University of Toronto excels in the 2nd Ivy League Challenge!

It’s been a full year since the Inaugural Ivy League Challenge, Hart House Chess Club’s
little toy ship, set out quite bravely in its first adventurous voyage. And what a beautiful journey that was! Full of great games, new friendships and fond memories. Small wonder that a unanimous group of team captains, players and organizers made a solemn pledge to repeat the event in the years to follow. As we moved into the first half of November, it was that time of the year again!

The venue and the centennial celebrations

The 2nd Ivy League Challenge Poster

The Ivy League Challenge is an invitational intercollegiate team chess tournament, open to Canadian and U.S. Universities in the North East. In its second year, the event was again hosted by Hart House Chess Club for University of Toronto and it marked a truly special occasion for the organizing club, as the hosting Institution, Hart House, was entering its 100th year since its founding. The beautiful building, which was renovated last summer, was ready for the historic unveiling of the Hart House Centennial Art Commission: a new sculptural masterwork by Anishnaabe artist Rebecca Belmore and her partner Osvaldo Yero entitled waabidiziiyan doopwining (to see oneself at the table), marking the beginning of a second century at Hart House!

The games took place in the Hart House East Common Room, an elegant first-floor hall, organized around an impressive windowed alcove space that houses a grand piano, flanked by two soaring leaded glass windows. Unique period chandeliers and candle-inspired wall sconces provided a warm atmosphere for the players under the refined coffered ceilings. A sleek stone fireplace, which anchors one end of the room, provided a romantic touch.

Hart House.jpg
Carved on the exterior walls of the hundred-year old building: “November 9th 1919”

The new faces and the familiar ones

Like last year, the hosting University was represented by two teams, UofT A and UofT B, who competed against each other but also against the very capable chess teams of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and MIT (this year, the excellent team of University of Michigan was not able to attend the event but their friends for MIT were most glad to fill the open spot).

The organizers were delighted to welcome back to a chilly but sunny Toronto the returning players of the guest teams – including the Tournament Director’s last year’s favorite, Isaac Martinez from Princeton – and they were even more glad to be introduced to some newcomers, who traveled across the border to compete in one of North America’s strongest Intercollegiate events.

The Manulife Center Tower in the heart of downtown Toronto accommodated the event participants.

The guest teams arrived in Toronto the night before the event and were accommodated at the Manulife Center, a historic tower, which was designed by the Toronto architectural firm of Clifford and Lawrie Architects and was completed in 1974. The retail portion of Manulife Centre serves the local population, and includes Birks and Indigo Books, whereas Bay Bloor Radio, which was founded in 1946, moved into the Manulife Centre when it opened and remains there today! As always, the staff of the Manulife Residence were very polite and obliging, both to the organizers and to the guests, always showing great care for their needs. We are grateful for their thoughtfulness.

Michelle Brownrigg, Chief Program Officer at Hart House delivered the opening remarks at the Opening Ceremony

Day 1 – The civil war and a story of two favorites

The first day of the tournament started with the opening ceremony, during which Tournament Director, Panayoti Tsialas, gave a warm welcome to the players, acknowledged the long-time and indispensable assistance of Hart House and introduced the organizing staff. Michelle Brownrigg, the Senior Director of Co-Curricular Education & Chief Program Officer at Hart House delivered the opening remarks, sharing her excitement about the centennial celebrations of the hosting Institution. Finally, representing Hart House Chess Club’s executive board, Alyssa Rusonik, proudly announced the exciting news about University of Toronto’s decision to submit a bid to host the 2020 Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Champion and, in this way, to celebrate the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the chess club and the 100th anniversary of Hart House!

The impressive trophies of the Ivy League Challenge!

Turning to the games, the first round started almost on time with two matches drawing a lot of attention: Harvard was paired against their arch-rivals from Yale, whereas University of Toronto A was facing University of Toronto B in a peculiar civl war situation! And while the match between the Yalies and the Crimsonites ended in a hard fought tie (2-2), UofT B was not able resist the sweeping force of UofT A, resulting in 4-0 triumph for Toronto’s A team. In the last match of the day, Princeton beat MIT by 3-1, despite the remarkable resilience exhibited by the players from Massachusetts.

The longtime rivalry between Yale and Harvard has its equivalent in chess competition!

The evening round was no less exciting with MIT playing against their fellow neighbors from Harvard, the former emerging victorious by 3.5-0.5 after a really hard-fought marathon game on the first board. Meanwhile, Princeton showed that it was no accident that they won the event last year, as they convincingly defeated UofT B by 3.5-0.5, without losing a single game. Finally, University of Toronto A prevailed by 3-1 in a match against Yale which was tougher than the score suggests.

In a gesture of extreme sportsmanship, MIT’s Nguyen Le played against Harvard’s Ella Papanek, dressed in Harvard attire!

These results shaped the team rankings after the first day in the following way: Princeton and University of Toronto A (the two top seeds in the starting rankings), were marching forward undefeated, rightfully earning their status as clear favorites. MIT was just two match points behind from the top, within striking distance, whereas Harvard, Yale and UofT B were entering the second day with the hope to find their to victory.

Day 2 – Toughest ten minutes there is

Considering the team rankings after the second round, it was clear that the Saturday morning round could prove critical, as the top two teams, Princeton and UofT A were paired against each other in a pairing more akin to the Swiss-system.

The match began quite peacefully with Princeton’s GM Andrew Tang (black) drawing his game against Toronto’s IM Advait Patel (white) quite quickly. In the rest of the boards, however, the situation was far from quiet, as fireworks began to appear on all three boards! On board four, Toronto’s Joe Bellissimo sacrificed an exchange from as early as move 15, whereas on boards two and three the opponents were carrying out fierce attacks on opposite wings, which rarely leads to a draw. The suspense quickly built up as it became clearer and clearer that there would most likely be decisive results on all three boards. And yet, nobody could predict, which side would prevail on each board.

The critical round 3 match between Princeton and University of Toronto A has just started

The fate of the match was decided in literally ten long and suspenseful minutes. On board two, Princeton’s FM Ethan Li saw his queenside attack bear fruit, leading to a pawn promotion on the a8 square. But no longer had he managed to queen his a-pawn, than he saw FM Mark Plotkin’s pieces surround and mate his vulnerable king on the kingside. A most exciting and double-edged game, which John Upper, national master and editor of “Chess Canada CFC Newsletter”, is currently preparing an annotation for.

In the meantime, on board 3, Toronto’s FM Qiyu Zhou also saw her kingside attack progress rapidly, until she had to part with her queen in exchange for Christopher Yang’s two rooks. Despite that trade, however, Christopher’s king had lost his fianchetto bishop and was alarmingly exposed to the combined forces of the opposite bishop and the incredibly powerful rooks. Somewhat surprisingly, in just a few moves after Qiyu surrendered her queen, her well co-ordinated pieces managed to deliver checkmate on f8 in Paul Morphy fashion. These two results, which came within just ten minutes from each other, decided the outcome of the match. University of Toronto A was the sole leader in the tournament after three rounds (the match ended in 3 – 1, as Joe Bellissimo drew his game against Isaac Martinez in an opposite-colored bishop endgame, where black’s extra pawn was of no help).

Princeton’s GM Andrew Tang was the top rated player of the event

In the other two matches, UofT B scored its first point, by tying its match against Harvard (2-2), whereas MIT managed to overpower Yale’s remarkable resistance and clinch the match by 2.5-1.5, joining Princeton on second place after Round 3.

After a marathon game, UofT B’s Dai Wenzhi managed to draw his game against MIT’s Jason Altschuler who was in great shape.

In the evening of the same day, MIT continued its winning streak, by inflicting a loss by 3.5-0.5 on UofT B, thereby remaining just one match-victory behind University of Toronto A. The latter also scored a 3.5-0.5 victory against Harvard and kept its lead. Finally, the Princeton Tigers defeated the stubbornly resisting Yalies by 3-1.

Day 3 – Moves speak louder than forecasts

Thus, the competing teams entered the last round of the games, with UofT A being the sole leader in the team rankings, while Princeton and MIT were just two match points behind, ready to exploit any hiccup by the “leafs”. Clearly, the decisive match at the top would be that between MIT and UofT A. If MIT could win, there could be a two-way or a three-way tie at the top, each of the three tying teams, Princeton UofT A and MIT, having lost to one and defeated the other. Based on average team ratings, UofT A was the clear favorite, but the unfolding of the games made it clear that, when first place is at stake, forecasts give way to realities.

Mark Plotkin (UofT A) is facing Richard Yi (MIT) for the 5th round

As the last round started, the melodic tunes of operatic music briefly echoed through the building corridors, triggering smiles and giggles: a group of senior Chinese opera singers were paying a visit to the Hart House, clearly enjoying themselves, taking pictures and singing arias in the hallways of the historic building.

Nalin Khanna, Yale’s top rated player, held really well on board 2, scoring 3.5/5 and not losing a single game!

Unlike the fine melodies, the critical match between UofT and MIT did not begin peacefully at all but, rather, it erupted with two decisive results. On board two, Mark Plotkin’s active pieces found their way to Richard Yi’s castled king, whereas on board one, MIT’s Jason Altschuler managed to beat Toronto’s IM Advait Patel. The score was 1-1 with fairly balanced positions on boards 3 and 4. Then, quite suddenly, after opening the a-file, UofT’s Joe Bellissimo, used his major pieces to attack Nguyen Le’s long castle, resulting in a gold-medal victory! Soon thereafter, the players on the third board agreed to a draw, which led to the final score: 2.5-1.5. University of Toronto A were the 2019 Ivy League Champions!

Harvard’s Chess Team in action!

In the other last-round matches, Princeton defeated Harvard by 3-1 winning clear second place, while Yale and UofT B tied their match and shared fourth place with Harvard.

“So the last shall be first…”

Flash back to last year: after five excruciating rounds, University of Toronto A was struggling to recover from being confined to the last place in the final team rankings. This year, however, the “blues” managed to conjure up a miraculous return and finish the tournament at the top of the field, undefeated as a team and with just one individual loss in the last round. Thus, the last became first and they totally deserve all the credit for their impressive comeback. Congratulations!

Chief Arbiter Weiwen Leung is awarding the trophy to the proud winners of the 2nd Ivy League Challenge!

At an individual level, GM Andrew Tang from Princeton, the top seed of the tournament, scored an impressive 4.5/5 points and rightfully earned the top board 1 distinction. MIT’s Jason Altshuler deserves an honorable mention here, not only for his solid performance on board 1 with 3/5 but, most importantly, for achieving the major upset victory in round five against UofT A, the only loss suffered by any UofT A player in the tournament.

Solid performance and a splendid 4.5/5 on board 1 by Princeton’s GM Andrew Tang!

On board 2, University of Toronto’s FM Mark Plotkin outdid himself with a perfect score of 5/5, scoring one of his five victories on board 1! A truly outstanding performance, unmatched by any other player’s in the event.

FM Mark Plotkin won the top board 2 prize with a perfect 5/5 score, a remarkable feat achieved by no other contestant.

On board 3, FM Qiyu Zhou of UofT A scored a splendid 4 out 5 and earned the top player distinction for her board. Qiyu also wrote a report on the event, which will soon be published on and we are very thankful to her for her piece.

Formidable performance and 4/5 on board 3 for UofT’s FM Qiyu Zhou!

Finally, on board 4, another player from UofT A, NM Joseph Bellissimo, won 4.5 points in 5 games, a really astonishing performance, for which he was awarded the top board 4 distinction.

Another excellent performance under Joe Bellissimo’s belt, who scored 4.5/5 and won the best individual award on board 4!

As for the best game award, that was given to Mark Plotkin and Ethan Li for the double-edged and extremely sharp game they played on critical round 3 of the games.

FMs Ethan Li (Princeton) and Mark Plotkin (UofT A) won the best game award for their suspenseful and double edged game on round 3.

Once again, an honorable mention is owed to MIT’s Jason Altschuler and to Yale’s Dex Webster for their spectacular round 3 game, which displayed nothing less than a queen sacrifice, followed by further material sacrifices!

MIT’s top board Jason Altschuler scored a great victory on round 5 and uncorked a spectacular queen sacrifice on round 3

Of course, all teams and participants deserve our warmest congratulations for their hard effort, their fighting spirit and the healthy competition. Most games were great to watch and they engaged the audiences, who were given the choice to either stroll by the playing hall and watch the games on-site or view the games live, in real time here.

Karen Wan (left) served as floor arbiter and digital board operator. Sean Lei (right) was Assistant Tournament Director.

Pub Night, Acknowledgments and Farewell

Playing competitive chess is, of course, the principal reason for participating in the Ivy League Challenge. But it is not the only one! Many of the guests, for example, seized the opportunity of their Fall trip to Toronto to explore the hometown of the Raptors, visiting such well-known city-landmarks as the CN Tower, Yorkville and the Distillery areas, the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Toronto City Hall and Saint Lawrence Market. The temperature was low but the weather was sunny and conducive to downtown walks and city tours!

Within just a few days, Harvard’s Sarah Ascherman and Ella Papanek walked the city and had a taste of most of Toronto’s tourist attractions!

The organizing committee had also arranged a social event at the Firkin on Bay, a beautiful and lively pub near the Manulife Center and the playing Hall. Contradicting the longtime rumor that chess players are nerdy introverts, almost all participants gladly attended the pub night, mingling and hanging out, in a cheerful and friendly atmosphere of fun and exuberance. The food and the drinks at the Firkin were delicious and the waiters were thoughtful, kind and accommodating: in short outstanding!

Longtime friends Andrew Tang (Princeton) and Aaron Jacobson (Harvard) are having a friendly chat at the Firkin. The next day they faced each other for round 5!

Those who stayed after 11:30 p.m., and they were many, were richly rewarded, when the pub tables were cleaned and the clocks, boards and pieces were set-up. Blitz games were succeeded by bughouse games in a crescendo of casual chess joy, until there was no-one else left at the pub and players had to leave the establishment and get some rest for the last day of the event!

Ethan Li teamed up with Ethan Moon for some pub bughouse chess!

For this magnificent event, Hart House Chess Club wishes to acknowledge the tireless efforts of all the organizing staff who contributed to the hosting of this tournament. First of all, we would like to thank our Arbiters, Weiwen Leung (Chief Arbiter), Alex Ferreira (Deputy Chief Arbiter), Corinna Wan and Karen Wan (Arbiters), for the excellent conducting of all matters relating to pairings, results etc. Karen was also tasked with the live broadcasting of the games and displayed great skill in the smooth operation of the digital boards.

Where did Deputy Chief Arbiter Alex Ferreira buy his smurf hat?

The Chess Club is also indebted to the team of organizers including, Panayoti Tsialas (Chief Tournament Director), Alyssa Rusonik and Sean Lei (Assistant Tournament Directors), who did a lot of work to prepare and run the event. Tanner McNamara and Jimmy Bartha also offered a very generous helping hand in setting up and taking down.

Tanner McNamara played on board 2 for UofT B but also helped in the organization of the event

Most of the credit for our beautiful photo gallery is owed to Skylar Cheung, who writes at the “Varsity” and who did an incredible job as the photo journalist of our event! We encourage you to have a look at the marvelous piece she wrote about the event, in a series of stills with photo descriptions to tell the story of the event! We would also like to thank John Upper from Chess Canada CFC Newsletter, who also provided some of our gallery’s pictures and annotated the game Ethan Li – Mark Plotkin, which won the best-game award. Panayoti Tsialas, Corinna Wan and Karen Wan took some of the gallery pictures as well. Finally, a warm thank you goes out to Brett Sherman from Ryerson’s Film School, who shot, directed and edited the videos of the event!

Aspiring filmmaker, Brett Sherman, shot the videos of the 2nd Ivy League Challenge – Alyssa Rusonik was the Assistant TD

As a final note, let us repeat our thanks to the Manulife Center, the Firkin on Bay and, of course, our hundred years old hosting Institution, the Hart House, for the space the assistance and the generous support. Most importantly, however, let us reiterate our heartfelt thanks to all the participants from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT and UofT, who honored our event with their active engagement. It was a real pleasure hosting them at the Hart House.

FA Weiwen Leung was the Chief Arbiter of the 2nd Ivy League Challenge

The 2nd Ivy League Challenge may be over, but we will reflect on the beautiful moments we shared, with fond memories. We’re gonna take a short break to rest for a year and we will be anxiously awaiting for the 3rd Ivy League Challenge, hopefully hosted by another North Eastern University, willing to carry the torch! Farewell!


2nd Ivy League Challenge Record

Pairings and Results
Team Rankings
Photo Gallery
– Videos (here and here)
– Articles: a) Skylar Cheung’s story


Hart House Chess Club Holiday Open 2019

For final standings, please see below…

We are delighted to share with you that the annual Hart House Chess Club Holiday Open Chess Tournament is coming up soon! We hope you will join us on December 13-15, 2019 at Hart House for this exciting event.

Please see the poster below for more information, and do not hesitate to email us at should you have any questions!

HHCC Holiday Open 2019.png

Some more information on the tournament logistics and how to register, as well as a list of pre-registered players:

When: December 13th-15th, 2019

Round times: Friday 13th at 6:00pm, Saturday 14th at 10am & 4:00pm, Sunday 15th at 10am & 4:00pm

Style: 5 rounds in 6 rating sections – Crown (2200+), Under 2200, Under 1900, Under 1600, Under 1300 & U1000 Sections.

Time Control: 90 minutes + 30 seconds increment per move from move 1.

Prize Fund: $5000 based on 120 entries!

Rating: All sections will be CFC rated. Crown, Under 2200 & Under 1900 sections will also be FIDE rated.

Forfeit Time: Players who do not arrive within 30 minutes of the round start time will be forfeited.

Byes: Maximum 2 half-point byes in rounds 1-3 if requested in advance before the start of Round 1.

Registration details:

· Email registrations must be completed by December 11th, or else considered late.

· After pre-registering by email, please bring cash payment to the playing site before 5:15pm on December 13th, or mail a cheque which arrives by December 11th. If online registrants paying in cash arrive after 5:15pm on December 13th, they cannot be guaranteed a pairing in Round 1. No cheques on-site.

· To register in advance by mailing a cheque (arrival by December 11th, 2019), make cheque payable to Hart House Chess Club, at 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto ON, M5S 3H3. No postdated cheques.

· Registrants after December 11th, 2019 are not guaranteed to be paired in Round 1, and must pay on-site entry fee ($80).

· Players taking a bye in Round 1 can pay the entry fee thirty minutes before the start of Round 2 (9:30am).

Entry Fee: $60 in advance, $80 cash only on-site. Extra $20 to play up a section. Playing up is allowed only for players within 100 rating points of the section’s minimum rating. For example: a player in the Under 1600 section wanting to play up in the Under 1900 section must have a rating no lower than 1500.

Discounts: $20 less for University of Toronto students. Free entry for IMs and WIMs if registered by December 6th.

Special Discount: Free entry for players who have never played in any CFC or FIDE rated tournament. Chess Federation of Canada (CFC) membership purchase still required for $48, and entrants will not be eligible for prize money.

Other Info: Please bring chess sets and clocks. Registrants must be current CFC members or bring payment prior to playing –

Organizer: Alex Ferreira & Hart House Chess Club. Email:

Final Standings:


# Place Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 1 Jason Liang 170934 2296 H— W11 W16 W12 W2 4.5
2 2-4 Nikolay Noritsyn 132534 2521 W17 W13 W5 W9 L1 4.0
3 Max Rusonik 155671 1953 W10 L5 W13 W14 W8 4.0
4 Alexandre Michelashvili 149568 1905 L14 W18 W17 W11 W6 4.0
5 5-7 Victor Plotkin 142063 2275 W19 W3 L2 L6 W17 3.0
6 Sergey Noritsyn 146893 2111 L8 W10 W7 W5 L4 3.0
7 Dorian Kang 155339 2006 L12 W22 L6 W13 W9 3.0
8 8-11 Allan Munro 140841 2015 W6 W16 H— U— L3 2.5
9 Adam Gaisinsky 153838 2009 H— W21 W12 L2 L7 2.5
10 Max Chen 155238 1976 L3 L6 W22 D17 W18 2.5
11 Jeffrey R. Zhao 157007 1900 H— L1 W21 L4 W20 2.5
12 12-14 Nicholas Vettese 154199 2237 W7 W14 L9 L1 U— 2.0
13 Ian Findlay 101737 2201 W22 L2 L3 L7 W21 2.0
14 Roman Sapozhnikov 138609 2162 W4 L12 W20 L3 U— 2.0
15 15-20 William Li 154677 2295 W20 H— U— U— U— 1.5
16 Vinny Puri 109859 2233 W18 L8 L1 H— U— 1.5
17 Christopher Pace 141390 2112 L2 W19 L4 D10 L5 1.5
18 David Filipovich 103521 2019 L16 L4 W19 D20 L10 1.5
19 Pi Nasir 148197 1946 L5 L17 L18 D21 B— 1.5
20 Daniel Xu 160020 1918 L15 B— L14 D18 L11 1.5
21 21 Hayk Oganesyan 152587 1875 H— L9 L11 D19 L13 1.0
22 22 Brian Jiang 161639 1904 L13 L7 L10 H— U— 0.5


# Place Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 1 Fengxi Mao 166033 2181 W20 W5 W4 W6 W3 5.0
2 2-4 Amirsalar Javidfard 2194 L19 W24 W17 W9 W11 4.0
3 Vladimir Birarov 145968 2164 W21 W14 W13 W11 L1 4.0
4 Saimir Shabanaj 172104 2087 W17 W32 L1 W10 W12 4.0
5 5-6 Syed Ibrahim Ahmed 164989 2082 W31 L1 W32 W7 D8 3.5
6 Jake Van Rooy 152635 1964 H— W23 W8 L1 W13 3.5
7 7-12 Merlin Nazareno 165079 2144 W22 L11 W16 L5 W18 3.0
8 Alan Bui 155173 2133 H— W18 L6 W30 D5 3.0
9 Raymond Gao 156480 2049 L33 W22 W25 L2 W26 3.0
10 Sanjay Ramesh 162979 2047 H— D16 W33 L4 W21 3.0
11 Vadim Khachaturov 162814 2038 W35 W7 W28 L3 L2 3.0
12 Noah Nathaniel Yuen 158470 1967 L18 W31 W26 W20 L4 3.0
13 13-18 Youhe Huang 159428 2086 W25 W33 L3 D18 L6 2.5
14 Jeffrey Renfei Zhao 158702 2028 W26 L3 L18 W28 D16 2.5
15 Henry Liu 157720 1977 L32 L17 D31 W29 W30 2.5
16 Karthik B Selva 170987 1909 H— D10 L7 W24 D14 2.5
17 Brendan Cater 161454 1875 L4 W15 L2 D25 W28 2.5
18 Wazeer Ahmad Khan 171510 1711 W12 L8 W14 D13 L7 2.5
19 19-26 Greg Rusonik 165077 1987 W2 U— W35 U— U— 2.0
20 Austin Xie 157588 1940 L1 W35 H— L12 D25 2.0
21 Sam Haziprodromu 106156 1929 L3 L25 W22 W33 L10 2.0
22 Yun Hong [Kevin] Li 162472 1903 L7 L9 L21 W35 W31 2.0
23 Bhavatharshan Jeyakumar 155309 1902 H— L6 D24 L26 W32 2.0
24 Atharva Srinivas 157721 1867 H— L2 D23 L16 W33 2.0
25 Richard Huang 160396 1864 L13 W21 L9 D17 D20 2.0
26 Joey Qiao 156764 1801 L14 B— L12 W23 L9 2.0
27 27-31 Ian Loadman 101686 2053 H— W29 U— U— U— 1.5
28 Samuel Herran-Boily 1951 H— W30 L11 L14 L17 1.5
29 Anirud Chakkoli 161732 1933 H— L27 L30 L15 W35 1.5
30 Aayush Ajith 167780 1867 H— L28 W29 L8 L15 1.5
31 Edward Xiao 156911 1812 L5 L12 D15 W32 L22 1.5
32 32-33 Jovan Momic 123043 1834 W15 L4 L5 L31 L23 1.0
33 Mario Moran-Venegas 143315 1802 W9 L13 L10 L21 L24 1.0
34 34 Jelvis Calvelo 162161 2053 H— U— U— U— U— 0.5
35 35 Omid Nemati 130676 1801 L11 L20 L19 L22 L29 0.0


# Place Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 1 Jurgen Allaj 1715 W24 W18 W3 W8 W7 5.0
2 2-4 Benjamin Wu 163402 1796 W13 L12 W23 W31 W9 4.0
3 Vishruth Sharma 156776 1788 W21 W15 L1 W12 W11 4.0
4 Lucy Gao 161206 1687 D33 W20 W14 D10 W8 4.0
5 5-7 Arkadiy Ugodnikov 146626 1753 W30 W32 L8 D17 W10 3.5
6 Harrison [Hangchen] Liu 162133 1744 W16 W23 D10 L7 W24 3.5
7 Aaron Liu 162294 1714 H— W34 W12 W6 L1 3.5
8 8-17 Ferdinand Supsup 142366 1817 W40 W27 W5 L1 L4 3.0
9 Konstantin Orlovskii 166565 1785 L28 W33 W16 W26 L2 3.0
10 Henry Hughes 160188 1771 W29 W28 D6 D4 L5 3.0
11 Pramod Prakash Dahale 166339 1717 D31 W37 H— W18 L3 3.0
12 Edison Qu 156082 1684 W39 W2 L7 L3 W32 3.0
13 Larry Yang 164823 1667 L2 W19 L17 W37 W25 3.0
14 Riley Khan 166965 1607 H— W25 L4 W34 D17 3.0
15 Richard Garel 105218 1590 W19 L3 L18 W30 W26 3.0
16 Pino Verde 108688 1520 L6 W35 L9 W38 W27 3.0
17 Ande Li unr. L27 B— W13 D5 D14 3.0
18 18-24 Alisan Ozkazanc 169112 1832 W36 L1 W15 L11 D22 2.5
19 Virgiliu Bogdan Matiu 143015 1780 L15 L13 H— W39 W34 2.5
20 Alex Xu 163378 1756 D37 L4 W39 L24 W31 2.5
21 Joseph Liao 157731 1743 L3 W29 D28 D32 D23 2.5
22 Harry Liu 154350 1691 L32 W30 D24 D25 D18 2.5
23 Robert J. Armstrong 100034 1534 W35 L6 L2 W36 D21 2.5
24 William [Zhimao] Gao 162775 1505 L1 W40 D22 W20 L6 2.5
25 25-33 Boris Iriarte 149563 1770 D34 L14 W33 D22 L13 2.0
26 Victor Lefort 165854 1743 H— W38 H— L9 L15 2.0
27 Charlie Grisar 166101 1703 W17 L8 L31 W29 L16 2.0
28 Marcus Wilker 102713 1619 W9 L10 D21 U— D33 2.0
29 Eric Qian 167975 1581 L10 L21 W35 L27 W39 2.0
30 Vincent Angel Adulfo 168241 1523 L5 L22 B— L15 W36 2.0
31 James Qiu 158784 1506 D11 H— W27 L2 L20 2.0
32 Anni Guo 163250 1505 W22 L5 H— D21 L12 2.0
33 Callum Yoker 161497 1492 D4 L9 L25 W35 D28 2.0
34 34 Neal Nian Li 161576 1562 D25 L7 W38 L14 L19 1.5
35 35-37 Nathaniel Brown 1753 L23 L16 L29 L33 W38 1.0
36 Victor Samuel 112306 1673 L18 D39 D37 L23 L30 1.0
37 Michael D. Sharpe 100280 1552 D20 L11 D36 L13 U— 1.0
38 38-39 Undriadi Benggawan 107301 1564 H— L26 L34 L16 L35 0.5
39 Miles DeMartino unr. L12 D36 L20 L19 L29 0.5
40 40 Trifelino Miaco 121781 1668 L8 L24 U— U— U— 0.0


# Place Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 1-2 Lefan Yang 163151 1487 W42 W17 W15 W13 D2 4.5
2 Henry Yao 166273 1450 W44 W45 W18 W21 D1 4.5
3 3-5 Fariborz Zarezadegan 107665 1484 L17 W32 W33 W15 W13 4.0
4 Richard Wing 103265 1465 W34 W12 H— W11 D7 4.0
5 Adam Li 160391 1421 D24 W47 D14 W20 W10 4.0
6 6-7 Justin Li 154417 1570 L13 X41 D28 W30 W17 3.5
7 Johnson Zixuan Zhou 163242 1515 W30 L15 W27 W14 D4 3.5
8 8-20 Toy Chack Kwan 162706 1489 L15 W42 D16 D31 W32 3.0
9 Jeremy Sztuka 162452 1480 W32 L18 W38 L17 W31 3.0
10 Andrew Chen 160054 1466 L18 W36 W43 W37 L5 3.0
11 Silvano Mesiti 107489 1463 D35 W19 W31 L4 D16 3.0
12 Don Parakin 106488 1458 W36 L4 X45 W18 U— 3.0
13 Ethan Lin 161997 1428 W6 W20 W37 L1 L3 3.0
14 Kevin G Zou 167304 1383 H— X40 D5 L7 W25 3.0
15 Heye Gao 166066 1366 W8 W7 L1 L3 W24 3.0
16 Ken Kurkowski 104537 1364 H— D25 D8 W28 D11 3.0
17 Bojan Miljkovic 167767 1335 W3 L1 W25 W9 L6 3.0
18 Noah Velasquez 168145 1321 W10 W9 L2 L12 W26 3.0
19 Jacob Gaisinsky 155172 1314 H— L11 D29 W38 W27 3.0
20 Simon Jose Luis Castillo unr. W41 L13 W22 L5 W29 3.0
21 21-23 Jose Cabioc 146261 1463 D40 W23 W35 L2 U— 2.5
22 Eli Schyngera 164976 1452 W43 L37 L20 W35 D23 2.5
23 Doug Gillis 111022 1338 H— L21 W40 D24 D22 2.5
24 24-38 Richard Gonsalves 100230 1554 D5 L31 W42 D23 L15 2.0
25 Daniel Zhang 163312 1493 H— D16 L17 W36 L14 2.0
26 Zichen [Roger] Zuo 164626 1440 L37 L43 W34 W33 L18 2.0
27 Zhixing [Daniel] Wang 159609 1439 H— D33 L7 W43 L19 2.0
28 John R. Brown 102882 1437 D47 D38 D6 L16 D35 2.0
29 Oswald Barmasch 132784 1394 H— L35 D19 W44 L20 2.0
30 David G. Lyall 103201 1384 L7 H— W44 L6 H— 2.0
31 Aarush Ajith 167781 1380 H— W24 L11 D8 L9 2.0
32 Nathan Zian Wang 161735 1333 L9 L3 W47 W45 L8 2.0
33 Nicolas Garcia 137682 1275 H— D27 L3 L26 W47 2.0
34 Richard Guo 166647 1271 L4 L44 L26 W47 X45 2.0
35 Christopher Charles 125496 1266 D11 W29 L21 L22 D28 2.0
36 Cameron Herbert 167903 1266 L12 L10 B— L25 W41 2.0
37 Michael Songting Wu 159122 1246 W26 W22 L13 L10 U— 2.0
38 Dinesh Dattani 134499 1235 H— D28 L9 L19 W42 2.0
39 39-40 Emerich Bartha 156142 1526 H— W48 U— U— U— 1.5
40 Jeffrey Liu 172159 unr. D21 F14 L23 H— H— 1.5
41 41-45 Ken Le 111318 1432 L20 F6 H— H— L36 1.0
42 Rashid Mughal 171684 1340 L1 L8 L24 B— L38 1.0
43 Mark Bercovici 148103 1259 L22 W26 L10 L27 U— 1.0
44 Ethan Jiang 160913 1258 L2 W34 L30 L29 U— 1.0
45 Thomas Genua unr. B— L2 F12 L32 F34 1.0
46 46-47 171529 1386 U— U— U— H— U— 0.5
47 Steven Bukal unr. D28 L5 L32 L34 L33 0.5
48 48 Gordon Zeng 166321 967 U— L39 U— U— U— 0.0


# Place Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 1 Mohan Dixit 169181 1118 H— W32 W35 W25 W4 4.5
2 2-5 William Xu 150199 1298 L14 W30 W15 W13 W9 4.0
3 Adam Cheng 156083 1264 W8 D27 D13 W14 W12 4.0
4 Luka Granic 165083 1250 W33 W14 W24 W7 L1 4.0
5 Jeffrey Zhuang 166908 1189 L34 W37 W28 W26 W11 4.0
6 6-8 Siddhi Dahale 164927 1180 W37 W15 H— D12 D7 3.5
7 Yu-Liang Lin 167246 1092 W22 W29 W9 L4 D6 3.5
8 Isabelle Duanmu 163583 1028 L3 H— W22 X35 W25 3.5
9 9-16 Ivan Huang 164614 1163 W41 W34 L7 W16 L2 3.0
10 Lawrence Donegan 9107780 1119 L29 D41 W21 D27 W23 3.0
11 Joshua Lau 163099 1077 H— D38 W29 W24 L5 3.0
12 Noah Kriemadis 160818 1073 D23 W21 W27 D6 L3 3.0
13 Kuni Morin 165792 1064 H— W23 D3 L2 W28 3.0
14 Tony Lu 166742 1052 W2 L4 W34 L3 W27 3.0
15 Triston Li 166944 998 W17 L6 L2 W29 W26 3.0
16 Isabelle Guan 166081 935 H— D26 W36 L9 W30 3.0
17 17-25 Julia Plotkin 155924 1192 L15 D33 L30 W38 W32 2.5
18 Rose Tuong 158024 1123 H— W20 L25 H— H— 2.5
19 Varun Pillai 162367 1060 H— L25 W33 D30 D24 2.5
20 Sato Morin 165791 1033 H— L18 W41 L23 W34 2.5
21 Sean Gao 164596 952 H— L12 L10 W37 W31 2.5
22 Charis Zhu 168132 952 L7 H— L8 W33 W36 2.5
23 Lucy Yang 164595 935 D12 L13 W32 W20 L10 2.5
24 M. Hassan Pishdad 146931 912 W36 X39 L4 L11 D19 2.5
25 Jonathan Di Feo 172158 unr. H— W19 W18 L1 L8 2.5
26 26-30 Justin Huang 166068 1064 D30 D16 W38 L5 L15 2.0
27 Balakrishnan Sreekumar Maliekal 170478 1003 W31 D3 L12 D10 L14 2.0
28 Gordon Zeng 166321 967 L35 B— L5 W36 L13 2.0
29 Mingrui Deng 171920 966 W10 L7 L11 L15 W38 2.0
30 Gauri Sreekumar 165299 926 D26 L2 W17 D19 L16 2.0
31 31-35 Colin McHenry 171192 1207 L27 L36 W37 D34 L21 1.5
32 Karma Pillai 163995 1026 H— L1 L23 W41 L17 1.5
33 Ashley Qian 168050 1020 L4 D17 L19 L22 W41 1.5
34 Yicheng Zhao 163585 989 W5 L9 L14 D31 L20 1.5
35 Noel Oco unr. W28 H— L1 F8 U— 1.5
36 36-38 Eli Teram 107314 1055 L24 W31 L16 L28 L22 1.0
37 Marie Guan 164627 987 L6 L5 L31 L21 B— 1.0
38 Xiuqi [Arthur] Wang 162689 969 H— D11 L26 L17 L29 1.0
39 39-41 Jeffrey Liu 163775 1260 H— F24 U— U— U— 0.5
40 133183 1128 U— U— U— H— U— 0.5
41 Percy Xing 166952 975 L9 D10 L20 L32 L33 0.5


# Place Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 1 Isaac Duanmu 163584 891 W7 H— W11 W13 W2 4.5
2 2-3 Nathaniel Morin 172000 unr. W14 W9 W3 W12 L1 4.0
3 Jaipreet Singh Dhaliwal unr. W4 W13 L2 W14 W8 4.0
4 4-5 Zheyi [Joey] Zhang 170036 766 L3 D12 W20 W18 W10 3.5
5 Shi Duanmu 171680 unr. W16 H— D8 D10 W12 3.5
6 6-9 Jerry McKitrick 155273 944 L15 W19 L10 W16 W14 3.0
7 Eric Guan 167770 890 L1 W16 L14 W11 W13 3.0
8 Jasper He 167976 794 H— W17 D5 W15 L3 3.0
9 Yiming Zhao 164604 703 W22 L2 L13 W19 W15 3.0
10 10-12 Henry [Haichen] Liu 162134 881 L12 W20 W6 D5 L4 2.5
11 Catherine Xiquan Zhao 164615 651 H— W18 L1 L7 W17 2.5
12 Changfeng Liu 171992 unr. W10 D4 W17 L2 L5 2.5
13 13-16 Rahul Gangolli 156023 978 W20 L3 W9 L1 L7 2.0
14 Larissa Souchko 145490 828 L2 X22 W7 L3 L6 2.0
15 Theodore Justin Matiu 164763 524 W6 H— H— L8 L9 2.0
16 Ace Liu 171993 unr. L5 L7 B— L6 W20 2.0
17 17-18 Sherwin Ji 164628 646 H— L8 L12 W20 L11 1.5
18 Tejas Prakash 160157 560 H— L11 W19 L4 U— 1.5
19 19 Prakash Hariharan unr. H— L6 L18 L9 U— 0.5
20 20-22 Chloe Zeng 166393 590 L13 L10 L4 L17 L16 0.0
21 unr. U— U— U— U— U— 0.0
22 Mishel Schwartz unr. L9 F14 U— U— U— 0.0

Gallery (2nd Ivy League Challenge)


For the beautiful Photo Gallery Hart House wishes to kindly thank Skylar Cheung, a photo journalist for the “Varsity” (please check out her story here). We would also like to acknowledge John Upper (from Chess Canada CFC newsletter), Panayoti Tsialas, Corinna Wan and Karen Wan.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Pub Night

Pairings/Results (2nd Ivy League Challenge)

Individual Pairings/Results

Round 1

Harvard (Avg. Rt. 2049)  – Yale (Avg. Rt. 1937)
Result: 2 – 2

1. FM Aaron Jacobson (2340) – NM Dex Webster (2077) 1 – 0
2. NM Prateek Pinisetti (2130) – Nalin Khanna (2107) 0 – 1
3. Sarah Ascherman (1937) – Ram Vishwanathan (1922) 0 – 1
4. Ella Papanek (1789) – Michal Gerasimiuk (1642) 1 – 0

MIT (Avg. Rt. 2070)  – Princeton (Avg. Rt. 2237)
Result: 1 – 3

1. NM Jason Altschuler (2198) – GM Andrew Tang (2507) 0 – 1
2. Richard Yi (2083) – FM Ethan Li (2231) 0 – 1
3. Howard Zhong (2024) – NM Christopher Yang (2145) 1/2 – 1/2
4. Nguyen Le (1976) – Isaac Martinez (2068) 1/2 – 1/2

UofT B (Avg. Rt. 1959) – UofT A (Avg. Rt. 2230)
Result: 0 – 4

1. Dai Wenzhi (2093) – IM Advait Patel (2460) 0 – 1
2. Tanner McNamara (1983) – FM Mark Plotkin (2378) 0 – 1
3. Juntong Lin (1920) – FM Qiyu Zhou (2212) 0 – 1
4. Jonathan Hay (1838) – NM Joseph Bellissimo (2201) 0 – 1

Round 2

Harvard (Avg. Rt. 2049) – MIT (Avg. Rt. 2070)
Result: 0.5 – 3.5

1. FM Aaron Jacobson (2340) – NM Jason Altschuler (2198) 1/2 – 1/2
2. NM Prateek Pinisetti (2130) – Richard Yi (2083) 0 – 1
3. Sarah Ascherman (1937) – Howard Zhong (2024) 0 – 1
4. Ella Papanek (1789) – Nguyen Le (1976) 0 – 1

Yale (Avg. Rt. 1937) – UofT A (Avg. Rt. 2230)
Result: 1 – 3

1. NM Dex Webster (2077) – FM Mark Plotkin (2378) 0 – 1
2. Nalin Khanna (2107) – FM Qiyu Zhou (2212) 1/2 – 1/2
3. Ram Vishwanathan (1922) – NM Joseph Bellissimo (2201)  0 – 1
4. Michal Gerasimiuk (1642) – Sean Lei (1901) 1/2 – 1/2

Princeton (Avg. Rt. 2237) – UofT B (Avg. Rt. 1959)
Result: 3.5 – 0.5

1. GM Andrew Tang (2507) – Dai Wenzhi (2093) 1 – 0
2. FM Ethan Li (2231) – Tanner McNamara (1983) 1/2 – 1/2
3. NM Christopher Yang (2145) – Juntong Lin (1920) 1 – 0
4. Isaac Martinez (2068) – Jonathan Hay (1838) 1 – 0

Round 3

UofT B (Avg. Rt. 1959) – Harvard (Avg. Rt. 2049)
Result: 2- 2

1. Dai Wenzhi (2093) – FM Aaron Jacobson (2340)  0 – 1
2. Tanner McNamara (1983) – NM Prateek Pinisetti (2130) 0 – 1
3. Juntong Lin (1920) – Sarah Ascherman (1937) 1 – 0
4. Jonathan Hay (1838) – Ella Papanek (1789) 1 – 0

MIT (Avg. Rt. 2070) – Yale (Avg. Rt. 1937)
Result: 2.5 – 1.5

1. NM Jason Altschuler (2198) – NM Dex Webster (2077) 1 – 0
2. Richard Yi (2083) – Nalin Khanna (2107) 1/2 – 1/2
3. Howard Zhong (2024) – Ram Vishwanathan (1922) 1/2 – 1/2
4. Nguyen Le (1976) – Michal Gerasimiuk (1642) 1/2 – 1/2

UofT A (Avg. Rt. 2230) – Princeton (Avg. Rt. 2237)
Result: 3 – 1

1. IM Advait Patel (2460) – GM Andrew Tang (2507) 1/2 – 1/2
2. FM Mark Plotkin (2378) – FM Ethan Li (2231) 1 – 0
3. FM Qiyu Zhou (2212) – NM Christopher Yang (2145) 1 – 0
4. NM Joseph Bellissimo (2201) – Isaac Martinez (2068) 1/2 – 1/2

Round 4

Yale (Avg. Rt. 1937) – Princeton (Avg. Rt. 2237)
Result: 1 – 3

1. NM Dex Webster (2077) – GM Andrew Tang (2507) 0 – 1
2. Nalin Khanna (2107) – FM Ethan Li (2231) 1/2 – 1/2
3. Ram Vishwanathan (1922) – NM Christopher Yang (2145) 1/2 – 1/2
4. Michal Gerasimiuk (1642) – Isaac Martinez (2068) 0 – 1

Harvard (Avg. Rt. 2049) – UofT A (Avg. Rt. 2230)
Result: 0.5 – 3.5

1. FM Aaron Jacobson (2340) – IM Advait Patel (2460) 1/2 – 1/2
2. NM Prateek Pinisetti (2130) – FM Mark Plotkin (2378) 0 – 1
3. Sarah Ascherman (1937) – FM Qiyu Zhou (2212) 0 – 1
4. Ella Papanek (1789) – NM Joseph Bellissimo (2201) 0 – 1

MIT (Avg. Rt. 2070) – UofT B (Avg. Rt. 1959)
Result: 3.5 – 0.5

1. NM Jason Altschuler (2198) – Dai Wenzhi (2093) 1/2 – 1/2
2. Richard Yi (2083) – Tanner McNamara (1983) 1 – 0
3. Howard Zhong (2024) – Juntong Lin (1920) 1 – 0
4. Nguyen Le (1976) – Jonathan Hay (1838) 1 – 0

Round 5

Princeton (Avg. Rt. 2237) – Harvard (Avg. Rt. 2049)
Result: 3 – 1

1. GM Andrew Tang (2507) – FM Aaron Jacobson (2340) 1 – 0
2. FM Ethan Li (2231) – NM Prateek Pinisetti (2130) 0 – 1
3. NM Christopher Yang (2145) – Sarah Ascherman (1937) 1 – 0
4. Isaac Martinez (2068) – Ella Papanek (1789) 1 – 0

UofT B (Avg. Rt. 1959) – Yale (Avg. Rt. 1937)
Result: 2 – 2

1. Dai Wenzhi (2093) – NM Dex Webster (2077) 0 – 1
2. Tanner McNamara (1983) – Nalin Khanna (2107) 0 – 1
3. Juntong Lin (1920) – Ram Vishwanathan (1922) 1 – 0
4. Jonathan Hay (1838) – Michal Gerasimiuk (1642) 1 – 0

UofT A (Avg. Rt. 2230) – MIT (Avg. Rt. 2070)
Result: 2.5 – 1.5

1. IM Advait Patel (2460) – NM Jason Altschuler (2198) 0 – 1
2. FM Mark Plotkin (2378) – Richard Yi (2083)  1 – 0
3. FM Qiyu Zhou (2212) – Howard Zhong (2024) 1/2 – 1/2
4. NM Joseph Bellissimo (2201) – Nguyen Le (1976) 1 – 0

Tournament Rules (Ivy League Challenge)



Tournament Director:

  • Panayoti Tsialas (Chief Tournament Director):
  • Sean Lei (Assistant Tournament Director):

FIDE Arbiters:

  • Weiwen Leung (Chief Arbiter):
  • Alex Ferreira (Deputy Arbiter):
  • Corinna Wan (Floor Arbiter):
  • Karen Wan (Floor Arbiter):

Rating/Move Recording:

The tournament is FIDE Rated. Players are required to record their moves throughout the game.

Time Control:

Each player will have 90 minutes plus a 30-second increment from move 1.

Tournament System:

5-round round-robin system

Team Composition and Line-ups:

Teams are composed of 4 players and up to 2 additional alternates.

Board order must be submitted to the Chief and Deputy Arbiter via e-mail by no later than Thursday November 7th, 8:00 PM (see their contact info above). Teammates must play in descending rating order, except that 50-point transpositions are allowed. Board order must remain the same throughout the event. When alternates play they must do so starting on the lowest boards. Any regular member sits out when an alternate plays; other team members move up accordingly.

Lineups for each round must be submitted 1 hour before the announced official round start times. Lineups can be submitted: a) in person at the Playing Hall, b) via email to Weiwen Leung ( and Alex Ferreira (

Team Captains:

All teams must designate a captain. The role of the captain is:

  • To turn in his/her team line-up to the TD at least one hour before the round begins.
  • To advise his/her team’s players whether or not to accept or offer a draw.
  • To report the result of the match to the TD and sign it.

Team Scores, Game Points:

Each team gets one match point if the combined scores of the four players in a Round is 2.5 or greater, one-half match point if the combined score is 2, and zero match points if the combined score is 1.5 or less.

Byes, defaults, lateness, and so forth are treated as in individual tournaments. Players are required to arrive at their board within 30 minutes after their clock is pressed on move 1, otherwise they forfeit their game.

Tie Breaks:

Tie-breaks are used to award first place only. If two or more teams are tied for first, the team which wins in the tie-breakers is the sole winner of the Ivy League Challenge.

When team match points are equal, the following order of tie-break systems will be used:

  1. Head to head
  2. Individual Game Points
  3. Greater number of match wins
  4. Greater number of individual wins
  5. Two blitz games between one randomly selected player from each team. If the result is 1-1 after the blitz games, the players will play another game where white gets 6 minutes and black 5 (colours determined randomly). If the game is a draw, Black’s team wins.


  • Team Prize: Top Team
  • Individual Prizes: Top Individual Boards 1-4 / Best Game of the Tournament

Electronic Devices:

Any electronic device that could be used to transmit or receive information related to chess or to calculate potential moves, such as smart phones, 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 that is in progress. Violation of this rule by a player will result in the player’s immediate forfeit of a game in progress.


The Appeals Committee shall comprise of Panayoti Tsialas (TD), Jimmy Bartha (Senior Club Exec) and Ben Hahn (Alumni Chair). A protest against the decision of an Arbiter must be submitted in writing to the Appeals Committee, within 30 min after the end of the respective game. A protest fee of 60 CAD shall be payable to the organizer which is refundable if the protest is upheld. The Appeals Committee may also decide to refund the fee if it considers the appeal was not frivolous. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final, binding and takes effect immediately.

Tournament Schedule:

Friday, November 8th– Hart House East Common Room

Opening Ceremony: 10:00 AM

Round 1: 10:30 AM

Round 2: 5:00 PM

Saturday, November 9th– Hart House East Common Room

Round 3: 10:00 AM

Round 4: 4:30 PM

Sunday, November 9th– Hart House East Common Room

Round 5: 9:30 AM

Closing Ceremony: 2:00 PM

Information: – –

Organized by:

Logo HD (Black).png

Bughouse Tournament (October 11)

October 10th, 2019 was a very special day for our beloved Chess Club: exactly 100 years before, in 1919, the Chess Club met at Hart House for the first time. A month later, on November 11th, Hart House would officially open its doors, and soon enough, the building would become our permanent home!

Check out this issue from The Varsity in 1919 advertising the event!

So, to celebrate, on October 11th, 2019 HHCC hosted a Bughouse Tournament in the Reading Room! Fast-paced and spirited, this was not a competition to be missed.

Sean Lei and Tanner McNamara, who generously gave their time to put together pairings for the tournament, were also both playing! In the end, the team of Edward/Mahip finished first on 8/10 ahead of Jurgen/Tanner by virtue of winning the direct encounter 2-0. A point behind in 3rd was Alexandra/Joseph on 7/10. Those three teams won prizes!

Very close behind were Dylan/Leslie (6/10), Jon/Kim (5), Jasper/Sean (4), Shawn/Asha (2), and Campbell/Batuhan (0). And it was very competitive–no team ever assured of a victory–with no one ever having more than a 1-point lead in the standings.

What a way to celebrate 100 years of joint history between Chess and Hart House! Here’s to 100 more!


Pan Am Qualifier 2019

The Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship is the largest chess competition in the Americas on the collegiate level, and will take place this year December 27-30 in Charlotte, NC.

On September 28-29th, fourteen club members convened in the beautiful Hart House South Dining Room to compete for a spot on the team!

The tournament ended with a 7 way tie for first at three points each! In the last round, there was a particularly decisive match between Sahan Karanuratne and Jonathan Moore — the winner would have reached 3 points to join the tie (and force a playoff), but this game ended in a draw, leaving both players at 2.5.

We want to extend our warm and sincere gratitude to Alex Ferreira and Sean Lei for volunteering their time to put together the pairings for the tournament and to ensure it ran smoothly, as well as to Panayoti Tsialas for creating the photo gallery of the event, which may be found below. A huge thank-you also goes to all the players who came out and participated in the event!

We wish the very best of luck to this year’s Pan Am teams who will be representing UofT in North Carolina come December!

Team A
Mark Plotkin
Joseph Bellissimo
Dai Wenzhi
Tanner McNamara (captain)

Team B
Juntong Lin
Mahip Singh
Jack Moore
Sahan Karunaratne (captain)

Ivy League Chess Challenge (8-10 November 2019)

We are thrilled to share with you an opportunity to attend an international chess competition hosted by the Hart House Chess Club. The 2nd Ivy League Chess Challenge is to be held 8-10 November 2019 at the Hart House Building.

Our beloved club will take on four reputable U.S. Universities of the North East (Michigan, Harvard, Yale and Princeton) and we are looking for eight players to represent University of Toronto in this team competition! Each of the 5 rounds will be played with 90′ + 30″ time control and the games will be FIDE rated. All current UofT students who purchase an annual HHCC membership for the 2019-2020 academic year will be eligible to participate in the tournament for a discounted entry fee of $30 per player.

If this is an event that interests you, we encourage you to please let us know by sending an email to by no later than Friday, September 20th, 10 pm. In your e-mail please include:

– Your CFC/FIDE/other rating.
– The level of your commitment for the three days of the tournament.

The selections will be made over the weekend based on these two selection criteria and announced on Monday, September 23rd.

This is a fantastic opportunity to represent UofT and we hope you will consider joining our team! Of course, should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

We look forward to hearing back from you soon!

Middlegame Seminar (Intermediate-Advanced)

Winter Term

Lead by coach and former club secretary Leslie Tang, this is an exciting seminar for beginner to intermediate players (1200-1750). Join Leslie in the Hart House Reading Room every Friday, 6-7pm to improve your game!

Tentative syllabus (by week):

Week 1 – Fundamental Pieces
This lesson will give you a comprehensive idea of how pieces move and work together. The lesson will highlight the importance of a piece’s strengths and weaknesses.
Week 2 – Pawn Structures
Pawn structures are one of the most important parts of a chess game. They can lead to a swift victory or painful defeat. We will study the strengths and weaknesses of each piece in relations to certain pawn structures.
Week 3 – Positional Weaknesses
Many positional weaknesses are derived from specific pawn structures. This is a more in-depth lesson on identifying weaknesses and constructing strategies revolving those weaknesses.
Week 4 – Closed Positions
Many games have positions where players carefully maneuver pieces before attacking weaknesses. This lesson will highlight ideas on how to approach closed positions.
Week 5 – Open Positions
Similar to closed positions, open positions are the analogue for games with more easily maneuverable pieces. This lesson will focus on how to critically think of open positions.
Week 6 – Trading Pieces
Chess is a game of trading pieces. While positioning is important, being able to identify which pieces are the best is not so obvious. This lesson will demonstrate that an effective piece can always lose its edge and that trading it may be valuable strategy.
Week 7Transitioning
This lesson will thoroughly teach you on how to solidify advantages or salvage yourself in disadvantaged games.
Week 8Putting it into action!
A game will be played, teacher versus students, where many of the ideas taught through the workshop will be discussed through peers and with the teacher.

Fall Term

Lead by National Master and ex-Varsity player Jonathan Yu (CFC 2225), this is a fun series of interactive workshops for beginner to intermediate players (1200-1750). We will design each workshop to be as unconnected as possible so there will be benefit and enjoyment regardless of your ability to attend consecutive classes.

A message from Jonathan:

It is highly beneficial and recommended to play some games and socialize after the workshop. Honestly, my ability to teach you chess is extremely limited compared to the vast potential of you learning chess from your peers.

The purpose of this exercise is to offer a personal perspective on the game and share your own ideas and thoughts! If you have questions or comments about anything (not necessarily chess) during workshops, please ask!

Tentative Syllabus (by week):

  1. Logical Opening Play:
    How can we play sensible moves in the earliest phase of the game by developing our own opening axioms?
  2. Valuing exchanges:
    What pieces are we looking to exchange? The relative value of pieces based on their positioning and type and their relation to pawn structure.
  3. Calculating:
    Train your calculating and tactical ability together on chesstempo.
  4. Chess MMI stations:
    5 stations at 5 minute/station. Experience what it’s like to be a serious chess player.
  5. Exchanges for dynamic and static purposes:
    Exchanging to change pawn structure, improve mobility of pieces and other practical purposes.
  6. Rook Endgames:
    Introduction to a family of precise endgames where it is useful to memorize edge case positions (the tipping point between a draw and a win). Special ideas and techniques will also receive appropriate elucidation (e.g., Lucena, Philidor position, shouldering, umbrella, etc).
  7. Student Presentation
  8. Student Presentation

Recommended chess resources:

  • Hart House Chess Club and its Library!
  • Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca

Checklist of skills and concepts to be discussed throughout the workshop:

  • Development: try to improve and/or develop your worst piece
  • Knights: finding weak squares, knight trades, restriction of knights
  • Bishops: weak diagonals, unopposed bishops, bad vs good, bishop trades
  • Bishop vs Knight: bishop pair, comparative value, practical considerations
  • Rooks: open files and ranks, 7th rank trades
  • Queen: balancing safety and influence, joining the battle at a moment’s notice
  • Pawn structure: weak pawns, passed pawns, static vs dynamic pawn structure,
    the relationship between pawn structure and the mobility of your and your opponent’s pieces
  • Space: restriction of your opponent’s pieces and the increased mobility of your own, corresponding square control
  • Initiative: making your opponents react to your moves
  • Material vs Position: poisoned pawns, sacrifice for positional compensation or King safety, exchange sacrifices (B v R, R + B v Q, B + N v R + 2P)
  • Endgame considerations: how pawn structure affects the endgame and determines which pieces you would like to exchange

Instructor: Jonathan Yu

Please send Jonathan an e-mail to let him know that you would like to join the workshop!

Where: Hart House Reading Room
When: Friday evenings, 6:00 – 7:00 PM
(Please note that there will be no class on October 18th.)

Free entry for Hart House Chess Club Members!*

*An annual student membership costs only $25 and it is valid for the entire year.