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Olya Kaye returned to the chess table at this year's Canadian Open Chess Championship in Toronto.Handout

With two young kids at home and a busy schedule, Olya Kaye of Toronto took a big step this summer – she rejoined the world of competitive tournament chess.

Kaye moved to Canada from Russia at the age of 13, and within three years she was the Canadian girls’ champion. She played in a handful of events over the next decade, and then spent all her time training as a business analyst and building her family.

But the lure of chess brought her back to compete in this summer’s Canadian Open in Hamilton. It was her first event in more than a decade, and the first time she had been away from her kids in nearly nine years.

“I feel complete when I play, and I realized that it’s going to stay with me for life,” she wrote in her blog.

She scored four points in nine rounds, but it was the overall experience that she enjoyed most. “For me, it was a chance to reconnect with myself,” she said in an interview. She hopes one day to regain her Expert rating.

Her daughters, five and eight, play chess too but she thinks music may be a bigger passion.

“I want them to pursue their talents, not my talents.”

Olya Kaye v. Dina Kagramanov, Toronto, 2001


In this double-edged position, what is White’s best move?

White played 27. Qh6 Bxf3 28. Qxf6+ R5g7 29. Rd8 and White is winning because the threat is 20.Rxg8+ Kxg8 31.Qd8 mate.