Category Archives: News

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

2017 Toronto Closed Chess Championship

It’s time again for the annual City Chess Championship, sanctioned by the Greater Toronto Chess League.

Eight top GTA players are invited to play in a Championship Round Robin (top 8 players who register) to determine the 2017 City Champion.

Eight more players will play in a Reserve Round Robin (next 8 players by rating) with the winner earning an automatic berth in the 2018 Championship.

April 10 to June 12, 2017

For all inquiries and requests, email: info@annexchessclub.com

Details:

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Round One – April 10

toronto skyline

Previous Winners

2016 Mike Ivanov
2015 Geordie Derraugh
2014 Victor Plotkin
2013 Michael Song
2012 Artiom Samsonkin
2011 Victor Plotkin
2010 Victor Plotkin
2009 Michael Barron
2008 Nikolay Noritsyn
2007 Michael Barron
2006 Leonid Gerzhoy
2005 Sami Ademi
2004 Tomas Krnan, Yaaqov Vaingorten
2003 Goran Prpic
2002 Isai Berengolts
2001 Brett Campbell

This city championship is older than Canada, with known winners dating back to 1854.

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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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Beware the Cavalry!

The knight with its funny L-shaped move is one of the hardest pieces to master, and even experienced players sometimes lose a game by missing a knight fork tactic.

“Inexperienced players have a fear of this piece, which seems to them enigmatic, mysterious, and astonishing in
its power. We must admit that it has remarkable characteristics which compel respect and occasionally surprise
the most wary players.”
~ Eugène Znosko-Borovsky, 1936

In a recent chess lecture at ACC, veteran Toronto chess player and teacher, Erik Malmsten, explains a circle visualization method and a square-colour alert to help train your brain to watch out for potential threats by these tricky pieces!

Check out the full lesson here (in .pdf format).

And here are the games (as a zipped .pgn) from the lesson – with a few bonus ones thrown in!

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The featured image is from a photograph by Maarten van den Heuvel.

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Openings Course starts Monday

Along with our regular beginner and intermediate adult chess classes, we have a new offering starting on January 9.

Overview:
It’s an Introductory Survey of the Chess Openings. Beloved chess teacher, Artiom Samsonkin, will walk you through a complete opening repertoire for both sides in this 7-week course. The focus is on applying four fundamental principles: piece activity, king safety, pawn structure, and material.

Here is Artiom’s own video introduction.

  • Do some of your games get off to a good start while in others you are soon in hot water?
  • Are you looking for a way to make a smooth transition from the opening into a playable middlegame position where you can test your skills?

Course layout:
The first half of the course will work on building a repertoire for White, focusing on the Open Spanish, and preparing to meet the solid French and the dangerous Sicilian, as well as meeting sidelines such as the Pirc. The second half builds a repertoire for Black, preparing to meet both 1.e4 (with an Open Game) and 1.d4 (with the Nimzo Indian) as well as sidelines.

Learning goal:
Students will finish the course able to play one or two openings for both sides with confidence. More importantly, your games will be more stable and consistent, as you regularly get your pieces developed harmoniously and your king to safety, ready to test your skills in a good middlegame position.

Chess level:
This course is aimed at an intermediate level. Players should already know how the pieces move, and should have some idea how to assess piece activity, material, king safety, and pawn structure. Tournament players rated 1000-1600 may also be interested in the course.

Everyone welcome!
If you’re not sure whether this is going to be right for you, come try it out and see if it works.

Monday nights, 8:15 to 9:15 pm
January 9 to February 27
$140 for 7 weeks
All equipment and materials provided.
Casual club membership included for the duration of the course.

Register on site January 9. Save the date!
Questions? Please contact info@annexchessclub.com

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