Category Archives: News

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

Annex Chess Club Updates

Latest updates are as follows (as of Aug 5):

A) ACC Closed August 1, 2022

Annex Chess Club will be closed this Monday, August 1, 2022 due to the Civic Holiday.

The Club will reopen on Monday, August 8, 2022 at 6:30 P.M., at which time chess classes, casual play and our Midsummer Madness Tournament (Round #4 of 5) will continue.

B) Upcoming ACC Events

The Toronto Blitz Championship is scheduled for Monday, August 22, 2022. At present 80 players have registered for the event. A waiting list was made available effective Monday, August 1 at 9:00 A.M. on our registration page. A limited number of spots may be available prior to the start of the tournament.

The Toronto Closed Championship is scheduled for September 12 to November 21, 2022. Pre-registrations are currently open until August 23, 2022. While only 20 final spots are available in two sections, pre-registrations beyond that level will be accepted. As of August 8, twenty-nine (29) pre-registrations have been received. A list of pre-registered players and their ratings may be found on our registration page.

C) New Membership Policy and AGM

At present, ACC has implemented a new working policy that an annual free membership may be granted by the Club to any FIDE-rated player (CM/WCM and higher) that requests one. This policy will be formalized and ratified at the Club’s next Annual General Meeting (AGM) which will be held this fall.

Details of the AGM date will be provided in upcoming weeks.

D) Chess Olympiad

The 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad 2022 is currently being held in Chennai, India. This team event runs for the period July 28 to August 10, 2022. Approximately 2,000 players from 200+ countries are participating.

The Canadian Olympiad Men’s Team (Open Section) consists of the following players, presented with their board #’s and current FIDE ratings:

  1. Eric Hansen, GM (2606)
  2. Panjwani Raja, IM (2450)
  3. Nikolay Noritsyn, IM (2482)
  4. Razvan Preotu, GM (2445)
  5. Artiom Samsonkin, IM (2434)

The Men’s Team Captain is Victor Plotkin. The Men’s Team started ranked 44th in the Olympiad and stands 26th after 9 rounds, with 22.5 pts.

Nikolay, Razvan and Victor all played in ACC’s Ontario Open tournament held in May 2022. Both Nikolay and Victor have also signed up for ACC’s Toronto Blitz Championship.

The Canadian Olympiad Women’s team (Women’s Section) consists of the following players, also presented with their board #’s and current FIDE ratings:

  1. Maili-Jade Ouellet, WGM (2239)
  2. Svitlana Demchenko, WIM (2122)
  3. Morgen Mills (1993)
  4. Yu Han Guo (1630)

The Women’s Team Captain is Shiyam Thavandiran. The Women’s team started ranked 56th in the Olympiad and stands 25th after 9 rounds, with 24.5 pts.

Maili-Jade, Svitlana and Shiyam all played in ACC’s Ontario Open tournament held in May 2022.

You can track the Canadian Teams’ performance throughout this event using the following two links to the Chess-Results Server:

Men’s Team

Women’s Team

Finally, two Canadian Arbiters, Aris Marghetis and Omar Shah, are working as International Arbiters at the Olympiad. We congratulate and thank both men for supporting this important event.

Good luck to the Canadian teams!

2022 Toronto Closed Championship

A long-standing tradition continues—this year, it’s a 9-round FIDE-rated Round Robin, spread across 3 months of Monday evenings

Image of the the ACC Registration website

Background

Annex Chess Club is proud to organize/host for the 8th time, the annual 2022 Toronto Closed Chess Championship over successive Monday evenings at the 918 Bathurst Centre—from September 12 to November 21, 2022. The Championship will have two 10-player sections (Championship and Reserve) organized in a (9-round) Round Robin format, using a classical time control of 90 minutes plus 30-second increment. The sections are planned to be both CFC- and FIDE-rated.

The Toronto Closed Chess Championship is overseen by the Greater Toronto Chess League (GTCL) and the event has a long and storied past, which certainly makes for some interesting reading. Erik Malmsten, an ACC Club Member and a chess historian, has prepared some interesting content about this event—see below for History of the Toronto Closed Championships.

Here is a copy of the official Championship Flyer.

Schedule

All rounds begin at 7:30 p.m. and are scheduled as follows:

  • Round #1 – September 12
  • Round #2 – September 19
  • Round #3 – September 26
  • Round #4 – October 3
  • No round is scheduled for October 10 due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday
  • Round #5 – October 17
  • Round #6 – October 24
  • Round #7 – October 31
  • Round #8 – November 7
  • Players will use November 14 for make-up games
  • Round #9 – November 21

With pairings announced days before each round starts, players may prepare themselves for their next scheduled opponent.

Pre-Registration

Interested players are required to PRE-REGISTER FOR FREE on ACC’s 2022 Toronto Closed Registration website and must have a valid CFC rating supported by an active CFC membership. A FIDE rating is not required to join the event, however, each section must have at least 4 FIDE-rated players for the section to be FIDE-rated.

Some friendly advice—normally, a player should have at least a 1700 CFC rating to try to grab a lower spot in the Reserve Section.

Final Registration and Payment

As of noon on Wednesday, August 24, the list of pre-registered players will be frozen. The top ten CFC-rated pre-registered players will be assigned spots in the Championship Section. The next top 10 CFC-rated pre-registered players will be assigned spots in the Reserve Section.

Pre-registered players will have until noon on Wednesday, August 31 to pay their final registration fees online and avoid losing their assigned spots. The final registration fee is one of the following: $110 for ACC members; $110 for FIDE-titled players (CM/WCM and higher); or $140 for anyone else.

The base pricing of $140/$110 reflects: i) the extra 2 rounds being played (9 vs. the more traditional 7); ii) an improved prize fund; and iii) inflation. The pricing for FIDE-titled players is also in line with ACC’s new membership policy that such players may obtain a free annual ACC tournament membership upon request.

ACC also reserves the right to assign up to 2 (of the 20 spots) as “wild-cards.”

Arbiter, Prize Fund and Brilliancy Prize

The Arbiter for this event will be Mr. Alex Ferreira.

The estimated prize fund is $1,200, including $500 + trophy for 1st place in the Championship Section. Each section will have cash prizes for 1st and 2nd place.

American Chess Magazine (ACM) will be providing a player’s brilliancy prize for each section. This is in the form of a free annual subscription to ACM. ACC plans to submit an article about the event including some player-annotated games for ACM’s year-end issue.

History of the Toronto Closed Championships

(By Erik Malmsten)

The Toronto Closed Chess Championship attracts established masters, rising juniors, and recent immigrants. It was first held in the 1850s, but sporadically.

In the early 1900s, there were annual individual, team, and sometimes Junior and Ladies Championships. John Stewart Morrison lost the Juniors but won the Toronto Championship in 1909, went on to win five Canadian Championships and play in international round-robins. He won the Toronto Closed in 1945 and played in 1952.

The 1920-30s saw strong players from Europe competing for first place, usually winning by a playoff. John Harry Belson from Finland won five Toronto Championships and two Canadian Championships. George Eastman from Sweden won six times (before moving and becoming the Michigan Champion). Robert E. Martin won four. He learned chess at 18 and won a Canadian Championship at 23. Sidney Gale, from the Caribbean, won three times.

In 1945, teenager Frank Anderson picked up a chess book in the hospital, and soon played correspondence chess and read more books. A year later he got on his crutches to go to the Toronto Chess Club. Within a year, Anderson was the Toronto Champion, first of six, and later Canadian Champion. He later became Toronto’s first IM and a great representative of Hart House Chess Club.

Geza Fuster, who escaped from Budapest, won three Championships in a row and later won three more times, including 1971 at age 61. In 1989, he had a plus score. Fuster played in 16 straight Championships, and had few draws.

Zvonko Vranesic, Belgrade Junior Champion, arrived in 1959 and won the Toronto Championship 9-0 and won again in 1967, 1970, and 1972. Vranesic obtained a GM norm in the 1970 Olympiad. Fuster and Vranesic became IMs in the 1969 Canadian Closed. George Kuprejanov, from Yugoslavia, tied for first in the 1971 Toronto Closed. Kuprejanov and Lawrence Day became IMs in the 1972 Canadian Closed.

Toronto Closed, 1967— on the left, Sarosy, Fuster and Vranesic, all historic Closed winners.

FIDE ratings started in 1969 and the Canadian Closed was usually the only FIDE-rated event in Canada. Time control was 40 moves in 2 1/2 hours. In 1988, it became the faster 40 moves in 2 hours. Zoltan Sarosy, from Hungary, won the Toronto Closed Top Section in 1963 and the Reserve Section in 1968. The winner of the Reserve usually qualifies to play in the following year’s Top Section. Sarosy was the distributer of the large Koopman clocks and was still playing correspondence chess at the age of 100.

The only other person to win both sections was Vlad [Walter] Dobrich who played in eight straight Toronto Closed’s, winning in 1973. Dobrich became the Toronto Star chess columnist, published the Chess Canada magazine, organized weekend swiss tournaments, and ran a chess book business. He returned to direct a few Toronto Closed’s 20 years ago.

In the 1970s Fischer boom, the juniors rose to the top. Peter Nurmi, Canadian Junior Champion, won in 1975 and 76. Unrated newcomer Nava Starr was third in 1976 and 79. Lawrence Day from Ottawa won in 1977 (first of five titles) and won the first Ontario Closed in the same year. He became the Toronto Star chess columnist. Bryon Nickoloff won the Toronto Closed in 1978. In the 1980s, U of T students Robert Morrison won three, Ian Findlay won two. The Toronto Closed’s were often held on the second floor at Hart House on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Sunday. Sometimes one of those days was just to play out adjournments.

In 1984, the Reserve Section was won by Vinny Puri (future Canadian Junior Champion), David Southam was second. The first all-master closed was in 1987, with an average rating 2301 (CFC), but was won by lower-rated players, Harry Kaminker and Gordon Taylor. (Note that the top-rated player has historically won less than half the time).

IM Lawrence Day won an all-master championship in 1995, played at Chess’n Math. The highest average ratings were in 1997 and 1998 (2330 and 2332, respectively) when the event was won by IM Bryon Nickoloff (with a 2606 performance rating).

Toronto Closed, 1984—Back: Bryon Nickoloff (4th), Tied 1st-Lawrence Day, Robert Morrison, and Joseph Polachek; Front: David Southam (Reserves – 2nd) and Vinny Puri (Reserves – 1st). Picture taken by Erik Malmsten

Eduardo (Eddie) Teodoro IV, a new 2022 ACC member and playing in the latest Summer Madness Tournament, won the 2000 Toronto Closed, with a score of 10-1.

A recent picture of “Eddie” taken by Mel Directo

Playing in the Dutton Club on Bayview. Junior Nikolay Noritsyn won 9-0 in 2008 with a 2644 performance rating.

In 2012, the Annex Chess Club started hosting the Closed. Annex members—teacher Michael Humphreys and veteran David Southam have played in many of the ACC Toronto Closed’s. Southam will pass Fuster’s record of playing in 20. Humphreys had a 2407 performance rating in 2013. Southam won the Reserve Section in 2004 and in 2015 (with a 2356 performance rating). In 1996, Southam was second in the Toronto Closed held by Scarborough Chess Club.

2015 Toronto Closed at ACC – TRIVIA: How many players can you identify and what FIDE/CFC titles did they have at the time?

Before Annex, GTCL President Michael Barron organized the closed at the Willowdale Chess Club. In the current era, the two most regular players, Victor Plotkin has won four and Michael Barron has won three. Plotkin won strong tournaments with average ratings of 2316, 2318 and 2329 (in 2014). Mike Ivanov has also won twice.

Winners of the Toronto Closed, Championship Section, since 2000 are listed below. Asterisks indicate those events that were held at ACC.

  • 2019 David Cummings
  • 2018 Michael Barron *
  • 2017 Mike Ivanov *
  • 2016 Mike Ivanov *
  • 2015 Geordie Derraugh *
  • 2014 Victor Plotkin *
  • 2013 Michael Song *
  • 2012 Michael Kleinman, Victor Plotkin *
  • 2011 Victor Plotkin
  • 2010 Victor Plotkin
  • 2009 Michael Barron
  • 2008 Nikolay Noritsyn
  • 2007 Michael Barron
  • 2006 Leonid Gerzhoy
  • 2005 Sami Ademi
  • 2004 Tomas Krnan, Yaaqov Vaingorten
  • 2003 Goran Prpic
  • 2002 Isai Berengolts
  • 2001 Brett Campbell
  • 2000 Eduardo Teodoro IV

Additional details about prior years’ Toronto Closed, both Championship and Reserve Sections, may be found on the CFC website here.

And so the tradition continues.

Annex Chess Club Juniors Impress at CYCC!

The Canadian Youth Chess Championship (CYCC) has just ended, and the Canadian Open Chess Championship is now getting underway. A number of the younger players in our club played in the youth championship and did our club proud, including:

Under 10 Open: Umid Allahverdi (tied 3rd – 5/7);

Under 10 Girls: Ashley Qian (3rd place – 5/7) and Yeeshuen Li (4th place – 4.5/7);

Under 12 Girl’s: Marie Guan (3.5/7);

Under 12 Open: Eric Qian (1st place – 6/7) and Charis Zhu (2nd place – 5.5/7);

Congratulations to all of our CYCC players! Their performances are an inspiration to ACC’s players in the Canadian Open, which starts July 11, 2022, including: CM Koosha Jaferian, Sergey Malakhovets, Andrew Xu, Shafkat Ali, Frank Helwig and Isabelle Zhu.

Best of luck to you all!

ACM Article – 2022 Ontario Open

Amercian Chess Magazine (ACM)’s June 2022 – Issue #27 includes a 12-page article—”A Very Special Canadian Chess Event“—about the recent 2022 Ontario Open. That event was organized and run by Annex Chess Club (ACC) over the recent Victoria Day weekend (May 21-23).

The ACM article is noteworthy as it documents the first major over-the-board chess tournament in the Greater Toronto Area since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. There were many challenges associated with the tournament that had to be dealt with, yet in the end, the players who attended said they had a great experience.

Click on the image to see a full PDF version of the article. (Presented with permission from American Chess Magazine.)

The 170-player field was strong yet diverse and included 28 titled, 60 juniors and 36 unrated players. Some wonderful chess games were played in the tournament’s four sections (Crown, U2200, U1800 and U1400). The June 2022 – Issue #27 article includes player-annotated chess games from both the Crown section (4 games) and the U1400 section (1 game).

ACM has indicated that it intends to present additional annotated games from the 2022 Ontario Open in its Issue #28. FM Michael Humphreys, an ACC member, helped by organizing and editing the annotated games for both issues.

Single copies of the June 2022 – Issue #27 are available for purchase in in-person purchase at ACC’s Front Desk, on Monday nights. The price is $30 CDN (including duty, tax and shipping), which is pretty good relative to ACM’s $24.99 USD retail price (plus shipping).

Annual subscriptions to ACM as well as individual back issues may be purchased here.

Also, please see our recent news post on two new tournament videos just released. Reading the ACM article and watching the ACC videos will provide you with a great feel and appreciation of what it was like to attend the event. We also had great sponsors some of which had an employee or two that were given free entry into the tournament.

Here is a link to our 2022 Ontario Open tournament summary page, which includes the two new videos.

2022 Toronto Blitz Championship

Background

Blitz chess is about playing well while under time pressure. Blitz chess helps to sharpen the senses and is great fun to play and watch.

ACC is proud to host, for the 7th time, the 2022 Toronto Blitz Championship on Monday, August 22nd at 918 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario. Previously, the summer venue used 6 times was The Harbourfront Centre. The tournament will consist of 7 double rounds with a time control of 3 mins. /2 secs. and will start at 6 p.m.

This year, the Toronto Blitz is being sponsored by Spirit of Math (Central Toronto campus) and OXO innovation. See the Sponsors section below for additional details.

Registration

Here is another link to our ACC Registration site for the tournament. The official Tournament Flyer is also available for review.

Pre-registration opened for ACC members on Monday, June 27 at the club’s front desk. Online registration opened on June 28. Current plans are that registrations will be limited to 80 players. With the resurgence of over-the-board chess in the GTA, we expect this event to be sold out, so don’t delay registering!

Earlybird pricing of $50 is available prior to August 1, at which date the price increases to $75. Discounts are also available for ACC members ($20) plus an additional discount for a junior/senior/woman player ($10).

The following titled players have already booked their seats for the 2022 event: GM Bator Sambuev, WGM Anna Burtasova, IM Nikolay Noritsyn, IM Ameet Ghasi (UK), IM Artiom Samsonkin, IM Sai Krishna (India), IM Mark Plotkin, IM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux, IM Michael Barron, FM Victor Plotkin, FM Michael Humphreys, FM Eddie Teodoro, and CM Koosha Jaferian.

Previous Winners

Previous winners of the Toronto Blitz’s Annex Cup were as follows:

  • 2014: Bator Sambuev, Bindi Cheng, Roman Sapozhnikov (tie – 11/14) – 50 players
  • 2015: Nikolay Noritsyn (12/14) – 33 players
  • 2016: Artiom Samsonkin, Nikolay Noritsyn (tie – 12/14) – 44 players
  • 2017: Artion Samsonkin, Mark Plotkin (tie – 11.5/14) – 46 players
  • 2018: Artiom Samsonkin (12/14) – 61 players
  • 2019: Nikolay Noritsyn (12/14) – last time the event was held – 53 players
2017 Toronto Blitz

Distinguished Senior Blitz Players

IM Michael Barron and FM Victor Plotkin, both playing in this year’s Toronto Blitz, were recently 1st (6.5/7 pts.) and 2nd Place (6.0/7 pts.) individual winners, respectively, of the Senior 50+ Blitz tournament at the 2022 World Senior Team Chess Championship in Acqui Terme, Italy. Blitz games were played there with a time control of 5 minutes. Here is a link to the final results of that 7-round/20-player blitz tournament.

Michael and Victor are both members of the 4-player Canadian Senior Team. The team event (23 teams/100 total players) of classical chess (9-round team swiss @ 90 mins. + 30 secs. time control) concluded on June 30, 2022.

Tournament Sponsors

Spirit of Math and OXO Innovation have signed on as co-sponsors of the Toronto Blitz. They were also sponsors of the 2022 Ontario Open. Here is more information about these chess-supportive companies.

Spirit of Math is an innovative leader in after-school mathematics education through its 40-campus global teaching community, and Spirit of Math Central Toronto Campus successfully addresses the needs of high-performing downtown Toronto students and their families. Scientific studies show that there is a significant positive link between learning math and learning chess. This SOM Campus is owned and operated by the Winick Family, long-time supporters of chess in the GTA. In addition, we honour the memory of both Ted and Heidi Winick for their past support. To learn more about Spirit of Math, click here.

OXO Innovation is a great global content partner to have when expanding your business beyond borders. With its team of in-house advisors, translators, copywriters and localization engineers, OXO helps companies deliver a premium customer experience in any language. Whether it’s on the chessboard or in the boardroom, OXO believes that thinking strategically is the key to success. That’s why OXO supports you, the client, through every step of your globalization journey, from planning and implementing your content strategy, to measuring your localization ROI. Learn more about OXO here.