Check Mates Compete

For the third time in recent memory, St. Michael’s College School will host the Toronto Secondary School Chess League Championship this week, featuring 130 students from 14 schools across the GTA.

They will take up residence in the SMCS gym.

“We have two teams of five students competing and about seven volunteers assisting for the day,” says Dr. Robert Fantilli ’94, moderator of the Chess Club, who has worked to spearhead the resurgence of the activity at the school, after it lay dormant for more than 20 years.


“When I came to SMCS in 2012, we did not really have a team or formal structure. I began moderating in 2013,” says Dr. Fantilli. “We had a great run for three years with respect to medals and growth - up to 50 students at times. What is amazing is that we had incredible musicians, athletes, and diverse backgrounds competing and there was a wonderful camaraderie among the members of the Chess Club. We still have over 25 members and the spirit is great.” 

He says chess club members “prepare weekly by competing with each other after tutelage on strategy with Natalia Khoudgarian, a Canadian National Chess Champion, who also works with TCDSB and other independent schools.” Students also compete in the South League, which features four other high schools.


Winners will receive medals, as well as support for entry to the Ontario High School Chess Championship being held at Toronto’s Pantages Hotel downtown, April 5th and 6th. 

Dr. Fantilli adds, “we have been fortunate to receive amazing funding for the club from the SMCS Parents’ Association, without which, this truly would not have come to fruition.”