Casual Play Fridays at the Hart House Chess Club

Chess players of all abilities attended a drop-in night organized by the Hart House Chess Club.

Play casual chess with your friends or other students in a friendly and open environment. Join other beginners, intermediate or advanced players and have fun playing the Royal Game. Stop by anytime between 4 pm and 11 pm with yourself or your friends! Chess sets and equipment provided. Non-members are welcome and encouraged to come!

The Hart House Chess Club is open every Friday from 4 pm – 11 pm in the Hart House Reading Room. We are the only chess club in Toronto offering free casual drop-in play for all levels. Every Casual Play Friday is overseen by an Executive of the Hart House Chess Club, who will be happy to assist you in any way. Please stop by and pay us a visit!

August Programming at the Hart House Chess Club

Hello Hart House Chess Club members!

Important updates from our club this month! All events listed here are FREE!

  1. You can find us at the Hart House Reading Room Fridays from 4 pm to 11 pm. We also have online lessons weekly on Saturdays at 12 noon on Discord
  2. On our HHCC team page, we are running weekly Saturday events at 8 pm. Registration opens at 7 pm each Saturday. Each weekly winner gets a 1-month Diamond Membership.
  3. representatives will also be coming by in September if enough NEW members join our HHCC team page. Tell your friends to join!
  4. is running a Bullet and Bughouse Collegiate Chess League Championship. The Bullet Championship will be from August 6 to 13. Bughouse will be from August 20 to 28. You must be a student of UofT to register for this event. Registration for the Bullet closes August 5 at 10 pm PT.
  5. Collegiate Chess League Fall Registration is now open. The league is run on and UofT had some success last year. You must be a student of UofT to register for this event. 

If you would like to keep in touch with the latest events and activities of the club, you are encouraged to join our mailing list or our Discord server


HHCC Co-Communications Director 2022-2023

Chess players of all abilities attended a drop-in night organized by the Hart House Chess Club.

HHCC Summer Blitz

The Hart House Chess Club returned for its first casual blitz tournament of the summer on June 17th, 2022. It was the first opportunity to meet the new Executive and catch up with old and new friends.

The HHCC Summer Blitz was the first in-person tournament at the HHCC since the 202- Reading Week Open in February 2020! The Club finally opened back its doors earlier in the month to its weekly Casual Play Friday events.

June 17, 2022 at 7PM

Registration: opens 4pm, ends 6:45 pm. (late registrants will get half point byes)

Time Control: 5/3, 6 rounds

Prizes for top 3, unrated, U2000, and top woman


Starting RankNameRatingRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Round 6ScorePrize
1Christopher Knox235011110.515.51st – 2nd
2Joseph Bellissimo227611110.515.51st – 2nd
3Kit Ng22001110003
4Jim Zhao22001110104
5Wenzhi Dai21561100103
6Aria Payduri16501101014Top U2000
7Eliot Tseng14341001103
8Adrian Shkumbov138211002
9Isabelle Zhu130210100.513.5Top Woman
10Bowen Zhang12501001114
11Sean Sresnberg120000.510102.5
12Maksym Woychyshynunr.0001102
13Chol Elijah Akolunr.1011014Top Unrated
14Illya Lywarevunr.10100.513.5
15Raeid Saqurunr.101002
16Evan Baltmanunr.0112
17Aaron Huunr.0111003
18Vimal Simhaunr.0111104Top Unrated
19Bradlev Northwcateunr.010001 (BYE)2
20Andrey Jimierunr.01(BYE)001
21Sunghyoun Kimunr.0010113
22Nick Jamkhouunr.FF
23Kirill Logoveevunr.00.501001.5
24Tony Lauunr.0101002
25Nabeel Jafriunr.10001
26Daniel Stveiemannunr.100.51.5
27Daniel Wangunr.000.51012.5
28Norman Fuunr.0001012
29Jack Byembadorjunr.0.5000000.5
30Nathaniel Yong12811110115Third
31Daniel Zhaounr.10F10.5002.5
32Artashesunr.00001 (BYE)1
33Ben Hahn1800BYE (.5)101114.5
34Jonathan Yu2100BYE (.5)111104.5
35Victor Zheng0.50.5
36Edward Changb11

Congrats to all the winners! See you at our next tournament!

June & July Activities at the HHCC

Thanks for supporting the club in the first few weeks back in person. We will be hosting a few activities in the coming months. All HHCC activities are currently free since we are not charging membership fees at the moment.

Our first in-house blitz tournament of the year will be next Friday, June 17 at 7 PM ET in the Hart House Reading Room. Register on-site before 6:45 PM. Prizes are HHCC T-shirts. See the poster below.

Sahan Karunaratne will be leading beginner lessons starting Saturday, June 11th at 12 noon on Discord. He is a former HHCC Exec and has numerous years of experience teaching chess. See the poster below for more info. Beginners and intermediates are encouraged to join!

HHCC will be running weekly blitz arenas with monthly diamond memberships available. The exact date and time will be communicated through Discord.

Finally, weekly hangouts continue Fridays in the Hart House Reading Room throughout June, starting at 5pm ET and running until 11 pm ET.

Hart House Chess Club Returns!

Today, Friday, May 20th, 2022, marked the return of the Hart House Chess Club to the chess scene in Toronto. For over 2 years, UofT chess enthusiasts and the general HHCC community were left without a staple in the chess community. The strong showing from 40+ UofT students, chess enthusiasts, and community members showed that the HHCC was still alive and well.

Paul Keres simul at Hart House on May 7th, 1975. He scored 25 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses.
The Toronto chess community, of all ages, showed up to the meetup (May 20th, 2022)

The storied halls of the Hart House, which had once seen the likes of Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer, Paul Keres, and many more, were once again alive with the sounds of clocks banging and pieces dropping. Although masks were mandatory, as per UofT guidelines, you could tell that everyone was excited and happy to see the club return. New friends were made and connections rekindled. It felt like a return to normalcy.

As we slowly return from COVID-19, we hope you join us in our weekly hangouts happening Fridays 5 pm – 11 pm in the Hart House Reading Room. For those not local (or who can’t join us for our Friday hangouts), we hope to see you again in-person at our upcoming events and tournaments.

HHCC returned today to great fanfare. (May 20th, 2022)

Written by Victor Zheng, HHCC Communications Director

Return to In-Person Update

The Hart House Chess Club will be returning in-person Fridays in the Hart House Reading Room from 5 pm – 9 pm starting May 20th. We have finally confirmed with Hart House that we are allowed to use the space!

Please remember that in-person activities follow University of Toronto COVID-19 policies. Right now, masks are required if distancing is not possible. Please also follow any directions from the HHCC Executive Board who will be supervising the in-person activities.

Stay tuned for in-person lectures, tournaments, and more in the coming months! Lichess and Discord HHCC presences will remain active for the time being as students and the HHCC community gradually returns back in-person.

Stay safe, and we hope to see you back in-person,

HHCC Executive Board 2022-2023

2021-2022 Ivy League Challenge

On Friday, April 1st the Hart House Chess Club, at the University of Toronto, hosted the 4th annual Ivy League Challenge. The competition featured a modified online team battle where teams of students from the University of Toronto, University of Chicago, Princeton University, and the University of Waterloo battled it out in sets of intense matches to determine the dominating Chess power on the East coast. Being the second time that the event’s been held online, the event was carried out on the Lichess platform under 15m + 10s time controls, with each university fielding a full team of four players.

Team UofT was led by our very own CM Koosha Jaferian. A PhD student in computer science, with a lot more to show than just simple calculation, known for his strong positional play and being able to hold down the fort on board 1 even against the best of competition. On board 2 WIM Yunshan Li looked to replicate some of the recent successes she achieved at the KCF Cup, which included a 8/9 performance and a win over a grandmaster. Christopher Knox was slotted in on board 3, where he scored a sensational 5/5 at CUCC in February. Finally, to complete the line up Joseph Bellissimo returned back in the fold on board 4, ready to show us what we were missing out on in his temporary leave from competitive play.

On paper, UofT faced a tough field. UChicago brought two GMs to the event (Awonder Liang and Praveen Balakrishnan) while Princeton fielded one GM (Andrew Tang) and one IM (Daniel Gurevich). Waterloo, who edged us out at CUCC after a tense tiebreak, was also led by IM Michael Song on board one. Tension was high.

In the first round it was UChicago vs Waterloo and Princeton vs UofT. However, things didn’t go as planned for all the favourites. In a series of several exciting up-and-down battles, UChicago’s board 2 GM ended up falling to Waterloo’s Richard Chen and Princeton’s board 2 IM lost to UofT’s Yunshan Li! While Chicago overcame that setback to defeat Waterloo 3-1, Princeton was held to a standoff as as Chris Knox picked up a win on board 3 for UofT to tie the match to 2-2.

In round 2, UChicago looked to extend its lead against Princeton, while UofT hoped to avenge their narrow loss in the CUCC against their rivals at Waterloo. Following a nice win by Awonder Liang on board one in a matchup of GMs, Chicago went on to sweep Princeton 4-0. While Joseph won on board 4, draws on boards 2 and 3 resulted in UofT’s second consecutive tied match. Sadly despite having some chances in the wild game on board 3, Chris Knox was unable to successfully the hunt down of William Li’s fleeing King, ultimately leading to a draw. However, the round’s performance still left UofT only a full match point behind UChicago going into the last round.

With Princeton and Waterloo sitting on half a match point each, they were fighting in the last round to overtake UofT for second place. Hoping that UChicago could beat UofT. With a win, UofT would tie UChicago for first, but anything less would keep the door to second place wide open. With a quick draw against Koosha on board one, Awonder Liang secured the top board one prize. His teammates finished the job, sweeping the bottom three boards, and concluding a perfect event for Kapil Chandran (board 3) and William Graif (board 4). With UChicago well ahead on 3 match points and 10.5 game points, Princeton defeated Waterloo by the narrowest of margins (2.5-1.5) to edge the other teams for second place. Though they collected 1.5 match points to UofT’s 1 and Waterloo’s 0.5, all three teams finished second with a total of 4.5 game points.

At the end of the event, several prizes were awarded to individual players for their performances. After a last round draw, Richard Chen shared the board 2 prize with Praveen Balakrishnan. Furthermore based on their flawless results, Kapil Chandran and William Graif of UChigago won the best board 3 and board 4 categories. Finally, the best game prize of the event was awarded to Kapil Chandran’s final round victory over Chris Knox.

Despite such a bittersweet result, with opportunities to edge it out into a shared first place, UofT ended up placing 2nd. Several amazing performances by our board 2 and board 3, Yunshan Li and Chris Knox proved to be the backbone to the team’s success in the event. Currently, we hope to continue to build up our roster’s strength and come back stronger next year! We’re looking forward to taking the IVY League crown next season…

Special thanks to the Hart House Chess Club Executives for putting setting up the event. A further message of appreciation for Jonathan Yu for providing commentary and live coverage of the event on twitch. We’d also like to thank the other schools for their enthusiastic participation. We hope to welcome everyone back to Toronto for an in-person classical event next school year!

FIDE Binance Business Schools Super Cup 2021

The University of Toronto participated in the FIDE Binance Business Schools Super Cup 2021 this past weekend, 9-11 July. Organized by SKOLKOVO, the Moscow School of Management, the event attracted several other Russian schools, but was truly international with teams from Bangladesh, Fiji, England, India, Mexico, Philippines, Switzerland, USA, Zambia, and of course our Canadian team. 32 teams were sorted into four groups of eight, with a 7-round round robin group stage played over the first two days. The top two teams from each group would qualify to the knockout final on the last day. Rapid games (10’+2”) were played on lichess, with standard anti-cheating measures in place.

Placed in group C, Toronto began as the second rating favourites behind Moscow School of Management, led by GM Joël Lautier, with a strong Adam Smith Business School from Scotland looking like a threat to take a qualifying spot as well. Toronto was represented by regular team players Koosha Jaferian, Joseph Bellissimo, and Dai Wenzhi on the top 3 boards, and joined by Dayana Nasybullina on board 4, with team captain Tanner McNamara and Henry Prickett listed as alternates.

2021 FIDE Binance Business Schools Championship – Group C

In the first round, we managed a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Moscow, putting both teams in a good position to qualify, but with a lot of chess to go. In a great finish to day one, Toronto gathered all 12 possible points from the next three rounds (game points, ahead of match points, were used to determine qualification) – against Business School IMD (Switzerland, round 2), Chicago Booth (USA, round 3), and Escuela Superior de Comercio y Administr (Mexico, round 4). Moscow had dropped more points, but already had a 2.5-1.5 victory over Adam Smith. At the end of day 1, Toronto led the group with 14 points, Moscow trailed with 12.5, and Adam Smith was just behind at 11.5. The round 6 matchup between Toronto and Adam Smith looked set to decide qualification, with Moscow, on paper, having easier games the second day.

In round 5, both Moscow and Adam Smith scored clean sweeps while Toronto dropped a half point to Brook Besor University from Zambia, narrowing the margin a little. In round six, we routed Adam Smith 3.5-0.5 in a match that was far closer than the final score indicated. Joseph held his game a pawn down against his IM opponent on board 2, while the highlight of the match for me was Koosha coming from two pawns down to win his game on board 1. With that score line, we clinched our spot in the knockout, though places were still to be decided – Moscow picked up another half point on us and could overtake us in the next round. Waiting for us in the quarterfinals would be another Russian school – either Perm State or Ranepa, who were guaranteed first and second in group D, in some order. In round 7, I took the opportunity to rest Koosha and play Henry, making his debut for the competitive team. He rewarded us handsomely with a brilliant victory, leading us to a 4-0 sweep over the Indian Institute of Management Jammu 2. With that we held off Moscow to win the group, having collected a remarkable 25 out of a possible 28 game points.

In the quarterfinals on the next day, we were paired against a strong Ranepa team that actually scored the most match points in their group, but finished second to Perm State by half a game point. This was such a stressful match for me to watch – while Joseph won quickly on board 2 to put us up 1-0, things were not looking great on the other boards. Koosha had a fine position,

but I was wondering how many winning chances he had. Dayana got into a spot of trouble on board 4, and Dai Wenzhi was forced to give up a rook for two pieces on board 3. Thanks to some imprecise play from her opponent, Dayana got active and was able to make a draw. Koosha played into the endgame, but the final result of a draw was no surprise. With the score 2-1 in our favour, I felt an armageddon tiebreak was looming as Dai Wenzhi was facing two pieces and two pawns for his rook now. By some miracle, and aided by time trouble, he somehow forced a draw against his FM opponent, and we were perhaps a bit lucky to advance 2.5-1.5. The rest of Sunday though, luck was not on our side. We faced MIPT in the semifinals, a team we had previously tied 2-2 at the Kasparov Chess Foundation Cup. While Koosha held a draw against his titled opponent, the rest of the team couldn’t capitalize on their chances, and we dropped the match 3.5-0.5, our first match defeat of the whole event. The day was not yet over, though, as we had a chance to play for third place, this time against our group rivals and hosts, Moscow School of Management. We could not, however, replicate our 2-2 result against them, and we finished in 4th place after a 3-1 defeat. Dai Wenzhi played brilliantly in his victory, but we did not get enough on the other boards. There was a chance, for a moment, missed in time trouble to make a draw on board 1. On board 4, it seemed we got an okay position, but it turned into a sour endgame. And board 2 was a wild sacrificial affair that began from a good position for UofT, and I can only imagine there were many twists and turns and imprecisions at the rapid time control. For most of the game, all three results seemed possible, but it was Moscow emerging victorious on that board and in the match.

After Toronto had no games left to distract me, the organizers graciously invited me on to the live broadcast, which previously hosted FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich and 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, among other guests – what a fun experience for me! I must say, they did a phenomenal job with the event and with the broadcast (there were streams in both Russian and English). A huge thank you to the organizers, FIDE, and the many sponsors, with a special thank you to Oxana Kosteniuk, Alexey Goryachev, Ivan Khvorov, Tania Karali, and of course the arbiter Alex Holowczak – they all did a great job!

A huge congratulations to the winners from Shri Ram College of Commerce from India, after defeating MIPT in a best-of-2 final. Well done to MIPT, too, and congratulations to the hosts from Moscow on a well-deserved third place finish.

Written by Tanner McNamara

Sponsors and Organizers

The Perfect Tournament

Below, please find Sahan Karunaratne‘s report on the tournaments which took place on September 25th that he organized!

We can be very happy to put this on page, as we had a wonderful blitz tournament this week. The stars aligned as a crop of players with a rating range from 1000-2300 took stage. Yet this group of people, who would usually huddle in different corners of the reading room, found themselves having a competition that everyone could enjoy.

Each player had at least a couple of players that posed a genuine threat to them. Jonathan Hay and Handknit, two people who typically can dominate a tournament like this, provided the other is not present, found themselves in one hair raising position after another. Both were put under significant pressure by Ethan M’s Berserking which brought him a clear win. Henry Vu, who I might remind you has won a number of tournaments was not only challenged by the 2000+ players, but also players at his own rating. He just about managed to snare fourth place, from what I see now is clearly his sworn enemy Daniel Glasroth. A shoutout is in order for Edmund Chan who managed to play their usual unfazed chess, this time with some results to be proud of! For the bullet tournament, there are two items of interest.

The winner: Ethan M. and the last comment Daniel wrote which is that chess is not necessarily restricted to Fridays. Perhaps our next report shall include challenges made right throughout the week!

August 21 Update

Below, please find a weekly update report written by Coach and former Events Coordinator Sahan:

This week the chess club, having had some community input on Discord, is switching back to Arena tournaments. In addition, we will be hosting the tournaments on The move to will not be permanent. We intend to foster a similar player base to our lichess page, so as to give our club access to variants that are only available on

The main variant that came to define the late nights spent at the Hart House Chess Club was certainly bughouse. A variant only available on, so in our quest to capture some essence of the atmosphere in the reading room, we are aiming at broadening our online platform.

In addition, we have variants that are new to the club. Many members are no doubt unfamiliar with four player chess. No doubt it seems impossible to keep people invested in a game so seemingly opposed to chess, but I hope that you will keep an open mind and feel a sense of adventure as we try out new ideas at the club!

Finally, congratulations are in order for Henry Vu for winning the Hart House Blitz.