Monday, July 12, 2010

Expansion to Ottawa in Progress

From the very first day that I founded the Chess in the Library program, I've set myself and my team the goal to expand this program to other cities and provinces. Although I do live in Toronto right now, my hometown is actually our national captial - Ottawa. If we do host this program at another location outside of Toronto, Ottawa would be our first target. Last month, I was overwhelmed to recieve an email from Joey Qin, a young master with a CFC rating of 2340 while only in grade 8! It was about his interest in expanding the Chess in the Library program to Ottawa. :)

Welcome to the team, Joey!

Joey has already confirmed the program with the counselor in Ottawa and the proposal is currently being reviewed by the librarians in Ottawa. I hope that everything works out and we'll be able to see the program in action by September.

Since we're expanding to a new city, we need to buy more chess sets. The previously donated 100 chess sets are pretty much all distributed among the libraries in Toronto (there are 10 locations). I hope that everyone can support this new innovation by making a donation to the fund for the Chess in the Library program in Ottawa! Contact me if you would like to make a contribution. Thanks! :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chess in the Library 1st Annual Festival Awards Ceremony

Sorry for not uploading photos for the past 2 days...Our french camp went on a field trip each day for the past 3 days. So I didn't get the chance to touch a computer until now...

Grade 3 Section Individual Champion: Catherine Li

Grade 6 Section Individual Champion: Jonathan Chan

Open Section Individual Champion: Magas Yusuf

Grade 3 Section Team Champion: North York Central Library

Grade 6 Section Team Champion: Brookbanks Library

Open Section Team Champion: Fairview Library

Complete Set of the Grade 3 Section trophies

Complete Set of the Grade 6 Section trophies

Complete Set of the Open Section trophies

Close up Picture of the Open Section 1st Place Engraving
There is a trophy for the top 3 individuals in each section. They were presented by David Southam, the representative of the Southam family who donated their trophies to us. The old engraving plates were taken off and replaced by new ones. I personally think that it's a really good idea to redistribute one's trophies to the next generation if they are no longer in use. I know that they are people who treasure their trophies because they bring back old memories displays their accomplishments but on the other hand, I also know people who just keep their trophies in their closets. It is not easy for the Southam family to give away Todd's trophies and because of that, my team and I were really touched when they made such a decision.
If there is anyone who would like to redistribute their trophies through the Chess in the Library program, we would honour your contribution by engraving the plates with your name on it. ( e.g. Middle line: Todd Southam Award). Message me if you're interested! :)
Team prizes were presented by the referees for each section. Medals were given out to the top 3 teams in each section. Each team consisted of 3 players so we bought 27 medals using the donations. A big thank you to our donors!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chess in the Library 1st Annual Festival Speeches

The opening ceremony was the favourite moment of the entire festival. Below are all the people who made a speech, excluding me and Elsa (there`s a picture of her in the report). Below are the description of each speaker with their photos underneath.

David Southam, representative of the Southam family who donated Todd`s trohpies to us. The Southam family is one of our first donors and it really means a lot to our entire team. The trophies are really nice - mostly marble based and ìf you want to see all of them, you`ll have to wait a few days. Thank you so much for coming David, and a BIG THANK YOU to the entire family for their support.

Magas Yusuf, past leader of the Brookbanks Library. The Brookbanks branch is our very first location and after I left to expand the program to other locations, it was Magas who took over the big responsibility. As of the first participants and volunteers of the program, Magas`s support will always be remembered.

WFM Hazel Smith who played an important role at the Pleasant View Library before last September when she had to go to university in Waterloo. Hazel organized the puzzle competition at the Pleasant View branch and became a role model for the kids there . Having another Olympiad member on our organization team is truly an honor.

Kevin Wu, present leader of the Pleasant View Library. After Hazel left, Kevin took over and currently, that branch has one of the highest participation rates. Being only in grade 9 (the youngest member of our team), Kevin has demonstrated everything required to be a leader. His speech during the opening ceremony was one of the best prepared.

Yolanda Zhang, current leader of the program at the Fairview Library. Being one of the few girls involved, Yolanda had done a lot to encourge he Fairview players to come to the festival despite the fact that their current session has ended (next session starts in Septemeber). One by one, Yolanda called the top 10 players on the list and succeed in convincing most of the players to join the celebration
Michael Kleinman, oh boy, I could write a whole page on this description. Chess master + leader. Michael was the second person to join the team after me. He always wanted to do something like this to give back to his community so Chess in the Library was perfect for him. We`ve went to meetings together, picked up donations together and right now, he`s leading the program at the Northern District. Michael has contributed so much to the program and I really, really appreciate everything he`s done for the program since the very beginning.
Kostya Golovan is the program leader at the Maria A. Shchuka Library. He is honestly one of the most responsible guys I know. I was informed by the librarians that Kostya NEVER missed a single chess club meet. Now that`s something incredible!
Alexandru Florea, another top junior chess player in Canada. He is currently leading the program at one of the farest TPL branches in Toronto - the Humberwood Library. It seriously took me 2 hours on bus just to get there one way! We`ve been always wanting to do the program there but until Alex came along, the only barriers we had were volunteers. I`m pretty sure that without Alex, CITL at Humberwood wouldn`t be possible.
Xiaohan Du, a pure math genius. Taking grade 11 IB math while in grade 10 is truly something rare. Anyways, Xiaohan is not in the organizing team anymore, but he was one of the first ones to join us. He also tried to open up the program at the Deer Park Library but due to the demographics there, we didn`t get enough participants interested in chess. Nonetheless, Xiaohan still came to celebrate the anniversary with us and I`m sure that he`ll always be a part of the program a bit here and there.