Liza Orlova

Player Profile: Yelizaveta Orlova (2073) – 16 years old

Liza Orlova, 16

Yelizaveta Orlova is a 16-year-old chess player in Toronto, with a CFC rating of 2073. She works with the children’s programme at Annex Chess Club – and she’ll be giving the ACC chess lecture this Monday June 6, at 7:00 pm.

Liza knew how to play chess when she was four years old, but her chess career really started when she was nine. She used to watch her father playing chess online, and he promised that if she studied chess with him, he would take her to Kitchener to play a simultaneous exhibition against an IM (International Master).

Liza’s father, Sergiy Orlov, was a Candidate Master in Odessa, Ukraine, when he was her age. Her grandfather, too, was an IM in America.

At age nine, she’d had just a couple months of training with her father, when he took her to a simul in Kitchener – and Liza drew her game against the IM! That’s when she decided to play chess seriously. And she got off to a good start by placing second later that year among girls her age in the Canadian Youth Chess Championship.

Liza has a long list of chess accomplishments in the past seven years, including two of her proudest moments: tying for ninth place in the World Youth Chess Championship, at age 14; and playing with the Canadian Women’s Olympiad team in 2011, at age 16. She enjoys travelling the world and meeting serious chess players like herself: “It’s fun to go somewhere, where everyone is doing something you’re good at.”

She warns young players, or anybody just learning the game, not to try to learn by themselves: “It’s better for someone to be there for you, when you’re starting.” In her case, after studying with her father for only five months, she achieved a 1400 rating.

Liza Orlova, age 10

Although White is normally considered to have an advantage in chess, Liza prefers playing black. She explains, “Sure, White gets to play the first move, but Black gets to choose the opening.” For example, if White plays 1. e4, it’s Black who makes the game a Sicilian by playing 1…c5. “I know my openings better as Black,” she admits.

Liza recommends studying openings and tactics. Tactical play, she says, is her most important strength: “If you can see tactics against you, or see a tactic against your opponent, you are good.”

Her current chess goal is to raise her chess rating to 2130, and to play again on next year’s Canadian Olympiad team.

Check out Liza’s blog for updates on her chess career, or to register for private lessons.

Here is Liza’s first win from the 2011 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. She is playing black.

White: Joanitah Justine Butindo
Black: Yelizaveta Orlova (1917) CAN

2010.09.21 Chess Olympiad (Women) (1)
Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

B32 Sicilian 4…Qb6

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