability to become the best female chess player in Canada's history.- Robert Hamilton

"It's a really big deal for me because it's the first international event that I've been to," said Cui.

Matches get started on Oct. 24. 

Cui will go with her chess coach, Robert Hamilton, who has high hopes for Cui.

"I knew right away that Cynthia, and her brother Leo, were two players that could easily, if they put in the work, become two of the best in Canada for their age," said Hamilton.

Cui practices constantly. She plays a game every day, and beyond that she studies the game thoroughly.

On Saturday, she will take on 16 of the top high school chess players in the city. The only catch is, she will play them all — simultaneously. 

Even if she does end up losing one of those games, her coach says it won't get her down.

"Cynthia has one of the best personalities I've ever seen in terms of taking a beating. It doesn't seem to rattle her at all," said Hamilton. "She just bounces right off it and goes back to the next game. I've seen kids at that level where if they lose, they're crying."

'I want to finish in the top half'

Cui does dwell on her losses, but not in a negative way. She wants to understand what she did wrong, so she can do better in her next game.

"Whenever I lose, I look over the game very carefully, either with Robert or [my brother] Leo, and sometimes I do it alone," said Cui.

"I don't really take it too hard because if I lose, that means the player is better than me, so I can learn stuff from them."

Cui plays a defensive game. She likes to protect her own pieces and set up a strong defensive position for herself.

She doesn't like to take risks. That's something Hamilton says Cui needs to work on as they get closer to the world championships.

"I want to finish in the top half," said Cui.

Hamilton thinks that in the future, Cui can achieve even more than that.

"Cynthia has the ability to become the best female chess player in Canada's history," said Hamilton.

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.

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