By Michelle Poirier

The Georgina Chess Academy is growing as more parents see the benefits of their children learning chess.

The academy started in January 2023, teaching and coaching chess to kids aged seven to 16. They started with 23 kids registered and have continuously grown, with their fourth session having 36 kids registered.

The current session started in March and runs for eight weeks on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Georgina Community Church in Jackson’s Point.

According to Alice Burrows, administrator for Georgina Chess Academy, and John Burrows, co-founder of the academy, they already have a small waitlist for the fall 2024 session.

“Based on the participation and enthusiasm of kids and parents, I think we are appreciated. There is no cost to the parents. We have been told they appreciate that the kids are not having screen time during chess,” she said.

“Also, as John says, not all kids play hockey, so we fill a different niche.”

Burrows said six of their current kids participated in the Optimist Club Chess Tournament in early March. Three of those kids are going on to provincials, the Canadian Chess Challenge Ontario Championships, held by the Chess’n Math Association, on April 21 at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

“While we do not claim responsibility for their performance, we are very proud of their achievements, as this was their first tournament experience,” Burrows said.

Burrows said they are grateful to York Region for awarding them a grant that will ensure the club’s continuation, Routes Connecting Communities for facilitating the grant and offering support, Georgina Community Church for donating the space, and the pastors who volunteer their time.

She said they plan to run two 8-week sessions annually in the spring and fall. They are also in talks to offer drop-in chess during the summer or a place for seniors to play.

For more information or to join the waitlist, email or visit Georgina Chess Academy on Facebook.