Category Archives: News

The latest news for Annex Chess Club and Toronto chess in general

ACC Update (Mon Nov 28)

A) FIDE 2022 World Senior Chess Championship

Assisi is best known as the birthplace of St. Francis, Italy’s patron saint

Eight Canadians competed in the FIDE 2022 World Senior Chess Championship which just ended in Assisi, within Umbria Italy. Presented below are the finishing places (using tiebreaks), titles, names, FIDE performance ratings and points scored for all participating Canadian players.

Open 50+ Years Category (148 competing):

  • 23rd place – IM David Cummings (2258) – 7/11
  • 33rd place – FM Victor Plotkin (2279) – 6.5/11
  • 38th place – FM Michael Dougherty (2172) – 6.5/11
  • 51st place – Yves Morin (2152) – 6/11
  • 56th place – NM David Filipovich (1902) – 6/11
  • 60th place –Dale Haessel (1881) – 6/11

FM Victor Plotkin has played in many ACC competitive chess events, including the recent Toronto Closed.

NM David Filopovich works for Chess Institute of Canada and can be often found teaching ACC students at 918 Bathurst Centre on many Monday evenings. He started the tournament as the 100th rated player in his section and finished 56th.

Open 65+ Years Category (150 competing):

  • 6th place – IM Jean Hébert (2324) – 8/11
  • 26th place – NM Steven Peter (2164) – 7/11

IM Jean Hébert’s 6th place performance was very good and we congratulate him on his success. He started the tournament as the 10th rated player in his section.

Congratulations to all the Canadian players for participating and finishing with credible performances in a very competitive tournament.

B) ACC in the News

Cecil Rosner, a Special Chess Writer for The Globe and Mail has written a short article about ACC’s Resident WGM Anna Burtasova.

This is the second article Cecil has written about Anna, though her first time mentioned as a member of the ACC team. Anna’s Toronto Women’s Chess Club (TWCC) next meets at ACC on Mon Dec 12.

Note: In Cecil’s article, he uses a mix of the terms “female” and “women.” At ACC, we prefer the consistent use of the term “women” regardless of age.

C) New 5-Week ACC Tournament Starts on Mon Nov 28

Keith Denning, our ACC Arbiter, has named the next tournament “Winter is Coming.” It starts on Monday though we’ll only get Rounds #1 and #2 completed before the holidays. The Crown Section should be pretty much back to normal now that the Toronto Closed is completed. Good luck to all the players.

D) The GTCL Rapid Event is Coming on Mon Dec 5

We are now up to 26 teams including 11 ACC teams and 15 from other chess clubs and player groups from around the GTA. We think we can comfortably handle 34 teams at ACC, but get your team in before space runs out!

Here are links to our Registration Summary and to our Registration Page.

Note: Approximately 20 players need to renew (or purchase) their own CFC membership before Dec 5 in order to qualify themselves (and potentially their team) for the event. They are identified on the Registration Summary page by an asterisk (*).

Annex Chess Club Update – Nov 21, 2022

A) 2022 Maplewood Invitational Ends

The 2022 Maplewood Invitational, a GM-norm, round-robin chess tournament being held at the beautiful Manoir Maplewood in Waterloo, Quebec, was completed on Saturday, Nov 19. The final Ranking Crosstable results after 9 rounds of play is presented below:

Rk. NameFED12345678910Total
1IMLiang, Jason  (1st Place – $1,000 + GM Norm)USA*½1½111½½17
2GMBosiočić, Marin (2nd Place – $500)CRO½*1½11101½6.5
3GMOrtiz Suarez, Isan Reynaldo CUB00*11½1½105
 IMNoritsyn, Nikolay CAN½½0*0½11½15
5IMSamsonkin, Artiom CAN0001*11½½½4.5
6IMRodrigue-Lemieux, Shawn CAN00½½0*01114
 IMPlotkin, Mark CAN000001*1114
8GMKantans, Toms LAT½1½0½00*013.5
 GMSambuev, Bator CAN½00½½001*13.5
10IMSai, Krishna G V IND0½10½0000*2

We congratulate U.S. International Master (IM), Jason Liang, for winning his second GM norm by finishing with a score of 7/9. This is a fantastic accomplishment given he played against 4 Grandmasters (GMs) and 5 other International Masters (IMs), and his score exceeded the minimum 6.5/9 threshold for the norm.

Congratulations also to the 2022 Maplewood Invitational’s organizers, Charles Lesperance and Salim Belcadi, the arbiters and players, and the staff at the Manoir Maplewood, for making this inaugural event truly special. Thanks also to the Event’s sponsors and facilitators including Annex Chess Club and Fédération québécoise des échecs (FQE).

Here is our previous link to the start of the 2022 Maplewood Invitational, including links to the games, players and other information.

B) Maplewood Chess Club of Montreal

The new Maplewood Chess Club of Montreal (Club d’Échec Maplewood de Montréal), which was recently created as a Federal non-profit corporation, is holding its first rated chess tournament, a Rapid event on Monday, November 21. Here is a link to the bilingual Registration Site for this event.

Three GMs and two IMs who participated in the 2022 Maplewood Invitational will also be participating in the Maplewood Rapid Tournament (Tourney Rapid Maplewood).

The initial directors and officers for this new chess club include Charles Lesperance and Salim Belcadi. The Club’s name was drawn from both the Maplewood Invitational Event and the Manoir Maplewood. Annex Chess Club is providing logistical support to Maplewood Chess Club to help it get off the ground. Fédération québécoise des échecs (FQE) is also assisting.

C) Grandmaster Marin Bosiočić Visits ACC

GM Marin Bosiočić from Croatia will be visiting Annex Chess Club this Monday, November 21, and will hold a 4-player blitz simul in our Casual Section at 8:00 P.M. This event is free for ACC Members and guests who pay the $10 nightly casual play fee.

Marin played in the 2022 Maplewood Invitational (see above) and took second place. He was the top GM in the tournament and had a final score of 6.5/9. His FIDE classical chess rating is currently 2536 and he is the 9th highest rated GM in Croatia which has about two dozen GM’s. By comparison, Canada has 8 GM’s.

GM Marin Bosiočić

You can learn more about Marin here.

D) Toronto Closed Championship Winds Down

The 9-round Toronto Closed Championship is winding down. There is one round to go and it will be held this Monday, November 21 at Annex Chess Club at 7:30 PM. There is a $2,500 prize fund on the line, spread across 4 sections for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place in each section including ties. The Championship started with 40 players in 4 sections back on September 12, 2022, and due to withdrawals for medical and other reasons, we are now down to 37 players.

It should also be noted, that American Chess Magazine will be providing each of the 4 Toronto Closed section winners with a one-year ACM subscription as supplementary prizes. In the case of ties on points, a tie-break will be used to award these bonus prizes.

In the Championship Section, 4 of the 10 players have a chance to finish in the money. They are Roman Gavrilin (6.5/8), Max Rusonik (6/8), ACC’s own Koosha Jaferian (5.5/8) and Youhe Huang (5.5/8).

In the Reserve Section, 5 of the 9 remaining players have a chance to finish in the money. They are Eric Ning (6.5/8), Noah Kim (5.5/8), Benjamin Fradkin (5.5/9), David Southam (5/8) and Eddie Xu (4.5/8).

In the Development Section, 2 of the 8 remaining players are tied at 7/7 with only 1 round to go. They are Abhinandan Mohan and Nader Ghanbari, both members of ACC. Due to the withdrawal of a player not meeting the minimum requisite of five games, this section has been reduced to 8 rounds. Charlie Grisar has completed all 8 of his games and currently holds 3rd place with 4/8. David Gauthier and Brian Hanratty, stand tied at 3/7 and can potentially grab a share of 3rd place with a final win.

In the Annex Section, 2 of the 10 players are tied for the top spot with 6/8—Carina D’souza and Kamila Kolpashnikova. Daniel Sirkovich has 5/8 and can potentially steal a share of second 2nd or 3rd place outright with a win. Three other players could potentially end up in a tie for 3rd place if Daniel loses his final game.

So, there is still lots of drama coming right down to the wire!

(Note: A couple of makeup games will be played on November 28, though they are not expected to significantly affect the final standings.)

Here is a link to our original story about this longstanding Toronto event. Good luck to the Toronto Closed players with their final games!

E) Fall Leaves Tournament Continues

The final round (#5) of the Falling Leaves Tournament will be held this Monday, November 21 at 7:30 PM in the Great Hall at 918 Bathurst Centre. Currently, 77 players are registered in this 5-week tournament.

Tony Bohan Bao (Crown), Toy Chack Kwan (U1800) and Maxim Bondarev (U1400) each lead their resepective sections after 4 rounds. Here are the complete results after 4 rounds of play.

Players are welcome to join even if they have not played in the previous 4 rounds. A fully-paid CFC membership is required in all instances to join the tournament.

Please send emails to concerning registrations or byes. Keith Denning, ACC’s Arbiter, will respond to player requests.

F) Toronto Women’s Chess Club

Toronto Women’s Chess Club (TWCC) had its first meeting last Monday, November 14 and by all accounts, it was a great success. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 12 at 6:00 PM at ACC. The Club is open to all women chess players (or “wannabes”) in the GTA and attendance is free!

G) GTCL Cup Coming Soon

The GTCL Cup Team Rapid Championship is scheduled for the evening of Monday, December 5 at ACC. So far, 14 teams have registered including 8 ACC teams. Here are the ACC teams:

  • 1 FIDE-titled team (Championship) – “ACC Masters”
  • 1 team consisting of ACC Board members (U1800) – “The Bored Ones”
  • 1 women’s team (U1800) – “The Amazon’s”
  • 1 senior’s team (U1800) – “Grey Lightning”
  • 4 kid’s teams (U1800) – “Whiz Kids”, “The Cool Ones”, “Smooth as Glass” and “Chess Pirates”

ACC’s Board challenges the other GTA clubs to put forward at least one competing team.

There is currently room for another dozen teams, so please register your non-ACC team as soon as possible. A team may be registered online by its Registration Captain even if not all other team members (including the Team Captain) have been confirmed. However, the $40 registration fee must be paid at time of registration and the named team must be identified as either Championship or U1800. Only teams that register online are guaranteed a spot in the event.

(Note: There is typically a one-day delay between registering a team and seeing it show up on our Registration Summary.

H) Updated ACC Fall 2022 Schedule and FAQ’s

An updated ACC Fall Schedule is now presented here. This goes to the end of calendar 2022.

We’ve also started to add some new FAQ’s here.

Annex Chess Club Update – Nov 14, 2022

2022 Maplewood Invitational Starts

The 2022 Maplewood Invitational, a significant 9-round, round-robin, Canadian professional chess tournament, started last night at the beautiful Manoir Maplewood in Waterloo, Quebec. Six International Masters (IMs) are competing to win a Grandmaster (GM) norm against each other and four Grandmasters. A norm-seeker must achieve a score of 6.5/9 to earn a GM norm. Three such norms are needed to become a Grandmaster.

The organizers of this event are Charles Lesperance, a Partner of OXO Innovation, and Salim Belcadi, President of Annex Chess Club. The arbiters are Aris Marghetis (IA, Lead), Alex Ferreira (NA, Assistant). Omar Shah is also providing technical support.

Annex Chess Club is proud to be a sponsor of the 2022 Maplewood Invitational and is providing logistics support. Fédération québécoise des échecs (FQE), Quebec’s chess federation, is also a sponsor.

Key Links

  • You can read more about THE EVENT here.
  • Read about THE PLAYERS here.
  • THE GAMES by round may be viewed here.
  • The random-draw PAIRINGS and RESULTS by round may be viewed here.
  • IM Joshua Posthuma is also doing a live TWITCH STREAM of the games.
  • There is also a live LICHESS STREAM.

Good luck to all the players!

Below are pics taken before the start of Rd #1, with action from Rd #1. Click on an image to see a larger version.

Toronto Women’s Chess Club

A new initiative called Toronto Women’s Chess Club is being created through the efforts of Annex Chess Club (ACC) working in collaboration with other interested GTA Chess Clubs.

The idea is to create a unique chess club for women (including girls) that meets monthly. It is not intended to replace a woman’s existing local chess club but instead create an ongoing supplementary environment for chess—women nurturing women—so that they can go back to their respective clubs and prosper as more confident and emotionally stronger chess players, or come back to chess after several years of being away from it, or maybe even join their first chess club.

A confident, modern-day chess player—she loves her chess.
It helps define who she is.

Anna Burtasova, ACC’s Resident Woman’s Grandmaster (WGM) is spearheading this new initiative. Anna says:

Chess is great for everyone. No matter the age or background, people who play chess build skills that matter in life. Decision-making, confidence, accountability, believing in oneself, learning to accept defeat and draw conclusions for future victories are all part of it. Chess is also a great asset. It can help you to build a career, establish business contacts, and present yourself as a thinking and analytical person.

Traditionally, there have been less women than men in chess. A strategic game, it has been dominated by males, but it is our strong belief as confident and capable women that it’s long overdue that we leave outdated prejudices behind.

Women love chess, enjoy the game and can benefit from all that it has to offer. The percentage of chess players that are women has historically been about 10%, rising recently to a historical high of 15%. I’d like to see that change over the next 4-5 years, so that at least 1/3 of all GTA chess club players are women.

Chess has helped me become who I am now. Through it, I developed my analytical skills and increased my confidence. It has always brought me joy and excitement. I invite all women of any skill level to join our women’s club to get better at chess, work on all the qualities that naturally come with chess development, and, most importantly, have fun and enjoy themselves.”

Anna Burtasova, WGM

For now, the plan is to meet at The 918 Bathurst Centre for the Arts, the home of Annex Chess Club, on the second Monday of every month. Attendance is free.

The first meeting of Toronto Women’s Chess Club is this Monday, November 14, 2022 from 6:15 to 7:45 PM in the Star Room at Annex Chess Club, 918 Bathurst Street, Toronto. (The start of the weekly tournament and Toronto Closed will be delayed by 15 minutes to accommodate.)

The Toronto Women’s Chess Club is open to all women (including girls) who want to become better chess players and compete on an equal footing in a largely male-dominated game or sport, depending on your perspective.

Here’s a link to a great article called “Chess Queen” by Paul Hoffman, published in Smithsonian Magazine back in 2003. It’s about Jennifer Shahade and Irina Krush, two U.S. WGMs that have helped move the bar for women in chess. Even though the article is almost 20 years old, it’s still perfectly relevant today. The only difference is that, since The Queen’s Gambit Netflix series (2020), chess has been enjoying a real renaissance and now even more women are attracted to the game. Playing chess has become cool and it helps define many modern-day women.

Beth Harmon, the isoLanni?

Hikaru Nakamura at ACC Video

Below is a video of Hikaru Nakamura playing blitz chess against Evgeny Bareev at Annex Chess Club. This was part of Hikaru’s 3-day visit to Toronto (Oct 15-17), in which he visited Pub Chess (at The Madisson), Chess in the Park (at High Park) and Annex Chess Club (at 918 Bathurst Centre for Creative Arts).

Hikaru is currently rated World #5 in classical chess and is a former World #2. He is also rated World #1 in blitz chess. Evgeny is currently the top-rated classical chess player in Canada and a former World #4.

Here the gentlemen play two blitz games using a 3-minute + 2-second increment. Much of the audience is watching the game display on a large screen behind and to the side of the players. The results were a draw in Game #1 and a win for Hikaru in Game #2. These were the 21st and 22nd blitz games played at ACC by Hikaru, out of a total of 37 games.

Game #1:

Below is the Lichess game analysis for Game #1. It shows that the two players played to approximately the same level of accuracy and average centipawn loss, and both made a similar number of inaccuracies, mistakes, etc. This is common in blitz chess where time pressure is a factor.

Game #2:

The engine considers White’s move 26. Rc4 to be a blunder as 26. Rxe5 was best. The game would have then continued on from this alternative position, which you may wish to analyze further on your own.

Below is the Lichess game analysis for Game #2. It shows that Hikaru played to a higher level of accuracy and a lower level of centipawn loss, and he made fewer mistakes than Evgeny. Evgeny was slightly better with White in the opening, and in the middlegame Hikaru took the initiative with Black and achieved the win.

We are grateful for this OTB chess at ACC as well as hearing the players’ comments about their previous encounters at the Corsica Masters in 2007 and the Millionaire Chess Blitz in Las Vegas in 2015.