2018 GTCL Events: A triple triumph for Hart House Chess Club!


It was on Monday, June 18th, when Hart House Chess Club came into the 2018 Greater Toronto Chess League Cup (GTCL Cup) with a big thirst to win back the prestigious rapid chess award. On top of the big Trophy for the GTCL Cup, two more awards, the Cup for the U-1800 Section and the Plaque for the GTCL League were also eyed by the Club. With hattrick chances, the stakes were high, and the time had come at seven, as the sun set, to deliver.

Hart House was represented by four teams, under the captainship of Alex Ferreira. This strong presence definitely gave our club the necessary manpower to challenge last year’s winners and fight for the precious awards.

Alex Ferreira captained the four teams representing Hart House.

Interestingly enough the final round came down to a vicious clash between Hart House A and Hart House Legacy (the alumni team), which were ranked 1st at 2nd at that stage of the competition. The winners would probably be crowned the 2018 GTCL Cup champions.

Hart House A (left) facing Hart House B (right) in the final round of the GTCL Cup!

In the end, Hart House A prevailed with the convincing 3.5 – 0.5 and won the tournament with a perfect score of 5 out of 5. However, in no sense should the results suggest a cruising to victory. Even with two teams stacked with strong players, there was fierce competition all around. Hart House A was, after all, the second seed in the tournament, a few rating points behind the “Chess Stars”.

Led by Victor Plotkin (2393) and our own Mark Plotkin (2327), “Dads and Kids” was one of the most competitive teams in the Tournament

Perhaps an apt example of the competitiveness of the tournament can be illustrated by the performance of Hart House D, who admirably held their own against players much stronger than themselves and managed to to score a pretty impressive two and a half points, placing themselves in the upper rungs of the U-1800 Section.


Hart House D (right to left): Jurgen Aliaz, Ranmal Bandara, Sahan Karunaratne, Dylan Yakobovits & Vignesh Rajendran


Hart House C did even better, finishing the tournament with +1 score (3 out of 5), an extremely admirable performance as reflected by their coming away with the prestigious best under 1800 team award!

Hart House C in action! 

The players came away, not only with trophies from this tournament, but also with the Greater Toronto Chess League Championship Plaque. The GTCL Championship is an annual 8-round classical chess tournament, which had been played from January to March. This was an exceptionally strong result, not only because Hart House had defended the championship successfully and thereby becoming back-to-back champions but also because with seven and half points out of eight games, they had not lost a single round.

Cheese! The 2018 GTCL winners are celebrating the defense of the title.

The victorious team consisted of our amazing alumni and experienced players, Haizhou Xu, Leon Perelman (Team Captain), Kit Ng, Jonathan Yu, Andrei Moffat, Alex Ferreira and Ben Hahn. In the final round, our team had won all 7 matches and only needed one draw against “Covfefe” to claim first place. A very tough battle ensued but, in the end, the match was tied (2-2) and Hart House Chess Club became the sole winner of the 2018 GTCL Championship. The award for the League was presented last Monday, right before the start of the GTCL Cup, serving as the forerunner for the two extra awards, which would be claimed by Hart House by the end of the evening!

GTCL League
Hart House Chess Club is presented with the award for the 2018 GTCL Championship!

For a fourth straight year, the GTCL Cup took place at the hospitable Chess Institute of Canada and was hosted by the Annex Chess Club. Hart House Chess Club would like to thank the organizers and especially, Marcus Walker, Ted Winick and George Supol for joining together to offer the chess community yet another amazing event. Their work in recent years has been truly remarkable. The event brought together players from 20 teams, including two impressive teams of juniors from Markham, representing CCYC!

Who said that chess is a game only for adults? Our own Panayoti Tsialas captained two teams of brave juniors who carry a big promise for the future!

Finally, we would like to extend our thanks to Michael Barron, the GTCL President, as well Ted Speevak, who put a lot of effort to host the 9-week GTCL League on behalf of the Willowdale Chess Club. Our team had a wonderful time playing in this competition and its organizers deserve a lot of credit for this success!

With 3 out of 3 victories under our belt, it seems like June ends on a high note for Hart House Chess Club. A fantastic achievement which we are looking forward to repeat next year!


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And the name of the winner is once again Joseph Bellissimo!!


On Friday, June 1st, the Club hosted the much anticipated Hart House Summer Blitz Tournament 2018. The five double round Swiss tournament had demanding 3 +2 time controls, and with twenty participants, this led to some heated play. Emerging from the dust of the struggle Joseph Bellissimo snatched first place. This win for Joe marks another for his trophy cabinet, as he came into the tournament having won the Spring Blitz.

Joseph Bellissimo: the living proof that lightning can indeed strike the same place twice!

This is not to say that the tournament was smooth sailing for the winner. In a hotly contested tie breaker first seed Nikita Gusev seemed as though he may push forward to win. However, as pressure from the clock mounted, a few mistakes gave way to a clear losing position, giving Nikita a very respectable second place.

In the tie-breaker Nikita got sidestepped into the treacherous labyrinth of the Alapin.

In terms of aggressive tie breakers, the third place tie breakers would be hard to match, as four players of considerable strength faced off against one another.

Thanks to the quadruple tie for third place we got to view even more exciting games!

Juliaan Posaratnanathan would emerge the winner but was given considerable difficulty by Ranmal Bandara, the deceptive Edward Chan, and Haizhou Xu, who has the apt nickname “Zeus”.

Honorable mention to “Zeus” who did not lose a single match!

Though Ranmal may not have come third, he did win best under 1600 player. A well deserved prize for an excellent performance.

A splendid performance of 7/10 gave Ranmal the top U1600 prize!

It must be said that under the cool shade of the trees with green grass gleaming it made for a memorable occasion, even for those who did not come away with a prize.

Twenty-one players competed in the tournament and more than 40 came out to play under the sun!

We must give a special thank you to Hart House, and specifically to its staging staff, who went beyond the call of duty in helping us to carry outside the heavy fold-up tables. We are also very grateful to Sahan Karunaratne and Vithushan Surendran, who lent us a very generous hand of support in setting up the stage for the tournament.

2018 Summer Blitz
2018 Hart House Summer Blitz – Final Crosstable

An additional note of thanks must be given to Panayoti Tsialas, the chief organizer of the tournament, whose preparation allowed the tournament to run like clockwork.

In the footsteps of the great arbiter Alex Ferreira, Panayoti  is running the pairings manually!

Finally, we were stunned by Stephanie Chen’s unique eye for photography and we would like to thank her for the amazing close-ups she snapped!

HHCC’S Alumni Chair, Ben Hahn, is captured by Stephanie in a moment of exhilarating leisure

We would also like to extend a big thank you to all the participants and congratulate the winners. We sincerely hope to see you all again, especially in competitive play!


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2018 Hart House Summer Junior Open

I. Under 1300

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

II. Under 800

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

Participants List

Early Entries

Under 1300

Alexander Fedyushchenenko (1278)
Sven Coat (1233)
Rishi Sarkar (1215)
Mark Rozin (1114)
Arnav Mane (1090)
Daniel Cloutier (1006)
Ricky Zhu (990)
Isabelle Duanmu (A.R.: 982)
Joshua Lau (967)
Haoran Fan (880)
Brenton Lin (822)
Joey Lin (800)

Under 800

Owen Lee (A.R.: 788)
Isaac Duanmu (A.R.: 776)
Ricky Chen (760)
Justin Huang (756)
Ivan Huang (696)
Jerry Zhijun Zhang (634)
Raymond Cheng (A.R.: 623)
Eric Fan (538)
Gordon Zeng (519)
Marie Guan (485)
Jeremy Zhu (465)
Ethan Li (427)
Jeffrey Zhuang (323)
Isabella Yang (229)
Shuhan Zhang (228)
Carina Feng (200)
Vincent Liu (UNR)
Carina D’Souza (UNR)
Alexander Fedorov (UNR)
Dean Toyserkani (UNR)
Menglin Yu (UNR)

Note: To encourage the young participants to reflect on their games and improve their play our club has decided to offer free chess analysis to all players who want to review their games and discover ways of getting better. Our team of chess analysts will consist of the following UofT students/alumni:

  • National Master Haizhou Xu (CFC 2324)
  • National Master Zehn Nasir (CFC 2306)
  • National Master Jonathan Yu (CFC 2225)
  • Panayoti Tsialas (FIDE 2022)
  • Leslie Tang (CFC 1756)
  • Jimmy Bartha (CFC 1533)

Analysis will take place in a separate room and we’ll try to make sure that at least two coaches are in the analysis room during each round.

Finally, for parents who are interested in watching the World Cup while waiting for their kids to finish their games, a big screen with a projector, loud speakers and couches will be set up in a spacious room on Saturday morning and afternoon providing a comfortable space for watching soccer!