Foundation of the Club & 30+ Years of History

The Kitchener Waterloo Chess Club was founded in 1990 by Richard Riedstra and William Klarner. Richard Riedstra was a high school teacher, a chess coach in Elmira, and a member of the KW Symphony. His son runs Riedstra’s Violin Shop on Victoria Street in Kitchener. He passed away in 2011 and the Richard Riedstra Memorial tournament has been held annually since then. William Klarner is a long time chess player and master and many time city and club champion who got good playing in the Bundesliga in Germany. He occasionally comes by and plays in club events and enjoys analysis.

The club met for several years at various secondary schools and then in 1999 were invited to Kitchener City Hall to look after the outdoor chess tables and establish a club presence and host regional and national tournaments. The first tournament of note was the 2001 Ontario Open but was soon followed by other prestigious tournaments including the 2006 Canadian Open and Canadian Youth Chess Championship and the actual Canadian Championship the following year. Former mayor Carl Zehr is an honorary member.

Presently, the club has been meeting at the Rockway Centre and has been experiencing an unprecedented growth of new members. The Chess scene is alive and well in the Tri-City region; come out and see it for yourself!

Previous Club Masters

The club has been visited by several grandmasters over the years and was the regional center of chess events for more than twenty years. The club has had many masters as members including William Klarner, Alvaro Garcia, John MacPhail, Andrew Peredun, Hans Jung, Raja Panjwani, Julia Lacau – Rodean, Gord Olheiser, and Avinaash Sundar.

Our Committed Volunteers

Brian Clarke is the longest committed member and director having been involved in management of the club for thirty years.

Ed Thompson after 25 years running the Cameron Heights Secondary School chess club and twice yearly regional tournaments at the school joined the KW chess club on retirement and has been long time club secretary and tournament director.

Hans Jung was chess coordinator of the outdoor chess tables for sixteen years and is many time city and club champion.

Present Day Organizers

Club President: Kahan Desai
Past President:  Kyle D. Vander Welle
Vice Presidents & Tournament Directors: Matt Lewis & Danique Firmin
Club Treasurer: Mario Piccinin and James Tennant
Club Secretary: James Tennant
Web-master: Avinaash Sundar

Special thanks to Ed Thompson and Brian Clarke, for their long term commitment to the club, and promotion of the game. To our other volunteers, your work is appreciated and your ongoing support is what makes the KW Chess Club possible!

Interested in volunteering with the club? Feel free to reach out to to learn more about volunteer opportunities!