Annex Chess Club

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On the edge of Toronto's Annex


Below are three frequently asked questions about our Club—casual chess, kids and tournaments.

Q#1: How does casual chess work at ACC?


The short answer is just show up at our Club on Monday nights, register and pay the $10 + HST drop-in fee at our front desk (in the Great Hall), and then go play chess in our casual section (usually the Sun and Star Rooms). The larger Sun Room is great for social chat/banter while playing. The smaller Star Room is for those who want more quiet. Players of all ages are welcome.

All equipment is provided including a clock, should you want to play a timed game. Scoresheets are also provided in case you want to record your game moves for analysis later at home. We also supply free bottled water, and coffee can be purchased for $0.50. Ratings don’t matter in the casual section and players play whomever they want.

Casual memberships are available. There are approximately 40 nights per year to play casual chess at ACC, so a casual membership often makes sense.

Players are free to play classical, rapid, blitz or variants. (Ever try 4-player individual or team chess on a single board?)

Our casual section is generally set up for 12-20 casual players per evening. Sometimes, we might even do an unrated rapid game ladder for the evening. A few times each year, your casual membership or nightly fee might score you a rapid or blitz simul game against one of our titled club members or even a visiting IM or GM.

You’ll often see our ACC Casual Chess Ambassador and ACC Board member, Michael Sutton, hanging out in the Sun and Star Rooms on a Monday evening. He can assist and even start you off with a casual game or two, and maybe even a quick lesson if you’re new to the game.

Finally, casual chess is great for helping seniors maintain their brain health and socialization skills and to just get out and have some fun. It's a low stress activity and relatively inexpensive.

Q#3: I (we) would like to start playing in rated tournaments at ACC. What do I (we) need to know to do that?


The main points for players to know are listed below. Each point requires some study and practice/experience to know it well.

  1. A player needs to have a valid CFC membership. In some cases, they may use a membership from another chess federation. You can get that from us or directly from Chess Federation of Canada.
  2. The rules of chess—how to set up the pieces; how the pieces moves including special moves (en passant and castling); how to check and checkmate.
  3. How touch move works.
  4. How to use a chess clock.
  5. The etiquette (i.e. proper behaviour) to be followed by each player in a rated tournament.
  6. How to record on paper game moves (in proper chess notation) for both you and your opponent, as they are made. The players should sign both scoresheets (confirming the results) and then hand in the white copy to ACC and keep the yellow copies for themselves.
  7. How to properly claim a draw—the five situations to learn are: by agreement; by stalemate; by threefold or fivefold repetition; by 50-move rule; by insufficient mating material.
  8. How to offer a draw by agreement. The proper way is to make your move and then offer the draw just BEFORE pressing your clock. Once you have pressed your clock, your opponent can accept (or reject) it at any time before completing their move and pressing their own clock.
  9. What to do when an illegal move has been made. (Call the arbiter over to your game and quietly explain the situation. Raising your hand in the playing hall is usually a great way to do this.) Depending on the circumstances, the arbiter may add additional time to the non-guilty player's clock as a means of penalizing the guilty player.
  10. It’s important to send registration and bye requests by email to Do not contact ACC staff members through personal email or by Facebook for this purpose. Once you are registered in a tournament, the assumption is that you will show up for each round, unless you inform ACC by email of an exception in your attendance.

Q#2: I have a child who’s interested in chess. What's next?


Some things for parents or guardians to consider:

    1. Bring your child to our Club for some ORIENTATION. Let them play some drop in casual chess by paying a $10 drop-in fee to start with. Help them to observe how a tournament works. They run every Monday night from 7:30 PM on. You and your child can learn a lot by just watching what happens on a Monday club night.
    2. Attend an ACC/CIC drop-in chess class by registering online. Consider enrolling your child in a series of classes. Both in-person and online options are available.
    3. Read our website pages under the menu heading EDUCATION. There’s a lot of good information there. Take note of our webpage called CHESS IMPROVEMENT—It’s all in the Mindset. Buy and read the book (as an invested parent).
    4. Speak to some of our BOARD MEMBERS at the Club. They usually wear orange (or red) hats that say Annex Chess Club on them. Get some help assessing what your child already knows about chess. Talk about online and over-the-board experience, existing ratings. Ever been to a club before? How good a listener is your child? How well do they relate to adults and other kids? Do they easily socialize? Are they introverts or extroverts?
    5. Talk to some of the other parents whose kids play at our club. They can give some good advice on what worked with their kids. Consider making Monday nights at ACC a family affair.
    6. While playing some casual chess, get your child used to writing down their moves in proper chess notation using a SCORESHEET. Also, get them using a CHESS CLOCK by playing some timed rapid games (maybe 15 minutes per player plus a 10-second increment). Confirm whether your kids understand the rules of chess, especially castling, en passant, check and mate, rules for draws, etc. Learn and reinforce, with your kids, the ETIQUETTE in behaviour associated with the game of chess. Talk to your Kid’s and see how motivated they are to play chess. Consider adding some regular CHESS PUZZLE PLAY into your child’s weekly routine provided they are motivated to try this.
    7. We can help you determine an action plan for your child to move forward fairly soon with some targeted instruction and tournament play. Look for a balanced mix of class time, casual play and tournament play. More than anything, try to HAVE FUN with your child at our Club and keep the experience light and easy-going, especially at first. Your child will need a Chess Federation of Canada (CFC) membership if they’re going to participate in rated tournaments, e.g. at our club. Consider getting an ACC full tournament membership too. Talk to us, and we’ll help you with those memberships.
    8. Sign up for some SPECIAL EVENTS at the club—e.g. rapid or blitz tournaments, team events, simuls with titled players; add lots of casual chess to build confidence and to learn how to socialize in the Club environment. Then move on to rated tournaments with classical time controls.
    9. For girls, consider signing them up in the TORONTO WOMEN’S CHESS CLUB (TWCC). It’s intended to be a nurturing and friendly environment for women players.
    10. Remember our motto and practice the philosophy—CHESS FOR EVERYONE! Tell your friends to bring their kids too. Help grow the Club. We all benefit.

Above is a picture of ACC's Founder, Ted Winick, in 2018 with IM Artiom Samsonkin, winner of the Toronto Blitz. Ted was always keen to bring in new players to ACC, and Artiom was a driving force with chess instruction at ACC for several years.


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Club Manager: +1 (647) 822-4628

918 Bathurst Street, Unit L2
Toronto, ON M5R 3G5, CAN