On September 23rd 2022, Grandmaster Evgeny Bareev visited the Hart House Chess Club to complete a simultaneous exhibition against 20 UofT students. Marking his first visit to the HHCC, Bareev soundly defeated all his opponents, recording a 20-0 score.
Just as numerous Grandmasters and former World Chess Championship Candidates had done before him at Hart House, Bareev played students from all levels and backgrounds. As Canada’s highest rated player, and former World Chess Championship Candidate, his visit brought lots of hype and drew crowds to watch his games.
Michel Hajjar, a 2nd Year JD student, remarked, “My game was really something, It was my first time playing with a Grandmaster, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.” Followed by the ominous words that every chess player knows from heart, “everything was fine until it wasn’t … my knight was in the middle of the board, I thought I was doing okay, and I felt the pressure; I had a general idea of what he wanted to do but I missed one tiny thing, and that’s when it all collapsed.”
Mateo, another simul participant, and a HHCC member, explained that he learned from this experience to “play every game like your opponent isn’t rated“.
Mark Li, a first-year student, and the winner of the final board standing prize, explained, “It was tiring, it was very complex… I started off with a Sicilian, which I usually don’t play ever, but I knew that there is a variation that would be really weird to Grandmasters… that allowed for lots of complexities.” Followed by explaining that “the position was so complex that most of our pieces stayed on the board for the majority of the game. During this, I was going through hard-core defence… and the pieces weren’t ever exchanged and I made sure that it stayed that way“.
The Hart House Chess Club would like to thank Grandmaster Bareev and Joshua, a HHCC member, for helping facilitate this simul opportunity for the members of the Club. We hope to see Bareev again at the Club in the future. We also hope to have further simuls throughout the year.
Event recap written by Victor Zheng, HHCC Communications Representative