About Us

Chess Institute of Canada (“CIC”) is a registered Canadian charity that delivers integrated chess and life skills education programs to children and other learners.

Through our Chess to Life™ programs, we make learning and playing chess fun and stimulating for our students. As they learn and develop new chess skills, we teach them that they can use these same skills, in positive and beneficial ways, to deal with life’s day-to-day challenges.

Using Chess to Teach Life Skills

Life skills—a set of abilities, attitudes and competencies—help children learn, interact appropriately, manage their emotional states, and make decisions and choices for an active, safe and productive life.

In our view, chess is a great analogy for life and chess skills can be used as, or translated into, essential life skills for dealing with non-chess, real life situations. For example, the chess skills of ‘thinking before moving’ and ‘identifying immediate threats’ translate into three life skills: critical thinking, effective decision-making, and self-management techniques.

You can learn more about chess and life skills here.

Our Programs

Our core programs consist of curriculum classes and extracurricular clubs, for schools, families and other groups of students. We also operate PA Day and other tournaments, seasonal camps and special events. All our programs are available in both online and in-person formats.

Our instructors deliver targeted lessons for an integrated chess and life skills curriculum. We teach chess at several skill levels to children – both young learners (aged 4 to 14) and youth (aged 15+) – and we place these students in groups of similar skill level and age. As students mature, the complexity of the lessons increases. Through a partnership with Toronto’s Annex Chess Club, we also run chess programs that teach chess literacy to adults, including our young students’ parents so that families can learn and play together.

You can learn more about our programs here.

Our Impact

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, CIC delivered in-person instruction in classes and clubs across the GTA, teaching thousands of children in over 100 public and private schools, in both official languages. We also ran special programs for at-risk youth and adults. In March 2020, we quickly adapted our programs for online delivery, and we are now teaching in schools and homes across Canada. We are also rolling out new projects to bring our love of chess to First Nations communities.

To help schools and after-school students in underserved areas who could not afford our modest fees, we became a registered charity in 2016 and have since raised more than $250,000 to subsidize class fees and expand the reach of our programs. This reflects our commitment to deliver programs to children without regard to an ability to pay.

We are proud of the positive impact our programs have made on children, families and communities.