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.
As chess players, we can all relate to Victor Frankenstein: we’ve all dedicated long hours to our arcane studies – and we’ve all been in a position where our own creation doesn’t work out as beautifully as we’d planned.
In honour of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the ACC Frankenstein Swiss runs on Monday nights through October, with the first round on Monday September 29, and the last round on Monday November 3. Note that the club is closed on October 13: don’t miss the 2014 Thanksgiving Open running all weekend long at St. Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Hall.
The image above is from a beautiful clothbound edition of Frankenstein illustrated by Bernie Wrightson.
Round 1 – September 29
The first round sees the most mismatched games as the top half of each section is Swiss-paired with the bottom half. And there are always a few upsets as underdogs find a way to defeat their monster opponents.
In the Crown section, Daniel Wiebe, in a reprise of the last-round game from the last tournament, takes down club champion Michael Humphreys – an almost 300-point upset. Wow!
Round 2 – October 6
The second round sees the top half (based on Round One results) play itself, and the lead group start to narrow. With a few draws, a 16- to 20-player section can get easily have only two or three players at the top with perfect scores.
In the Crown section, it’s a two-way tie between Armand Jess Mendoza, beating Bill Evans to rise to 2.0/2, and Joseph Bellissimo, beating Ian Mahoney to join Mendoza in the lead.
In the U1900, it’s a three-way tie among Max England, Marc Ben-Avraham, and Daniele Pirri, as all three players post perfect 2.0/2 records.
And in the U1500, there’s another three-way tie among Jean-Marc David, Kamran Amirirad, and Mark Gelowitz, all perfect through two.
Round 3 – October 20
In the top section, Joseph Bellissimo has rolled into clear first with a perfect 3.0/3 record. Next round he’ll face one of the experts in the 2.0-point group.
In U1900, there’s a two-way tie between Max England and Marc Ben-Avraham. Both have 3.0/3; they’ll be due to face off next round!
In U1500, Mark Gelowitz has sole possession of first with a perfect 3.0/3 record.
Round 4 – October 27
Round Four ends up with draws on all the top boards. Even Liza Orlova, making a cameo appearance at the club after a long hiatus, draws her game.
In the Crown section, the Board One showdown sees leader Joseph Bellissimo face Scarborough Chess Club Champion David Southam. With a draw in that game, Bellissimo holds onto first place with 3.5/4, a half-point ahead of Humphreys, Mendoza, and Oliveira.
In U1900, the tie-break match between co-leaders Max England and Marc Ben-Avraham ends in a draw, so England and Ben-Avraham remain tied for the lead with 3.5/4, a half-point ahead of Diemer and Pirri.
In U1500, leader Mark Gelowitz faces a challenge from Richard Morrison. After the draw, Gelowitz still leads with 3.5/4, ahead of Lin, Amirirad, Amirirad, and Cvetkovic, all tied for second at 3.0/4.
Next week is the last round. Can the leaders hold their half-point leads? Will the tie in U1900 be broken?
Round 5 – November 3
In the final round, there’s a showdown on Board One: tournament leader Joseph Bellissimo versus club champion Michael Humphreys. When the dust finally settles (153 moves later!) it’s Michael Humphreys with the full point and enough – at 4.0/5 – to win the tournament, edging out Armand Jess Mendoza on tie-break. Congratulations, Michael!
In U1900, the two leaders, Max England and Marc Ben-Avraham, play different opponents, as they already faced each other last round. Daniel Pirri spoils Ben-Avraham’s chances and finishes second with 4.0/5, but Max England is victorious over Ulli Diemer to take the section, with 4.5/5. Congratulations, Max!
Finally, in the closely-fought U1500 section, Mark Gelowitz enters the final round with a half-point lead, but is taken out of the running by Milan Cvetkovic. Meanwhile Kamran Amirirad, victorious over Richard Morrison, takes the section with 4.0/5, edging out Milan Cvetkovic and Raymond Lin on tiebreak. Congratulations, Kamran!
Complete results are posted below, and a new tournament starts up next week, Monday November 10 at 7:30 pm. New players are welcome. Arrive by 7:00 if you’re not pre-registered.