Thousands of children take part in chess tournaments and lessons every week
Pascal Charbonneau against Viswanathan Anand, Italy 2006 (See diagram)
When Larry Bevand helped create the Montreal-based Chess and Math Association in 1985, he had no idea it would one day involve thousands of passionate young players across the country.
“I didn’t expect it to grow the way it did,” says Bevand, who is still the nonprofit group’s executive director.
At its pre-pandemic peak, it engaged 15,000 children across Canada every week in chess lessons, camps and tournaments. Although the numbers have now dwindled, Bevand says he expects interest to rebound once children resume all extracurricular activities in the classroom.
With offices in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa and coordinators across the country, the group organizes an annual school tournament that crowns national champions in all grades from grades 1 to 12. Many of Canada’s top players got their first tournament experience at these events.
One of the association’s most famous graduates is Pascal Charbonneau, who began taking lessons at age eight and went on to become a grandmaster and two-time Canadian champion.
Bevand, who says chess ability helps develop problem-solving skills in math and other areas, says he expects demand to remain high among children.
“Our biggest problem is that we don’t find enough teachers.”
Answer: Charbonneau quietly took the piece. After 36.fxe5 Nxe4 37.Nxe4 Bxe4 38.Bd3Bxg2+ 39.Qxg2 gxh2 40.Bxg6 Rxg6 41.Ng3 Rxg3 42.Qe4 Kg4 43.Be7 Black resigned.