Winter Welcome Back Pizza Party

To officially welcome back everyone to the HHCC, we’ll be hosting our semi-annual Welcome Back Pizza Party! We hope you will join us on Friday, January 13th, 6-7pm in the Hart House Reading Room as we celebrate the start of another chess-filled year.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see your old chess friends and to meet new ones. We’ll also be sharing lots of exciting news and would love to answer any questions you might have about HHCC, so please do come by! Free pizza for all!

To get Free Pizza, you must RSVP 24 hours in advance using the following page:

At 7:00 PM, we will be hosting our annual HHCC Blitz Championship with $385 in prizes.

IM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux Simultaneous Exhibition

On Friday, October 14th, current World Under 18 Champion and International Master Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux visited the Hart House Chess Club to perform a simultaneous exhibition. Shawn played 15 boards at the Hart House Library, winning 14.

IM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux is the 2022 World-U18 Champion

Shawn’s visit marked a chess-filled weekend in Toronto thanks to the arrival of Super-GM Hikaru Nakamura in the city along with FM James Canty III. Hikaru visited many clubs during the weekend, including Pub Chess, Annex Chess Club, and Chess in the Park.

As perhaps the oldest, most prestigious Chess Club in Canada, the HHCC was happy to have the 2022 FIDE World-U18 Champion, Canadian Champion, Canadian Youth Chess Champion, and GM norm holder to the famed halls of Hart House. Rated FIDE 2482, he was the 4th highest rated Canadian player at the time of his visit. The Hart House Chess Club believes in supporting young chess players, and we wish IM Shawn the very best in his pursuit of the Grandmaster title. Bonne chance, Shawn!

Shawn played 15 HHCC members and community members, finishing with a score of 14 wins and 1 loss. He played all these games after travelling 5 long hours from Montréal. Congratulations!


We hope to see IM Shawn back at the Hart House Chess Club in the future!

Bughouse Championship

On Friday, October 7th, the Hart House Chess Club hosted its annual Bughouse Championship to crown the best bughouse team in the Club! Congratulations to IM Nicholas Vettese and his partner, Denis, for becoming HHCC’s 2022-2023 Bughouse Champions!

23 2-player teams registered for the 6 round swiss event, which was played during HHCC’s weekly casual play.


Final Standings

Team NameCombined RatingPointsBetter Buchholz Tiebreaker
2peepeepoopoo man2400519
3Chol Matthew2200518.5
5Alligators Angry2800420
6Solo Sacrifice0415
7_ Ubermensch0414.5
10Swindle Uncle3200322
11Engineers Team3400318.5
12Rick Cookie2400317
14Degenerate Gambiter 22100216.5
17Unrateddd/No Idea0214
19J & J1500211
20Wow/peepeepoopoo man24000.513.5
21No Idea00.513
23Brain Chip Hans’0012

Original Event Info:

The HHCC Bughouse Championship is happening Friday, October 7th from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm! You can sign up at the Hart House Reading Room anytime between 4 pm – 7:30 pm the day of. If you don’t have a team, you can register as a “solo,” and we will pair you up.

Free entries for all members and the prize will be a $25 gift card for the two players of the winning team! (for non-members it will be a fee of $5)

Bughouse is a popular variant of chess that is played with teams of 2 players. The goal of this tournament is to get you to engage with others and have fun! It should be a fun night!

HHCC 2023 PanAm Qualifier Recap

From September 24th-25th 2022, the HHCC organized its annual PanAm Qualifier to select four players to represent the University of Toronto at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championships to be held next year, January 5-8 in Seattle, WA. Travel and accommodation will be covered partially by HHCC.

A record number, 37 players, competed at this year’s iteration. Congratulations to Nicholas Vettese, Tanraj Sohal, Derek Ma, and Yunshan Li for finishing in the top 4. Depending on funding, the Club may also send a second, “B”, team.

Results and Pairings

The final pairings and results can be found at the following links:

Round 1 Pairings and Results

Round 2 Pairings and Results

Round 3 Pairings and Results

Round 4 Pairings and Results

Round 5 Pairings and Results

Final Standings


After 5 rounds, a 6-person tiebreaker was played to determine the remaining player for the first team. The tiebreaker results can be found here.


Grandmaster Evgeny Bareev Simultaneous Exhibition at the Hart House Chess Club

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.”

Bareev playing Max Qian. Alongside Ahmed Khalf, HHCC Exec Board member
Bareev playing Michel Hajjar, who had dressed up with a suit and tie to give respect to the GM.

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“.

Evgeny Bareev simul at Hart House on September 23rd, 2022. He scored 20 wins, 0 draws and 0 losses.

Paul Keres simul at Hart House on May 7th, 1975. He scored 25 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses.

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

HHCC members deep in concentration against Grandmaster Evgeny Bareev (September 23rd, 2022)

HHCC Fall 2022 Announcements & Schedule

Hello everyone!

Welcome to September and the start of a new semester! Here’s a quick run through of what we’re planning this academic year.

Casual Play Fridays

Every Friday this semester, we will be open every Friday from 4pm-11pm except for holidays. Everyone, regardless of UofT student status can drop by to play chess for FREE at the Hart House Reading Room.   


This year, the Hart House Chess Club membership is FREE for all undergraduates and graduates of UofT. Students must register with the Hart House Hub (front-desk) to become a member. A separate non-student HHCC membership can be purchased for alumni and all other members of the community (special prices for those under 29 or over 65) at the Hart House Hub. For all info on memberships, visit our memberships page here:

Events this semester:

All events currently on our FALL 2022 calendar can be found here:

Our upcoming events this September are:

  1. Clubs Day 2022 – (Wednesday, September 7th)
  2. Welcome Back Party – (Friday, September 16th)
  3. GrandMaster Simul by Evgeny Bareev (Sept 23rd)
  4. PanAm Qualifiers – (Sept 24-25 2022)
  5. HHCC Fall 2022 Special Election – (Sept 30)

Links to the above events can be found on our upcoming events page.


Lessons are scheduled to begin Friday, September 30th at the HH Reading Room. Beginner lessons will be from 5-6 pm and intermediate/advanced is planned for 6 pm – 7 pm. Participants must be members of the club to join.  

HHCC 2023 Pan-Am Qualifier

Event recap can be found here. Congrats to the winners and good luck in Seattle!

The Club will be holding a qualifying tournament from September 24th-25th to select four players to represent the University of Toronto at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championships to be held next year, January 5-8 in Seattle, WA. Travel and accommodation will be covered partially by HHCC.

Official flyer for the event is located here.

Pan-Am-Qualifiers Schedule:

Time Control:  60 minutes + 30 seconds increment
Round 1:  9:30am September 24
Round 2:  12:45pm September 24
Round 3:  4pm September 24
Round 4:  9:30am September 25
Round 5:  12:45pm September 25
Tiebreaks (if needed)  4pm September 25

Please note that this schedule is scheduled to change. Full confirmation will be sent to all registered players.

0-point-byes are in effect.  Players are expected to play all rounds.
Forced byes will be awarded 1/2 point.

Ratings will be used for seeding/pairing purposes but the tournament itself will not be rated with the Chess Federation of Canada.


Participants are kindly asked to register online by Friday, September 23rd, 9:00 pm. To do that send us an e-mail at with the following information:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your current Elo rating (CFC, FIDE, or other international rating)

No entry fee is required but all players must show up by 9:15 am Saturday morning, as registered members of the Hart House Chess Club, at the playing hall (signs will be posted in the Hart House).

Eligibility Requirements:

To participate in Pan-Am-Qualifier one must be a member of the Hart House Chess Club. The membership for 2022-2023 is FREE for all UofT students.

To participate in the Pan-Ams tournament itself you must be available to travel to Seattle, January 5th-8th, and you must meet the following requirements :

Additional Requirements:

– A $250 fee must be paid to Hart House within a week after the qualifying tournament.
– Participants will be required to attend a tutorial on Safety Abroad as per UofT policy
– Participants will be responsible for, and required to have valid passport, travel visa if applicable, and travel health insurance

For further information please consult the Collegiate Eligibility Rules.

Hart House Chess Club Welcome Back Pizza Party

To officially welcome back everyone to the HHCC, we’ll be hosting our annual Welcome Back Pizza Party! We hope you will join us on Friday, September 16th, 6-8pm in the Hart House Reading Room as we celebrate the start of another chess-filled year.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see your old chess friends and to meet new ones. We’ll also be sharing lots of exciting news and would love to answer any questions you might have about HHCC, so please do come by! Free pizza for all!

Clubs Day 2022

September is almost upon us which means the U of T campus is already bustling with both new and returning students! UTSU’s Week of Welcome is just around the corner!

The Hart House Chess Club is excited to announce that on Sept. 7th, we will return to the UTSU Clubs Carnival in order to promote our chess events and activities for the upcoming year!

Find us at our assigned table at the front of the Hart House, say hi to the friendly faces at our booth, pick up one of our flyers and play a game or two with your friends or the people of the Club! You are welcome to stop by anytime between 1 pm and 4 pm!

A raffle draw along with small merch will be available to be won!

We hope to see you there!

Treasurer Sean Lei and Joseph Bellissimo introducing visitors to Hart House Chess Club! (2019)

Hart House Chess Club Fall 2022 Special Election

Update September 25th: The HHCC Executive Board was informed that since there was only one candidate, Bowen Zhang is now the HHCC’s Fundraiser Representative for 2022-2023. An election will not be taking place on September 30th.

Fall 2022 Club Election

Please carefully read the short election information below if you wish to exercise your right to run or vote during the Hart House Chess Club fall 2022 special election.

Interested in being a part of the executive team of the coolest Hart House Student Club? The HHCC is running an election for the vacant Fundraiser Representative position this month! A vote, (if necessary) will be held on Friday, September 30th, at 6:30PM at the Hart House Reading Room.

Position Information

The Fundraising Representative acts closely with the Treasurer to determine the extent and nature of the Club’s financial needs, and organizes corresponding fundraising initiatives with the assistance of other Executive members.

Electoral Process

If you are interested in serving the Hart House Chess Club as a member of the 2022/23 Club Executive in the position of Fundraising Representative, please indicate your interest in doing so before 12 noon on September 23rd, 2022 by sending an email to Ben Hahn, HHCC Alumni Chair, at Please note that interested candidates may be required to submit a brief statement of interest for circulation to the Club’s membership prior to the election. Interested candidates may also be required to give a short speech to the Club’s membership on the day of the election. The Fall election will be held in-person at 6:30 p.m. on Friday September 30th, 2022 in the Hart House Reading Room. Thank you.


All club members, both students and non-students, have the right to vote and to be candidates for an executive position, provided that they have been Hart House Chess Club members for at least one month by September 30th.


If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Hahn at, indicating [HHCC Elections] as the subject of your e-mail.

Hart House Chess Club is an open and inclusive environment. As a positive space we welcome and encourage members of all sexes, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, languages, abilities, religions and creeds to participate in the student government of the club, either as members of the executive or as volunteers!