Annex Women’s Chess Club

Liza Orlova is running a new Women’s Chess Club at Annex. The club is open to women and girls age 12 and up.

Liza wants to help women learn chess not just to play the game, but to benefit from it in many aspects of their lives.

The club meets from 7:20 to 8:20 on Monday nights in a room of their own at 918 Bathurst. The club features chess lessons and games for women and girls at either a beginner or an intermediate level.

Brand new players will start at the very beginning with how the pieces move, and more advanced players will work on understanding strategies and tactics.

Join the club for a course of seven one-hour sessions from March 13 to May 1 for $140.

Register on site March 13. If you’re not sure whether chess is something you want to learn or whether the course is a good fit, go ahead and take the class on a trial basis – there’ll be no charge if you decide not to continue.

four square shadow

Where did the girls go?

Many girls stop playing chess in high school. Either it’s not cool in the opinion of their peers – or they fear it won’t be – or boys’ behaviour in and around the game becomes unappealing.

There’s a lot of judgement in high school; everyone is constantly judging others and intensely aware of being judged. Despite her previous success with chess and much to her later regret, Liza found herself in a place where she thought that if she were known as a chess champion, it would be seen as a bad thing. She kept it a secret as much as possible and quit playing for over a year.

Many boys and men quit chess too at one point or another, but usually for different reasons and often to return later. For too many girls, their departure is permanent.

Not enough women competitors

It’s a problem that begets itself. The girls who do continue with chess often look around in a tournament hall full of players and see they’re the only woman there – or at most they see just one or two others. No wonder they start to feel out of place!

Not enough female coaches

Then, as the previous generation matures, girls coming up in the next cohort have few female role models among their chess teachers. And it’s not just a problem for the girls: boys too are deprived of the opportunity to see women in this role.

Not enough chess moms

Many moms support and encourage their kids to learn the game, but when these kids come home from their lessons, in many cases only their dads can understand what they’ve learned or help with their homework. Combined with other factors, it can be hard for girls to stick with an activity they can’t see their mothers doing.

How can you benefit from taking these chess classes?

The Women’s Chess Club invites new players to learn chess for the first time and former players to come back to a game they once loved.

Taking this course can lead to great opportunities for young women to teach chess in lunch, after-school, or evening classes either in schools or in learning centers. And students of all ages will realize many aspects of learning chess can be applied to real life. (For example, patience, concentration, short and long-term planning, etc.)

Who is Liza Orlova?

Liza is a young and talented chess professional, an experienced teacher, and a popular coach. As a player, she has won many championship titles and has represented Canada in the Chess Olympiad.

Liza Orlova running some post-game analysis during a tournament at U of T (onlookers L-R: Arthur Calugar, Nick O’Bumsawin, Matthew Nicholson)

four square shadow

The woman in the featured image is Tania Sachdev, a top female player from India. Her mom taught her the game when she was six.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

6 thoughts on “Annex Women’s Chess Club”

    1. Yes indeed. Red Bull athlete, Femona power list award, famous commentator, top player, IM, WGM, … One of the superwomen of chess!

  1. Hi,
    I stumbled upon this site today and I see that the annex women’s chess club has started already.

    May I ask when the next course or session is?

    Thanks.

    1. It actually didn’t start last week because Liza was away. It’s starting this Monday and you’re welcome to join!

    1. That’s an interesting question. Liza Orlova is rumoured to be coming back to Toronto, and if so, we’d definitely be interested in seeing another edition of the women’s club if she’s in town long enough and still willing to run it. As it is, there are a number of women attending Artiom’s intermediate class at the moment, and you’re welcome to try that out, even taking your first class on a trial basis to see if it could work for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *