The Chess Academy – Road to Masters League

In view of the recent spike of COVID cases in Hong Kong, we will change the IN-PERSON format of our Road to Masters league and revert to our last successful TCA training tournament format!

The TCA Road to Masters League will be a tournament with different groups of 4 players to play in the round robin style. The groups will be created according to the level of the kids. We will create as many groups as needed based on the number of participants. We will name them as follows:

Masters – Division 1
Candidate Masters – Division 2
Elite – Division 3
Advanced – Division 4
Amateurs – Division 5
Novice – Division 6
Beginners -Division 7

These group names could change according to the sign ups and the level of the players. Another interesting thing is the bottom 2 players of each division will go down one division and the top 2 will go up to the next division to play the second leg. So it will be more competitive.

The entry fee for each leg is HKD150

First leg will be played from March 16 to April 4 (3 weeks)
Second leg will be played from April 11 to May 2 (3 weeks)
3 legs Etc will be scheduled later.

Time control: 30 min plus 30 sec

All players will need to complete the TCA Pledge to participate.

Schedule: Each week we will arrange 1 round. The timing will be flexible as the opponents have both to agree on their preferred time. The only condition is the games must be played before sunday 11pm. They must provide the result of the games as the lichess link of the games to GM Andres.

Each game is 1 point for victory, 0.5 for draw and 0 for losing.

We will use lichess platforms.

Tie Breaks
For the rise up players and go down players tiebreaks will be as follows:
      1. Result of Direct game
      2. Match of 2 games 10min plus 5sec
      3. Armageddon game 5min for white 4 min for black with white must win situation.

Date of tiebreak: These must be played on the week from April 4

Special rules:
We will introduce these special rules with the hope that all the kids will play a lot more slowly;  this way we can encourage the children to think more, to make less blunders, and to force them to develop stronger characters.

  1. Offer draw is not allowed. The game just can be drawn 3 fold repetition or because you came to a position that is a dead draw or if lichess gives you the opportunity to claim draw in the right side below notation side.
  2. No take back is allowed

Remember to check your internet connection before the game
The internet speed we recommend you should have is at least 10MBPS.You can check on

Check Games Meeting Date:
For first leg:
Saturday April 3, 10am approximately after round 3.
For Second leg:

The Chess Academy Spring Open 2021

The Chess Academy Spring Open 2021 (In-person Arena)

Ready for some IN-PERSON battle??!! Come Join THE CHESS ACADEMY Spring Open!

For U9 Section (Born in 2012 or after)
Date: Mar 21 (Sun)
Time: 1:00 – 5:00pm

For U7 Section (Born in 2014 or after)
Date: Mar 28 (Sun)
Time: 1:00 – 5:00pm

For U11 Section (Born in 2010 or after)
Date: Apr 11 (Sun)
Time: 1:00 – 5:00pm

For U18 Section (Born in 2003 or after)
Date: Apr 18 (Sun)
Time: 1:00 – 5:00pm

Venue: ActiveKids Learning Center – Unit A, 1/F, Nan Sang Building, 86 Belcher’s Street, Kennedy Town, HK
Format: 5 rounds Swiss, 10 minutes + 5 Sec

To register, please email player name, D.O.B., School, Grade and Contact number to

For more details, please contact us at 3480-4199 or

The Chess Academy Road to Master League

The Chess Academy Road to Master League

Date: Mar 14 (Stage 1)
Mar 21 (Stage 2)
Mar 28 (Stage 3)
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Venue: ActiveKids Learning Center, Kennedy Town
Entry fee: $150 for induvidual stage and $300 for 3 stages.
Deadline: Every Saturday 4:00pm.

To register, please email Player’s Name, D.O.B., School, Contact number to

For more details, please contact us at 3480-4199 or

Result of The Chess Academy Winter Grand Prix

The TCA Winter Grand Prix came to an end on February 28th after 5 Sundays of competition. No surprise, the two upper players in age and level dominated the podium places, with some of the younger ones mixing it up throughout.

In the end it was Niilo Nissinen (Niilo1) who took top honors with a comfortable lead at 100points, even if he missed a leg due to competing in the U16 Hong Kong Nationals. Second place was earned by Aaden Wong (aAd123kll), one of the younger players who managed to score points in every leg and managed to narrowly surpass Justin Cheng (Quickdetour) who also played in the Nationals.

Results Table:

Congratulation to the winners! We hope everyone had a great time during the tournament and we will have more exciting events coming up, stay tuned!

And don’t miss out The Chess Academy Easter Camps 2021, there is a 10% off early bird discount before March 17!

Result of The Chess Academy Winter Grand Prix (Round 1 & 2)

The Chess Academy Winter Grand Prix has started on January 24. It is being an exciting event where some very good kids from Hong Kong are playing and they are doing a great job in order to fight for the final rank after the 5 tournaments this competition includes.

It has been played already 2 tourneys and the rankings are as follow:

As we can see Niilo has taken the lead for 7 points that means at least 4 games as each game counts for 2 points. Below him the fight is very interesting as there are just 4 points gap between 2 and 4 places!

Next tournament is on sunday 7 of february. If you haven’t signed up you are on time on doing! As still missing 3 more tourneys!

TCA Winter Grand Prix
Date: Feb 7, 21, 28
Time: 3:00 – 5:00pm
Entry Fee: $200

The Chess Academy HK vs Vasyl Ivanchuk Chess School, Ukraine

The Chess Academy had a unique opportunity over the weekend by challenging a youth team from Ukraine, the Vasyl Ivanchuk Chess School. Founded and led by former world number 2 and candidate challenger to the World Championship title, Vasyl Ivanchuk, it was expected and foreseeable that the match would be of great quality. Given this opportunity, it gives TCA great pleasure to receive such invitations and share it among our students here in Hong Kong.

In total, 15 kids were invited to play in the 2 hour Arena to continue testing their chess skills against different opposition. The session began with a 30 minute warm-up followed by the tournament.

The first hour of the Arena saw both teams exchanging the lead often, not distancing themselves for more than 10 points. Entering the second hour, TCA took a big lead as many of the students gathered streak points (earning double points after winning two consecutive games) and managed a nice lead. However, during the last 30 minutes, the opposition remounted some momentum and created a gap that TCA could not overcome.

For TCA, Zion Chiu (chiuzion) lead the team along with Jacob Lu (Jacob_935) at 20pts each and not too far behind with an amazing performance entering the top 10 was Zhiming Bu (ZhimingBu) and once again the now experienced in Arena competitions, KainosWong (KainosWong).

Regardless of the result, this is yet another great experience chess has provided us given the strange times of Covid. We are continuously seeking new challenges to offer our kids to further improve not only their chess but also their personal development and teamwork skills.  Stay tuned for our next invitation and team challenges.

In the meantime, TCA is currently hosting the Winter Grand Prix, it’s not too late to join! For any questions please contact

TCA Winter Grand Prix
Date: Jan 24, 31, Feb 7, 21, 28 (Every Sunday)
Time: 3:00 – 5:00pm
Entry fee: $200

The Chess Academy Special Events (Jan 2021)

Join THE CHESS ACADEMY’S Special Events in Jan 2021! 

TCA Winter Grand Prix 
Date: Jan 24, 31, Feb 7, 21, 28 (Every Sunday)
Time: 3:00 – 5:00pm
Entry fee: $200

TCA Grand Master Simul 
Date: Jan 24, 2021 (Sunday)
Time: 1:00 – 2:30pm
Entry fee: $200

To register, please send the Player Name, D.O.B., School  and Lichess ID  to

Space is Limited!

For more details, please contact us at 3480 4199 or

The Queen’s Gambit: Netflix miniseries sparks more interest in Hong Kong chess club

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The Chess Academy, which is part of ActiveKids in Hong Kong, boasts two grandmasters in Colombian Andres Gallego and Spaniard Manuel Gomez Hong Kong youngsters are as good as their peers elsewhere and the city can produce a grandmaster ‘in 10 to 15 years’

Nazvi Careem

Nazvi Careem

Published: 8:50am, 5 Jan, 2021

Young players shake hands before the start of a chess tournament in Hong Kong. Photos: ActiveKids

Young players shake hands before the start of a chess tournament in Hong Kong. Photos: ActiveKids

Chess in Hong Kong is thriving and successful Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit can only enhance interest in the game, according to Grace So, the founder and CEO of ActiveKids Hong Kong.

The Chess Academy, which is part of the ActiveKids set-up, boasts two grandmasters who are coaching Hong Kong’s next generation of chess players: Colombian Andres Gallego and Spaniard Manuel Gomez. Along with a team of World Chess Federation-approved coaches, they provide programmes to schools and also conduct classes at their centre in Kennedy Town.

“Although Covid-19 has restricted a number of on-site activities, we at The Chess Academy have put in extra efforts to continue developing interest and training for our students via online coaching and tournaments,” said So.

“The Hong Kong chess community is vibrant and thriving, but of course, has much room to continue growing. The Queen’s Gambit phenomenon has certainly added to the development and interest in the local community as we have received more inquiries into our programmes.”

Anya Taylor-Joy in a scene from The Queen’s Gambit. Photo: Handout

Anya Taylor-Joy in a scene from The Queen’s Gambit. Photo: Handout

The Queen’s Gambit has clocked more than 92 million views worldwide and tells the story of an orphan girl who goes on to become a champion chess player in the US while in her teens.

So said the academy takes pride in the fact that out of around 1,500 grandmasters around the world, two are in Hong Kong. They organise a number of tournaments including online events, masters leagues, opens and competitions against overseas teams such as Spain and Malaysia.

Andres Gallego wanted to be a goalkeeper in his native Colombia before switching to chess at 12. Photo: ActiveKids

Andres Gallego wanted to be a goalkeeper in his native Colombia before switching to chess at 12. Photo: ActiveKids

Last year, they launched the Asia-Pacific Championships for under-16 players – the biggest online chess club tournament.

Gallego, 32, said he wanted to be a football goalkeeper as a youngster but when he realised he was unlikely to make the grade, he switched to chess when he was 12. Within months he was winning tournaments. Monday Racing Newsletter By submitting, you consent to receiving marketing emails from SCMP. If you don’t want these, tick here By registering, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy

He was a Colombian national champion in three age groups and became a grandmaster in 2018. He said interest in chess among local youth was rising and he had high hopes of a first-ever Hong Kong-born grandmaster.

Manuel Gomez has been a grandmaster since 2019 and has taught in Hong Kong for more than five years. Photo: ActiveKids

Manuel Gomez has been a grandmaster since 2019 and has taught in Hong Kong for more than five years. Photo: ActiveKids

“Probably in Hong Kong we will see a grandmaster some day in about 10 to 15 years,” said Gallego, highlighting the “dedication of the kids and the programmes that we have”.

He also referred to an “interesting collaboration” between China and Hong Kong, where the “has more than 50 grandmasters, especially among the women”.

Gomez has been a grandmaster since 2019 and has been coaching in Hong Kong for five years. He shares Gallego’s enthusiasm for the future of chess in the city.

“When we go to all the competitions for kids in Hong Kong, we see a lot of talent,” said 31-year-old Gomez. “We talk to them and some of them come to our academy.

A giant chess board is set up on the grounds of a local club in Hong Kong. Photo: ActiveKids

A giant chess board is set up on the grounds of a local club in Hong Kong. Photo: ActiveKids

“A good thing about Hong Kong’s education system is that they see the benefits of chess and competition between students. Apart from physical sports, chess is one of the many things kids can do in Hong Kong.

“I think to be a world-class player, though, they should go abroad and play against top players from other countries. In Hong Kong, we can see the best players are very young. Some of the kids can compare to some of the best in other countries and we hope they will become grandmasters.”

The academy was formed around 14 years ago with So at the forefront. At the start, it was difficult to find players but So decided to tap into the school market.

Dozens of youngsters take part in a chess tournament in Hong Kong. Photo: ActiveKids

Dozens of youngsters take part in a chess tournament in Hong Kong. Photo: ActiveKids

“We now have 60 different schools,” she said. “Most of them are ESF schools and many of the international schools, along with local schools such as St Paul’s, DBS [Diocesan Boys’ School], DGS [Diocesan Girls’] and those kinds of institutions.

“We really want to expand into the local market and government schools. We haven’t gone there yet but it’s something we want to pursue in the future,” said So.

The Chess Academy Asia Pacific Championship U16 – Leg 4

The Last Round of the TCA Asia Pacific Championship U16 was played last Saturday on Dec 19. There were a lot of exciting games in the last round at Lichess Platform.

We started off the event with a new brand new lecture by The Chess Academy Hong Kong, GM coach Manuel. The lecture called “5 ways of defending”. With 5 different examples we explained how important it is to look for counterattacking moves rather than just passively defend. The kids participated with their answers to the questions in the chat and it led to some very interesting discussions on which way to solve the problems was better.

This week, it was a very hard battle for the TCA Hong Kong team. The other team were performing well, the points between the teams were so close. When the time finish, the TCA Hong Kong team managed to keep the Top place at last!

This leg saw big numbers all around: 852 games and over 45 thousand moves .The Chess Academy Hong Kong finished in first place, followed by ChessNut Academy and BrainBoxChess Academy.

Below the individual result.

Congratulations to all the teams, who are getting better and stronger and the players are performing at a really high level. From the TCA team we want to congratulate the young players that are making this result possible.

Lastly, we hope you all have enjoyed the series of the Championship. Our next Online Chess event will be the Road to Master League Leg 2. Thanks for participating and see you next year!

The Chess Academy Asia Pacific Championship U16 – Leg 3

Last Saturday, December 12, 236 players from 10 different teams gathered together to play the 3rd leg of this exciting new International competition. These teams had played in the previous edition so they knew what to expect and they were ready for the challenge.

We started off the event with a new lecture by one of the GMs from The Chess Academy Hong Kong, coach Manuel in this case. This week the lecture reminded all the players about the importance of creating passed pawns and how to use different tactics to advance them until they promote. The chat was very active giving answers to all the questions asked by the GM and by the time the last example was over the tournament was about to start.

In the Third leg, we saw bigger numbers all around: bigger teams, more players, games and moves. The Chess Academy Hong Kong team finished in first place, followed by BrainBoxChess Academy and ChessShoot Juniors.

This time our team won easily as we got many points ahead of the second place. However, the fight for 3-4th place was also a very entertaining one and it set the bar of our expectations really high for the next 1 week. If the teams keep performing at this level one thing is guaranteed: not only the players but also the spectators will have a lot of fun.

Below the individual result.

As the most experienced and team leader, James Kwong performed at an incredibly high level to score 26 points and win the individual standings. TCA players YK Leung, chesseditor and Niilo1 finished in the 2nd,3rd and 4th place in the tournament respectively, which helped the team secure the 1st place.

For the statistics lovers, here are a few numbers from this week’s competition: 56740 moves, 1017 games and now 2 facts that might surprise some of the readers. White wins 46%, Black wins 48% and 6% of draws.

Generally we consider White to have a slight edge but in blitz and rapid games maybe that advantage isn’t that clear. We’ll keep an eye on this stats in the next competition to see if this becomes a pattern.

This event started with the purpose of giving all the players an opportunity to test themselves against other kids while having fun, and also as a way to create bonds between all of our different nations and chess clubs. There is 1 more tournament left in this first edition, but surely this will just be the first one of many others to come.

Lastly, the AP Under16 Championship series are coming to an end this coming Saturday, December 19. Join one of the teams and participate! Every chess fan is welcome to play!