2023 GTCL League Championship RULES

The Greater Toronto Chess League (GTCL) team competition between clubs within the GTCL consists of two championship tournaments: League (regular chess) and Cup (rapid chess).  These rules are for the League championship.


  1. A person can be associated with at most one (1) team (as player or Team Captain).
  2. Each team should have a minimum of four (4) team players
    1. May have any number of additional players as substitutes.
    2. Players may be a member of at most one team.
    3. Players must be members of the same chess club.
    4. Players must be members of the CFC for the duration of the tournament.
  3. Each chess club may have more than one team (but cannot share players or captains).
  4. Each team must designate one of its players as the Team Captain.
    1. Team Captains are responsible for assembling players for each match.
    2. Team Captains are responsible for reporting game results to the tournament coordinators.  
    3. Team Captains are on the Appeal Committee (see below).
    4. Team Captains may delegate his/her responsibilities to another team player for a match if he/she cannot attend.
  5. Each Team Captain must provide the team roster to the tournament coordinators.
    1. The roster is an ordered list of team players.
    2. The roster determines which player plays on which board in a match.
    3. The roster should order players as follows:
      1. According to the CFC rating list available on chess.ca on Dec 31.
      2. Ideally, the order should be highest rated to lowest rated to unrated.
      3. The order may be rearranged as long as no player comes after another player that is rated more than 200 points lower.
      4. Unrated players may be inserted in any order.
      5. The tournament coordinator may disallow any re-ordering if he/she believes it is being done to gain an unfair advantage.
    4. The roster must be provided as soon as possible but changes (add, remove, re-order) will be accepted up to 24 hours before the start of round 1.
    5. If a roster is not provided, the tournament coordinators will set a roster based on CFC rating and names (alphabetically).
    6. The roster may not be changed after 24 hours before the start of round 1
    7. The roster should remain fixed throughout the tournament.
      1. Only under very exceptional circumstances will changes be accepted by the tournament coordinator at his/her sole discretion.


  • By December 31, 2022, at 11:59 pm ET, all teams must pre-register.
    • Registration website: (click REGISTER)
    • A maximum of 20 teams may pre-register for the tournament.
    • Teams should pre-register early to reserve one of the 20 places.
    • Teams should provide their initial roster (ordered list of names).
  • By January 9th, 2023, at 7:00 pm (24 hours before Round 1):
    • All changes to rosters (add, remove, reorder players) must be received by the tournament coordinator via email at hhchess@utoronto.ca 

Matches & Games

  1. This is a CFC-rated single round-robin tournament of team matches.
  2. Team pairings for all rounds will be announced before the first round.
    1. Only the team pairings, not the players, will be announced.
  3. Chess sets and clocks will be provided.
  4. Each match consists of four (4) games on four (4) boards.
    1. Team Captains must assign players to boards no later than 5 minutes before the start of each match (7:05 pm). Doors to the tournament hall open at 6:45 pm.
      • If an assigned player does not appear, the game is forfeited.  Teams need to be disciplined enough to handle their no-shows by 7:05 pm.
    2. Players are assigned to boards in the order of their team’s roster.
      • A team member who appears after another team member on the roster cannot play on a board before that other team member.  Teams must ensure the correct assignment of players to boards (else it’s a forfeit).
    3. If fewer than four players are available, the first boards must be assigned players and the latter boards left empty (and forfeited).  If both teams leave a board empty, both teams will forfeit (score zero).
    4. Team Captains (or delegates) are responsible for recording which player plays on which board.  This is important for correctly rating the games.
      • May be reported on the forms provided at the match.
      • Otherwise, it must be emailed to hhchess@utoronto.ca.
    5. Team Captains (or delegates) are responsible for reporting the results of each game to the tournament coordinator(s).
      • May be reported on the forms provided at the match.
      • Otherwise, it must be emailed to hhchess@utoronto.ca 
  5. Each game:
    1. Is played according to the rules of CFC.
    2. Is played at a time control of game in 90 minutes + 30 seconds per move with chess notation required for every move.
    3. The pairings assign a colour to each team.  Team players will play that colour on boards 1 and 3 and the opposite colour on boards 2 and 4.
    4. The game is forfeited after 60 minutes or 8:10 pm.  This extra time is allowed for Toronto’s unpredictable rush hour traffic.  Both forfeit if both do not appear. 
  6. Scoring:
    1. Each game is awarded one game point for a win, ½ game point for a draw, and zero game points for a loss or forfeit.
    2. The winner of a match is the team with the most game points.
    3. Each match is awarded 2 match points for a win, 1 match point for a tie, and zero match points for a loss.
  7. Cheating:  All participants must act in ways to prevent the possibility of cheating and, equally important, the suspicion of cheating.
    1. Cheating is VERY serious and will be handled as such.
    2. Electronic devices (phones, tablets, computers, etc):
      • It is highly recommended that you do NOT bring your electronic devices into the playing venue.  Leave them in your car or at home.
      • If you do bring an electronic device into the playing venue, turn the power off.  Your game will be forfeited if your phone rings near ANY chessboard.
      • If you must use your electronic device for an unavoidable non-chess purpose, notify the arbiter.  The arbiter must be present at any time the electronic device is powered on and/or away from the game table (especially outside the playing, hallways, washrooms, etc.).
        • If the arbiter is not available, find another impartial witness.


  • The winner of the tournament is (applied in the following order, eliminating as you go):
    1. Team with the most match points.
    2. Team with the most game points in all matches.
    3. Team with the most match points with all other tied teams.
    4. Team with the most game points with all other tied teams.
    5. Team with the most game points on boards 1, 2, and 3 with all other tied teams.
    6. Team with the most game points on boards 1 and 2 with all other tied teams.
    7. Team with the most game points on board 1 with all other tied teams.
    8. Highest rated team.  If still tied (extremely unlikely), flip a coin.
  • The trophy is awarded to one team, the winner, after tiebreaks (if necessary).

Appeals Committee

  1. The Appeals Committee will consist of all the Team Captains.
  2. For each appeal, any Team Captain(s) who have a direct interest in the outcome of the appeal will be excluded from voting.
  3. The committee will be responsible for decisions on appeals to the arbiter’s decisions, complaints, exceptions to posted rules, and any other appropriate rulings.
  4. For any tied votes, the arbiter will cast the deciding vote.

2023 GTCL League Team Championship

The Hart House Chess Club is proud to have won the bid for the 2023 Greater Toronto Chess League Team Championship! We look forward to welcoming teams from across the Greater Toronto Area for this annual chess competition. Matches will be played on Tuesday evenings at Hart House on the University of Toronto campus. Official event flyer.

Format & Event Logistics

    • CFC-rated Round-Robin Tournament of teams
    • Nine rounds split over ten weeks. Capacity for 20 teams, 80 players.
    • If 10 or fewer teams, a round-robin with a max of 9 rounds.
    • If 11 or more teams, teams are divided into sections with a max of 9 rounds
  • ROUNDS: clocks start at 7:10 pm Tuesdays (weekly starting Jan 10th).
  • TIME CONTROL: 90 mins + 30 secs/move increment
  • EQUIPMENT: HHCC will supply all chess equipment, including score sheets
  • DGT BOARDS: 12 DGT boards will be used to broadcast games live online. Commentary by HHCC members and special guests will be provided on the HHCC Twitch and YouTube pages.
  • ARBITER: NA Alex Ferreira
  • PRIZES: trophies for winners
  • ENTRY FEES: $0.00  (GTCL will pay the rating fees and prizes)
  • RULES: visit rules page
  • REGISTRATION: complete registration form by December 31st, 2022 
  • EMAIL: hhchess@utoronto.ca or hhchess@studentorg.utoronto.ca

Registration and benefits

  • The first twenty teams may enter. The HHCC reserves the right to have both a student team and an alumni team. Additional teams may enter, space permitting. 
  • Teams from any GTCL club, organization, or group. No limit on number of teams.
  • Teams consist of 4 players with any number of substitute players in a pre-assigned order.
  • Players must have CFC memberships that expire after March 14, 2023.
  • Only one player per team must register via the registration form.
  • Benefits: 
    1. participants will receive a $10 discount to the Hart House Reading Week Open and member pricing to other HHCC events held during the season. 
    2. HH will organize slow-rated games in a swiss format across five weeks (x2) during GTCL – participants of GTCL can play a game even if not in the top four lineup on a given week (details mid-December).


The club has booked one of the Debates Room, 24’ x 72’ (capacity 90) or East Common Room, a size of 22’ by 68’ (capacity 90), for the duration of the tournament. 

The rooms are located in Hart House, 7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 3H3. Ample food and entertainment can be found nearby within walking distance. Ample paid parking is available at a flat rate of $10 per evening throughout the University of Toronto campus – street parking is also available. Hart House is within 10 minutes of walking distance between two subway stations, Museum and St. George. Free Wi-Fi is available for all participants. 

Weekly Schedule

Rounds start at 7:00 pm on Tuesdays (1 round per week) – tournament skips March 7th 

Round 1: January 10th – Debates Room 

Round 2: January 17th – East Common Room

Round 3: January 24th – East Common Room

Round 4: January 31st – East Common Room

Round 5: February 7th – East Common Room

Round 6: February 14th – East Common Room

Round 7: February 21st – East Common Room

Round 8: February 28th – Debates Room

Makeup Date: Fri. March 10th

Note:  No rooms are available on March 7th 

Round 9: March 14th – Debates Room 

Note for HHCC members

Those interested in represent the Hart House Chess Club at this tournament should email hhchess@utoronto.ca. We hope to send both a student and alumni team to represent the Club.

New to Tournament Guide

Both unrated players and seasoned masters compete at tournaments held at the Hart House Chess Club

Playing in your first chess tournament, or need a refresher before you play? This is the comprehensive guide to playing in your first chess tournament at the Hart House Chess Club (HHCC) and in Canada in general. Most tournaments in Canada will follow these guidelines but check the tournament page for tournament-specific rules. Generally, tournaments will follow the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Laws of Chess. Most tournaments hosted by HHCC will be Chess Federation of Canada (CFC) rated and follow their Handbook.

Please remember that these guidelines are to prepare unrated and players requiring a refresher before tournaments. It should not be taken as the tournament’s official rules, simply as guidelines. Please reach out to the organizers before the tournament to confirm the rules of the respective tournament.


Time Controls: Most CFC-rated classical tournaments will follow a time control of 90 minutes plus 30 seconds increment – any game played with 60 minutes per side (including increment based on 60 moves) is considered classical. Players have 90 minutes at the start of the game, with 30 seconds added following each move. There may be slight adjustments to this time control based on tournaments. CFC active-rated tournaments will also follow different time controls. 

Touch Move: Most tournaments will have touch moves in force. Any touch of a piece requires you to move that piece unless you cannot move that piece (for instance, in check). You must say “I adjust” or “J’adoubé” (in French) to adjust your pieces during your turn. Players are not allowed to adjust during their opponent’s time.

Notation: Chess notation is required for all moves, even if low on time, when there is a 30-second increment per move. All HHCC classical rated tournaments will required notation of all moves. Paper scoresheets (to record moves) will be provided by organizers. Carbon-copy papers may be used to allow organizers/arbiters the ability to keep a record of games. Tournaments will indicate if this rule is not in effect. Generally, CFC-Active rated events do not require notation.

Ratings: Tournaments will either be rated or unrated. Rated tournaments will result in an “Elo rating.” Unrated tournaments do not require a CFC membership, while CFC-rated tournaments do. Some tournaments will also be FIDE rated. FIDE-rated events do not require membership for participants. CFC-Active ratings are often used for quicker-timed tournaments. 

Tournament Format: Most new-to-chess participants will play in a Swiss format in individual chess tournaments. A swiss format means that you are not eliminated after your first match. If you lose your first match, you will most likely be paired with someone else who also loses their first match. You will be paired based on your cumulative score after each round. There are very few chess tournaments worldwide that use a knockout format. The other format commonly seen in smaller, restricted, or team-based tournaments is the Round Robin format. This format means that everyone plays each other once, and most likely, your pairings will be known beforehand. 

Chess Variants: Most tournaments will be played in the standard chess set-up. Tournaments will state if it uses a variant, such as Fischer Random (Chess 960), Bughouse, or Duck Chess. 

Byes: Sometimes a conflicting event happens during a tournament. Instead of not playing entirely, you can request a “bye”. Byes should be requested before the tournament. This allows you to still compete in the tournament and still get points. You won’t be paired for that round but will be paired in subsequent rounds. At HHCC, 1/2 point byes are only given in Rounds 1-3 if requested by Round 1. If requested mid-tournament, they will be 0-point.


Playing in your first chess tournament will often be different in places around the world. In the above photo, HHCC teams play at the 2019 World Prestigious University Chess Invitational Championship

Eating: Food is not allowed in the playing hall of HHCC tournaments. Water stations/water bottles will usually be provided by organizers. 

Washrooms: When it is your opponent’s turn, you should not tell your opponent that you are leaving to use the washroom or fill your water bottle. This is considered a distraction and is not needed. You also do not need to tell the arbiter that you are leaving to use the washroom. It is expected that participants stay within the tournament halls, which will be defined by the tournament organizers before the tournament.

Phone use: Any electronic device that could be used to transmit or receive information related to chess or to calculate potential moves, such as smartphones, tablets, computers and Apple or Android watches, is not allowed in the tournament playing area (the tournament director and TD’s support staff are excluded). Further, no such devices can be in the immediate possession of a player, regardless of the player’s location, during a game in progress. Violating this rule by a player will result in the player’s immediate forfeit of a game in progress. 

Disputes: When there are disputes about a game, pause the clock and get the arbiter’s attention. There is not much that can be done when the match is over.

Illegal Moves: When a player makes an illegal move, it will be penalized with a 2 minute addition to the opponent’s clock. The second illegal move is a forfeit (loss).

Withdrawals: When unable to finish a tournament, you must tell the arbiter or organizers. A “forfeit” is awarded for no-shows, and may prevent you from playing in future tournaments. Participants should also consider “byes”, which allow players to skip rounds and return.

Communicating with others: During the game, participants are not allowed to communicate with others regarding their game, regardless of whether in-person or online. This is considered cheating.

Leaving the board: Players can only leave their board during their opponent’s turn. Players should not tell their opponent or the arbiter before doing so.

Dress: The North American amateur chess community has no dress code to follow. Higher levels of chess will require stricter dress requirements. 

Spectators: Generally, spectators are allowed at chess tournaments. Major chess events will provide seating and screens/demonstration boards to allow spectators to follow the top boards. Players playing a concurrent game are generally also allowed to spectate other ongoing matches. 

Grandmaster Andrew Tang (Princeton) at the Ivy League Challenge hosted by Hart House in 2019. It’s important to remember that Grandmasters were once unrated players!


IM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux showcasing the Navy Blue HHCC t-shirt!

The Hart House Chess Club is proud to have high quality, club branded merchandise available for purchase. 100% of proceeds supports the activities and members of the Hart House Chess Club.

As of November 22, 2022, the Club maintains a stock of:

  • t-shirts available at a price of $25 per shirt. Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL.
  • writing pens available at a price of $2
  • toques available at a price of $20
  • hoodies available at a price of $45 (pre-order for early-Jan delivery)

To purchase merchandise online, visit this link. Alternatively, you may pay in-person at the Club during Casual Chess Fridays or during tournaments.

Call for Support

During its history, Hart House Chess Club has benefited crucially from the number of its members who have chosen to maintain their association and support of the Club beyond their time as students. This has helped the Club to maintain continuity not only of its existence but also of its character. Anyone who has played at the Club will attest to the liveliness of its atmosphere and the enthusiasm of its members. The stream of students who have come through its doors over the years consists of the whole range of players, from complete beginners to ones with international titles.

As the Club moves into its 127th year of existence as U of T’s official Chess Club, its initiatives keep increasing, hitting record numbers of club members as well as internal and external events. More and more students get to enjoy the invaluable benefits of the game in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. However, these rich activities have also resulted in increased costs, costs that we need your support to sustain.

If you would like to make a donation instead, please visit Donation

List of Strongest Players

Top 30 HHCC Student Members of the Last 5 Years Based on CFC Rating

  1. IM Mark Plotkin (2520)
  2. IM Advait Patel (2442)
  3. IM Nicholas Vettese (2418)
  4. WIM Yunshan Li (2401)
  5. Trevor Vincent (2377)
  6. FM Nikita Gusev (2372)
  7. FM Mike Ivanov (2357)
  8. Geordie Derraugh (2354)
  9. Lloyd Mai (2353)
  10. CM Koosha Jaferian (2349)
  11. FM Tanraj Sohal (2342)
  12. Christopher Knox (2340)
  13. Sergey Noritsyn (2332)
  14. Jim Zhao (2330)
  15. Haizhou Xu (2324)
  16. FM Nemo Zhou (2313)
  17. Joseph Bellissimo (2276)
  18. Zehn Nasir (2277)
  19. FM Eilia Zomorrodian (2259)
  20. Paul Gelis (2251)
  21. James Fu (2230)
  22. Derek Ma (2207)
  23. Matthew Shih (2165)
  24. Jonathan Hay (2161)
  25. Sean Lei (2159)
  26. Wenzhi Dai (2156)
  27. Victor Zheng (2139)
  28. Walter Chan (2138)
  29. Wenlu Yu (2121)
  30. Tanner McNamara (2099)
  31. WFM Cindy Qiao (2080)
  32. Aidan Sowa (2077)

The Chess Club would like to thank its many supporters over the years who have continued to contribute to the Club following graduation. Many students and alumni above will frequently play casual chess and represent Hart House at chess events throughout the year. This list was started in 2017 and was updated in Fall 2022.

Vikram Rawal — Event Coordinator

Vikram is a second-year undergraduate student at UofT, studying Engineering Science. He’s currently serving as the external events’ coordinator at the HHCC.

A casual player since around eight years of age, Vikram began to take the game more seriously in high school, attending matches and tournaments with his school team in Toronto. He regards the game of chess as an ideal mélange of calculated, logical thinking and unbounded creative passion, and hopes to help facilitate the reinstitution of over-the-board events at Hart House and at UofT. Aside from playing chess, he loves reading mystery novels, playing sports, and biking around Toronto during his free time, and he’s excited to meet you and to get some games going.

2023 Canadian Universities Chess Championship

The 2023 Canadian University Chess Championship is coming-up soon and we want to inform everyone of the logistics for this year. There is no qualifying procedure and everyone is welcome to play. Registration and accommodation fees will be covered by Hart House Chess Club. Registration information will be posted by mid-December, 2022 for Hart House Chess Club student members.

CUCC 2023 Information

When: January 27th-29th, 2023

Where: University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

Tournament: 5-round team Swiss (4 players per team) Each team may have a reserve fifth player, who may be substituted at will. The board order must be determined before the first round. The board order must generally follow ratings.

Eligibility: All players must be University Students or staff members. All participants must also be members of the Chess Federation of Canada or the Fédération Québécoise des Echecs.

HHCC Head Coach: CM Koosha Jaferian


Friday, January 27th

Registration: TBD
Round 1: TBD (Friday night)

Saturday, January 28th
Round 2: TBD
Round 3: TBD

Sunday, January 29th
Round 4: TBD
Round 5: TBD
Prizes: TBD

Time control: TBD

Hotel: TBD


List of things you are responsible for:

1. Be a member of the Hart House Chess Club [mandatory]

You can do this at Hart House main desk or online for free.

2. Chess Federation of Canada membership

The CUCC will be rated with the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC).  Some of you are already active members of the chess tournament scene, others are not.  If not, you will have a published rating based on your results, after this tournament.  You can get an annual CFC membership on-line for $48.

3. Costs

Hotel fees and registration fees are all accommodated by Hart House Chess Club. Participants will be asked to cover their travel fees.


The CUCC is a team event that will provide for an excellent tournament experience and a wonderful team-bonding event, so come prepared to play some chess and enjoy yourself!

More to come once registration information is released…

2023 Varsity Chess Team

The members of U of T’s Varsity Chess Team represent U of T at various events throughout the year. The 2023 Varsity Chess Team is made up of the following students.

IM Nicholas Vettese

CFC: 2418

FIDE: 2310

FM Tanraj Sohal

CFC: 2342

FIDE: 2220

FM Eilia Zomorrodian

CFC: 2259

FIDE: 2119

WIM Yunshan Li 

CFC: 2401

FIDE: 2269

Derek Ma

CFC: 2207

FIDE: 1993

WFM Cindy Qiao

CFC: 2080

FIDE: 1793

Matthew Shih

CFC: 2165

FIDE: 1985

GM Danya, IM Eric, WGM Nemo Visit HHCC

On Friday, November 4th, the Hart House Chess Club welcomed GM Daniel Naroditsky, IM Eric Rosen, and WGM Nemo Zhou to a quick meet-and-greet with HHCC members and the Toronto community.

Participants were able to play blitz games, sign autographs, and take selfies with the chess celebrities. Today’s visit marked another successful event the HHCC participated in with esteemed guests this year: lending GM Garry Kasparov chess boards during Collision 2022, hosting a simul with GM Evgeny Bareev, hosting a simul with IM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux, hosting FM James Canty III, and lending chess sets/clocks used by Gothamchess (IM Levy Rozman), GM Fabiano Caruana for the CGC.

Come check out our signed boards that will be displayed and raffled during the Hart House Rapid Championship next Saturday.

Duck Chess Tournament

Join the Hart House Chess Club on Friday, November 25th from 7:20 pm – 9:30 pm as it hosts the first in-person duck chess tournament in Canada! Official flyer

  • WHEN: Friday, November 25th, 7:20 pm – 9:30 pm. Rule explanations at 7:10 pm, Rd #1 starts at 7:20 P.M.
  • WHEREHart House (7 Hart House Cir, Toronto) – Reading Room.
  • WHAT: 6-round Blitz Event (Swiss), using a 5 + 3 time control.
  • RATED: Unrated
  • ENTRY FEE: Free for members, $5 for non-members. You must register online or onsite (if space permits) before 7. Free entry for IMs/WIMs/GMs/WGMs
  • PRIZE FUND: $25 gift card for 1st place
  • MAXIMUM CAPACITY: 60 players
  • NOTE: chess sets, boards, and ducks provided


  • Register online or onsite (if space permits).

Duck Chess Rules

In addition to the standard rules of chess, the following rules apply.

  1. After making a regular move, a player must move the duck to any empty square on the board. This square must be different than the original square.
  2. The duck acts as a blocker by preventing any move through or onto the square occupied by the duck (though knights may jump over it). The duck cannot be captured.
  3. The game is won by capturing the opponent’s king.


Any questions can be sent to: hhchess@studentorg.utoronto.ca

Round 1 gets underway at the HHCC Duck Chess Tournament

Event Report: On Friday, November 26th, the Hart House Chess Club hosted the first ever Duck Chess Tournament in Canada, and possibly the world! 27 registrants played in this chess variant involving small, yellow ducks. Duck Chess is a relatively new variant of chess that requires a duck to be moved after playing a move. This duck acts as a barrier, preventing players from playing moves through the duck. Although there were some questions early on, along with some surprise wins, players seemed to embrace the challenge. Kole Robertson came out on top, with a perfect 6/6 score. Some players told us that they had prepped for days and had looked into how to best play this interesting variant. The biggest upset was Nathaniel Yong, a second-year CS student, soundly beating IM Advait Patel, a rating difference of over 1000! The highest rated duck chess match of the night was played between IM Patel, FIDE 2451 and IM Nicholas Vettese, FIDE 2310, with Patel coming out on top.

This event finished off the HHCC’s Fall 2022 programming of in-house tournaments during Casual Chess Fridays. The last event of the HHCC’s calendar is the 2022 Hart House Holidays Open, scheduled for December 9th – 11th.

HHCC Executive Victor Zheng, alongside the HHCC Board, directed and arbitered the tournament.

Final Standings

1Robertson Kole19266
2Yong Nathaniel12005
3Zhao Jim23005
4Melnychuk Denys5664
5McDowel Curtis18004
6Patel Advait24504
7Eryilmaz Emre15464
8Kim Sunny04
9Li Ande17804
10Vettese Nicholas2400
11Zheng Victor21393
12S Vedant21863
13Chung Yein03
14McGowan Joseph9333
15A Yahya03
16Shahsavan Faraz22002
17Kris Jiang5662
18H Nathan02
19B Joshua21042
20Murray Sarah02
21Yu Jonathan22221
22Shi Olivia16001
23Khari Abdullah01
24G Mike01
25A Dev10001
26Aguer Peter00
27J Lucas00