Are you a beginner at chess? Would you like to learn how to play chess? This is a guide to what the Hart House Chess Club offers for beginners and those new to chess.


The Club offers beginner lessons every semester (Jan – Apr), (May – Aug), and (Sept-Dec) for all members of the Club. These lessons are conducted by our experienced coaches. Members can partake in these lessons for free. Since the Club is a University Club, lessons are provided in a way that ensures that any student can join at any time during the year and still improve their chess. Beginner lessons are conducted in a way that ensures that novice and completely new-to-chess players both have opportunities to learn.


The Club provides free lending from an extensive Club Library for all members interested in reading or watching DVDs regarding chess. The Club also has chess magazines for those interested in learning about chess history.


The Club runs lectures hosted by strong Grandmasters or International Masters every semester that allow members to learn from some of the best chess players in the world. Recent lecturers include FM and IA Stephen Boyd, IM Nicholas Vettese, IM Kaiqi Yang, IM Igor Zugic, and IM Shiyam Thavandiranan.


The Club offers simuls every semester against masters. This gives a beginner the opportunity to compete against strong players over a longer time control and learn from their moves. Recent simuls included GM Evgeny Bareev, GM Razvan Preotu, and IM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux.


Every semester, the Club hosts numerous tournaments and events which encourage players to test their skills against players of all skill levels. Unrated (beginner/new to chess) prizes are provided in all tournaments. Those new to tournaments can look at our handy guide for those new to tournaments.

Casual Chess

There’s arguably no better way to fall in love with chess than playing casually with your old and new friends on Friday nights at Hart House. The Club is open from 4 pm – 11 pm every Friday during the academic semester and often during the summer. The Club offers all levels the opportunity to play with the hundreds of other chess lovers of all levels at the University and community. Up to 200 other chess enthusiasts will be at Hart House any night!

The University of Toronto vs University of Waterloo at the 5th Ivy League Challenge hosted at Hart House

At the end of the day, all chess players had to start somewhere, and there’s no better place to start playing chess than at the Hart House Chess Club at the University of Toronto. We hope to see you soon at Hart House!