Aaron Hinks photo Ten-year-old Peace Arch Elementary student Denman Hertz has recently been named a chess champion.

Young South Surrey chess player wins regional tournament

Denman Hertz, 10, has been playing the game for three years

Peace Arch Elementary student Denman Hertz, 10, is starting to build a name for himself in the world of chess.

The unassuming Grade 4 student with a competitive edge has recently been crowned the winner of the City of North Vancouver Chess Championship.

The April 28 tournament attracted by 57 chess players, 28 of which played in the Grade 4-7 section.

Now ranked sixth in the province for his age, Hertz told Peace Arch News Wednesday that he has participated in about 20 chess tournaments since he took up the game three years ago.

He has participated in the National Canada Youth Chess Championship in Windsor, Ont., in 2015, where he finished 20th out of 40. More recently, the youngster participated in two provincial championships, one of which he tied for first but lost in a tie-breaker.

What drew him to the game, he said, is the level of strategy it takes to win a match.

“When I decided to go to the first tournament, I went there and didn’t do so well,” he said. “That’s when I started to take lessons.”

Hertz attributes part of his success in the game to his coaches, Surrey brothers Neil, Joshua and John Doknjas. He said he also gets practice time with his family, and will confidently say that he’s the one to beat.

“I usually have a little bit of a plan before the game, I know how to start it,” he said, adding that a well-thought opening move can swing the match in his favour.

“It’s really important. It really depends on how you develop the pieces. If you don’t start it off right, then your opponent has a huge advantage.”

Hertz has a rating of 978; a grandmaster has a rating of 2,500-2,700.

Norwegian grandmaster and current World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has a current rating of 2,882.

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