Chess this Thursday!

Chris’ face goes cold as he realizes he’s about to face his comparatively shortest opponents yet

Come out for chess this Thursday! Many will be there, probably. Woodbine Mall, 530-930 pm , ground floor, between the Shoe Rack and the Ardene. 500 Rexdale Boulevard in Etobicoke. See you soon!



Fun times last week!

Good times at the ECC last Thursday with solid players continuing to turn up, despite me being absent because of work that day pfffft.

Last weeksw highest rated player was 2049. Wanna learn or play chess? For free? Show up next Thursday, we’ll be there.


Last week … and THIS WEEK!

Apologies for last week. I was away in Colombia for a bachelor party, Thomas was away studying for an accounting exam, and Matthew, who had all the chess sets, was delayed because of planning related to an important project at Sunnybrook Hospital where he works part-time. As a result, chess club started an hour later than it should have last Thursday, and for that we apologize.


THIS Thursday, we are celebrating Matthew’s birthday at the chess club with a Director’s Simul. All three directors will be playing against everyone else. All are invited, and there will be a special surprise.

The simul starts at 6 30, and you are welcome to join whenever you come by. Hope to see you all there.


Check out our Hall of Champions!

Now that there are four Centurions for the only free chess club in Toronto, we have started a “Hall of Champions” to keep track of them, before we lose count. Upon reviewing my article after reading it, I’ve determined that the only unifying theme between all our champions, aside from chess, is a complete lack of empathy.

Check out our new page with pictures and Player Bios either here:

Or under the nav menu. Deuces.

ECC Rapid 10+5 Sec Mini Tournament Results – 1st Place: Brendan (Antic)

Fellow ECC Members, last night we had a spur-of-the-moment chess tournament with 14 participants playing 4 Rounds of 10 minute chess with a 5 second increment. Out of the 14 members, 3 were new members (Alex, Samed, Danny) and 1 was a former Kingsview Chess Club member (Edward). Here were the results!

1st. Brendan 4/4

2nd. Dario 3/4, Edward 3/4, Riley 3/4

3rd. Rain 2.5/4

4th. Thomas 2/4, Dylan 2/4, Matthew 2/4, Densil 2/4

5th. Dave 1.5/4

6th. Danny 1/4, Jeremy 1/4, Samed 1/4

7th. Alex 0/4

Congrats to Brendan with a perfect score based on consistent play!


Why you should play tournaments – specifically this one (Ontario Open)

At the Etobicoke Chess Club our goal is simple: get chess players together and play chess. However we have another goal in mind that we attempt to achieve every meeting for all of our members both old and new – expose you to a new chess experience. That experience can be during a period of meetings every week or a specific moment. Many experiences I continue to notice in our members are the following:

-Growth in their level of play

-Meeting new like minded people

-Competitiveness and desire to be better

-Tournament and spirit of competition

Last one is a big deal: we recently seen a change of mentality where many of our members like to engage in local tournaments now. Some like the adrenaline rush, others prefer the seriousness of the environment and the pressure, and most importantly some just want to win. Winning is fun in chess as long as it’s done with respect of the competition and the players present.

I think our members at the ECC would benefit from playing in an official competitive tournament just to get the experience of a chess environment rich in that competitive spirit. It is also a great way to measure yourself and one’s abilities in chess and also set your own bar for improvement in an exciting way!

The Ontario Open is taking place this May from Saturday 19th – Monday 21st. It’s taking place at the Annex Chess Club in Downtown Toronto.


We already have 3 ECC members confirmed to this tournament. If you are interested in participating and more importantly joining up with your fellow members, please register before May 14th for a cheaper entry fee! You’ll also have to get a CFC membership which is $48 for a year. More information here.

Whether you are a casual player who wants to play in their first tournament, or a seasoned player wanting to test your mantle, begin it with your fellow ECC members at the Ontario Open. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment here, message us on Facebook and Instagram or email (

See you there!


Chess this Thursday!

Everybody come out, we have chess for free every Thursday 530-930 pm at Woodbine Mall. The ratings system is up and running and I will be inputting games as people hand me their move sheets.

Check our feed on the website and on instagram for pics of our previous meetups.

If enough people are in attendance, there will be a rapid tournament today!


We are Worthy of your Calendar!

A chess players first chess club is like your first love – they may no longer be a part of your life, but you’ll never forget them.

I’ll never forget the first club I was a part of. At the age of 17 my dad and I walked into the University of Toronto Mississauga and after going through the building like rats in a maze, we eventually made it to the front double doors of a big yet comfortable lounge room. As I stood at the door it was love at first sound…not sight. Two beautiful melodies were waltzing into my ears. First, the unmistakable sound of chess pieces landing on their square moved by speed and rapid chess players, sometimes in collision with their enemy counterparts. And lastly, the slamming of these ancient devices.




How many of you still remember playing chess with these? 🙂


I spent a few years playing at the Mississauga Chess Club and it was one of the best chess experiences in my life. I made a lot of new friends – including one whom I’m still friends with to this very (CoughTomCough) day. I grew a lot in ELO strength – a good 200+ points, and most of all I maximized my fun by being there constantly every week with the help of my dad. I remember dad would drop me off and had to mark it on his calendar to make sure he wouldn’t forget to pick me up! It became part of his daily routine and he was happy to be a part of that experience I was going through.


At the Etobicoke Chess Club, we believe we are worthy of being put on your calendar! Whether it’s to play tournament games, have a couple of relaxing casual matches or watch and socialize with your fellow members/friends, the ECC is there to accommodate your needs and amplify the experience to make a lasting positive and fun impression. The ECC wouldn’t be a success without every single one of you, especially our returning regulars who come every week just to make the evening more enjoyable.


This also increases the draw of newcomers who pass by us and see what’s happening at the club. Thanks to Woodbine Mall for the amazing space, we are drawing new members everyday! I was inspired to talk about how important a calendar is because of this new members photo.




On March 29th, Abla Nur was walking through the mall when she noticed the Etobicoke Chess Club in full spring. Being an avid chess fan and wanting to learn more about the game, she knew we operated every Thursday and decided to put a reminder on her calendar (See Above). She arrived on April 5th and received a chess lesson from ECC member Riley for over 2 hours! Afterwards she spoke with Jeremy and Riley with such energy and enthusiasm about her experience at the club and loving the idea of having a chess accessible club for all players of different levels who want to learn, socialize, and play to their hearts content. Every person can truly make a difference and Abla made waves to the club on her official visit!


The ECC was made to bring chess players together. We challenge everyone to mark us on your calendar for your next visit. Like what my dad did for me, make us a routine in your daily lives.





The Etobicoke Chess Club Inaugural Blitz tournament: Pictures and results

Here are some pictures from our inaugural blitz tournament, and below is a bit about my experience, and the results. There are captions to each picture, so please click ’em:


My first chess tournament was a long time ago, for me it was anyway. I played a CFC tournament at the University of Guelph, and I didn’t quite know what to expect from tournament chess. I didn’t think I’d win a single game, and I was so nervous and sleep deprived (8 am for chess, on a weekend, has everyone lost their mind?) that I was rendered instantly nauseous every time I walked into the competition hall. Part of this may have been because it doubles as an exam room, and it may have brought back horrible memories of undergrad, but I digress.

I won three games, somehow, don’t ask me how, against children who were so young that they probably didn’t have an understanding of death, the situation in the Middle East, or the Canadian tax system. I vowed never to play another tournament until I “got better” at chess. My official Chess Federation of Canada rating is a proud 848, a ranking so low for an adult chess enthusiast that my chess friends (all of whom were better at chess than I at the time) commented that they didn’t even know there was a level lower than 1200.

Over the next several months (and especially on vacation), I put a lot more effort into studying the game, reading more (Winning Chess Strategies by Seirawan, Weapons of Chess by Pandolfini) and playing more (mostly live, over-the-board games), going over games, analyzing, and routinely doing tactics puzzles. If you looked at my tactics puzzles stats on (jfd986) it’ll show you that I’ve done 10,890 puzzles as of right now. I’ve had the membership for about as long as the club has been active, which means I’ve done an average of 26 puzzles a day.

I took whatever knowledge and experience I thought I had, and decided reluctantly to enter the chess club’s 5-minute blitz tournament, leaving the real best player at the chess club (Matthew Bergeron) to organize the tournament. I actually had never played some of these tournament attendees (our chess club regulars) prior to the tournament, purely out of respect. Dario, Brendan, and a couple of others, I’d basically avoided playing chess against them simply because I felt they were just so stinking good at chess that it’d be a waste of time and insult to them for me to sit down against them and ask them for a game.

My first game was against Densil. I played a strong opening (I guess) against him, and built a good foundation from which I attempted to inch toward a minor attack. Densil tried to maneuver his knight around the board, away from its initial move, and he left a lethal gap in his queenside castle. Queen a-8 (or whatever the square was), checkmate.

My second game was against Dario. We shook hands and smiled, as I’d never played him before, and he’s been a regular at my chess club for almost a year. He removed a defender from one of his minor pieces, and I ended up taking it and I strung together an enormous attack, which saw his king run from one end of the board all the way to the other end to avoid getting checkmated. And I ran out of time and lost. Got too excited, game over. Dario could not believe the punishment he endured, and he couldn’t believe he somehow ended up winning.

My third game was against Thomas, where I lost a piece maybe 6 or 8 moves into the game and ended up avoiding trading pieces and encouraging pawn trades right up until about 35 moves in where I had built an attack big enough to scare Thomas into blundering back a piece. At this point, I ended up planting a queen deep in enemy territory, and Thomas missed a tactic which allowed me to sacrifice my queen resulting in checkmate. When I made the queen sacrifice move, Thomas resigned out of respect.

The next game was against Jamie. The game against Jamie was embarrassing to say the least, I blundered away two pieces against someone who has built years of recreational chess around his blitz game. I resigned when I saw that Jamie had mate in two, outclassed and outgunned, a legit loss.

I played Dylan at some point, and I don’t really remember what that game was like, just that I was behind by a pawn, and I didn’t love my position. Can’t really remember what kinds of mistakes I made. Lost on time, Dylan is very good at chess.

The last game was against Dave, and I made a few awkward moves against Dave that didn’t really have any steam behind them, but Dave failed to calculate the appropriate defenses. I ended up taking a central pawn off him, and later ended up taking his queen about 15 moves into the game, which convinced him to resign.

Playing the club’s top ten players, I ended up winning three games, after a year and a half of basically tactics puzzles, some light reading, and less than fifty over-the-board games (I very infrequently play chess online). These people aren’t bad at chess either, the average rating of the tournament was 1800.

So why’d I get better? Really, what made the difference? Things I did:

– played chess puzzles online

– Read a two or three chapters of one chess book, maybe two

Came to chess club every week ( If you thought I wasn’t going to shamelessly plug my chess club, you clearly don’t know us well enough and you need to attend chess club )

If you wanna get better at chess and you have two hours free on Thursday night, come to our chess club, play the people I’ve played to put faces to the names, and see for yourself how much my and your game can improve. We play every single Thursday of the year, except for maybe Christmas or New Year or some such nonsense, from 530 – 930 pm. My official CFC rating is 848. I can’t wait until I can free up some time off work (I work every Sunday) to play another tournament.

Here are the results:

Etobicoke Chess Club Blitz Tournament

Player ranking after Round: 6

All players

Place Player Score

1  Peshtaz 5

2  Brendan 5

3  Dario 5

4  Dylan 4

5  Jamie 3

6  Jeremy 3

7  Densil 3

8  Dave 2.5

9  Thomas 2

10  Rain. 2

11  Chris. 1.5

12    Nelson 1

13  Nash 1