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 email@example.com.
TCA Winter Grand Prix Date: Jan 24, 31, Feb 7, 21, 28 (Every Sunday) Time: 3:00 – 5:00pm Platform: Lichess.org Entry fee: $200
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’
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’sGambit 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
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
Last year, they launched the Asia-Pacific Championships for under-16 players – the biggest online chess club tournament.
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
“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 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
“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 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!
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!
The second Leg in this exciting series of competitions was played last Saturday, December 5, on the Lichess Platform.
There were over 250 participants from 10 different clubs, some of them new to this event. At The Chess Academy Hong Kong we are thrilled to see new clubs from different countries all over the Asia-Pacific region joining the tournaments.
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 are 2 more tournaments left in this first edition, but surely this will just be the first one of many others to come.
Going back to the second leg, it started with a lecture by one of the TCA Grandmasters, coach Manuel, who explained a game by Paul Keres, a player considered to be the best in the world at some point in his career (during the 1940s and 50s) that never managed to win the title.
This game was well received by the audience, asking several questions to the GM and offering ideas and solutions to the questions they were asked. After one last reminder about material not being the most important thing to worry about, the tournament was ready to start.
This second leg saw bigger numbers all around: bigger teams, more players, games and moves. 1224 games and over 66 thousand moves later, The Chess Academy Hong Kong finished in first place, followed by Chess Shoots Juniors in 2nd place and Chessnut Academy in 3rd place, while Vivid_Ghost from Chessnut Academy and Pokemon2020 from Looi Chess Club were the individual winners.
The competition was very intense and there were several leader changes. Chess Shoots and The Chess Academy were very close until the last 5 minutes were a few key individual victories gave the Hong Kong team the title.
The fight for 3-6 place was also a very entertaining one and it sets the bar of our expectations really high for the next 2 weeks. 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.
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: Neel Iyer, Boris Chan and Kainos Wong. They were leading the team this week even being much younger than 16.
The next leg will be played on December 12 at the same time, 6-8pm. We hope to see everyone there and keep having fun playing and watching chess games together!
The first of four legs of The Chess Academy Asia Pacific Championship U16 took place this past Saturday (Nov 28) with an outstanding participation of 220 players from 6 different countries. The tournament was held in the Lichess platform using the Team Arena with masnou pairings.
The Chess Academy’s Grand Master Coach Andres G. met the players in Zoom, and greeted all the players from Hong Kong and other counties. Then he gave a quick Game Analysis of the famous chess player – Alexander G Sellman. The analysis session was very interactive and inspiring, and all the players actively participated on all the possibilities of moves in the chat.
After the Analysis session, the Asia Pacific battle began! The arena was intense and impressive – 930 games were played within two hours with a total of 49,504 moves played!
The first leg was a huge success with a very respectable number of players representing our very own Hong Kong team The Chess Academy (TCA), with some being the best in their age category. During the 2 hours of tournament play, TCA maintained the number one spot throughout without much trouble, with Brainbox Chess Academy coming in second place and Looi Chess Club in third, both clubs representing Malaysia. Other teams/countries participating were Тавда from Russia, Champion Chess Academy and ChessNut Academy from India, PowerChess Asia from Singapore and Alpha Chess Club from Japan.
TCA was led by chesseditor (Neel Iyer) scoring 21 points of the 174 total points for the team. Rounding the top 10 were also 5 TCA members, JamesKwong (Wing Ki Kwong), Niilo1 (Niilo Nissinen), KainosWong (Kainos Wong) and Samuel101 (Chi Fung Chan). Special congratulations to Kainos for being the youngest at only 8 years old and placing 9th!
The Chess Academy’s Grand Master Coach Andres highlighted his favorite game from the tournament below.
Featured Game – chesseditor (1817) vs ethanwong09 (1901) 1-0
Black has played 16. ..Bc5, how does White react? 17. Bxh7!, a nice sacrifice known as the Greek Gift. The Black King is lured out of the castling position and left exposed. Play continued, 17. ..Kxh7, 18. Ng5+ Kg6, 19. Qd3+ f5 20. exf6+ Kxf6 21. Ne4+, and White went on to win in a couple more moves. Nice execution by chesseditor (Neel Iyer)!
The Chess Academy Asia Pacific ChampionshipU16 was created to allow our students to have opportunities to enjoy the game in a more global arena. We are very proud and greatly encouraged by the wonderful turnout and successful tournament.
The second leg of The Chess Academy Asia Pacific Championship is scheduled for Saturday December 5th from 6-8pm. For any questions or inquiries please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay Healthy & Keep up with Developing your Children’s Interests… during school closure. At ActiveKids, we are working around-the-clock to continue to bring quality programs to your children – Science, Chess, Cooking, Robotics, Design… We are extremely proud that The Chess Academy has created The Asia Pacific Chess Championship U16, which will be the Biggest Online Club Chess Event in Asia, for you for FREE! Just because we want your children to play more and be inspired by talents from around the region… For other Activekids Winter Programs, please click here!
After a successful part 1 of the TCA Chess Open, last Sunday (Nov 15) continued with the “older” sections, U11 and U18.
With safety measures still in place, 19 kids spread across both sections came together to challenge each other in over-the-board chess which has been a rarity these past months. Both sections saw a dominant player in Max Ye and now a veteran in TCA tournaments, Justin Chen.
The Under 11 age group was won by newcomer to TCA events Max Ye with 4.5pts. After benefiting from a Round 1 bye (13 kids in the section), he went on to win 3 games including against top rank Su Bo Rui and drawing against second ranked Jacob Lu. Not too far behind was Jamison Kao with 4pts, only losing to Max but winning against both top seeds. Also with 4pts and placing 3rd due to tri-breaks was Lingshen Bu, who is actually 8 years old but took the challenge to play against older opponents and also along his older sister, Zhiming Bu who won the female prize.
For U11 section: Champion – Max Ye (KCIS) 4.5 points 2nd Place – Jamison Kao (HKIS) 4 points 3rd Place – Lingshen Bu (ISF) 4 points Female Champion – Zhiming Bu (ISF)
The Under 18 age group was played as a round robin and was dominated by the top 2 seeds, Justin Cheng and Theodore Lam. With only 5 players in the sections, both dominated the remaining opposition before drawing against each other. To decide the tie-break for first place a blitz match was played where Justin came out on top. Behind in 3rd place was Mo Fei, who managed to win against the one other female in the section, Lea Tang.
For U18 section: Champion – Justin Cheng (ISF) 4.5 points 2nd Place – Theodore Lam 4.5 points 3rd Place – Pham Mo Fei (FIS) 3 points Top Female – Lea Tang (FIS)
Next up in our events will be the Online version of the TCA Chess Open, scheduled for Saturday November 21 from 4-6pm played on the Lichess.org platform. Please join us from the comfort of your own home to play some exciting online chess!
Also, a reminder that any participating family who has joined our TCA Opens can enjoy a 20% discount on all our exciting upcoming ActiveKids Christmas camps.
As you may know, our team of TCA coaches, with 2 GMs and highly experienced FIDE WIF, FI, CM and US Experts, is really the best in Hong Kong. So if you have interest in our Elite/Advance classes, please give us a call at 3480-4199.