Toronto Women’s Chess Club

A new initiative called Toronto Women’s Chess Club is being created through the efforts of Annex Chess Club (ACC) working in collaboration with other interested GTA Chess Clubs.

The idea is to create a unique chess club for women (including girls) that meets monthly. It is not intended to replace a woman’s existing local chess club but instead create an ongoing supplementary environment for chess—women nurturing women—so that they can go back to their respective clubs and prosper as more confident and emotionally stronger chess players, or come back to chess after several years of being away from it, or maybe even join their first chess club.

A confident, modern-day chess player—she loves her chess.
It helps define who she is.

Anna Burtasova, ACC’s Resident Woman’s Grandmaster (WGM) is spearheading this new initiative. Anna says:

Chess is great for everyone. No matter the age or background, people who play chess build skills that matter in life. Decision-making, confidence, accountability, believing in oneself, learning to accept defeat and draw conclusions for future victories are all part of it. Chess is also a great asset. It can help you to build a career, establish business contacts, and present yourself as a thinking and analytical person.

Traditionally, there have been less women than men in chess. A strategic game, it has been dominated by males, but it is our strong belief as confident and capable women that it’s long overdue that we leave outdated prejudices behind.

Women love chess, enjoy the game and can benefit from all that it has to offer. The percentage of chess players that are women has historically been about 10%, rising recently to a historical high of 15%. I’d like to see that change over the next 4-5 years, so that at least 1/3 of all GTA chess club players are women.

Chess has helped me become who I am now. Through it, I developed my analytical skills and increased my confidence. It has always brought me joy and excitement. I invite all women of any skill level to join our women’s club to get better at chess, work on all the qualities that naturally come with chess development, and, most importantly, have fun and enjoy themselves.”

Anna Burtasova, WGM

For now, the plan is to meet at The 918 Bathurst Centre for the Arts, the home of Annex Chess Club, on the second Monday of every month. Attendance is free.

The first meeting of Toronto Women’s Chess Club is this Monday, November 14, 2022 from 6:15 to 7:45 PM in the Star Room at Annex Chess Club, 918 Bathurst Street, Toronto. (The start of the weekly tournament and Toronto Closed will be delayed by 15 minutes to accommodate.)

The Toronto Women’s Chess Club is open to all women (including girls) who want to become better chess players and compete on an equal footing in a largely male-dominated game or sport, depending on your perspective.

Here’s a link to a great article called “Chess Queen” by Paul Hoffman, published in Smithsonian Magazine back in 2003. It’s about Jennifer Shahade and Irina Krush, two U.S. WGMs that have helped move the bar for women in chess. Even though the article is almost 20 years old, it’s still perfectly relevant today. The only difference is that, since The Queen’s Gambit Netflix series (2020), chess has been enjoying a real renaissance and now even more women are attracted to the game. Playing chess has become cool and it helps define many modern-day women.

Beth Harmon, the isoLanni?

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