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Liza Orlova represented Canada in major international tournaments before retiring at the age of 19.Supplied

Liza Orlova of Vancouver began her career of competitive chess playing at the age of eight, and eventually represented Canada in major international tournaments.

Born in Odessa, she moved to Canada with her family at a young age and took up the game her father and grandfather had mastered. She played on Canada’s Olympiad team in Russia and Turkey, and travelled to several world youth events.

But at 19, Orlova decided to retire from competition. Getting better would have involved hiring coaches and travelling extensively to tournaments, and she couldn’t afford the financial commitment.

Even when she travelled internationally as a youngster, she was assigned a guardian when her parents couldn’t afford to accompany her.

A decade later, chess remains a big part of her life in different ways.

“Chess has never left me,” she says. She coaches students in person and online, and she wrote a popular instruction book called Chess for Beginners.

As a part-time designer, she has also created chess-themed keychains, logos, worksheets, crafts and other products.

Like many players who have stopped competing in tournaments, she feels she will still retain a lifelong love of the game and express it through her work.

Liza Orlova v. Dina Kagramanov, Toronto, 2011

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How does White get a winning advantage?

White played 31.Qd2 with a dual threat. After Bxa1 32.Qxg5+ Kf7 33.Qh5+ Kg8 34.f7+ Kh8 35.Qg5 Rxf7 36.Qxd8+ White won.

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