Hart House Holiday Open Attracts Record Number of Participants!


From Friday, December 15th through Sunday December 17th, a record number of 175 chess players, organized in six rating-based sections, competed in the 2017 Holiday Open!

Hart House Chess Club was the host of this huge International Open Tournament, which turned out to be the biggest in Toronto over the last five years! Canadian as well as International chess enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels packed the majestic Great Hall and the proud winners shared the very generous prizes, in the total amount of over  $7,000!

Most credit for this success goes undoubtedly to our own Alex Ferreira, the amazing Director of the Tournament! Alex has been the heart of the Holiday Open for over a decade and his hard and dedicated efforts have elevated this Open Tournament to one of the most celebrated chess events in all of Canada! This year, Alex ran the tournament with a team of formidable colleagues, each of whom is also worthy of some high praise!

In spite of the big number of participants and the many different sections, which resulted in huge workload, Tyler Longo, the Chief Arbiter of the Tournament, administered the pairings, the results and the standings of each round flawlessly. Chris Knox, the omnipresent Secretary/President of Hart House Chess Club, coordinated everybody’s efforts, making sure that the tournament would indeed be a great success. Jimmy Bartha, our Club’s Treasurer, handled the challenging processes of registration and fee-payment with remarkable professionalism, not to mention that he impressed everyone with the enormous amount of manual labor he put into the tournament. Tasked with advertising, promoting and reporting on the tournament info, our Club’s Director of Communications, Panayoti Tsialas, offered a beautifully designed tournament poster and a rich gallery of pictures and videos, now delicate memorabilia of a successful event. Finally, on every single day of the tournament, our longtime volunteer and U of T alumnus, Andrew MacMillan, was the first one to arrive and the last one to leave the playing hall, bringing in two fully-loaded carts of chess materials, setting up and taking down chess boards, scoresheets and timers for more than 80 boards and making sure that the club’s equipment would not be damaged or lost.

Alex Ferreira & Tyler Longo

This amazing team of volunteers worked together to organize a successful five-round tournament, which will, hopefully, be remembered as a generous service to the chess community both for in terms of its quality as well as in term of its record turnout!

Special thanks is owed to the people at the Hart House Hub (Lynsay, Mauro, Juan, Cynthia and all the others), who were always helpful and friendly in the reception of the players, but our warmest thanks goes out to the parents, who remained with the children-participants throughout the day, making it possible for these young chess-players to practice their favorite game!

In terms of individual results, in the Crown Section, International Master Artiom Samsonkin was first with a perfect score of 5/5 and there followed a 3-way tie for 2nd-4th places between International Master Tomas Krnan, Rohan Talukdar and Geordie Derraugh, with 3.5/5.

In the Under 2200 Section, Markham’s Jeffrey Renfei Zhao finished clear first with 4/5 and five players tied for 2nd-6th places with 3.5/5: Younan Ishow, Benjamin Lin, Andrew Colvin, Max Rusonik and Eric Ning.

In the Under 1900 Section, it was Kole Robertson who won gold with a splendid performance of 5 wins in 5 games! Alberto Ranola was second with 4.5/5 and Kevin Yunhong finished third with 4/5.

In the Under 1600 Section the amazing Wing Li performed formidably and claimed first place with 4.5/5. Second place was shared by four players who scored 4/5: Hazel Guo, Eric Wang, Michelle Hua and Andrew Ma.

With 4.5/5, Qi Shi was the proud and sole winner of the Under 1300 Section but four more players won prizes by scoring 4/5, thereby tying for 2nd place: Andrew Wang, Dania Surya, Daniel Yuan and Dennis Tran.

Finally, the Under 1000 Section saw four (!) gold medalists, each of whom scored 4 points in 5 games: Firas Dib, Valerie Ruchinskaya, Sarah Chi and Neal Nian Li.

For the complete List of Participants and for a a full record of the Pairings, Results and Final Standing in each Section of the Tournament, click on following links:

You can also check out the Photo Gallery and a couple of videos about the Tournament (here, here and here).

Many thanks to every person who contributed to the success of the 2017 Holiday Open (players, organizers, parents) and congratulations to the winners of the respective sections!

See you all at our next Open Tournament!