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The Queen City Chess Club - A recap of our past two years

Wow. A lot has happened in the past two years. This is Tom Boshoff, current president of the Queen City Chess Club. In this article, I will attempt to record the history of our club since its reorganization in 2015.Our former president John McIntyre used to write an article after each tournament. I apologize in advance, I'm not as skilled a writer as he was.

On a cold January (2015) evening Brandin Titanich and I met up at our usual spot in Cathedral. For some reason though the doors were locked. We waited and waited but John never showed up. The following week we found out that John had passed away, R.I.P. So the following Thursday we all got together to decide the fate of our little club. At this time our club was much smaller than it is now... maybe 4 or 5 regulars. But the few of us decided that we were gonna keep it going.

First order of business, we decided that a new era for the club needed a new name, so we changed our name from the "Regina Chess Club" to the "Queen City Chess Club". We moved our venue to the University of Regina. We became ratified as an official university club, got a spot that put us in the public eye, and cut down our rent to $0. Next up we upgraded our website and social media presence. So we set up a new website, a Facebook page, and Instagram. Since our expenses were basically zero now, we removed all mandatory membership fees. What happened next? We saw our attendance skyrocket!

Then came our first official event. The appropriately named "John McIntyre Memorial" was a small tournament consisting of 13 players. It seemed right to have a tournament in his name. We followed this up by holding our first CFC rated tournament, the 2015 Regina Open. This was our first big tournament. Over the following year we held a chess tournament every season, and we kept that tradition going to this day.

We decided we needed more chess related stuff besides tournaments and weekly meetups. So we got hold of John's contacts at the City of Regina, and we got "Chess in the Park" going again in the summers of 2015 and 2016. We teamed up with the Saskatchewan Scholastic Chess Association (SSCA) to open our "Kids chess club"; a bi-weekly event where young up 'n comers play against other kids and more experienced adults. This ran in conjunction with our regular chess club.

In 2016 we started to attract the attention of our community. We were interviewed live with CTV, got into several newspapers, and broke our record for biggest ever chess tournament at 41 people. All this attention led to some local businesses sponsoring us.

In spring of 2016 we half-jokingly applied for Regina's Event of Events competition, an online webisode-style competition to gain funding for large local events. We didn't make it into the competition, but as it turns out the ladies at the Regina Hotel Association really liked our club. They offered us a large sponsorship to hold the biggest chess tournament this province has ever seen, The Saskatchewan Chess Championship. This event will take place in February 2017 and will no doubt be our biggest and most prestigious event to date.

In the midst of all of this craziness another group was inspired, the Saskatoon Chess Club. This club had been inactive for years. In the wake of our success this club jumped back to life, creating an active group, holding tournaments and other community events. Their president John Ng and I talked often, and worked together to make a new "Saskatchewan Rating System". John had a plan to approach chess in Saskatchewan as a united front. Many times we talked about reopening the Saskatchewan Chess Association; a provincial organization that oversaw all chess in SK. This is still in our agenda for the near future.

Unfortunately near the end of 2016 we saw both Brandin Titanich and John Ng step down. Officially, Brandin was our club's treasurer. When the university student union asked our club for a budget, we handed them one crafted by an actual accountant. Unofficially, Brandin ran our email system, acted as a tournament director and planner, took minutes at all of our meetings, tracked correspondence between our club and other organizations, took business meetings, created sponsorship packages, made event posters, and basically did the brunt of the work required to keep up with all our activities. I don't know how or if we can replace him. John Ng was the president of the Saskatoon Chess Club, and was largely responsible for the revival of their club. They still meet every week and have even planned a tournament. I hope their club will continue to be successful without John. After all, their success is our success.

Despite losing some great people we have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year: The Saskatchewan Chess Championship, the revival of the Saskatchewan Chess Association, perhaps a Saskatoon vs Regina club match, a new website, new people, and who knows what else. Part of being a chess player is embracing whatever challenges and opportunities come your way, and that's exactly what we intend to do. Thanks for taking the time to read this recap. I'll try and post one next year this time.

Tom Boshoff
Queen City Chess Club