Chess this Thursday!!

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Chess returns this Thursday (and every Thursday, duh) at the Etobicoke Chess Club! Word on the street is that the Mississauga Chess Club has closed down (don’t shoot the messenger, I heard it from someone who e-mailed me asking about our club. If you are part of the Mississauga chess club and it hasn’t closed down, just e-mail me and let me know and I’ll amend the article. If it has indeed closed down and you are able to, come say Hi 🙂 ) so we might be getting a healthy influx of new players this week. Come one come all and welcome all our pony-jumping counterparts to the west!

In other news, I have very unofficially started our youtube channel and very unofficially have posted two videos of me doing tactics. These are recorded on a cheap phone, with terrible lighting conditions, and in one of them I’m sick, like physically ill. Anyway if you can find the youtube channel (just google it) you’ll get to see the videos. Otherwise, I’ll officially announce our youtube channel once we have some more content on there.

-Jeremy

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Chess today ! Plus early morning tactics

Free chess today! 630 – 10 15 pm @ 265 Wincott Drive, Etobicoke, Second Cup. Come out!

Sick with a cough that’s keeping me up at night, I decided to tire myself out by trying to do chess tactics puzzles. They hadn’t been going that well, at least not recently. My highest rating ever was 2050 for tactics puzzles, and then I started doing stupid things like doing them in the bathroom, doing puzzles while lying in bed, doing them in the car while riding around with someone, doing them while in line … some people can work through puzzles quickly this way, but at the current rating level where I’m at with these things, the only way I’m gonna be able to advance is to think super carefully through each one.

Lots of tactics teachers teach to think for 30 seconds, get the puzzle wrong and then memorize the patterns by replaying the tactic a few times. I think there’s some merit to that, but I take my time with the puzzles because taking time teaches thought. It teaches me to pick candidate moves in a position (one where, in the case of puzzles, there is a clear and present advantage to be gained by a single best move) and to analyze variations of those moves. Taking time trains calculation abilities, which one can easily lose (in my opinion) by not-trying for a bunch of puzzles in a row (this was responsible for my fall from grace, from 2050 all the way down to 1500). Some puzzles are rated lower than my tactics rating, so I only get one or two points for getting these right. If I do get them right, however, then I get rewarded with higher-rated puzzles that are sometimes super tough and sometimes straightforward, like the one below. Straightforward in my mind because I’ve trained my board vision to get me this far with tactics. High rated because idk, I guess most people don’t solve this one in 20 seconds. I lined up a few of these and got them right, boosted my rating today by another 63 points which, on chess.com, isn’t the easiest thing to do.

tactic1.jpg

White to move, either checkmate or win the queen or win a piece. You decide which is possible, and suggest the series of moves that would follow accordingly.

Chess on Thursday!

Our usual, unique brand of chess shenanigans continues on Thursday October 12th starting at 6 30 pm and finishing around 10 15 pm, for free, just buy something from the coffee shop as uge.

Below is a chess tactic, white to move and win some material (or checkmate) in an unspecified number of moves. If you think you know the answer, please comment! If it’s killing you and you really need to know ?! Either ask here or come to club and I’ll show you.

tactic1.jpg

 

Last Thursday night …

We had a fun time last night, and I got to do something I haven’t done in a while — instruct basic tactics and basic checkmates. It was a lot of fun, we started the rating system (which nobody took seriously of course, because casual chess players don’t believe in ratings and I feel y’all, but we gotta know where everyone’s at to pair people up fairly, z’all I’m sayin’) and I even got to step away from hosting for a bit to play a game at the end.

Because I was playing and instructing basically all night, I didn’t get any pictures until the end of the night. The pics I got of the dedicated players are below, and Matt will be taking photos and video next week, and turning the footage into videos for our new Youtube channel!

The ratings are back aaaand there’s gonna be troouuble (hey laaa, hey laaa….)

Ratingssheet

As you can tell, we don’t take ourselves too seriously at the Etobicoke Chess Club, especially when it comes to something like ratings. So why bring them back at all? Aren’t we a casual-play free-of-charge nonprofit coffee house multi-generational chess club?

We are, and while we’re always striving to offer more than we currently do, and be more than we are, and have more available for our users, we’re never going to change our casual-play coffeehouse chess club spirit.

Volunteers from local high schools have been invited to come to our chess club to earn volunteer hours which are mandatory for high school graduation. These people aren’t me ; they haven’t been at the chess club for 10 months, running it almost every week, and they don’t know everybody’s name, nor do they have an intuitive idea of who is great, good, average, and novice and below.

That’s why we have the ratings system. We want volunteers to be able to say “Hey, okay so you won your last two games? Let’s put you up against (someone better than you)”. We’re working on the premise that nobody likes coming to chess club and

  1. Easily winning all of their games or
  2. Painfully losing all of their games

The ratings system is designed to prevent this, but hey if someone wants to play all the really strong players and get crushed one day, or they want to play instructive games against all the weak players and tune everybody up? A ratings system allows us to facilitate that as well.

What does this mean for you, as an Ambassador (any player at the ECC is an Ambassador) ? It just means that, after you win or lose, we would appreciate if you notified the host (usually me, but maybe soon a volunteer, or Matt, elbow nudge) of who won and who lost. This way, we can ensure close games and we can empower hosts other than myself (I really wanna start playing chess at the ECC again :-P) to match people up based on what players want most from their ECC experience.

For now, the ratings list will not be public because the system is not designed for competition, though it may end up that way through popular demand and belligerent trash talk. The ratings on the list are mostly arbitrary anyway; some are from old CFC ratings and USCF ratings and some others are from online ratings, but some are just “well, this person beat that person last week, so I guess they’re better”. We may also use the rating system as a tool. If Thomas or Matthew is instructing you, then you should take the opportunity to find out what your rating started at, and ask about it in a couple of months to see if it’s better. If it isn’t, then talk to the instructors and see if they can help. We are here to help.

–  Jeremy

Awesome birthday party at the chess club!

I had a really fun time last night. My 31st birthday was yesterday, and I spent it with people who’ve helped and supported me in this chess endeavour since the beginning. I group-texted a bunch of people, and some of our old regulars came out to play against some of our new ones. It was refreshing to say the least, we had a good crowd of 20-22 people and about 10 or 12 came out for drinks and billiards afterwards at Etobicoke’s lowest-quality billiards bar ( Arizona’s 🙂 we ain’t fancy yo ).

We had a decent amount of children show up at chess club, and I’m hoping more will come despite school starting up again (after finishing their homework of course). For the older children, we have volunteering opportunities at our club to host and coordinate games. We would then be able to hand these young people some much-needed volunteer hours for university.

The club has been operating for about 10 months now, and while we do still have an operating deficit of several hundred dollars, I’m not losing any sleep over that and we’re showing no signs of slowing down. We have some of the best tournament-grade chess equipment money can buy, we have a team of dedicated nationally-ranked chess players ready to play and instruct, and we have a following of regulars that we hope to grow with each passing week, who have been good to us and have faithfully supported us month after month, as the club continues to establish itself in west Toronto.

We have applied to BlogTO for weekly posting of our event, and we have Square for credit card donations on-site as well as a paypal link in our website sidebar and our menu for online donations. Below are pictures of the chess club yesterday and of billiards afterwards.

If you’re an Ambassador (a member of the ECC [the Embassy] who has shown up more than ten times) and your birthday or birth week is around the corner? Let us know.

 

Chess club tomorrow + Birthday Party! Cake for all!

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Hey y’all,

 

We will be throwing a birthday party ( for me 🙂 ) at the club this Thursday. We will have our regular games, we will have a tune-up station (where our best players will test you and give you pointers in 5 minutes) and we will also have chess trivia where there will be questions about the members at the club and about chess Grandmasters.

Come one come all! Free cake! What more could you possibly need ??

Good turnout yesterday, Birthday Party next week! And a little about going back to our roots

We had 16 or 17 people show up yesterday ( no, we’re not census Canada, sorry to disappoint 😛 ) and we didn’t end up holding the tournament, because everyone was thoroughly entertained just with regular casual games.

We decided we’re gonna hold off on tournaments until the winter time. In the meantime, if we get a Super busy day, we might run a tournament just to keep a bunch of people busy, and Chess.com is ready to let us use some of their memberships (6 months diamond, 3 months platinum) as prizes. Otherwise, until we get past 25 people each week again (believe me, it happens), we’re gonna run casual games and lessons.

 

My birthday is next week! Come one come all, there will be cake! Don’t bring gifts, if you wanna bring something then the club always appreciates donations.