Famed Chess Queen Phiona Mutesi Plays a Life-Size Game
Toronto, ON, April 7, 2017: Phiona Mutesi, the Ugandan chess player behind the Disney film, Queen of Katwe, which premiered at TIFF in 2016, is back in Toronto this week. Her visit wraps up Saturday with a life-size game of chess at Branksome Hall.
Like Lewis Carrol’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, Mutesi’s story is very much that of a pawn promoted to queen. She started life in a slum area of Kampala, working as a street vendor. Through chess, she rose to national and international fame, winning the national Junior Championships and representing Uganda several times at the international Chess Olympiad.
Her current tour of Toronto with Beautiful World Canada has included a Q&A with young players in Regent Park on Monday, and a game against Canadian General Roméo Dallaire on Tuesday. Saturday she is guest of honour at a charity tournament in Rosedale, where she will play a living game of chess with costumed children as pieces. The event raises funds for children’s chess programs in Toronto through Chess Institute of Canada and for women’s scholarships in Uganda, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone through Beautiful World.
A living chess game from Monselice, Italy
All the world’s a chess board? “Chess, the way we teach it, is more than just a game,” says tournament organizer, Tal Granite. “We are changing lives.” Granite uses chess as a tool to teach important life skills, like goal setting. Mutesi’s chess coach Robert Katende, from Sports Outreach Mission in Uganda, sees chess the same way. As he says in the film, “Chess helps us solve problems. It teaches us to make a plan.”
One important lesson to be learned from chess is to face life’s challenges courageously. “If your goal scares you,” says Granite, “you are on the right path. Dare to dream.” It’s the same advice Katende gives his player when she fears her life will never change: “What matters is when you reset the pieces and play again.”
CIC Founder and President Ted Winick and CEO Tal Granite attended the Beautiful World Fundraising Gala on April 4, 2017.
The highlight of the night was a chesss game between “Queen of Katwe” Phiona Mutesi and Canadian Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, with Tal Granite as a live commentator (photo tweeted by Gloria Kim)
Ted Winick was honoured to meet Phiona Mutesi and her coach Robert Katende, as was Toronto City Councillor, Joe Mihevc.
Mutesi and Katende’s visit to Toronto wraps up with the Dare to Dream Children’s Chess tournament this Saturday, presented by Chess Institute and Beautiful World.
At the Charity Chess Tournament at Branksome Hall on April 8, there will be a Q&A with the Queen of Katwe, Phiona Mutesi, and her coach, Robert Katende. What would you ask her if you got the chance?
Tweet or comment with your #askphiona questions, and you’ll have a chance to win one of 3 free entries into the tournament.
Winning questions will be selected on March 31.
Chess Institute of Canada and Beautiful World are proud to present A Children’s Chess Tournament for grades 1 through 8 with Phiona Mutesi, who represented Uganda in the 2010 Chess Olympiad. Join the fun at Branksome Hall on Saturday April 8, 2017.
Phiona’s story inspired the recent Disney movie, Queen of Katwe, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016.
Registration is $50, for which a tax receipt will be issued. The proceeds from this tournament will support both scholarships for girls living in extreme poverty in Uganda, and chess programs for youth living in poverty in Toronto.
Get tickets now!
We are extremely pleased to announce that we will be hosting two very special guests at Chess Sports and Arts Camp this summer: Canadian Grandmasters Eric Hansen and Bator Sambuev.
Eric Hansen began playing chess at the age of 9 and was the youngest ever Alberta champion at the age of 15. He has competed on the national and international scene ever since. He is currently taking a break from competitive chess to focus on improving his game.
Bator Sambuev is a powerhouse on the competitive chess scene, having participated in numerous tournaments since arriving in Canada in 2006. He currently devotes much of his time to teaching your chess players and imparting his love of the game.
Sambuev and Hansen tied for first place in the 2011 Canadian Chess Championship. We’re sure to be in for some great chess from these two grandmasters!
We are very fortunate to be hosting Both Eric Hansen and Bator Sambuev at Chess, Sports, and Arts camp this summer and know their presence will be an invaluable addition to our camp programming.
The Chess Institute of Canada and the Annex Chess Club are proud co-hosts of the Third Annual Chess Fest at Harbourfront Centre on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The Chess Festival features over 2,000 square feet of free and fundraising chess activities for all ages and chess levels.
The Children’s Chess Championship will take place on Saturday, June 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will be open to children of all levels, from SK to Grade 6. The Chess Fest will also be the site of the 2016 Toronto Blitz Championship Tournament on Sunday, June 26 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Chess Fest features a large number of free activities throughout the day such as two life-sized chess boards for all to play on, dress-up, and crowns for all children. There will be open chess boards all over the Harbourfront Centre for games with old and new friends. Children and adults alike will have a chance to improve their chess skills with free tips all weekend from some of Canada’s top chess players.
Chess Fest is a unique event in Toronto and is not to be missed!
Register here for the Children’s Championship on June 25th.
Registration for the Toronto Blitz Championship on June 26th is via the Annex Chess Club.
In a one-on-one conversation with the Jewish Tribune’s David Grossman, Tal Granite discusses how chess can improve literacy, inspire learning and decision-making, and promote goal-setting among elementary school children. Read the full article here
August 20-27, 2016
Located on a 120-acre site on the shores of Lake Couchiching, National Chess Camp continues to set a standard of excellence in chess instruction and camping in North America. A partnership between National Music Camp and Chess Institute of Canada, NCC offers the highest level of chess instruction and play combined with an array of recreational activities, all nestled in the best facilities within a highly stimulating musical environment. NCC campers experience an incredible week, make a significant leap in their chess level and create lifelong memories and friendships.
Click here for more information and registration.
“Robyn Cohen, manager of the centre, said the chess program has been “so well received, it has become part of the school’s curriculum. It helps build responsibility and executive functioning, helps students to plan ahead and set goals, and improves math and literacy. Students are also taught to adjust when a chess move doesn’t go right or they lose the game.”
Read the full article here
We had a great time at Chess Fest at Harbourfront Centre on June 20-21, 2015. Check out this great video about the Blitz Tournament and congratulations to Nikolay Noritsyn, the 2015 Toronto Blitz Chess Champion!