Category Archives: News

The latest news for Annex Chess Club and Toronto chess in general

ACC June Bug Swiss

Our latest chess tournament is named for the big brown beetles that seem to show up out of nowhere in June. Part of the scarab family but not as honoured as their Egyptian relative (Khepri is a Kemetic solar deity who symbolizes becoming), June bugs are usually considered a pest especially in the white grub stage (their genus Phyllophaga means leaf-eater). Personally, I’ve always found them humorously clumsy; they always seem to be flying into walls, getting stuck on their back, or moving slowly and awkwardly across the ground, dragging their big belly with scrabbling legs.

Running through June from May 29 to July 3, the ACC June Bug Swiss is a 5-round club tournament in three sections, Masters, U2200, and U1600. Yes, those cut-offs are a little different than normal. It’s nice to mix up the sections a little to give people some new opponents, but we’re also trying an experiment with this tournament, making the Masters section a little more exclusive in the hopes of attracting some new strong players. Accordingly, our three sections are the new Masters section, then U2200, and then U1600. As always, those within 100 points of the cut-off may request to play up in the next higher section. E.g., a 2120 would naturally be in the U2200 section, but could request to play in the Masters. Similarly a 1530 would naturally be placed in U1600, but could request to play in U2200.

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For more on June bugs, also known as June beetles, May bugs, etc., see the Encylopedia Brittanica article.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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The Magnetic Queen – a chess lecture

“The Magnetic Queen” by Rhys Goldstein

“Let us say that a game may be continued in two ways: one of them is a beautiful tactical blow that gives rise to variations that don’t yield to precise calculations; the other is clear positional pressure that leads to an endgame with microscopic chances of victory. I would choose the latter without thinking twice. If the opponent offers keen play I don’t object; but in such cases I get less satisfaction, even if I win, than from a game conducted according to all the rules of strategy with its ruthless logic.”
~ Anatoly Karpov

Despite his reputation for “boring” play, in this masterpiece, Karpov uses his queen like a magnet and essentially moves the enemy pieces.

Here are the PDF notes for The Magnetic Queen, a lecture given on February 13, 2017 at Annex Chess Club (just before Round Two of the What’s My Name Swiss).

And here is the featured Karpov game:

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The featured image is from the tomb of Queen Nefertari (1295-1255 BCE). She was known by many titles, including Great of Praises (wrt-hzwt), Sweet of Love (bnrt-mrwt), Lady of Grace (nbt-im3t), Lady of The Two Lands (nbt-t3wy), and in the words of her husband Ramses II, ‘The one for whom the sun shines.’ There is no record of her ever having been known as The Magnetic Queen.

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