Thursday, August 26, 2010

Once Again, the Southam Family Brings Good News

As you all know, Chess in the Library couldn't have been possible without the help of our generous donors and sponsors. Among all these heart warming people, there is one family that has always been particularly special to us - the Southam family.

Elsa, Peter and David Southam were the first ones to contribute chess items to CITL. In July 2009, my fellow teammates Michael and Yutong joined me on a trip to visit these lovely people. I've blogged about it last year and if you didn't see the post, I've linked it here. They donated to us 20 chess trophies, a few chess books, sets and the money for engraving the plates.

A few weeks ago, I was honoured the opportunity to pay the family another visit. They brought back from the US more things to donate to Chess in the Library! Among the huge bag of items were a few very new chess books, 2 chess clocks and 2 large recreational chess/checkers/backgammon sets. There was one book that really caught my eye:

Disney's Chess Guide! Learning chess with Donald and Mickey is so cute ^_^

Just a random page in the book. This one explains how to move a Bishop!
Notice the colourful disney pictures used here

There is also a comic section in the book about "chess land". Absolutely adorable!

Well, the Southam family doesn't just bring us those good news. There's one more! They've agreed to fund the annual trophy that will be given to the library team that wins the Open Section of our CITL Annual Festival each year! Isn't that exciting? The annual trophy would be placed in that library for a year and then transfered to the next winning library the year after. Branch names will be carved on the plates and it will certainly provide extra excitement to our festival!

So thank you so much Elsa, Peter & David! Words alone cannot express my appreciation for everything you've done for us. You guys not only made our dream come true, but also the ones of our little chess enthusiasts . :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Typical Friday Night at the Bridlewood Branch

\The first thing I did when I returned from the Explore French program in Three Rivers was to visit the Chess in the Library program at Bridlewood. Last time I went, I didn't take a picture of the awesome chess display they had on their shelf. It's AMAZING!! Check it out:

this is the shelf that lies behind the check-in & out counter at Bridlewood

According to the program organizers Stanley Su, Linda Fu and Mary Xu, an average of 18-20 kids show up every week to play chess in the library. All the little chess enthusiasts in the pictures below were beyond excited to play the game for 2 hours straight! :)

Room overview

program co-leader Stanley (first on the right) teaches the kids how to play

organizer Mary (last one on the left column) explains the rules of chess to the younger girls

Bridlewood's Chess in the Library program has been running smoothly since the first day it started. New members are still trying to join the club each week, but then again, the space is limited. Well, first come first serve! We hope that after Bridlewood's success with the program becomes more solid, more branches in Scarborough will join the network.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Introducing the Program Leader in Ottawa - Joey Qin!

I found an interesting article on the Your Ottawa Region newspaper today titled "Chess champ cleans up at Open". Guess who's it about? Joey, our new program leader in Ottawa of course! :) Check out the article below (the last few paragraphs are about Chess in the Library! ^_^) :

Chess champ cleans up at Open. Chess sensation Joey Qin poses with his chess board in his home. Joey placed seventh overall in the Canadian Open Chess Championship.

Joey Qin is 14 years old and heading towards his first year of high school. In his sport of choice, it’s not uncommon for him to compete against athletes more than twice his age – and win.

First introduced to the game when he was seven, Joey Qin is a rising star in the chess world and he just keeps getting better.

Gordon Ritchie, a pillar of the Ottawa chess community, used to play Joey before he became too strong of a player. Now Ritchie refuses to play him because the teen’s calibre of chess is too high.

“He could beat 90 per cent of chess players in the country,” he said. “Joey is an outstanding chess player.”

The last tournament Joey competed in was the Canadian Open Chess Championship. The international tournament draws the best players from across the world.

Joey placed seventh overall in the nine day tournament and cleaned up in his age division.

Joey attributes his success in the chess world to studying past games – with the help of his dad – and knowing how to read his opponent.

“We look at their playing style and what to be aware of and what to target,” he said. “Their opening can tell a lot about them.”

Despite the wins, it’s the love of the game that keeps Joey staring down the chess board.

“I like concentrating on things and solving problems. Chess is everything glued together that I like,” he said.

In between tournaments, Joey is trying to give back to the community in a way that’s meaningful to him – chess lessons at the local library. The program is called Chess in the Library and is a volunteer based program that is currently only available in Toronto.

“Chess really is a great game and I want to share my experience with others,” he said.

The program is for players of all ages and strengths who want to come out and learn the game.

Only one library – the Ruth E. Dickinson branch – will be offering the program to start but Joey maintains hope that once people show interest, more branches will come onboard.

“It’s time for him to give back to the community,” said Lily Qu, Joey’s mother. “That’s why I’m glad (Marilyn Shanks) is giving him the chance to promote chess.”

The program will run Saturday afternoons starting in September.

Credits to Jamie DoggartC. Source:

More details about the Chess in the Library program in Ottawa will be posted soon. Any support you would like to contribute to the program in Ottawa is very much appreciated. :) Thank you!