CIC teaches life skills through the magic of chess. We welcome players of all ages, genders, ethnic and national origins, and skill levels to our warm and inclusive programs. Our expert instructors create a safe and welcoming space, so everyone can learn and grow without feeling intimidated or uncomfortable.
Whether you’re looking for online classes, in-person programs at your school or library, or even special events and tournaments, we’ve got you covered. And through it all, our focus on critical life skills ensures that every student will emerge from our programs with more than just chess knowledge – they’ll be equipped with the tools needed to succeed in all areas of life. Join the thousands of families and communities who have already been impacted by CIC. Chess anyone?
In 1998, Chess Institute of Canada’s founder Ted Winick started teaching chess as a volunteer at his children’s Toronto elementary school. His initial motivation was to start a club to simply provide a fun and intellectually stimulating activity. Taking it to the next level, later that year Ted started preparing keen chess club members to participate in a city championship tournament.
The best under-15 chess player in Canada attended Ted Winick’s school but didn’t join the chess club because he wouldn’t be challenged. Ted then asked the boy to be the coach of the tournament team, and he led the team to first place. This event led Ted to reflect on the life-changing skills that his chess program imparted to students, such as perseverance, perspective, managing emotions, and learning to be a positive role model. He realized that chess can help children acquire personal and social skills for success in life. And so, CIC’s educational philosophy took form.
Ted started receiving requests from other schools to teach chess after the championship win. He realized that he had been changing lives beyond producing winning teams. In 2002, he started promoting his program in schools as a tutoring program that significantly improves children’s reading, math, logic, and problem-solving skills, among other benefits. Ted saw it as magic, and he further explained the program’s “magic” in the video “Chess is Awesome”.
In 2005, Ted founded Chess Institute of Canada (CIC) with the aim of bringing his “chess to life” lessons to underserved areas. With funding from a British foundation and Manulife Financial, CIC was incorporated as a federal non-profit organization on October 19, 2005, with Ted as the first CEO. Although Ted passed away in 2019, his legacy lives on, inspiring the team at CIC to continue his vision of bringing chess to life.
Chess Institute of Canada exists to help children and other learners develop essential life skills through fun and stimulating chess programs. We are proud to do important work that improves people’s lives.