First-Ever Hart House Online Swiss Tournament!

Below is a report written by the club’s very own Sahan Karunaratne on the first tournament of this kind, along with some exciting news about … online Bughouse Chess!

Hart House Chess Club’s blitz Swiss tournament went off to a flying start surrounded by the excitement of a new tournament format. Then immediately everyone felt the meditative calm of having a long wait in-between games. Feeling for the first time in an online tournament the ability to spectate was refreshing, and had more in common with an in-person tournament. While no one tried it out, this week we are certainly encouraging the use of the Discord for chatting amongst members in between games! After all, we are a club where the Kibitzer is King.

Our Discord can be found [HERE]

Congratulations are in order for the SeriouslyDoubtful with an assured win! [LINK]

Hart House Bullet remained the same, with no new additions. However, the consecutive game format of a standard Lichess tournament does seem to complement the bullet tourney. SeriouslyDoubtful again dominated this format this week. [LINK]

Starting from the following week, we’re replacing the Rapid events with Bughouse tournaments to try something new! Here’s a link to the first one taking place on July 31st: [LINK].

New Additions to HHCC Online

Below, please find an update from Sahan about a wonderful new feature of HHCC Online and some news about tournaments!

There are exciting news at the Hart House Chess Club this week!

First we shall have Mark Plotkin going over our first weekly puzzle at the end of the week. The puzzle shall be sent out to all of you with our Friday email, and subsequently Mark will go over it on Sunday. You can find the puzzles and Mark’s video solution on the HHCC Facebook page — here’s a [LINK] to the first video!

In addition, this Friday we shall be having our very first Swiss blitz tournament. The tournament
will be 7 rounds, with a 3+1 time control. Bullet will undergo no changes, but rapid will be in the
evening. (We’ll host the rapids later in the evening than last week so that more people can attend!)

This week we had Mark win the bullet, and Henry Vu win both the rapid and the blitz!

An Update to the Rules for Online Tournaments

Below, please find a report on the July 10th tournaments and rules update written up by the event organizer Sahan Karunaratne:

We have had another incident of sandbagging and, therefore, I am sorry to say we have
increased the restrictions to join tournaments.


From now on you will require to be approved before joining the team. This is so that we can
examine your profile (make sure you’re not a sandbagger, etc.). In addition, our tournaments will
be restricted to those who have an ‘official’ Lichess rating. That is to say, you won’t be able to
join a tournament if your rating for that particular variant or time-control is still provisional.
More generally, if you have any suggestions for how the tournaments should be run please do
reach out to us either on Lichess (message user GodardGodard) or on Facebook.


I would like to congratulate the wonderful ‘Mango’ for yet another blitz tournament win. This
reminds me of how ‘Mango’ used to have a type of blitz tournament named after him. He
demonstrated his usual dominating presence with a 94% berserk rate. ThePlotThickens and
Rowaanb clinched the second and third place. Shoutout to Rowaanb, in his first Hart House
Tournament, hopefully we will get to meet in person someday! Alas some incredibly competitive
players such as BarryAllenFlash and Jadanac were late to join the party.


You can see the tournament leaderboard at the following [link].

In addition, the bullet tournament had a bit of an upset, with Mark Plotkin frying his laptop. Being
out of the picture after six games, he still clinched third place! Apologies to anyone looking forward to his stream. Rowaanb with his second tournament produced an improvement scoring second. But ThePlotThickens (with an apt name) came first robbing him of his first win! The tournament leaderboard for the bullet can be found at this [link].

Jimmy Bartha – Treasurer

Jimmy is entering his final year of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto with a focus in business and project management. Chess has been a part of his life since fifth grade when he began playing competitively in scholastic tournaments. While his rating may not show it, he has had some success representing Saskatchewan at seven consecutive national championships. Jimmy had the privilege of playing for U of T Team B in the 2016 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championship where he grew his passion for the Hart House Chess Club; a passion which kindled long before he began university when he discovered the club online.

Jimmy will be serving his third term on the Executive as the Treasurer of the club; a position he both enjoys and is very familiar with. He is delighted to have another opportunity to continue investing in the immediate and long-term advancement of the club and looks forward to meeting this year’s members and shaking off some rust over the board.

A Tale of Two Tournaments

The following is an amazing report of the July 3 tournament written by the event organizer, Sahan Karunaratne! You can also watch FM Mark Plotkin’s livestream of the bullet tournament here!

Two mysterious characters descended on Hart House’s online tournaments this week. During the blitz tournament, upon asking for “Mr. Plotkin” and claiming to be children the two players wreaked havoc over the board. What was terrible was that they were somehow rated below 1200, with one of them being rated 900. There were some cries in the chat that the players were underrated. However, being a welcoming and positive club, it was naturally assumed that the two were merely using old accounts. Accounts which were reflective of their blitz rating in the past. Perhaps FM Plotkin had been teaching them in his spare time?

Then the bullet tournament started and the situation became suspicious. Mark Plotkin was edged out and trailing in the first part of the tourney. Then he fell, well behind. Not too mention both players were rated in their 700’s in bullet. 1900 points under Plotkin. Checking their accounts revealed that they had created the accounts on the day of the tournament, and had subsequently lost all of their games to get their ratings as low as possible. A quick check of their games revealed early resignations.

It became a story of Mark Plotkin triumphing against two unknown entities. Eventually when he found his rhythm he crushed all competition with berserking blows. At the end of the tournament he had a berserk rate of 100% with 148 points to show for it. The two individuals with their vain attempt at humour trailing in a distant second and third.

What these individuals don’t seem to realize is that many members of the club look at their online rating to gauge improvement. This can play a pivotal role to keep them motivated to play chess. Their sole target, Mark Plotkin, was the only person who didn’t stand to lose much.

Everyone else particularly the weaker players were obviously disheartened. That is not to say
that Plotkin was entirely happy, as can be seen on his stream. We take this behaviour very seriously. Multiple members have reported these two to lichess. However, it has made us question the value of hosting rated tournaments. That being said, for now I can see that rated tournaments add an additional layer of competition and so we shall continue our trend of having rated tournaments. I hope to see you all (with your proper ratings) next week!