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.
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.
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.
It’s time for another edition of our annual Club Championship! (Check out the club championship tag for past editions!)
The format for the Club Championship is a little different than our regular Swisses: six rounds and just two sections, Championship and Reserve.
The Championship section sees the top players at our club vie for the title of 2017 Club Champion! Michael Humphreys has held the honour for quite some time now – five years in a row! – but this could be the year he’s unseated. The minimum rating to enter the section is 1700.
The Reserve section sees players rated under 1800 compete for the title of 2017 Reserve Champion. Last year it was Max England. (Note that players rated 1700 to 1799 are normally placed in the Reserve section, but they can also opt to play up in the Championship section.)
All are welcome!
All are welcome to join us for the event, but only full-year members are eligible to win the Club Champion and Reserve Champion titles. Winners’ names will be engraved on permanent trophies at the club.
Rounds are at 7:30 pm on six Monday evenings, starting February 27 and running to April 3. New players are asked to please register by 7:00 to make sure that you’re paired for the night’s round.
Round One – February 27
The Club Championship starts with just 15 players in the Championship section – and 28 players in the Reserve.
First-round David vs. Goliath upsets include Max England (2066) defeating Daniel Zotkin (2202) and John Fines (1903) scoring a draw against William Li (2179). In the last game to finish, Miroslav Stefanovic (2136) stubbornly defends to score a draw against top seed and five-time Club Champion Michael Humphreys (2318).
In the Reserve Sasha Chapin (1172) defeats Harry Chen (1465), Dragan Jevtic (1363) defeats Michael Sharpe (1662) and Evgeny Kalmanson (1141) defeats Shabnam Abbarin (1458).
Rd 1 Games of the Week
Here are a few select games – thanks to Keith Denning for entering them!
And finally, a game from the reserve section.
Round Two – March 6
A few new players join the tournament, including some brand new unrated players in the Reserve section who just finished a session of Artiom’s adult chess classes: Bill Randle, Alan McMillan, and Doug Caplan. Meanwhile the Championship section gets a bit tougher as a couple new 2200+ players join: Joseph Bellissimo (2291) and Ochuko Emuakpeje (2211 FIDE). And at the end of the night, Bill Randle, Joseph Bellissimo, and Ochuko Emuakpeje are victorious!
Early leaders with perfect scores through two rounds are Sergey Noritsyn and Dave Southam in the Championship section and five players in the Reserve section: Ulli Diemer, Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy, Salim Belcadi, Kevin Li, and Mark Gelowitz!
Rd 2 Games of the Week
Round Three – March 13
It’s the halfway point. Through three rounds, the leader – with a perfect 3.0/3 score – is Dave Southam. Half a point behind with 2.5/3 are Ochuko Emuakpeje and Michael Humphreys.
Rd 3 Games of the Week
In the Reserve section, there’s a two-way tie for first: Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy and Ulli Diemer both have perfect 3.0/3 scores through three rounds. Another five players are tied for third with 2.5/3.
Here are the games from the top two boards:
Round Four – March 20
Through four rounds, there is a clear leader in each section. In the Championship section, with a perfect 4.0/4 score, Dave Southam has sole possession of first place. Trailing by just half a point with 3.5/4 is defending champion, Michael Humphreys.
In the Reserve section, it’s Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy with a perfect 4.0/4 score and sole possession of first. Javier Dixon trails by half a point with 3.5/4.
There will be showdowns next week as each second-place player will have their chance to take the lead with a win over the leader.
Round Five – March 27
In the Reserve section, Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy is a juggernaut, as he takes out his fifth opponent in a row to post a 5-0 record through five rounds. Ulli Diemer, Kevin Li, and Eric Pei are a point behind at 4.0.
In the Championship section, things get interesting as defending champion Michael Humphreys defeats leader Dave Southam, to rise to 4.5/5, half a point ahead of Southam, who falls to 4.0/5, as Noritsyn and Emuakpeje stay within a point at 3.5.
Round Six – April 3
There are big dramatics in the final round as Ochuko Emuakpeje takes out Humphreys, holding him to 4.5/6 while rising to 4.5 himself. Meanwhile, Sergey Noritsyn beats Malakhovets to join them at 4.5. At this point, Dave Southam, coming into the round with 4.0, can take a clear lead and the 2017 Championship title with a win over Stefanovic. Here’s the game – with commentary by Stefanovic (Southam is black):
So the tournament ends with four players at 4.5, and it comes down to tiebreaks. With four players tied, nobody can win head-to-head. Number of wins and number of blacks eliminate Humphreys and Noritsyn, and finally Southam has a better Buchholz Cut 1 score than Emuakpeje. So Dave Southam wins it in the end on the fourth tiebreak, and ACC has a new Club Champion. Congratulations, Dave!
An interesting twist arises in the Reserves when leader Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy, ahead by a full point, decides to coast to the finish with a zero-point bye in the last round, counting on better tie breaks against Diemer (head-to-head), Li (more blacks), and Pei (more wins) if any of them should get a full point in the final round.
In probably the worst case scenario for Vigneswaramoorthy, Ulli Diemer defeats Eric Pei and Kevin Li pulls off a 150-rating-point upset win over Salim Belcadi – with black! Vigneswaramoorthy had the head-to-head tiebreak secured over just Diemer, but it doesn’t help in a three-way tie with Diemer and Li. And all three now have 5 wins and 3 blacks, so it comes down to the fourth tiebreak, Buchholz Cut 1 scores – and Vigneswaramoorthy has 20.5, half a point ahead of Diemer’s 20. So Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy gets his name on the trophy and goes down in ACC history with the most impressive finish of all time in the Club Championship Reserve, winning the section with a round to spare. Congratulations, Vinorth!
“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.
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.
What is the name of this tournament? Starting on Monday February 6, exactly 50 years after Muhammad Ali’s famous “What’s my name” fight, this Swiss – which turns out to be only two rounds – is divided in three sections, Crown, U1900, and U1500. The tournament runs just two Monday nights from February 6 to February 13. (Then we’re closed February 20, and the Club Championship starts February 27.)
Coincidentally, the logician and mathematician Raymond Smullyan who wrote What is the name of this book? (1978) died at the age of 97 on that very same Monday February 6. Smullyan may be better remembered in chess circles for his Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes (1979) featuring “retrograde” chess problems in which previous moves of the game must be deduced from the current position.
Round One – February 6
Before the first round starts, Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy presents a half-hour lecture titled “Chess Miniatures: the first-round knockouts of chess.” (Details will be posted.)
In U1500, three brand new unrated players join the tournament and all three make a name for themselves: Sasha Chapin defeats Evgeny Kalmanson, David Chodoriwsky defeats Alex Geddie, and Brett Kingsbury defeats Eli Teram. Meanwhile, interesting Round-1 results include Harry Chen (1425) upsetting Salim Belcadi (1641) in U1900 and, in the Crown section, Max England (2042) upsetting Dave Southam (2247), who just won the previous event.
Here is the Southam/England game:
And here’s another game, this time featuring William Li and Armand Jess Mendoza:
Round Two – February 13
Before the round, Rhys Goldstein starts the night off with a well-received lecture titled “The Magnetic Queen,” starting at 6:50 pm. In this intriguing talk, he shows a game in which former World Champion, Anatoly Karpov, uses his queen like a magnet to move his opponent’s pieces. (See the lecture notes.)
And that’s it! We’re cutting this tournament short at two rounds to make room for the six-round Club Championship ahead of our bid to host the Toronto Closed, pending GTCL approval.
Reminder: ACC is CLOSED next Monday February 20 for Family Day
Our Club Championship is a six-round event starting February 27, in two sections: Crown (min. 1700) and Reserve (under 1800).
On February 6, 1967, Muhammad Ali defeated Ernie Terrell in a 15-round decision, repeatedly asking his opponent “What’s my name?” during the fight. (Terrell had been calling Ali by his birth name, Cassius Clay, before their match.)
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!