Following two whirlwind weeks of competing at international chess tournaments, Kai Richardson said it’s good to be home.
The 12-year-old chess phenomenon played 18 games — many lasting upwards of four to five hours — in 16 days spread across two tournaments in Quebec and Alberta. For all but one of his matches, Kai competed against adults.
He first travelled to Montreal for the Quebec Open — the Championship for French-speaking Countries — an international tournament featuring more than 170 players from roughly 25 countries from July 17-25.
He then flew to Calgary for the Calgary International Chess Classic from July 29 to Aug. 3.
“The Quebec Open was a large, international tournament and it was really good training for Calgary,” Kai said. “In the Quebec Open there was all kinds of psychological warfare going on … people cracking knuckles, people crowding around the boards.
“I played good chess and long games but I just did not get the results.”
He also finished 23rd out of 73 entrants in what’s called a ‘rapid’ tournament where each player is given less time to make their moves than under normal rules.
Once settled in Calgary, Kai said he was much more happy with his play.
There, he finished in 12th place out of 21 entrants, many of whom were FIDE (internationally) rated or grandmasters (the highest title awarded to chess players by the world chess organization, FIDE.)
“The Calgary International was different [than in Quebec],” he said. “I played long games and strong chess but this time I got the results. It was a very friendly tournament and it was also small so I even got some private lessons and analysis from a grandmaster.”
Based on his results at the Quebec Open and the Calgary International, Kai’s FIDE rating should now rise to above 2,000 from 1,775. He will also be the top-rated 12-year-old in B.C. and the fifth-ranked player in the country for his age group.