Jim Zhao clear first in Hart House’s 2018 Rapid Chess Tournament!


It started as yet another casual, student chess tournament but it quickly became clear that, this time, it would be much more than that! This year’s Hart House Winter Rapid Tournament attracted almost 30 students of all skills and ages, offering a unique opportunity to compete and have fun in a five-round swiss tournament of rapid chess!

The competition in the top boards was pretty fierce and some of the participants were really strong player. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was super friendly and truly recreational, with lots of giggling, post mortem analysis and friendly teasing! Besides, the club held its regular open chess play on top of the Rapid Chess Tournament!

Two familiar faces locked in an epic battle till judgment day!

The time control in the tournament was 15′ + 3″ for each player and gift-prizes were awarded to the top three finishers and the top woman in the final ranking. One of the most remarkable aspects of the games was the real-tournament conditions – especially the quiet that all participants duly kept throughout the five rounds. It felt as though the games were official!

After four exciting rounds, with some beautiful games and a few surprising upsets, the two leaders in the tournament, Jonathan Yu and Jim Zhao, were ready to cross their blades in a thrilling death-match!

The last-round match between Jon and Jim would determine the tournament winner!

After some piece trades, the position in the game was simplified into a fairly draw-ish knight endgame. At that moment Jonathan decided to push for a victory but a couple of inaccuracies handed the initiative and, eventually, the full point over to Jim, who became the sole winner of the 2018 HH Winter Rapid Tournament, with a perfect score of 5 out of 5!

Another chess distinction for our Great Jim!

Four more players had a very good tournament and managed to score 4 points out of 5 games but, in the end, the silver-medal award went to UTM’s Seiji Nakagawa!

Seiji Nakagawa continued his streak of great chess results!

The big surprise of the games, however, was the splendid performance of the, yet unrated, Aliaj Jurgen! Aliaj, who was 25th in the starting list of players, managed to climb all the way up to tying for second, beating the top seed of the tournament and losing only to Seiji!

Aliaj Jurgen was the pleasant surprise of the tournament!

Finally, the award for the top woman was deservedly won by Isabelle Xu! The winner in this category was practically decided in the 4th round when the two contenders for the prize, Isabelle and Alexandra Yao played each other in a very interesting game, in which Isabelle managed to prevail!

A very good performance for Isabelle Xu, who won the top woman award!

Our wonderful alumni, Kit Ng and Jonathan Yu deserve an honorable mention for scoring a convincing 4 out of 5, placing them among the contenders for 2nd place! That said, we would like to congratulate all 29 players for their participation and their fighting spirit!

Final Tournament Cross-table

The tournament was run by Alex Ferreira and Panayoti Tsialas, who were assisted in their job by Haizhou Xu. Panayoti also thanked the participants in the tournament and awarded the prizes to the four winners!

We are looking forward to seeing you again for classical chess at the HH Reading Week Open (Feb. 17-19) or for some fast games at the HH Spring Blitz Tournament (Mar. 9th)!

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