The Chess Player in the Hockey Mask – determined to win in both sports

The Chess Player in the Hockey Mask – determined to win in both sports



The two things Brian Wei enjoys most are checkmating an opponent on the chess board and scoring the winning hockey goal. Both Brian and his brother have been taking chess lessons from Coach Larry since the 3rd grade. Brian is now in the 7th grade at West Sylvan Middle School. He is looking forward to going to Lincoln High School, which in the past has had state champion chess teams. Brian wants to help win another state championship.

Brian plays in as many chess tournaments as he can so he can improve his chess, to help him get into the top half of Oregon scholastic chess players. He missed playing in-person tournaments, which have started up again. Brian and others have been dropping by the Steinitz Chess Academy on Saturdays to play chess games and check out the 1,500 chess books they can borrow. He is working on his chess openings: The Ruy Lopez, a favorite of the second world Chess Champion Emanuel Lasker, Petroff’s Defense and the Queen’s Indian Defense.

Brain has been to the Oregon Scholastic State Chess Championships, where the state’s best chess players meet, three times and hopes they’ll have the tournament in 2022 and he can go again. He wants to add to his trophy collection. The trophies from Seaside are full of saltwater taffy. The bigger the trophy, the more taffy!

To ease the stress of playing chess Brain takes to the ice and plays hockey. For four years he has been playing on the junior Winterhawks Hockey team. Playing as a right wing and center he gets to crash into others and score goals. The only downside is that he has practice at 6am. He is hoping that there will be fans soon to watch them play.

Chess and hockey may not seem similar, but both need strategy, tactics, practice. And the will to win and Brian is determined to win in both sports!


Game of the Month: Colle System

Here is a game played in a tournament against a friend.

  • White: K.P.
  • Black: Brian Wei

1.d4, Nf6 2.Nf3, d5 3.e3, e6 4.Bd3, Bd6 5.Nbd2, 0-0 (The Colle System for white is popular with scholastic players.) 6.e4, dxe4 7.Nxe4, Nxe4 8.Bxe4, Nc6 9.Bg5, (White is ready for a winning kingside attack starting with 9.Bh7+.) f6 10.Be3, e5 11.d5, Nb4 12.0-0, g6 13.c3, f5 14.cxb4, fxe4 15.Ng5, Bxb4 16.Nxe4, c6 17.dxc6, bxc6 18.Qb3+!, (White is ready for a winning kingside attack starting with 9.Bh7+.) Qd5 19.Qxb4, Bf5 20.f3, Rab8 21.Qa4, Rb7 22.Rfd1, Qb5? (When down material you should trade pawns not pieces.) 23.Nc5, Qxa4 24.Nxa4, Bc2! (Now black gets a fork, winning a knight.) 25.Rd2, Bxa4 26.b3, Bc5 m27.a4, Ba6 28.Rad1, Rxb3 29.Ba7, Rb4 30.Ra2, e4 31.fxe4, Rxe4 32.Rf2, Rxf2 33.Bxf2, Rxa4 34.Rd6, Ra1+! 35.Be1,Rxe1+ (This is the losing move.) 0-1. White is down a piece, so he resigns!

Nice going Brian!


Why learn chess? Simple: It’s a great mental workout that helps children perform well in the classroom. Chess is a logical game where kids have to plan ahead and adjust to new situations. But most of all, it’s fun! Larry Ball (Coach Larry) teaches students of all ages at the Steinitz Chess Academy in Beaverton. For more information, email Larry at