Tag Archives: chess films

The Dark Horse at Varsity Theatre – April 15

The Dark Horse opens in Toronto this Friday

THE DARK HORSE, a story of a brilliant but troubled New Zealand chess champion who finds purpose teaching underprivileged children about the rules of chess and life will be released at Cineplex Odeon Varsity Theatre in Toronto starting Friday, April 15th.

See trailer:

The film originally premiered in Canada at the Toronto International Film Festival and won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Score at the 2014 New Zealand Film Awards, Best Film at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), 2015 San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) and 2015 Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR), and was labeled by leading New Zealand critics as “One of the greatest New Zealand films ever made”.

Release Date – Friday, April 15, 2016 at the Cineplex Varsity Theatre in Toronto
Cast: Cliff Curtis, James Rolleston, Kirk Torrence
Synopsis: Based upon a powerful true story, The Dark Horse is the uplifting portrait of a man searching for the courage to lead, despite his struggles with mental illness. The film features a stunning, award-winning performance by Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider, Blow, “Fear the Walking Dead”) as Genesis “Gen” Potini, a brilliant but troubled New Zealand chess champion who finds purpose by teaching underprivileged children about the rules of chess and life. After years in and out of mental institutions, Genesis is released into the care of his estranged brother Ariki (Wayne Hapi) and thrust into his volatile gang lifestyle. Seeking to escape this toxic environment, Genesis finds solace by volunteering at the Eastern Knights chess club and sharing his gift with the disadvantaged Maori children of his community.


ACC Bobby Fischer Celebration Swiss

Pawn Sacrifice (see trailer) is coming to theatres September 25.

In a gripping true story set during the height of the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) finds himself caught between two superpowers when he challenges the Soviet Empire. Also starring Liev Schreiber and Peter Sarsgaard, Pawn Sacrifice chronicles Fischer’s terrifying struggles with genius and madness, and the rise and fall of a kid from Brooklyn who captured the imagination of the world.

At Annex Chess Club, we’re marking the movie release with our Bobby Fischer Celebration Swiss. Running from August 17 to September 21 – just before the release – this regular club tournament is in three sections by CFC rating: Crown, Under-1900, and Under-1500.


Thanks to Elevation Pictures and the House of Staunton, we have some great tournament prizes for this event!

The winner of the tournament (Crown section) will receive a beautiful luxury set that is a replica of the pieces used in the 1972 World Champonship.

Winners and runners up in all three sections will also receive double passes to the advance screening of the film at the Varsity theatre on Wednesday September 23, at 7:30 pm.

Please be aware that the advance screening will be oversold so ticket-holders must arrive an hour to 45 mintues in advance of the screening time to be admitted with the chance of getting a good seat.

Elevation RGB Version

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Round One – August 17

In Round One action, the Crown section sees a number of draws. (Quite an achievement for the “David” in those David-versus-Goliath matchups!) As a result, Jon Yu with the only decisive game in the round is now in sole possession of first place with 1.0/1.

In U1900, Marcus Wilker, Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy, and George Supol are in a three-way tie for the lead with 1.0/1.

And in U1500, there’s a seven-way tie for first, with Rahul Gangolli scoring an upset win to join the other six leaders at 1.0/1.

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Round Two – August 24

Famous for his unprecedented (and unduplicated) domination of the game in his era, Bobby Fischer won the 1963–64 US Chess Championship with a perfect score of 11/11. We’re only two rounds into our tournament but only three players still have perfect scores.

In the Crown section, there’s a four-tie for first as Jon Yu takes a bye, while Aahil Noorali, Dave Southam, and Michael Humphreys win their games to join him at 1.5/2.

In the U1900 section, George Supol, with a win over Marcus Wilker, has a perfect 2.0/2 score and sole possession of the lead. Hooshang Abbarin, with a win over Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy, is half a point behind with 1.5/2.

In the U1500 section, there’s a two-way tie for first as Michael Saltat and Richard Morrison have perfect 2.0/2 scores. Another five players are half a point behind with 1.5/2, including Mysha Gilani, one of the few female players in the tournament, and Justin Tanasijczuk, one of four unrated players playing their first ever CFC-rated tournament.

Games From Round Two

Here’s the game from the top board in the U1900 section. (Players are encouraged to submit .pgn files for their games for inclusion on the website!)

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Round Three – August 31

In the Crown section, the games on the top two boards end in draws, resulting in a six-way tie for first. Michael Humphreys, Aahil Noorali, Dave Southam, Jon Yu, Sergey Malakhovets, and Joseph Bellissimo all have 2.0/3. It will be an exciting final two rounds to see who can take this event!

In the U1900 section, the battle between the top two players also ended in a draw. So George Supol remains in the lead with 2.5/3, while Hooshang Abbarin trails by half a point along with Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy and Max England at 2.0/3.

In the U1500, Michael Saltat takes a bye, while Mysha Gilani wins her game against Richard Morrison. First place in the section is split with two more players as Rahul Gangolli and Mark Gelowitz win their games to join the lead group at 2.5/3.

* Please note that we’ll be closed for Labour Day on Monday September 7. Rounds 4 and 5 are on September 14 and 21.

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Round Four – September 14

With the grand prize beautiful luxury chess set on display at the front desk – and with many new students registered for their adult and childrens’ classes – the tournament round starts at 7:30.

In the Crown section, the big leader group is down to two as Michael Humphreys and David Southam win their games to rise to 3.0/4, while Jon Yu and Joseph Bellissimo draw.

In U1900 action, the three-way tie for second has become a three-way tie for first, as Hooshang Abbarin, Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy, and Max England all win their games to rise to 3.0/4. Ab-Barin’s game against Arkadiy Ugodnikov is included just below.

And in U1500, the four-way tie is down to a two-way tie, as Mysha Gilani and Michael Saltat win their games, moving up to 3.5/4 (the best scores in the tournament).

All three sections are going down to the wire, with ties for the lead going into the final round.

Games from Round Four

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Round Five – September 21

In the Crown section, the two leaders win their final games to finish neck and neck at 4.0/5, and it comes down to tie breaks, with Michael Humphreys having played more games with black.

In U1900, the winner is Max England, defeating Hooshang Ab-Barin to rise to 4.0/5, while Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy is held to a draw by George Supol.

And in U1500, Mysha Gilani wins her game against Michael Saltat to take clear first with 4.5/5.

See complete final results below, ranked by points and then by better tie-break.

Congratulations to our winners, Michael Humphreys, Max England, and Mysha Gilani. Thanks to over 50 participants for helping celebrate Bobby Fischer, and thanks to our sponsors, Elevation Pictures and House of Staunton! Don’t miss Pawn Sacrifice, previewing on Wednesday (if you won tickets) and coming to theatres Friday.

A new tournament, which will be our 5th Anniversary Swiss, starts next Monday September 28 at 7:30 pm. Come help us celebrate five wonderful years of downtown Toronto chess at Annex Chess Club! Please arrive before 7:00 pm to register. New players are welcome to join!

Results after Round Five

SwissSys Standings. ACC Bobby Fischer Celebration Swiss: Crown

# Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 Michael Humphreys 131628 2373 D3 W16 D2 W4 W6 4.0
2 David Southam 102535 2228 D16 W3 D1 W5 W10 4.0
3 Nameer Issani 154796 2044 D1 L2 D8 W9 D5 2.5
4 Aahil Noorali 155015 1797 D5 W9 D7 L1 D8 2.5
5 Sergey Malakhovets 158413 2098 D4 H— W12 L2 D3 2.5
6 Joseph Bellissimo 147544 2224 H— H— W14 D7 L1 2.5
7 Jonathan Yu 126131 2243 W9 H— D4 D6 U— 2.5
8 Daniel Zotkin 146857 2038 H— H— D3 D12 D4 2.5
9 Armand Jess Mendoza 156958 1947 L7 L4 W16 L3 B— 2.0
10 Alex T. Ferreira 127516 2108 H— H— U— W15 L2 2.0
11 Hooshang Ab-barin 152910 1660 H— H— U— W16 U— 2.0
12 Brett Campbell 101324 2216 H— H— L5 D8 D13 2.0
13 Jacob Stein 108627 1882 H— H— U— U— D12 1.5
14 Bill Evans 103309 2131 H— H— L6 U— U— 1.0
15 Miroslav Stefanovic 154500 1977 H— H— U— L10 U— 1.0
16 Arkadiy Ugodnikov 146626 1847 D2 L1 L9 L11 U— 0.5

SwissSys Standings. ACC Bobby Fischer Celebration Swiss: U1900

# Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 Max England 155135 1636 H— H— W5 W3 W4 4.0
2 Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy 153938 1635 W10 L4 W6 W9 D3 3.5
3 George Supol 152286 1431 B— W13 D4 L1 D2 3.0
4 Hooshang Ab-barin 152910 1660 H— W2 D3 B— L1 3.0
5 Mark A. Patton 104721 1472 L13 W7 L1 B— D9 2.5
6 Daniele Pirri 132983 1505 H— H— L2 W14 D7 2.5
7 Ulli Diemer 153538 1575 D11 L5 D12 W10 D6 2.5
8 Tigran Ghazarian 155438 1517 H— H— U— U— W11 2.0
9 Jean-Marc David 151900 1347 H— D10 H— L2 D5 2.0
10 Joshua Allen 105802 1443 L2 D9 B— L7 U— 1.5
11 Michael Sutton 151225 1792 D7 H— H— U— L8 1.5
12 Claudio Sottile 148499 1490 H— H— D7 U— U— 1.5
13 Marcus Wilker 102713 1641 W5 L3 U— U— U— 1.0
14 Matthias Schuett unr. H— H— U— L6 U— 1.0

SwissSys Standings. ACC Bobby Fischer Celebration Swiss: U1500

# Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot
1 Mysha Gilani 155004 1247 W4 D2 W10 W9 W3 4.5
2 Mark A. Gelowitz 126627 1389 W11 D1 W5 H— W4 4.0
3 Michael Saltat 158633 1227 W16 W25 H— W10 L1 3.5
4 Benjamin Thalman unr. L1 W7 W11 W8 L2 3.0
5 Justin Tanasijczuk unr. H— W17 L2 W11 D8 3.0
6 Ryan Guo 154346 1131 H— H— U— W17 W10 3.0
7 Christopher Field 108098 1250 L9 L4 W24 W24 W12 3.0
8 Milan Cvetkovic 150817 1303 W24 L10 W20 L4 D5 2.5
9 Rahul Gangolli 156023 921 W7 H— W19 L1 U— 2.5
10 Richard Morrison 135889 1407 W15 W8 L1 L3 L6 2.0
11 Nick Jafari 160405 1056 L2 W18 L4 L5 W21 2.0
12 Martin Pitt-Bradley 158457 927 H— H— W16 U— L7 2.0
13 Jeff Pancer 107543 1117 H— H— U— L18 W24 2.0
14 Bruce MacInnis 149569 1294 W23 H— H— U— U— 2.0
15 Eli Teram 107314 1142 L10 L16 H— H— W22 2.0
16 Todd Westcott unr. L3 W15 L12 H— U— 1.5
17 Paul Panayotou unr. H— L5 W18 L6 U— 1.5
18 Howard Halim 153419 1108 D25 L11 L17 W13 U— 1.5
19 Adam Goldfarb 153496 1328 H— H— L9 U— U— 1.0
20 Keira Cuthbert unr. H— H— L8 U— U— 1.0
21 Brendan Grady 158392 1405 H— H— U— U— L11 1.0
22 Alex Moisseev 160217 785 H— H— U— U— L15 1.0
23 Larissa Souchko 145490 939 L14 H— H— U— U— 1.0
24 Henry XianRui Zhang 156492 1001 L8 H— L7 L7 L13 0.5
25 James Mourgelas 108540 1396 D18 L3 U— U— U— 0.5


W = win (e.g., W9 means a win against player 9 – worth 1 point)
L = loss (0 pt)
D = draw (½ pt)
H = ½-pt bye (requested in advance or assigned on registration, max 2 per player, not in final round)
B = 1-pt bye (“forced bye” – e.g., odd number of players)
U = 0-pt bye (e.g., when max ½-pt byes previously awarded, or in final round)
F = forfeit loss (0 pt)
X = forfeit win (1 pt)

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Online Poster Art

Pawn Sacrifice: in theatres September 25

Boris Gelfand film showing in Toronto

DAVID COHEN | Toronto, ON | 2014/04/26

Album 61

Canadian Premiere
YEAR: 2013
LANGUAGE: Russian / Hebrew / English
DIRECTOR: Halil Efrat

May 7 – 3:30PM Empress Walk
May 4 – 5:30PM Koffler House

Filmmaker Halil Efrat turns a chess competition into a moving and suspenseful spectacle where so much is at stake. Album 61 chronicles a twenty-day World Chess Championship through the eyes of one of its main competitors, Boris Gelfand, a Russian immigrant now living in Israel. Boris has spent his entire life getting ready for this moment. He was raised to become a champion since the age of six. At its heart, the film is a tender story about family relationships, as Boris’s father had to live his own dreams through his son under the Soviet regime. Efrat won the Best Documentary Director prize at last year’s Jerusalem Film Festival.

Watch the trailer. (The video ends abruptly; it’s not clear whether that’s intentional.)

Check listing and ticket info.

Brooklyn Castle – Special Event in T.O.

BROOKLYN CASTLE from Rescued Media on Vimeo.

The Film, Brooklyn Castle, is showing in Toronto at the Hot Docs International Film Festival.

Film Screenings

Sun, Apr 29 6:30 PM
Cumberland 3

Tue, May 1
9:00 PM
The ROM Theatre

Sat, May 5 1:15 PM
The Regent

Special Kids’ Event at Hart House

Kali Holloway (Outreach Director for Brooklyn Castle) is inviting young players in Toronto to be a part of a special event before the screening on Tuesday. The event will take place on Tuesday, May 1 from 5 to 7 PM at Hart House, a beautiful space on the University of Toronto campus. Members of the college’s chess team will be on hand playing games and doing tandem simuls.

Chess parents, please contact Chess Institute of Canada (CIC) if your son or daughter would like to participate. CIC teaches life skills in Toronto schools through chess, and runs a Saturday Chess Club in the downtown “priority neighbourhood” of St. James Town.

Film Synopsis

Public school I.S. 318 is a chess powerhouse, producing national champions straight out of junior high. The secret to the school’s success? Coaches who hold leadership skills and divergent thinking above standings and trophies, and students eager to learn and improve. Brooklyn Castle follows the challenges and triumphs both on and off the chessboard as the financial crisis brings severe budget cuts to after-school programs. With three-quarters of the student body living under the poverty line, will the chess club survive the economic downturn? Will the students realize their goals? Will Rochelle become the first female African-American chess master? Will sixth-grade prodigy Justus conquer his stage fright? Will Patrick overcome his ADHD by honing his powers of concentration? In life, as in chess, the answers aren’t clear. The truth is not about right and wrong, it’s about infinite moves and the choices we make.
Angie Driscoll (Hot Docs Programmer)

Rochelle Ballantyne (1970 USCF),
one of five players featured in the film