Snow Lake Hiking Trail – North Bend, Washington

Over the weekend I went on this gorgeous hike called Snow Lake. To those of you who do not know, I am on a very long vacation out in the west coast. Currently staying around Seattle. It’s very beautiful here – there are many hikes to choose from.

A few weeks ago, I got to visit Victoria, British Columbia. The last time I was there – 2005 for the Canadian Youth Chess Championship where I placed 1st. I am hoping to see Vancouver very soon because it’s less than 3 hour drive from me!

If any of you have any suggestions on what I can see in the Washington/British Columbia area, comment below or send me a private message:

Here a few pictures from the Snow Lake Hike! The hike was about 7 miles….but we actually got lost at one point and might have done more. The one negative about the hike was once we got lost we had to go up this really rocky steep hill…

Italy & Salento International Chess Open 2016

Hello everyone! I’d like to finally write an article on my travel to Italy this past May. I know I’m writing this a bit late but it’s better late than never! I’ve been to many countries through out my life (because of curiosity and chess) but Italy was not on my list. When I had gotten the kind offer to come to Italy (by Matteo Zoldan who organizes tournaments around the country) – I could not say no!

On my trip, my best friend Anna came with me as well. She’s part Italian and wanted to learn about her Italian roots and family history. It’s always nice to have a friend near by rather than travelling all alone.

We arrived to Rome, Italy on May 15th with a lot of excitement for what was to come. Our travel around Italy was to have four days in/around Rome and on the 18th we would fly to Lecce area, close by is the location of the tournament I would play and organize in.

After arriving from the airport, Anna’s relatives (from Milan) picked us up, helped us get to the bed & breakfast place we were staying at. They were even nice enough to allow us to have a rest before going into the city. We got to see a few sights before it started raining heavily. Four of us were hungry after being in rain so we quickly ran into a restaurant beside the beautiful fountain! This was very exciting for me, the experience to try Italian cuisine in the country itself!

Pictures of Day 1:


On our second day (May 16, 2016) Anna’s relatives could not stay longer so we had to go explore Rome ourselves! Later that afternoon, we went on a tour which included the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

Pictures of Day 2:

Pictures of Tour:

That night we got onto a late night bus to Pisa.

At 5am (May 17, 2016) we finally arrived to Pisa with little or no sleep, we hoped we would be able to survive the next 18 hours of sight seeing before our bus ride home back to Rome. Romualdo (a fellow chess player and youtuber) kindly suggested showing us around Pisa and later the city of Florence. To those of you who don’t know who Romualdo: he’s a chess player of approximately my strength but has a pretty cool YouTube channel running:

Pictures in Pisa:


Pictures in Florence:


On our fourth and last day (May 18, 2016) to see Rome, we went to the Vatican City. Had a two hour tour… Visited the beautiful museum where Michelangelo’s famous paintings were on the walls and ceiling. We are not allowed to talk or take photos in that area, but you can find some photos online!


Italy is such a beautiful country with so much amazing history. Every city we went to, there were old buildings which are nothing compared to the ones in Ontario, Canada.

On May 19, 2016 we had a flight to catch to the Southern part of Italy. Our final destination was the city Gallipoli which is right beside the Ionian Sea. We were greeted by one of the representatives of Calori Hotels and taken to our hotel, Le Sirene Ecohotel.

Once we arrived to our hotel, checked in and got settled into our rooms – we were welcomed by Matteo Zoldan! To those of you who do not know who he is: One of the best tournament organizers I have ever met. Matteo plays the game himself (at a competitive level) and is ambitious to see more tournaments in Italy. Matteo hosts the Salento International Chess Open every year for the past 5 years. This tournament takes place in a resort where chess players can relax by the seaside and play chess. I was very happy and thankful for being invited to help. One of my jobs prior to my trip was to be the Media & Communications Officer. This position included me writing a few articles and encourage people to come via social media or personal contact.

May 20, 2016 I got to meet many of the participants and register them into the tournament! Players were coming from so many different countries which include Russia, Netherlands, Poland and many many more. So exciting to get to play in an International Tournament like this!

(End to my personal touch of the Article)

May 21, 2016 – May 28, 2016 Salento International Chess Open

One of my jobs at at the tournament was to be the photographer! I really enjoyed taking photos of chess players, surrounding areas and leisure events.

Events that occurred during the tournament:

Almost everyday we had chess players playing soccer!

Soccer (day time):

And even…

Soccer (night time):


An amazing part of this tournament was the tours, the hotel organized a tour daily for most of the days! Every day you could see a new city near by Gallipoli. I only went to the one in Lecce.

Leece Tour:

Now let’s get to the chess part!

There were two section: Open A and Open B. Open A consisted of players in the 1900s (FIDE) and above while Open B was anyone up to 2000 (FIDE). I was going to play in the Open B section and even try to win a money prize but the Arbiter asked me to be in the top section because there was an odd number. Since I thought the Organizer (Matteo) wanted this as well – I agreed. Later on, Matteo wondered why I went into the top section but it was already too late for me to go back! In the end, I got3.5/9: 5 draws, 1 win, and 3 losses. I am quite happy with myself because every single opponent was higher rated… most of my opponents were about 100 or over (except my last game!). For more my first International in many years I think I did quite well and even gained a bit of rating! 😀

Name Orlova Yelizaveta
Title WCM
Starting rank 40
Rating national 0
Rating international 1919
Performance rating 1986
FIDE rtg +/- 14,4
Points 3,5
Rank 35
Federation CAN
Ident-Number 0
Fide-ID 2601826
Year of birth 1994
Rd. Bo. SNo Name RtgI FED Pts. Res. w-we K rtg+/-
1 19 19 FM Lorscheid Gerhard 2214 GER 4,0 s 0 -0,15 20 -3,00
2 19 27 Pizzuto Samuele Tullio 2077 ITA 4,0 w ½ 0,21 20 4,20
3 18 31 Sirena Gianni 2027 ITA 4,0 s ½ 0,15 20 3,00
4 17 28 Patavia Antonio 2074 ITA 4,0 s 0 -0,29 20 -5,80
5 19 34 Eijk Yuri 2009 NED 3,0 w ½ 0,12 20 2,40
6 17 26 WGM Kouvatsou Maria 2090 GRE 4,0 s 0 -0,27 20 -5,40
7 20 32 Callier Christophe 2023 BEL 4,0 w ½ 0,14 20 2,80
8 20 23 Otten Remmelt 2129 NED 3,0 w ½ 0,27 20 5,40
9 19 38 Inguscio Giorgio 1950 ITA 2,5 s 1 0,54 20 10,80


If you’d like to see how the Open A tournament went, see this link:

Open B:


During the tournament:

Blitz Tournaments:


In conclusion, I really loved my stay in Italy. I got to see so many beautiful sights and meet great people. Italy is truly one of the countries that has the most history. Seeing the historic buildings really reminded me about my days back home in Ukraine and how much I miss travelling to Europe. A special thanks to Matteo Zoldan (picture below) for inviting me to the tournament.


It was a great atmosphere, the food was amazing and the staff was very friendly. If you want to play a tournament and have a getaway I definitely would recommend you to register! You can get the best of both  worlds. Wouldn’t it be great to prepare or analyze games beside the seaside?

Visit: for more information regarding this years event! I will keep you updated once the information about the 6th Salento Open will be known!

Thank you so much for reading! Hope you will enjoy my future posts about my travels in the west coast of Canada/ USA. Please follow my blog: I will be updating about my life, travels and chess.

Have a great day everyone! Hope you win many chess games in the near future!

How has chess helped you in real life? – Answered by Chess Players all around the World!

Chess is a beautiful old game which requires a lot of calculation, theory, and strategy.. Whether we are looking at short or long calculations, it improves our mind in different ways to help us in our everyday lives. Thinking before you moves goes with thinking before making certain actions. Tactics goes hand in hand with creating short term plans/goals, while Strategy goes with long term plans/goals. Openings helps you improve your memorization skills which could help a lot in school.

Here is what some chess players around the world say about chess and how it will help in life:

It kept me from doing bad things to myself after my divorce. Chess is the reason I’m still alive today. And now I can proudly say….. Chess is Life! – Raymond Kline

Humans majority of time think with in a specific level(say box).Chess helps to think out of the box by showing the possibilities which we strongly believe impossible earlier.We avoid thinking because we think that it is impossible.Chess helped me to look for possibilities around.Earlier if a Chess Problem is posted and if the solution looks impossible for me I put a comment that the Problem is with error.After that when I see the solution I came to know the possibility of solving which I strongly felt impossible earlier.Look around for Possibility which I learned from Chess. – Vital Pratap Varma Indukuri

Chess is life and vice verza Life is Chess. It helps me to improve logical cognition with tactics and strategies. –Jhun Cris

The more I play chess the more I enjoy it. Chess is all about calculations and math is my life. – Madukaku Clement Mark

Chess has helped me keep my mind sharp. It also helps me make the right decisions in my life by helping me consider the consequences of my actions. Chess can also be a great stress reliever. – Ted Rochon

I started finding that the same fails I make in the board, I make them un real life: making bad sacrifices, losing hope before the game ends, etc. I found that my style was a reflect of my attitude about common life. So I started working on it, on the board and on the real life. – Edgar Márquez

You are responsible for your actions, like in chess also in life there are no “takebacks”! – Νικόλας Σκέττος

Chess is very good for people who have depression, I can say that chess saved my life, I would like to have contributed much more with this noble art. – Marcio Ab

Some people turn to drugs, alcoholic, or prostitute, but me playing chess makes me feel much better! – Mohd Noh Mohd Ali

Chess taught me that no move is perfect. Your aim behind it should be clear. Do nothing without purpose. –Hammad Dar

It helps me to respect any person, people who seems have no idea about the game has kicked my ass really hard so I learned to respect allí people it doesn’t matters how they look like. – Edgar Márquez

As a very “general” thing, it can serve as a nice reminder that sometimes it’s better to think logically, and not let emotions such as frustration, anxiety etc. cloud one’s thinking. And I think it can help with learning to plan ahead several steps, instead of just one. – Timothy Rigney

There is always a best move there. Analysing the situation is what needed. – Payal Mittal

Determination, and flexibility – if one idea does not work, try another. – Fraser Musson

Keeping me away from negatives & fears of this world. – Devansh

Pub Chess Toronto


Hi everyone, My name is Yelizaveta Orlova – I am a WCM and WNM. I used to play competitively but now I’ve taken up teaching mostly.

My friend and I love chess so we have started our own business in Toronto, Canada! If you know anyone who lives here – please let them know about us! group:

About Pub Chess Toronto

Learn and play chess in a social atmosphere. Pub Chess Toronto’s founders are top players in the country.

We hold teaching sessions/lectures + casual/competitive play. Currently, we are re-located at “The Madison”, which is in the heart of Annex and 2 mins walk from Spadina station. Our past location was “The Central”, Markham & Bloor.

The point of our meet up is to popularize chess. Chess is known to be a very sophisticated game but we want to show the social and fun aspect of it! Come out, drink/eat, meet new people over the chess board!

Every wednesday there will be a lecture/blitz tournament/casual play.

Want to see more pictures? Like our FB page:

Meetup group:

Info about our Wednesday’s events:

Casual players:

Entry fee: 10$ (+free drink)

– Lectures

– Casual games (with/without the clock)

– Taught/play against Woman National Master Yelizaveta Orlova

Competitive players:

Entry fee: 20$ (+free drink)

– Lecture

– Blitz tournament

– Casual games (with/without the clock)

Blitz tournament:

Time: 7-10pm

Registration: Pre-register to pubchesstoronto@hotmail (.com) or go to our events page on FB

Location: Madison Ave Pub, 14 Madison Ave, Toronto (2 min NE of Spadina station) – 2nd floor

Time control: 5 min 2 sec inc, 5 double rounds (Play opponent white & black)

Sections: Players divided into 2 to 4 sections depending on turnout, may “play up”

Prizes: Based on entries, overall prizes & class prizes awarded

The Madison specials on Wednesdays: 

– 50% off appetizers from 5-8PM

– Wings 5$ per 1lb

– 2oz. mixed rail drinks

Hope to see you guys there 🙂


Couple of days ago, I asked my fan these questions: “How does chess make you feel? What exactly goes through your thoughts when playing a game? Why has chess become one of your passions?” for a chance to get a signed business card by one and only, Yelizaveta Orlova. The reason why I’ve decided to post their answer is because I found it interesting that every one of them was different, yet inspiring in every way. It’s great to see each and every one of you has your very own opinion – and this is not only about chess but everything in life! Especially, all of you are from different country which might make answers different because of lifestyle, culture, beliefs etc. If you’d like to see answers, please do not stop reading! There is more yet to come. But firstly, I’ll tell you my answers to the questions.

“Chess is a game that has been apart of me for more than half of my life. My father, my grandfather, and most likely my ancestors passed it down through my family. It’s practically in my blood. In the beginning, I didn’t find chess that fun (child age) but when I started to grow up, I realized that I could never actually let go of Chess. During a game, I try to only focus on the board. At times it can be hard because of my own psychological state during that specific time. My favorite part of the game is the middle game, that’s where I find the game is most interesting, and a lot of strategy and tactics come to play. When I lose a game, most of the time I take it hardly – but I always try to learn from my mistakes. It’s extremely important! Since I was 9 I’ve been playing this dangerous mind game and I have never gotten bored of it. Every game is different, I’m sure we have yet to find a chess player who has played to of the same exact games! In chess, as in other games and sports, you learn the more you play. In Chess you can only grow, I am not talking about rating but by knowledge. Yes, sometimes we might forget but it is usually always with us in our minds. Chess will always be apart of my life. Till death do we part.” – WCM Yelizaveta Orlova 

Two people I know personally answered my question:

“I have been playing chess on and off for many years, was even president of a chess club. I don’t really know why I love chess so much, I just do! Even though I don’t have much visual intelligence… I agree with many things others have posted, improved concentration and such. And if anyone is wondering what kind of teacher Yelízaveta is, I have been taking lessons from her since last September. Bottom line, she’s a great coach, patient and of course super bright! She really understands the game and has improved mine substantially. Thanks Liza!” – Gilles Dumouchel (My online student)

“I love chess because of your beauty. When I go to tournaments and see you, I feel inspired; I reach into my inner soul and allow it to break free and express itself over the board.” – WFM Alexandra Botez (My closest and oldest Chess friend)

Here are answers made by my fans!

“When I play Chess I am participating in a tradition which dates back centuries. I am taking part in a contest of wit, will and strategy. It is an invigorating mental battle. However, it is just as much a social occasion between competitors or friends. You can enjoy a conversation as much as the competition. I have been playing since I was eight years old with my Father and uncles as tutors. Being taught Chess at that age the game really had an impact on my formative years. I developed passions for history and legend directly because of my exposure to Chess and I am very glad for it. I am a strong supporter of the instititution and am heartened when I see young grandmasters such as you being tremendous examples for your generation.” – Eric M Baker

“Each game is different, so I have a new challenge each Time I play to find the best move, plan or combination. We can play during our entire life without playing the same game. So many variations.” – Stephane Trassaert 

“Chess is my passion, my outlet from the doldrums of life, when I play I get lost in the complexity which the position brings, I even try to play the sharpest lines, most attacking lines. I’m not a quiet player, I enjoy invoking my will on my opponent forcing he, or she to make moves uncomfortable for them, my favorite phase of the game is the middle game when I upset the position and low and behold they find themselves totally and completely lost!” – Bob Byers

“I love so many sports and games since I was young. Soccer, billiard, swimming, etc… The only game I feel sad when I lose is Chess .. I believe I love chess more than any other game or sport.” – Ayman Soliman

“When I’m playing chess, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space.” – Sid Gandhi

“I consider myself to be an average player. I have been playing for nearly 30 years now.I was taught chess at school when I was 6 and it was something me and my best friend just took too, within 6 months we were both in the under 9’s county team and later joined a local club team were it just became a chance to play stronger players and keep testing myself, a game that when you lose you can learn and comeback stronger and wiser next time, a strange game you can win and not be happy, you can lose and be pleased. Having said that to play well and win in style gives you the biggest rush ever. I recently played a gentleman he is a very respected local chess player 7 times county champion although not for a while , I was fortunate to beat him but after the game he said “It was a honour to play in that game, I haven’t been so savagely attacked and beaten like that in years” How could anyone not feel amazing!” – William Bates

“This game relaxes me and takes my mind off other things.” – Bob Joks

“I love chess a lot because it is like my second mom. I can give up home, office, gf , etc for chess.. but chess is my life. I will manage life without wife but without chess life is unimaginable.” – Chinmay Josh

“The most enjoyable moments I had at chess were those when I took great risks. I believe in my opponent’s ability to beat me, but I also believe in my opponent’s ability to make mistakes. When I take great risks and win, the victory is much sweeter. This is why I stopped playing defensive and started to develop more aggressive tactics. When I started playing it I was four and most of my opponents were old men from my neighborhood obviously they had much more experience than me. It was quite frustrating to loose so often, and back then I didn’t know about studying my own games to become better, and I didn’t have access to chess books about openings , end-games etc. Beating a more experienced opponent was only about adapting to his game, it was the only thing I knew when I was young, adapting to different positions. It probably had some influence over my personality too, for I grew up with the ability to adapt to many different environments, people, or ways of life.” – Andrei Eleodor Toykhov 

“Chess is a silent way of getting adrenaline rush. And I love that feeling.” – Jason Egama

“My dad taught me to play chess when I was a kid, he always has some story to tell while playing. Later he took me to see the chess match between Fischer and Spassky in Belgrade. It was great. I like chess not so much to beat other players as much to see where do I stand and how can I cope with pressure, survive it, and go for attack (or go straight to attack from beginning and cope with pressure later:)). I can talk about chess for hours…” – Srdjan Olujic

“Chess makes me feel alive; I cannot go too long without a game. I travel all over Europe to play, make friends and socialize!” – Pat McGovern

“I love the combinations and tactics, I always love a good sacrifice. I try to find ways that exploit my opponent’s weakness and try to prevent my own. I love a game where I’m in a lost position and find a way to win. Its fun and challenging. It also helps me to look at life with a different perspective.” – Mike Wilson

“I love chess because it’s a game that is a part of my brain. I have been playing since 2007 but only played one official tournament and I lost – but i am not loser! I am confident one day I will win the chess champion in world. My aim is developing friendship between all people in the world! Chess is my life. My life is great. I have no more word for chess because it is amazing game. Chess is not only exercise of the brain but it’s all problems and solutions which is apart of my life. I want to meet you because I am interested to develop future brain and more and more development in chess.” – Neel Shah

“I grew up playing as a young boy, I won some school tournaments in a small town. Now like then I just play for fun. I like to follow some players. The game keeps my mind sharp, Life like chess, you better know some good moves” – Quarter Man

“The reason I like playing chess is because I can be one of the stars. You get to learn something new about your self every time you play. Did you have what it takes? How did you respond in the face of adversity? How do you face losing? You only get one chance and there are no take backs. Glory is all on you. sometimes your best just is not good enough. The people are also awesome.” – Michael Giglio 

“Chess makes me feel like I am at war. I love the game. Playing competitively feels amazing.” – Ryan Garza

“For me chess is art. You get the chance to create with an opponent. Its a dance, conversation and a conflict that can produce great beauty. Sure the tools are logical analysis and visualization, but the realized line and forgone lines are like a symphony or a complex painted picture. Most times the two playing the game only partially appreciate it. If, however, you just once contribute to a recorded masterpiece, then be very happy. Others just dream of the chance. ” – Greg Hough

“Chess makes me feel in love. When playing it opens a universe of possibilities and creative ideas. It’s amazing the sensation when you playing a very important game in tournament and you go for it! The art and beauty of the fluid thoughts in your mind that creates a connection between chess and you being one!” –  Alexandre Guerreiro 

“Because ironically, despite its being called a lengthy game, to me it looked liked a miniature and shorter version of life. You make decisions which rise you or kill you. In chess, it’s much more quicker than in real life.” – Kabir Invictus

“Personally I like to teach the game as well as play, I like some of the brilliant I come up with at times, and experimenting new ideas I play, I’ve been studying for over 20 years, and frankly still improving. but more importantly sharing the knowledge. The local Chess club see me as something special!!” – Howard E. Anderson III 

Thank you everyone who answered my question!

If you’d like to add on to anything – or answer these questions yourself, please write your answers in the comment below! I’d love to read your thoughts, and I’m sure others will as well! 🙂

Michigan Chess Festival

Hi everyone,

I’m terribly sorry I have not posted anything since now.


This post is about my first American tournament experience. I was invited to this tournament by the organizer, Alan Kaufman. Alan Kaufman is a great chess enthusiast. Not to the say the least, he’s a chess player himself! Alan, one day – about a little over a year ago messaged me about his tournament. Not only was I interested to play because it was close to home (I live in Toronto, the tournament was in a small city not far from Detroit) but because of the recommendations to play were very high!

Alan Kaufman and WCM Yelizaveta Orlova

The tournament ended up being much better than I expected. I was treated very well – someone picked me up from the bus terminal, and I had a nice stay at the hotel we were playing in! I got to meet many new people – chess players, parents, enthusiasts! I even got to see people in super hero costumes (there was another event being held in the same hotel). Now, about the chess! I helped Alan to try to get many international chess players to attend the tournament – and even succeeded! The tournament ended up being a greatly organized and strong event. My result: I am not exactly thrilled on the result I had at this tournament but I had to expect it because I was one of the lowest rated players! I did end up getting two draws, one win, and lost about 8 FIDE rating. My chess has been a little rusty, because I am a full-time chess teacher – it’s really hard to teach and study at the same time!

I can’t seem to find any results on this tournament – but the second I find it, I will update it to this page.

Please check out the website for this outstanding strong tournament:

During the tournament, I was the photographer for this event – please check out the photos I took! There were two tournaments through out the 5 day chess festival. The 9-round tournament which was 5 days (October 23-27) and the 5-round tournament which was 3 days (October 25-27).

9-Round Norm Tournament

5-Round Tournament