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She is a hard-working 18-year-old university student in Ottawa, but Svitlana Demchenko is also gaining prominence internationally with her instructional chess videos and courses.

Demchenko is in first year of biomedical science at the University of Ottawa and has her eye on a career in medicine. But chess has always been a big part of her life, and she says it will continue to be.

Born in Ukraine, she started playing the game at the age of nine and moved with her family to Canada at 11. Soon she was the Under-12 Canadian champion, and she repeated that achievement in all the youth age categories, eventually becoming a North American girls champion.

She has represented Canada at the Women’s World Cup and on the women’s Olympiad team. Now her chess videos are attracting attention on the German-based Chessbase website.

“Svitlana’s Smart Moves” is the name of her video series, where she discusses different aspects of chess strategy and tactics.

“Chess teaches a lot of important life skills like perseverance, memory and decision-making,” she says. But it’s the opportunity to travel, meet new people and try new ventures that she finds most exciting.

Dragos Ceres v Svitlana Demchenko, Ukraine 2021

Dragos Ceres v Svitlana Demchenko, Ukraine 2021The Globe and Mail

White has just played 30.Nc3. How should Black respond?

Black played 30. … e2 31.Rd3 Bxf4 32.Qf3 Bd6 33.Nxe4 Qxe4 and White resigned.