Sign up for the 2019 Greater Toronto Chess League Championship!

The Greater Toronto Chess League runs chess matches between clubs in the Toronto region. Matches are four-on-four, featuring some of the strongest players in each GTA club. This year’s GTCL Championship is a round-robin team competition with a time control of 60 mins + 10 sec increment. Games will be played at the Willowdale Chess Club on consecutive Tuesdays, at 7 PM, starting on Tuesday, January 15th.

Hart House Chess Club is the back to back GTCL champion and this year it will be fighting for the three-peat, participating with two teams: a team of current students and a team of Alumni. The event is CFC rated: CFC membership as well as Hart House Chess Club membership is required.

If you are interested in joining our student team send us an e-mail at by Friday December 28th. You need not be available for all rounds (likely 9-11 rounds), however, we do ask you to include in your registration e-mail a few words, which will give us a concrete sense of what your availability is.

Here’s the list of teams so far:

1) Chess Stars (Rating average – 2307)

Captain: Michael Barron
1st Board: WGM Anna Burtasova (2257 FIDE)
2nd Board: Viatcheslav [Slava] Rek (2327)
3rd Board: IM Michael Barron (2298)
4th Board: NM Michael Kimelman (2244)
1st Substitute: NM Ilia Bluvshtein (2227)
2nd Substitute: Sasha Starr (2144)
3rd Substitute :WIM Nava Starr (2112)

2) Pinoy Chess Club: (Rating average – 2233)

Captain: Jelvis Calvelo
1st Board: FM Eduardo D. Teodoro IV (2334)
2nd Board: Ryan Franco (2272)
3rd Board: Merlin Nazareno (2233)
4th Board: Ranel Lauron (2094)
1st Substitute: Andrew Picana (2044)
2nd Substitute: Jelvis Calvelo (1924)
3rd Substitute: Armand Jess Mendoza (1898)
4th Substitute: Joey Orozco (1834)
5th Substitute: Trifelino Miaco (1819)

3) Scarborough Chess Club A (Rating average – 2209)

Captain: William Li
1st Board: NM William Li (2269)
2nd Board: NM Jeffrey Xu (2244)
3rd Board: NM Sean Lei (2166)
4th Board: NM Harry Zhao (2158)
1st Substitute: Brian Jiang (2099)
2nd Substitute: Benjamin Lin (2079)
3rd Substitute: Wing Li (1616)
4th Substitute: Henry Xianrui Zhang (1517)

4) Covfefe (Rating average – 2178)

Team Captain: Victor Plotkin
1st Board: FM Victor Plotkin (2391)
2nd Board: FM Mark Plotkin (2404)
3rd Board: Max Rusonik (2046)
4th Board: Greg Rusonik (1870)

5) Willowdale Chess Club (Rating average – 2161)

Captain: Dmitry Chernik
1st Board: WFM Oksana Golubeva (2201)
2nd Board: NM Vladimir Birarov (2182)
3rd Board: Alexander Strugach (2145)
4th Board: Dmitry Chernik (1997)
1st Substitute: Denis Ryadnov (2114)
2nd Substitute: Isai Berengolts (2099)
3rd Substitute: Benjamin Fradkin (2045)
4th Substitute: Stephan Tonakanian (2054)
5th Substitute: Vadim Khachaturov (1956)

6) Scarborough Chess Club B (Rating average – 2026)

1st Board: Raymond Gao (2059)
2nd Board: Eric Ning (2056)
3rd Board: Jeffrey R. Zhao (2027)
4th Board: Youhe Huang (1960)
1st Substitute: William [Zhimao] Gao (1654)
2nd Substitute: Toy Chack Kwan (1604)

7) Manila Chess Club (Rating average – 1995)

Team Captain: Erwin Casareno
1st Board: NM Erwin Casareno (2073)
2nd Board: NM Ruperto Frilles (2041)
3rd Board: Glenda Baylon (1871)
4th Board: Boris Iriarrtv (UNR)
1st Substitute: Ernesto Sarabia (UNR)
2nd Substitute: Ferdinand Tecson (UNR)
3rd Substitute: James Casareno (UNR)

8) North York Beavers (Rating average – 1753)

Team Captain: Oswald Barmasch
1st Board: Yury Cheryachukin (2006)
2nd Board: Chris Udrea (1871)
3rd Board: Hooshang Ab-barin (1762)
4th Board: Oswald Barmasch (1373)
1st Substitute: M. Hassan Pishdad (1032)

Date: First Round starts on January 15th, 2019

Venue: 4169 Bathurst Street (Earl Bales Community Centre), near the Sheppard and Bathurst intersection

Format: Teams from different clubs or organizations will compete against each other in a Round Robin. Each team shall consist of 4 players with an unlimited number of reserve players.

Rounds: Rounds are played on consecutive Tuesdays at 19:00 sharp.

Time Control: 60 minutes for the game and a 10 second increment each move from move one (G/60+10)

Standings (2018 Holiday Open)

2018 Hart House Holiday Open

I. Crown (2200+)

After Round 1
After Round 2
After Round 3
After Round 4
Final Standings

II. Under 2200

After Round 1
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After Round 3
After Round 4
Final Standings

III. Under 1900

After Round 1
After Round 2
After Round 3
After Round 4
Final Standings

IV. Under 1600

After Round 1
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After Round 4
Final Standings

V. Under 1300

After Round 1
After Round 2
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After Round 4
Final Standings

VI. Under 1000

After Round 1
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After Round 3
After Round 4
Final Standings

Nikolay Noritsyn wins the 2018 Hart House Holidays Open!

The 2018 Hart House Holidays Open took place in Toronto, Ontario, from December 14th to December 16th, marking a huge and exciting end-of-year chess event. Situated at the heart of University of Toronto’s campus, the Gothic Revival-style building of Hart House opened the doors of its elegant Great Hall to chess players from all over the Greater Toronto Area. A diverse group of 193 participants representing all ages and skill levels, came out to play in the tournament and took a shot at the $7,800 prize funds.

The Hart House Great Hall gave a warm welcome to almost 200 participants!

Participants were divided into six different sections based on their rating and the games began! The winner in each section would be decided after five rounds of Swiss-style, classical chess, the top three sections being both CFC and FIDE rated. Many talented players, among them five International Masters, joined the event and displayed a rare level of enthusiasm and fighting spirit, to the delight of the many spectators.

Round 3 game between Sergey Noritsyn and Christopher Pace saw two minor-piece sacrifices attracting the spectators’ attention!

As expected, the competition was fierce and the final standings saw many ties for the prizes in each section:

The big winner in the Crown Section (18 participants) was IM Nikolay Noritsyn with 4.5 points out of 5 games. Fourteen year-old FM Nicholas Vettese came second with 4 points, and three players, IM Tomas Krnan, IM Artiom Samsonkin and William Li.

In the very last game of the entire tournament, IM Nikolay Noritsyn found a way to defend his endgame against Nicholas Vettese’s extra pawn and so became the sole winner in the Crown Section.

In the Under 2200 Section (34 participants) Merlin Nazarenko was in great shape winning all five games for a perfect 5 out of 5 score. Egis Zeromskis, the experienced chess player from Aurora Chess Club, claimed second place with 4.5 out of 5 and the bronze medal position was split between Benito Surya, Eric Ning and Jabrayil Asadov.

In the Under 1900 Section (46 participants) Greg Rusonik and Austin Xie shared first place with 4.5 out of 5 games, while Dennis Tran, Kole Robertson and Map Singh tied for third.

In the Under 1600 Section (43 participants) Victor Stroganov finished the tournament undefeated with 4.5 out of 5 points and deservedly became the section winner. Jose Cabioc and Ben Smolkin scored 4 points each and shared the second place.

With 4.5 points out of 5 games, Victor Stroganov was the winner in the Under 1600 Section.

In the Under 1300 Section (40 participants) Ambarish Chandra and William Xu were the co-winners, as each dropped only half a point by drawing in their round three game. Daniel Zhang, Christopher Charles and Arthur Wang also had a splendid performance of 4 out of 5 and so they shared third place.

Finally, in the Under 1000 Section (22 participants) Zixuan Zhou was the sole and undisputed winner with 4.5 points in 5 games. Eric Zhang and Carina D’souza followed very closely with 4 out of 5, a really high score that earned them a shared second place.

Another glorious tournament victory for IM Nikolay Noritsyn!

Before the start of the last round a presentation ceremony took place, as David Cohen and Ian Findley, members of the Canadian Chess Hall of Fame Committee, inducted WIM Smilja Vujosevic to the Canadian Chess Hall of Fame, in recognition for her lifetime chess achievements and contributions to Canadian chess (a list of her remarkable achievements can be found here). In presenting the award, Ian Findley spoke eloquently about Smilja’s incredible accomplishments, emphasizing her unique contribution as a role model for female chess players, at a time when women’s chess was strikingly underdeveloped in Canada. In an emotional moment, Vojin Vujosevic, Smilja’s partner in life and in chess, was handed the recognition award by David Cohen amid an enthusiastic audience clapping in appreciation and gratitude.

Ian Findley (left) and David Cohen (right) present the recognition award to Vojin Vujosevic, husband of the late Smilja Vujosevic. The plaque reads: “WIM Smilja Vojosevic. A driving force for Women’s chess in Canada”

Hart House Chess Club would like to express its thanks to certain individuals for their indispensable assistance towards hosting the event. To begin with, the grand vision, the hard labor and the tireless efforts of the Tournament Director and Chief Arbiter Alex Ferreira have been fueling this event for years and can hardly be overstated. It has been almost ten years since the first Hart House Open Chess Tournament took place and since that first initiative, Alex has been the tour de force of these big tournaments driving each of those to success and nation-wide acclaim.

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The official poster of the Tournament

Next we would like to recognize the generous contribution of Weiwen Leung, the Deputy Chief-arbiter who, with the support of UofT’s first year Sean Lei, did an amazing job transferring the results and doing the pairings for more than 190 players in 6 simultaneous sub-tournaments in a precise and timely manner. Jimmy Bartha, the club treasurer, performed exquisitely the very demanding task of doing the on-site registrations and the even harder mission of keeping in oder the financial accounts of the tournament. Sahan Karunaratne and Leslie Tang, the club’s Event Coordinator and Treasurer respectively, offered a really generous helping hand in setting-up the playing hall as well as in taking down after the end of the event; their presence in the venue throughout the tournament was very precious. Andrew McMillan was once again extremely helpful and massively productive, always arriving first and leaving last from the playing hall, taking care of the club equipment and laboring tirelessly to make the event a success. Brett Sherman, from Ryerson Film School, spent endless hours with the players and the organizers at the Great Hall, trying to capture in his video the most beautiful moments of the event. Finally, Panayoti Tsialas, the club fundraiser, created the nice photo gallery of the tournament and did a remarkable job in providing answers to the general inquiries of the participants and spectators.



On top of these volunteers, we would like to thank University of Toronto as well as Hart House for their steady support to our chess initiatives, including our Holidays Open tournament. The Hart House Information Hub, the Meetings and Events Office, the Staging Personnel, the Department of Communications as well as the Financial Accounting Office coordinated their efforts amazingly to help us in our event. We wish to kindly acknowledge their assistance.

Finally, the most heartfelt “thank you” goes out to the 193 people, who came out to play in the tournament, and to their parents and friends who attended the event as spectators. We are very thankful for your participation and we are looking forward to seeing you again in our upcoming Hart House Reading Week Open, in mid-February!

Click on the links below to view:

Conclusion of the Weekly Chess Lessons for Advanced Players (Fall 2018)

From September 21st to December 14th, 2018 Hart House Chess Club hosted a series of lessons for advanced chess players. It was a rigorous workshop aimed at players from 1400 to 1800 CFC rating which attracted a total of about 20 students! The lessons focused on Chess Endgames with special emphasis on Rook Endgames. National Master and ex-Varsity player Jonathan Yu was the instructor in this workshop, providing lots of useful practical tips for how to conduct the endgame!

The Workshops went for 10 weeks and Jonathan would like to thank all his students and wish them to keep studying, practicing and enjoying the game of chess!