Record-breaking attendance at the Etobicoke Chess Club!

Last Thursday we set a milestone when 37 people showed up at the ECC!




Matt sent me the pictures from the event but I lost them all. Except this one because Anna and Tiny look super fab here.

Anyway, we filled up almost all the tables and we baaaasically used every chess board, we may have had one or two in reserve. If you’re coming, please bring your own board because when you walk in, ya never know, there may be 40-50 people there. If you don’t have your own board, ITS OKAY just come out! We’ll make board space for you to be able to play.

We are and have been for some time now, ¬†actively looking for new space. Once the insurance company gets back to me, I’ll be applying with the city for space in a public school cafeteria. Hopefully this all works out, but hey, if you know of anywhere we’d be able to go play on the cheap or on the free, please let us know!

– Jeremy



Blitz tournament at the ECC

Check out the blitz tournament we had at the ECC last Thursday. Winner; Dario Mendez. He got a $30 Gift card to the Second Cup, 2nd and 3rd place winners received 20 and 10 dollars respectively. Casual games and instruction ran alongside our tournament, participation in the tournament was optional as we want people to be able to do whatever they want to do chesswise when they walk in on Thursdays.

Our team is currently at a CFC tournament, more on this after I get the results. It’s currently 10 pm in Helsinki, and I’m going to bed.


Fun Times at the Etobicoke Chess Club!

28 players showed up last Thursday evening to play chess at the Second Cup in Richview plaza. Looks like we’re not slowing down anytime soon.

We welcomed 9 new faces, one new 2000+ CFC-rated player, and we almost ran out of chess boards. All in all a very fun week.

There will be a free tournament next week, and we will have a prize for first place. Watch our Facebook,Twitter and Instagram for updates on this.





Our coffeehouse CFC club continues to grow :-)

I’m away for two months on vacation in Europe, and in my absence, the ECC’s co-director Matthew Bergeron is continually running the club through every week of the summer with our other co-director (Thomas Seal).

We hit 31 total members last week, and as numbers continue to rise, we continue to search week after week for a new place to call our own on Thursdays. I am actively pursuing a space at a community center with the city, and also waiting to hear back from the TDSB regarding our application for a room in a school-based community center.

We had many new faces last Thursday and we continue to welcome all people of all levels of chess to come play at the Second Cup with us for free.

I’ll be back in two months, but Matthew, Thomas, and everyone else involved will continue to run the club week after week while I’m away, and we will continue to fill up the coffee shop ūüôā


The Power of an Image


The Etobicoke Chess Club is going somewhere. Where you may ask? Nobody knows! Not the members, not the board of directors (Jeremy, Thomas and I), not the co-founders, not even the founder himself. Everyone has an¬†idea though. And it’s not just a simple idea – it’s a GOOD idea. Everybody feels it. The regulars feel it when they walk in, buy their drinks at Second Cup (we can’t love you more Second Cup!) talk to other regulars, new members, visitors, then play the game they simply love and having a good time doing it. The new visitors will walk in and get an immediate sense of something different. Maybe it’s the community at the ECC, maybe it’s the incredible warm atmosphere, the socializing, the laughter, the competitive yet chilled vibe of the location, the learning….my god – the LEARNING! They literally can walk in and get a free chess lesson on how to improve their game. And it’s not just a lesson that they need to book an appointment for. They get the lesson…

Right now.

On the spot.

Tuned for their style of learning.

For Free.

For Free.

For Free.


Who does that?


Which chess club offers that level of commitment to detail, growth and puts it into action immediately in front of a visitor? That’s just crazy! It’s like the only way that could happen is if incredible people who have a passion for chess and for helping others were conducting and leading the activities of a chess club…

…and that is us. A club dedicated to free chess accessibility. The visitors that walked in now feel the same vibe – this club is going somewhere. And it’s all based on one word that defines the club in a deep and meaningful way.




As the Community Outreach Director and the head chess instructor, my goal is to reach out towards the public and introduce everyone to the club through any means. Social Media (Facebook, website, Instagram, Linkedin, Youtube), word of mouth, conferences, social gatherings, email, phone calls etc. I also focus on our membership and keep them engaged – not just with activity of what’s taking place at the club, but by hearing all of them. ALL of them. Giving everyone the opportunity to be heard is so powerful in our community. We are always constantly evolving, trying new things, taking risks, failing sometimes, but succeeding often. My goal is to keep the image of the ECC intact and allow others to discover this club’s uniqueness just like how I first did. Back in February 2017 actually.


Like it happened yesterday.

I actually remember the strong urge to just go home after my interview and sleep. Ignore this “gathering” entirely. I first noticed the Etobicoke Chess Club (was not called this at first!) on Meet Up when I joined Pub Chess after meeting Liza at her event on Wednesday. That itself was a miracle that I attended and discovered Pub Chess MeetUp as my Wednesday evenings at the time were being filled by Toastmasters (Public Speaking/Leadership development). This was at a time where I started to get back into chess.¬† I finished my interview around 2:00PM on Thursday and was driving on the 401W thinking if I should go to Second Cup and do some work and wait for the MeetUp to start. When I looked at the title and saw “free” I didn’t think much of it. I was a type of person that would pay for events I attended if I enjoy and felt it was worth it, but I can see the attraction the word “free” has; plus I never heard of any chess function being free before.

So I arrived at Second Cup and did some work. I wanted to get some intelligence on the function so I spoke to one of the Second Cup staff members. Funny enough his name is the same as mine. Matthew or “Matt” as he preferred. Matt told me that every Thursday there is a very small gathering who arrive and play some chess off to the side. By now I was a bit intrigued. It started to look legit! It sounds bad to say it now but it’s true. It’s very hard through websites, social media etc to show that you are legit and real. Now that I knew this gathering was likely to happen – I made sure to keep my mind open and have no expectations. That’s often important when you encounter something new, or someone.

I then met Jeremy who brought this very “nice” (HIDEOUS) chess set/board.img_20170220_155704770

Seriously, who plays on that? Even though I still make fun of it now, I have an odd feeling that there will be a time when I will become fond of it’s shrewd awkwardness. I might even receive it as a gift one day. (Shutters)

Anyhoo, I met Haroon and another chess player and we were a party of four playing chess. We had some games. Was enjoyable – chess is always enjoyable. Then I started to listen to Jeremy who shared his vision with me. He wanted to start a chess club which he would name it the Etobicoke Chess Club. His goal was to make it free for everyone to play. A gathering like this where people can play chess and have fun doing it. That’s when it hit me. Image.

The image of right now: Sitting with a couple of chess players playing chess, I felt that even though there was nothing special about the games, it was the atmosphere – something was different. It was lighter, more enjoyable, more fun. I realized when I thought about it more that I actually laughed during this chess session today. I usually don’t laugh during chess. Not that I don’t have a sense of humour (I most certainly do!) but chess in general does not give one the¬†opportunity¬†to laugh. This chess¬†session¬†was anything but general though.

The image of what it could be: At that moment I had a flash of the future – of what Jeremy’s vision would be. People walking in saying hi to everyone, playing chess, learning chess lessons, laughter all around, a community being born, and all being free, accessible. Free and accessible was the important part I realized of the club. Due to the internet being free and accessible, many choose to go online and play chess because it is very easy to start and play. With every positive in life comes a negative though and online chess does miss one aspect – ¬†the human connection. The psychological pressure and tension one can feel when your opponent is across from you. The energy between two chess players as they fight it out viciously to the end, not by word or actions, but by thought. There is no other feeling. A level of concentration so deep that I sincerely doubt one can achieve just by looking at a screen at home. A club however not charging people to play chess and emitting a very relaxed and fun atmosphere would be infectious towards chess players. I am the first one to admit it sitting there right now.

People don’t believe in causes – they believe in people taking up the cause. I liked Jeremy’s vision and what he wanted to do. I knew that with my skill set in chess, by ability to teach, communicate, connect, my facilitating experience, but most of all my passion for chess and helping others become their best would help make Jeremy’s vision come to fruition. All I had to do was act on it. And make that image that Jeremy, and now I see, become true.

And so it has.



It’s now July and it’s no longer two chess players seeing the vision of the ECC, but over forty. After having last two week record attendances of 28 and 23, it is getting more clear that people are not only enjoying the experience – but they are passing the word to others. ECC is powerful. Image is powerful.


And this image is only the beginning.




June 29th First Tournament Results!

Hi everyone! On Thursday, June 29th the Etobicoke Chess Club conducted it’s very first free chess tournament which consisted of a 5 Round Swiss with time control of 10 Minutes with 0 sec increment. It was a HUGE SUCCESS! Our goal for the tournament was to give members a feeling of what a competitive environment chess can be when playing in a tourney. The tournament had a free entry fee and we had 14 participants. Here are the results:

1st: Matthew Bergeron – 5 Wins, 0 Draws, 0 Losses

2nd: Michael Streegan – 4 W, 0 Draws, 1 Loss

3rd: Venelin Yanchev – 4 Wins, 0 Draws, 1 Loss

4th: Jennie Dapello – 3 Wins, 1 Draw, 1 Loss

5th: Brian Lee – 3 Wins, 0 Draws, 2 Losses

6th: Logan Mak – 3 Wins, 0 Draws, 2 Losses

7th: Richard Temple – 3 Wins, 0 Draws, 2 Losses

8th: Dylan Shan – 2 Wins, 1 Draw, 2 Losses

9th: Densil Paragh – 2 Wins, 0 Draws, 2 Losses

10th: Albert Ftoni – 2 Wins, 0 Draws, 3 Losses

11th: Gabe Lindsay – 2 Wins, 0 Draws, 3 Losses

12th: Mark Kannegiesser – 2 Wins, 0 Draws, 3 Losses

13th: Russel Stouffer – 1 Win, 0 Draws, 4 Losses

14th: Anna Boyce – 1 Win, 0 Draws, 4 Losses

As a result, congratulations to our first place winner Matthew Bergeron who played to an impressive 5 wins 0 losses in a very tough field! A special recognition goes to our 3rd place winner, Venelin Yanchev, who was able to get 3rd PLACE in a tournament where the playing strength was between 1100-2100 ELO! Venelin, a 1550 elo player who has been playing at the ECC for months, put out an extremely respectful result of 4 wins, 0 draws, and 1 loss against many strong opponents. Way to go Venelin!

The Etobicoke Chess Club will attempt to have a tournament once a month on the last Thursday. If you are interested in playing – let us know ūüôā

Please like our new facebook page:    where we can keep you updated with future events and information about the club!

See you next week!

Free Tournament this Thursday!


There will be a chess tournament this Thursday, to celebrate … Chess … All are invited and any level of player is welcome to join!

The tournament (and Thursday in general) would be a decent time for us to test out our new club rating system. Everyone who plays in the tournament will get some sort of rating, that they can use to gauge improvement. The free tournament is not a CFC event, but CFC drop-in games and our regular casual games will still be available to all players.

See ya Thursday! Email me for deets, Contact section.

Record-breaking session at the Etobicoke Chess Club!


An unprecedented 28 people were at the Etobicoke Chess Club this Thursday. We filled almost every coffee table in the Second Cup, we were Very busy, and a lot of our regulars were very happy with the turnout. Prior to this day, our maximum was 20.

We’ve been sitting down with and talking to our players and, by popular demand, we will be holding our first chess tournament next week. We will also have a separate area for lessons and instruction. More on all this in another post. We are also actively searching for a new home as we grow. More on this when I find out more about what a community center room costs ūüėõ All for now, toodles.

Play CFC rated games at the Etobicoke Chess Club!

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The Etobicoke Chess Club now offers you the opportunity to play CFC rated games right at our club meet in the Second Cup on Thursday evenings.

The $3.40 rating fee we collect from you goes straight to the CFC so your rating can be adjusted for whether you win or lose. If you’d like to donate to us you can, but we won’t charge anything for the games. $3.40 is for classical chess ($3+HST) and if you wanna play Active chess was than an hour or untimed) then it’ll be $1.50+tax.

We hope this will draw serious players to our club who share our vision that chess should be free and accessible. Please don’t hesitate to text me for more info , 6475742453 or email

The Ambassadors go Over The Board at the Guelph Summer Pro Am!

Team ECC (Matt and myself) managed to score some wins at the CFC Guelph Summer Pro Am this weekend ! I’m not actually good at chess at all, so I played in the Under-1000 rating section and won three games out of five, landing myself 8th out of 23. One more win and I would have came home with a trophy, sigh. Matthew was less merciful , taking home 3 wins and one draw in his division, ending up 4th in the Under-2000 section going toe-to-toe with 1800s. If you wanna hear more about our tournament shenanigans, please come this Thursday, and you can also see our video here :