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May 2016
Alumnus Leung Ho-yan’s International Chess Dream
Alumnus Leung Ho-yan (Andrew) graduated from the Department of Government and International Studies. In 2016, Andrew won the Hong Kong Chess Championship at the age of 24. Andrew first came into contact with chess when he broke up with his girlfriend at the age of 12. At first, he was attracted by the three dimensional design of chess pieces as well as the elegant chessboard. The young player never received any professional coaching in playing chess. He mastered the skill by reading books and discussing strategies with experienced chess players. Many people believe that playing chess can exercise our brain, improve critical thinking skills and enhance emotional intelligence. Andrew points out that sports like badminton or table tennis require great concentration of athletes in order to achieve good results, in the same way, playing chess in a calm atmosphere can help him find a solution on every possible move.

Artificial Intelligence program and Chess

Recently, the news of South Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol losing to ‘AlphaGo’, an artificial intelligence (A.I.) program was widely reported by the international media. Andrew holds the view that artificial intelligence programs should be used to resolving more complex global issues instead of competing with Go players as playing chess is somewhat an entertainment. Andrew’s most admired idol is Bobby Fischer, the 11th world chess American champion who single-handedly defeated a number of renowned Russian players. Andrew’s style and moves in playing chess is deeply influenced by Fischer.

Learn Chess Systematically

Andrew is keen to find a full-time job as soon as possible, he is planning to participate in the September 2016 Azerbaijan Chess Tournament. Andrew comments that many employers may not allow staff to take vacations to join competitions. His biggest dilemma is more about how to communicate this passion for the game to his prospective employers when attending job interviews. At the moment, he is quite busy working as a coach in teaching children playing chess. To him, there is a systematic way to learn how to play chess as each of the chess pieces has its own path movement and the strategy can generally be predicted in the initial ten steps. However, it gets complicated as you navigate the game. Andrew points out that many novices are too concerned about ways to “win” and only cares about the ultimate result, making them difficult to master further moves.

Work Hard and Be Determined

In Hong Kong, there are not many people playing chess. Unlike the chess teams of Chinese Chess and Go, the International Chess Team is not the official member of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee and therefore cannot represent Hong Kong to take part in competitions. The Hong Kong Chess Federation and the HKSAR government also do not have much funding for the game. If chess players take part in competitions, they have to find their own sponsors.

At this point, Andrew has no intention to become a professional chess player but he would not give up the game even if he gets a full-time job. He says: “Mastering chess is different to mastering other sports as it does not require a strong commitment of time. You can learn chess from books or gain experience from participating in competitions.”

Andrew also shares his motto in life – “The key to achieve one’s goal - Work Hard and Be Determined”.

We wish Andrew more success ahead and hope he can find a job that allows him to continue his passion of playing chess.

Back to The BUddy Post May 2016

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