Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chess in the Library's Chess Library Growing

The title of this entry is quite a tongue twister eh?

Well, what it says is true, because not so long ago, the program was fortunate enough to receive another huge donation from David Filipovich and his family. The donation was made in honour of Ms.Vineeta (Bini) Kalia who passed away on October 16, 2009 in Toronto.

The donation consists of 274 chess materials including Informants, Chess Life magazines, Inside Chess magazines and many other chess book:

We got 4 full boxes of chess materials!!! (It was very very heavy...)

Group photo! The tallest is David and below are his 2 kids and me :)

The whole family is extremely into chess, and I was so glad to meet them in person! They are all very nice people and during my visit, I even got to taste some delicious cookies that David's wife baked! Almost all of the family plays chess, as you can see below:

Me vs. David's son

Me vs. David's daughter

David, is of course the main chess player of the family. He's a strong master and we've played once in the 2008 Hart House Open. After fighting for so long ( I believe the game lasted 5-6 hours), the game ended in a draw. At that time, David to me was like any other opponent I had. However, now, he and his family means a lot to me and the Chess in the Library program. His donation will most certainly be used for the great benefit of our program members. Perhaps some will be used as prizes and others will be kept in our own chess library, where members will be able read on-site or take it home for a week or two. This is one of the many things my team and I will be discussing about during the winter break.

On behalf of my team, as well as all the program participants, I want to thank David and his family for greatly supporting the program and contributing to the development of chess in Canada. Thank you!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Encouragement

Recently, I received another big donation toward the Chess in the Library program from Gordon Ritchie, a huge supporter of chess in Canada. He sent me the check below:

Gordon wrote to me: "I would like to make a modest contribution to your program in recognition of the enormous contribution you are personally making." As you see, attached to the check is also a note that says "keep up the good work". This sticky note is currently attached to a box beside my computer where it is visible to me everyday. This donation will not only have an effect on the program, it will also give me a tremendous amount of strength to continue to build the Chess in the Library program bigger each and every day. This let me believe once again that there are people in Canada who are like me, wanting the chess community to become better. Without these supporters, I doubt this program will have it's place today. Thus, I represent my team as well as all the kids who will be enjoying the benefits of this donation, to thank Gordon for making such a generous contribution toward our program!

I will make sure to keep up the good work!! :D

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chess at Maria A. Shchuka - AMAZING

The Chess in the Library program has been only running at the Maria A. Shchuka library (MAS) for 2 weeks and yet, it's already attracting lots of attention! For a full report on last week's meet visit Jan's blog. We had many chess players in the room as well as volunteers. Here's a picture of the hard working volunteers I want to thank for their efforts in making this program better:

The MAS team (from left to right): Yuanling, Jan, Michael, Kostya, Daniel & Lucas

New faces eh? Well, that's right, the Chess in the Library volunteer team is growing bigger and bigger every day!! Visit our website for a complete list of all the dedicated volunteers.

The Chess in the Library program is slowly introducing a new feature, and that is teaching. A detailed report can be found on Michael's blog. Well, last Saturday at MAS library, Michael had a training session with a small group of beginners. Some fundamental concepts were taught to kids and their parents, and they all seemed to be extremely interested! Claudette (the awesome librarian who helped us tons on Saturday :) , who was also watching Michael group, told me that one kid who is computer games addict is now sitting in the training group and excited to play a game of chess! Actually, that kid didn't come to the library for chess, he came to play computer games. However, he came into the chess room with his mom and was about to go back to his computer games until he saw the group of people talking about chess. He stayed to listen for 1 minute, and that 1 minute became 1 hour in the end! :D His mom was extremely happy at the end of the program because her son ended up playing chess, which is a much more education game than the ones on the computer.

Well if you like chess and need some people to play against (yes, playing against you're dad is boring) then come to the Chess in the Library program! If you know absolutely nothing about chess, still, come to the Chess in the Library program! Why? You'll get to learn all about it! Finally...if you have a son or daughter that is addicted to something you don't like and you think chess is way better, join us every Saturday at the Chess in the Library program!!! :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Opening at Maria A. Shchuka Library - A Success

Last Saturday, the Chess in the Library officially opened its third location - the Maria A. Shchuka library. Whether it's the organizing members or the participation members, they were all great successes and it was a fantastic start for the program at Maria A. Shchuka.

I would like to welcome 3 new members who just joined our organization team. They are Lucas Sterling, David Sterling and Kostya Golovan. Of course, we cannot forget Jan Lazo who has already volunteered at Brookbanks before. They all did a wonderful job with organizing the meet last weekend and I'm sure that they will keep up the good work! I will be at this library for a couple more weeks just to stabilize the program there and let the rest of my team volunteering there get familiar with the routine of organizing the program.

As for the chess players who came to play in the library, around 20 showed up. I was so glad to see them excited about the new chess club at their local library!! I really want to take this chance here to thank all the supportive staff at the Maria A. Shchuka library who has helped the Chess in the Library program start up. There is one librarian who has contributed enormously toward our program and that is Janet. She is extremely supportive and very keen in making this program run successfully. One action that really touched me was that she called every single pre-registered player to remind then of the program the day before the program opened there. There are many other things that the staff there did for us such as promoting the program at school curriculum nights and taking a portion of their annual budget to purchase their own chess sets.

Without the librarians and volunteers who organizes the program, the Chess in the Library program at Maria A. Shchuka library wouldn't have been possible. Thank you!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chess and Disabled People

A few days ago I had an interesting chat with the Brookbanks branch head when I visited that library after school. I was told that the provincial government has passed a new policy for public volunteers. The policy is that these volunteers must take a course that involves in recognizing and dealing with disabled people. It's a very short course, about an hour in length, but everyone must take it in order to volunteer in public places. We haven't yet decided the exact date that we will take this course but I know it's definitely going to happen very soon. Once the date has been decided, I will let the rest of my team know.

Chess is actually an excellent sport for these disabled people. People say that chess is a sport or it is an art, and of course I agree with both of those. However, I look at chess as an universal communication language. That's why all different kinds of people can play chess together. People won't need to be able to speak the same language and by playing this game, they have already communicated more than you can imagine. Same with disabled people.

I've played in many international tournaments around the world and I've seen sights that are really touching. There was one in particular, that I will remember forever. It was a couple of years ago, 2005 I think, when I played in the National Open in Las Vegas. There was this kid (around my age back then) playing in the tournament who was sitting on a wheelchair with numerous tubes connected to his nose and mouth that would allowed him to breath. It was difficult for him to look down at the board as his head was in a fixed position. His mother would sit beside him every round and record the moves. The kid would then say his move to his mother in an extremely quite voice. He definitely had a hard time speaking as well. From what it looked like, this kid didn't have much time left in his life. That is how much chess means to him. Regardless of his condition, this kid would still come to the tournament site and play every single round. It was truly an amazing sight to watch. For most of us, we should all be grateful that we are healthy and have the opportunity to try so many different things. We definitely shouldn't let this opportunity go to waste.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WOW - 6 Libraries Confirmed!!

For all of you who has been following our progress, we have HUGE news for you! The Chess in the Library program has suddenly jumped from 3 libraries to 6 libraries! Isn't that exciting? 2 branches will be opening very soon, Maria A. Shchuka and Deer Park (visit Michael's blog for more information) both on Nov 7th, 2009. As for Maria A. Shchuka, I just got notified today that there are already 36 registered players!

The other 2 branches, Northern District and Fairview will be opening sometime next January. Both of these libraries are district size libraries, and have multiple program rooms. The libraries are pretty big, so don't get lost when trying to find us!! :) Also, if you would like to volunteer at Fairview, let me know. Please visit our website for the exact starting dates and locations for Northern District and Fairview.

I will keep you guys updated on each library as soon as it starts running! 3 more weeks until we have 4 libraries running. Can't wait! :)

Another Supporter

Just recently, the Chess in the Library program received another generous donation of $20 from on anonymous individual. Although the number didn't seem big, yet it showed a tremendous amount of support toward our program. My team and I all really appreciate this donation. Chess in Canada isn't a popular sport (hence our program - to promote chess), thus having someone to show us that he or she cares about chess and our program is something special. Knowing that we have another supporter motivates us all to keep making this program better and bigger. Thank you!!

Some people believe that only rich people like Bill Gates donate to charity. That is entirely untrue. I would agree that those group of people perhaps contribute the majority of the money toward charities, but they are definitely not the only ones that take action to support a good cause. Think about it, if everyone in Canada contributed $1 to an organization, that total amount of money wouldn't be less than what an average multi-millionaire can donate. A small donation can make a BIG difference. In our program. every $20 can support the supplies for approximately 5 more kids to play chess every week. Now imagine how many more kids would be able to play chess if everyone in Toronto donated $1! So if you want to show us that you care, email us! Any donation (money, chess boards, sets, books, trophies, medals, anything related to chess!) is greatly welcomed and appreciated by the Chess in the Library program. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Special Simul Event at Brookbanks

Due to the fact that the auditorium room (the room that we use for the program) was pre-booked for last Saturday (Oct 3) way before this program became a part of Brookbanks Library, we had to come up with another solution. The final decision was to host a simul event on the main floor of the library, where people coming in and out of the library could see us clearly. Of course a couple of shelves and chairs had to be pushed aside, the tables had to be carried upstairs but it was definitely worth it!! The fact that it was in an open space made it superb for promoting our program. Tons of people came and asked us or the librarians about the program. They didn't even know that there was this chess program before! There were other teens who came up to us and asked if they could play! One thing I'm sure of - by hosting this special event, we just gained a couple of new members!

On the other hand, it was an exciting week for all the participants as well. Everyone who came to play received a key chain, a magnetic bookmark and 3 simul tickets. There were 12 chess sets set up and 4 people who were playing the simul (3 boards per player). They were Michael Kleinman, Kevin Wu, Brent Zhang, and me. The kids can choose which one of us to play and sit in a spot in front of one of the three boards. Book prizes would be given out to players who either drew or won a game. Unfortunately, nobody received such prize in the end. However, one kid was extremely close to getting the prize! Each person is allowed a total of 3 games (or else the simul will never end!), hence the 3 tickets. The tickets were also used for a prize draw at the end of the event. The lucky winner took home 2 comic books and a yoyo, all sponsored by the Brookbanks Library.

I thank all the simul players as well as all the library staff who made this exciting event possible. I believe everyone had an amazing time. There will be 3 more of these simul events coming up, with different simul players. Please check the "Events" page on our website to find out the exact dates they will be held on. Hope to see everyone at the next simul!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

3rd Library Officially Open!!

I would like to officially announce that the Chess in the Library program has entered another library here in Toronto, the Maria A. Shchuka district branch. Unlike the other two locations we have (Brookbanks and Pleasant View), this one is located in the west part of Toronto. I just got a confirmed that they will start running the Chess in the Library program every Saturday from 12-2pm, starting from November 7th. The Maria A. Shchuka library is located at 1745 Eglinton Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6E 2H4 (Closest major intersection: Eglinton Ave. West and Dufferin St. Located on south side of Eglinton Ave. West, one block east of Dufferin St. at Northcliffe Blvd.)

Last Saturday, I visited the Maria A. Shchuka library and the program room that will host the Chess in the Library program. It's a really nice room, around the size of the one at Brookbanks, so the capacity will be the same as Brookbanks. I also had a nice chat with the one of the program managers there and found out that there is already a huge interest in this program! Even though the first meet of the Chess in the Library program at Maria A. Shchuka is more than a month away, they already starting doing the registration for this program! The best part is, they not only had a huge interest in participants, but volunteers as well! The program manager showed me the two lists she had and guess what? There were 11 neighbourhood teens who are interested in volunteering and 9 kids who are anticipating the program to start so they can play chess! :) I was extremely happy to see this and I'm definitely looking forward to Nov 7th!!

Calling all chess players living in west Toronto, the day you've been waiting for is soon to arrive! Come on down to the Maria A. Shchuka library on Nov 7th or after to play chess!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

3rd Library Opening SOON!!

The Maria A. Shchuka district branch, located on Eglinton and Dufferin, has expressed huge interest in running a Chess in the Library program there. I just received a call from the program manager and she told me that all the staff at Maria A. Shchuka are so excited about the program! They know this program is doing extremely well at the Brookbanks branch, for the fact that attendance is relatively high compared to other programs.

I will pay a visit to the Maria A. Shchuka library this Saturday and have a look at the room. The time we're going to run this program there will be most likely from 12pm - 2pm. We are currently finalizing the flyer and the starting date. Once we do so, I will definitely let you guys know! One thing I know for sure - this program at the 3rd library will be running very very soon!! Perhaps within the next month or so.

I can't wait till it starts running! Get ready to come down to the Maria A. Shchuka library to play chess soon! :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labour Day Weekend

I just heard from Xiaohan, who was in charge of the Chess in the Library program at Brookbanks last week, that they had 33 participants again despite the fact that it was a long weekend! Most of our volunteers at the program played in a chess tournament that weekend so thanks to Xiaohan and the other volunteers who helped out, everything went well as usual! I'm really looking forward to seeing how the school year will affect the turnout for the program. Perhaps a whole lot more kids coming in, perhaps a whole lot less, who knows?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Most We've Ever Had

Last weekend, we had a surprising number of young chess players coming to play chess in our program. Guess how many? 33! That broke the record of 32 participants which occurred a month ago. I was also really glad to hear from one parent saying how this program got her son so into chess recently! Don't forget everyone, the Chess in the Library program runs all year round, not just during the summer!!

The second big number we had last weekend at Brookbanks was the amount of volunteers as we had 8 people helping out! I would like to welcome the 4 new members of our organization team: Dragos Parausanu-Sprinceana, Magas Yusuf, Jesse Wang and Jan Edmund Lazo! Once we open this program at a couple more libraries in the future, these volunteers will be divided among them. The room was a bit crowded last weekend but that was okay, everyone still had a great time! A picture of the 8 volunteers at Brookbanks this week:

From left to right standing: Dragos, Jan, Jesse, Kevin, Xiaohan and Magas
From left to right sitting: Yuanling (me!) and Tony

Some more pictures of our hard working organization team members (now increased to 14!):

Look how happy Tony is!! :)

Kevin carefully setting up the pieces :)

Xiaohan recording the results. Another happy face!

Our official email is now Feel free to email us your suggestions, comments or anything you want to share with us! Remember to keep checking our website for updates!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Big Day - Website Uploaded!

I have excellent news to announce! The Chess in the Library website is finally up on the Internet! is the official site for our program. It will be updated regularly with news, pictures, progress and more! Make sure to check it out!

We first started working on this website at the beginning of July. It's been a real journey from day 1 of website making. At the very beginning, we had to decide on the layout, the colours, and basically design the entire website. Then we had to think about what kind of content our viewers would like to read, and then write it all out. The final 2 weeks were the toughest, as we had to make a ton of small changes here and there. I think we finalized the website 8 times before we all agreed that this was it, and we're ready to upload! I was engaged in most of the discussions with other members of our organization team, but of course, Yutong was the one who did all the coding!

I must thank Yutong Luo (grade 10 student), our webmaster, for working countless hours on designing and creating the website. It's his big day too, and he's sure excited!! I also want to thank Barry Thorvardson as well as his company TechForceOnCall for sponsoring our web server. Without these people, this website definitely wouldn't have been possible.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brookbank's Chess in the Library 10 Weeks Anniversary! :)

Yesterday's Chess in the Library meet at Brookbanks concluded the 10th week this program has been running at this branch. This reminded me of exactly 3 months ago when I first proposed the idea of this program to the Brookbanks branch head. Time sure passes by fast as these 3 months went by in a blink of an eye!

28 participants showed up yesterday, including an adult! It's great news because this program is for everyone to enjoy regardless of their age and level. I also posted a list of prizes participants can exchange for their certificates! They sure were excited about that, and was eager to know what did the prizes look like. Perhaps I will bring some of the prizes to the library next week and show them.

Thanks to Kevin, Tony, Xiaohan and Michael, the meet ran very smoothly yesterday. Speaking about volunteers, another excitement for us was that there was a guy who came into the chess room and offered to help out in the future! I asked him how he knew about our program and he said that he was just wandering around in the library and simply saw our program running. He left me his email and I'll be in contact with him soon. It's great to see more and more people taking initiative!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One, Two, Now Three Donations!!

When the mailman dropped by today, I picked up the stack of envelopes and read all the covers one by one: “My dad's, my mom's, wrong address, another for my dad... for me!?" I usually don't get mail unless it's my school report but I already got that last month. Slowly and carefully, I teared one edge of the envelope and pulled out a thick piece of paper that was neatly folded. Guess what was inside that piece of paper? This!! (picture below)

Yes, it is indeed a $500 donation to the Chess in the Library program! The donor is an extremely kindhearted person who wishes to remain anonymous. This person believes that what we're doing here is something truly special and hopes to see more and more kids play this royal game at a young age. On behalf of all the participants coming to our program as well as our entire organization team, I would like to take this opportunity here today to thank this anonymous donor for believing in us and supporting our program. Without a doubt, this donation means a lot to us and we definitely appreciate it greatly. Everyone can make a big difference and with this donation, we would be able to run this program at a couple more libraries, meaning approximately 100 more kids would be able to enjoy the benefits of chess.

I will forever and always remember every single person who has helped us out with the development of the Chess in the Library program, anonymous or not it doesn't matter. Thank you again!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Daily Puzzle!!

Hey everyone, I just added a daily puzzle to my blog!! Doing tactics is a key to improving your chess skills. Check it out and try to find the winning move for today's puzzle! ('s not as easy as you think!)

Some Funny Facts

Last week's meet at Brookbanks was great! Everything went well as we had 25 players come in to play chess. It's funny how this week the kids waited patiently outside until everything was up, unlike other times when they just zoomed into the room!

Another funny discovery I made last week was that I actually read through the pages of an extremely popular chess book for the kids here and found out it was a chess maze book! For example, on one page, the starting piece would be a knight, so you move the knight in the maze in a L-shape (cause that's how you're supposed to move the knight!) Haha, now I know why these kids love this book so much!!

Our volunteers took care of the most of the meet by themselves, so that they will be ready to run their own library program. A third library will open shortly, so stay updated on our progress!! :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Civic Holiday Over, Kids Back to Chess!

Even with the civic holiday last weekend, the Chess in the Library program at Brookbanks still managed to attract 24 participants. Now that it's over, it raised back to 29 today!

As mentioned from Yutong's blog, the opening of this program at the Pleasant View Library last week went well, but the number of participants didn't reach the expected amount due to the civic holiday. However, it did this week! There was around 20 participants this week at PV, the exact same number as the first meet at Brookbanks. Soon enough, I'm sure the organizers Yutong, Sam, Aaron and Hazel will gain more experience and slowly more and more kids will come to play chess at PV.

During these two weeks, we had an amazing increase of volunteers who joined the Chess in the Library organization team as we now have 10 members in total! Don't forget this program only started less than 2 months ago! The new members are Tony Tang, from the same school as me, Xiaohan Du, who used to be in Michael's school and finally Kevin Wu, CFC rated 1954 and will be also joining me at Victoria Park C.I. this September. All of them scored many points for their school's chess team in the previous years and enjoy playing this game just as much as I do. Welcome to the team guys, and thank you for your help!

Another great news is that our Webmaster Yutong has been working very hard on the website and it is almost ready to be uploaded! Also, in the next 2 weeks, Michael and I will start contacting a 3rd library to open this program. The progress we're making is pretty fast eh? :)

Keep checking our blogs for updates! And if you wish to give this program any support, feel free to contact me at! :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Generous Donation From the Southam Family

Todd Southam was the youngest son of the Southam family. He was a talented youth that won many Canadian Cadets and Juniors, and represented Canada in the world tournaments. He broke the record of being the youngest chess player to win the Toronto Closed Championship when he was only 15 years old and being the lowest rater player in that section. He not only was an excellent chess player, he was also a nice and kind person who would always stay behind and analyze games with juniors. Later on he became a FM, scored an IM norm and his final rating was 2423 before he suddenly died in 1996. Even though I never met him in person, but from how others describe him, I can tell that he had a great personality and if I had met him I would've liked him too. His death was a great loss for the chess community in Canada but he will always be in our hearts.

A great surprise was that about 2 weeks ago, I received an email from the Southam family saying that they wish to donate Todd's trophies and many chess sets to the Chess in the Library program! It was a complete honor to receive this donation. I was so touched of their enthusiasm and support for my program when I received this email and wanted to meet them in person.

Thus, last night, Michael, Yutong and I visited the Southam family. We were greeted by Todd's mother, Elsa, his father, Peter, and his brother David who I've met before at the Scarborough Chess Club.

Us and the Southam family- from left to right: Yuanling Yuan , Elsa Southam,
Peter Southam, David Southam, Yutong Luo and Michael Kleinman

The family showed us 5 huge binders of Todd's tournament records, pictures and articles. We listened with interest as they told us many chess stories from the past, most of them were before I was born! We also got to see many pictures of famous Grand Masters when they were younger. Last but not least, they showed us their chess magazine library which took up an entire book shelf! There was a complete collection of the New in Chess (originally from Germany), Chess Life (from the US), Inside Chess (from England), Chess Canada Echecs (from Canada) and the En Passant (from Canada) magazines. All these things were fascinating to me and beyond my imagination. It was like walking in a chess history museum!

The Southam family showing us the 5 huge binders of Todd's chess history

Their generous donation consists of 20 trophies and the money for new plates and engraving, 2 plaques, many chess sets and a couple of chess books. To remember Todd Southam and to make all these trophies more special, we've decided to customize a new plate for the trophies: "Chess in the Library - The Todd Southam Award". Along with the trophy, we will also hand out a little pamphlet to the award recipients which includes a brief about Todd, a couple of his chess stories, a list of his achievements and a couple of his most famous games. Perhaps we will run a Todd Southam Memorial tournament at each of the Chess in the Library programs and give out a couple of the trophies there. We are still working on the details.

A lot of trophies eh?

We are all just so happy to recieve all of this!

On behalf of all the participants who are and will be playing chess in the Chess in the Library program and the organization team, I would like to thank the Southam family here for their genenous donation and support towards our program. I also thank them for sharing all their wonderful memories with us. We all appreciate it very much and it was a pleasure to have the chance to meet them in person as they are an extremely nice family. This is a very important event in the development of the Chess in the Library program and I will never ever forget this day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just My Luck

Guess how many people came this week? Exactly 30! It's amazing how each week there's just that many people, sometimes 1-2 more or less. I hope it will always stay this way, as we only have space for 30 kids anyway. The branch head at Brookbanks told me that she is shocked that the attendance each week is always around 30! It is extremely rare for a library's program to become this popular.

In fact, at 9:45, when we just started setting up the room and getting stuff ready, about 10 kids zoomed in already! Their excitement and anticipation to play chess really brightens my day and reminds me of the purpose of starting this program.

I would also like to announce here that the Chess in the Library program has 2 more blogs now! One from Michael Kleinman, who recently joined the organization team of this program and the other from Yutong Luo, our web master and the the main organizer for our program at the Pleasant View branch. Make sure to check out their blogs for updates as well!! :)

The Chess in the Library at Pleasant View will officially start running this Saturday. So far we've already got 17 people signed up. Hope all goes well!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Starting to Overflow...

I had a feeling that players coming to yesterday's Chess in the Library meet at Brookbanks was going to exceed 30. Guess what? I was right! 32 chess players showed up yesterday morning and we sure didn't know what to do! The best idea we've came up with is to allow 2 groups have 7 players and each round 1 person would have a bye. It worked out pretty well actually. What we are talking about here is 32 people, but what if the number changed to 40? Then, before Pleasant View branch opens, I'm going to be in big trouble...

Playing site front view

Playing site back view (a room full of young chess players!!)

This week the meet was mostly ran by the 3 volunteers who will be running the Pleasant View branch on their own. They are Yutong Luo, Aaron Zhang and Sam Wang. They got to watch me run the meet last week, and this week I wanted to let them have a go since they have to be ready for Pleasant View. My job yesterday was to watch them the entire time and point out things that aren't done good enough and show them how to do it. Overall, they did a great job and I'm sure they will be able to handle Pleasant View! :)

From left to right: Aaron Zhang, Yuanling Yuan, Yutong Luo & Sam Wang

Yutong adding a clock

Once again, the book reading table was full of excitement! Not to mention useful too! Just look at these kids reading the chess books!! :)

Hmm...the serious face...trying to figure out a puzzle?

Wow, that must be a good book!

Now here are some of our future champions:

2 weeks till Pleasant View opens. I've just got an email saying that 7 people already signed up! Hope you guys liked the pictures this week. Stay updated on our progress!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

2nd Library Officially Open!!

First, I would like announce that Michael Kleinman, CFC rated 2096, has joined the organizing team of the Chess in the Library program! Welcome Michael!!

Today, I got a confirmation that the Chess in the Library program will open at the Pleasant View branch starting from Aug 1, 2009. The time will be the exact same as Brookbanks, from 10:00 am -12:00 pm every Saturday. However, in September the time may change and I cannot be certain that this program would be able to run each week due to other bookings. Well, I'm sure by then there will be another location to run this program and people can go there! Pleasant View Library is located at Van Horne Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M2J 4S8 (Closest major intersection: Victoria Park Ave. and Van Horne Ave. Located east of Don Mills Rd., west of Victoria Park Ave.)

Michael and I visited the Pleasant View branch today and we saw 4 registrations already in one afternoon! It's amazing news and we are both extremely happy to see that. Who knows how many people will sign up before Aug 1st !!

We are still working on our website and hope to upload it at the end of this month. It's looking great so far!

Everyone is invited to come to the Pleasant View and Brookbanks libraries to play chess on Saturday mornings! See you there!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thunderstorm and Chess!?

If you're living in other cities, then you probably don't know that on July 11, 2009, there was a pretty big thunderstorm in the morning of Toronto. So I was like:"Uh oh, the Chess in the Library program is going to be in trouble today!" With half of the regular members not from the local community, I doubted that the tables would be full that day. However, I was sure in for a surprise! We not only maintained the maximum limit again, we had an extra person! Luckily, one little girl only wanted to watch so it was all good - for now.

This week there were 4 volunteers helping out, Jimmy Wang and Yutong Luo that I introduced before as well as Sam Wang and Aaron Zhang who will be joining me at Victoria Park C.I.'s IB program next year. Thanks to them, everything was done more efficiently than before. Week by week, the Chess in the Library program is getting better and better!

This program has been running at Brookbanks for a month now, and it's starting to become quite stable. No longer I will worry about having not enough people coming in. For 3 weeks in a row the number was mainted at the maximum limit. I believe the number of people would only increase from now on, not decrease. Thus if I don't expand soon, instead of worrying about not enough people, I will have to worry about too much people!!

The next library that I hope to have this program is at the Pleasant View Branch. It's the library right beside my former junior high school and ever since I went off to high school, chess in Pleasant View hasn't been so great. However, I'm hoping that once this program starts running at that branch, chess in my junior high school will become more popular and stronger. I've started to contact that library and if I'm lucky, I would be able to get it start running on July 25. Also, the volunteers who will be running the program at Pleasant View branch (I can't be at 2 places at once :P) are the ones who are being trained at Brookbanks right now so they will be ready to do it on their own!

Wish me good luck at the second library!! :) Anyone who wants to volunteer is welcome to contact me!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

So Far So Good!

Hi everyone,

The third Chess in the Library meet ended yesterday at the Brookbanks Library. This week, the turnout was better than I expected! Even with the Hart House tournament running and the US holiday, 29 kids came to play chess!! I was very happy that the maximum limit was maintained. A great improvement from last week was that by making the table further apart, and with one less volunteer, we still managed to control the noise level much better. Again, I must thank that volunteer, Jimmy Wang, for helping me lots and making this possible.

Just like last week, we had long line ups but the check in table wasn't as busy. That's because on the day before, I created a Chess in the Library member's database which was sorted out by grade and last name. So when they come in, all we had to do was check their names off (much easier to find as well ) and add the new members to the list. It definitely saved us at least 10 minutes this week!! Another new thing we had this week was a reading table full of chess books! So if someone had a bye or finished playing, they would be sitting at the reading table and reading chess books. This prevents the kids from being bored and ending up running around. I think it's a pretty good idea!

I'm overwhelmed that these three weeks had been amazing so far. However, to maintain this current situation is only a small step toward my long term goal. Before I just said that I will want to expand to many more libraries but didn't give any details. Now I have a very clear goal ahead of me. In my next 3 high school years, I hope to expand to 30 Toronto Public Libraries and maintain the level of having 500 kids playing chess in my program each week. I'm sure everyone who's following my program's update more or less will have some doubts about my organization skills and if I will be able to actually reach this goal. Well, you all have the right to doubt, after all, in many of your eyes, I'm just a girl who just turned 15. However, seeing all those kids having fun playing chess gives me the confidence and the motivation to make this program bigger and better so that chess in Canada would become more and more popular.

Recently, I received a donation of more than $500 to buy the first 100 chess sets which are going to be used in 5 libraries. On behalf of all the kids at this program, I would like to thank this kind anonymous donor for supporting the Chess in the Library program. It really means a lot to all of us and also the chess community in Canada. Thus, I've already started contacting 2 other libraries and by the end of this summer, I hope to have 3 libraries running this program smoothly. I also hope that there will be more kind hearted people who will donate to this program.

If you want to support the Chess in the Library program by donating or volunteering (students only ), then contact me at

Thank you!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Amazing Turnout for the Second Meet!!!

The second meet of the "Chess in the Library" program held yesterday at the Brookbanks Library was a huge success! We had about 50% more players than last week, which brings us to more than 30 players this week!!! I seriously didn't think that there would be more people than last week. I guess good news spreads fast! Another good thing is that this week there were 2 volunteers helping me. They are Jimmy Wang from my current high school, Victoria Park C.I. and Yutong Luo who was from the same junior high as me, Pleasant View JHS. Both of them were in the school's chess team and I was proud to be their coach. I would like take this opportunity to thank both of them here, and without them I couldn't have pulled it through. I believe from now on, at least one of them will always assist me in organizing this program.

It was a busy day for all of us. Parents started to bring in kids at around
and in 10 minutes, the check-in line went all the way outside the door. We very extremely busy checking people in, getting newcomers to fill out a registration form and also doing the pairings at the same time. We had 7 sections in total, the top section being the strongest, with kids who have a CFC rating. In that section we had 6 kids in total and out of the 6, 3 were from Scarborough Chess Club! Now for the rest of the kids, I divided them into groups of 4 according to their age. We played round robin in each section and it turned out to be pretty successful. What motivated the kids to win was that if they got first place in their section, they would receive a chess certificate and once they got enough, they can exchange it for a secret chess prize!

Since there were 3 people in charge this week, the group was more under control. However, even though I had "quiet please" signs on the wall, we still had to remind them to keep the noise level down once in a while. But overall, I think it went really well. We also had a lot more older kids (Gr 8 and up) this week and I was happy to see that. The librarian was almost shocked to see that many people coming in because the maximum amount of people they had coming in for other programs was just a bit over 20.

I am extremely happy that there was such an incredible turn out for the program so far. I'm looking forward to the expansion of this program very soon so that the chess players would be more spread out. I will also get the program's own website done as soon as possible.

Once again, I thank all my dear sponsors for making this possible: Brookbanks Library, Scarborough Chess Club, Victoria Park C.I., Toronto Schools Chess League and the Greater Toronto Chess League. I hope you guys will continue to support me and this successful program.

When I expand this program, I will definitely need at least 2 people to take care of each library. However, they must first be in training just like the 2 students who helped me this week. Right now I'm seeking for more responsible high school volunteers. Do you like this game? Are you looking for opportunities to learn some leadership skills to prepare you for the real world? Do you want to give some commitment to your community? Do you need volunteer hours? If you answered yes to all those questions, then this is your chance! Contact me at for more information.

Hope to see you all next week in the library!
(written on Jun 28, 2009)

Debating With Myself...

Ever since half a year ago when I started to think about this program, I have been debating with myself. It seemed like I had a tiny elf standing on each side of my shoulders. The elf on my right shoulder would tell me that charging a small fee each time to purchase chess sets should be pretty reasonable to many people. However, the elf on my left shoulder would argue and say: “It should be completely free of charge! Even though the average income in Toronto is more than $70,000, there are lots of low income parents who cannot afford to send their kids to summers and other activities that cost money. Canada is a rich country, but food banks still exist here to help the people who cannot afford to eat in restaurants.” Listening to what my right elf said, I realized that I must think in the eyes of needy people. He also added: “If the ‘Chess in the Library’ program charges money, then isn’t that like saying ‘Buying a book in Chapters cost you $15 so paying $2 to read a book in the library is very reasonable right?’. A library resembles free of charge and since my program’s name is “Chess in the Library” not “Chess Club”, I think I should try not to charge any fees.

I provide services such as private lessons which cost $35/h but this service I provide for the “Chess in the Library” program is different. I’m a volunteer student who just entirely wants to help the kids who cannot afford many things to come and just enjoy the benefits of playing this game. I think if the program charges money, then it will defeat the purpose of starting up this program in the first place.

Right now this program is only held in one library and the space is very limited. That's why I want to expand this program so that there will be room for everyone and some people can just go to their local library instead of coming all the way here to the Brookbanks site. I greatly appreciate the fact that Scarborough Chess Club has lent me numerous chess sets to start up. But if I want to expand, I will need the chess sets for every library. If we buy it from wholesales, each library will need 20 sets which only cost around $250.

I really don’t believe that here in
Canada nobody would want to donate to help this cause. In the past, I’ve met tons of kind people who donated to me and other kids for our tournament expenses. When I went to WYCC in 2003, there was this anonymous person who donated $1,000 each to the kids in Ottawa who played in the WYCC and I was one of them. My school, my neighbours, Scotiabank, people from the RA centre all donated to me. Last year when I got the top girls ranking, a guy from Windsor sent me a check to encourage me to keep working hard. I won’t mention any names here but there’s one thing in common, I will never ever forget these people. I believe that the kids who are participating in the “Chess in the Library” program will never forget anyone who donates to them just like I do.

I really hope that I won’t be forced to charge these kids money. So once again, I’m seeking for donations from anyone who has the same vision and dream as me. It doesn’t have to be a large sum, something small to show that you care is good enough.

Thank you for your support!
(written on Jun 25, 2009)

First Chess in the Library Meet – Huge Success!

Yesterday was the very first meet of the "Chess in the Library" program. Surprisingly, we still had around 20 kids and a couple of adults come to play chess regardless of the bad weather. The librarian and I were both very happy that everything turned out to be quite successful. Not only people who lived in the local community came, many parents brought kids here all the way from Scarborough and other areas. I organized a Blitz tournament that day, dividing the players into two sections. Although we didn't have time to finish the tournament, everyone had a great time. They were a quiet group who followed all the rules that I announced. All my worries of having to deal with behavior problems of the kids disappeared at once. Looks like this program is going to run smoothly after all!

One reason I chose the public library as the location for this program is so that the chess players can be surrounded by a safe and quiet environment. Another important reason is that the library is where the resources are. Learning from reading books is something that not a lot of boys like to do. It's a fact that there are more girls coming to the library than boys. Therefore, to get the boys to read more books, we had a couple of chess books on display and after the program was over, a lot of kids not only borrowed the chess books but also other ones!

After the program was over, I was obviously very tired. The 2 hours of walking around, doing the pairings and helping the kids mark their result was not an easy job. However, even though I was so tired that I fell asleep when I got home, I still believe that this entire project (from first contacting the library to finalizing the flyer and to promotion) was definitely worth all my effort and time.
Canada needs to promote this game a lot more and I'm glad I can be a part of it.

My dream is that one day most of the public libraries in
Toronto will have this program and each have about 20 sets kept there. And week at every library location there will be around 20-30 people to come to play chess regularly. Each library will have one or more student volunteer to organize the program. Then every week I would be able to visit a different library and check on them. Our own website will be professional with lots of people viewing and checking for upcoming events. I could go on and on and tell you guys this entire picture of the kind of future I wish to see with all the details but then I think I would have to keep writing until tomorrow.

Everything in my dream is not something impossible to achieve. I think the only problem is the money to buy all the sets. The library's budget is very limited and the librarian told me that they can only afford to buy one set a month. I really don't want to charge the people coming to play chess money either. All I want is to see chess in
Canada grow and that chess can be a game everyone will know how to play. Other countries can do it why can't we? So if your dream is the somewhat similar to mine, I hope you can help this program by sponsoring some sets or some money, anything is greatly appreciated by me and all Canada's future chess players.

If you are a kind person who wishes to donate to the "Chess in the Library" program, you are more than welcome to contact me at

Thanks for everyone's support!! The future of chess in
Canada depends on all of you!
(written on Jun 21, 2009)


Last year, I was a Canadian Chess Olympiad member, and CFC gave me lots of support. Now I think it's time for me to do something for the chess community in Canada. I have always tried to promote chess as much I can. I am currently the President in my school's chess club, and I organize the teams to play in the high school tournaments. Recently, I have also joined the Executive Committee of the Toronto Schools Chess League to promote chess furthermore.

Now I have found an excellent idea for promoting this game widely. For the past month, I have been working hard to start up and promote a program called "Chess in the Library". The very first library that will run this program is at the Brookbanks site. In the future, I hope to expand this program in all Toronto libraries, and then perhaps across Canada. This program is like a chess incubator in your local library that tries to encourage more and more people of all ages to play this game in the grass root level. By doing so, the chess community in Canada will be getting better and bigger.

We play casual chess, Blitz and CFC rated games. The program will be at the Brookbanks Library (210 Brookbanks Drive, Toronto, ON) every Saturday 10am-12pm starting from Jun 20th, 2009. Everyone is welcome to come!!

I would also like to give credit for our sponsors: Brookbanks Library, Scarborough Chess Club, Victoria Park C.I. , Toronto Schools Chess League and the Greater Toronto Chess League. Without them, this program would have not been possible.

Feel free to give me all your opinions, suggestions and any support (money, sponsors are all welcome :P).

(written on Jun 18, 2009)