Harmony Zhu has played regularly at Annex Chess Club and at Scarborough Chess Club. Current World Youth Under-8 Girls’ Chess Champion, she has also won national piano competitions. Watch the segment on EllenTV.
Harmony is as charming as she is talented, and her media interviews are already legend in the chess community. When it comes to coaches taking credit for their students’ success, here’s an excerpt from Harmony’s interview at the World Youth Chess Championship (where she won gold) when asked about her chess coach, Canadian IM Nikolay Noritsyn.
– Do you have a personal coach at the moment? Chess coach?
HARMONY: … Yes.
– If it is not secret, can you tell us about your coach?
HARMONY: He’s a very good coach. He taught me very … nice things. Lots of things.
– Is he a grandmaster? Or he is not?
HARMONY: I don’t know.
– What is your coach’s name? Because I think your coach … probably deserves some credit here for … the excellent coaching he has –
HARMONY: Oh, oh by the way, you know I have a pet guinea pig?
– A guinnea pig –
HARMONY: And his name is Scrumptious.
HARMONY: He’s a white guinea pig.
– White guinea pig!
HARMONY: Yeah, right now he’s back at my home.
– Does he know how to play chess?
– Are you going to teach him to play chess?
HARMONY: I’ll try but I’m not sure if he can learn it.
– Maybe he will become Guinea Pig Chess World Champion one day.
Apart from Nikolay earning a new nickname, the following image was poking out from behind a photograph in the latest issue of Canadian Chess News on a page showing a chess coach accepting a CYCC medal on behalf of his student who had left early.
John Upper’s caption was: “Some coaches have to take all the credit.”
CBC’s Our Toronto features our own eight-year-old phenom, Harmony Zhu!
The segment aired on CBC TV Sunday February 9 at 5:00 pm, but is now posted online.
Harmony gave a chess interview, filmed on location at Annex Chess Club – just before her game against Jonathan Yu – and a piano performance, filmed at the Royal Conservatory of Music. (Jonathan Yu and Ted Winick also appear in the video.)
“We’re going to introduce you to a young girl from Richmond Hill … who has the world at her fingertips. Her name is Harmony Zhu. Debbie Lightle-Quan discovered – she’s full of potential and surprise.”
Forty-one Canadian players represented Canada at this year’s WYCC. Players qualified for the 11-round WYCC at regional qualifier tournaments and then at the Canadian Youth Chess Championship in July. This year’s CYCC was in Ottawa; next year’s CYCC (and with it the Canadian Open) will be in Montréal.
There are photos and updates from the Canadian team at the 2013 WYCC on their 2013 WYCC blog.
Opening Ceremony – December 18
Canada had several notable results (Qiyu Zhou placed 20th in Under-14 Girls, Richard Wang placed 16th in Under-16 Open, and Issani Nameer placed 9th in Under-8 Open) but the biggest story is Harmony Zhu winning a gold medal in Under-8 Girls with a score of 9/11. Here’s a press-room video interview with Harmony:
And here’s a picture, taken just after she won her final-round game:
With Harmony’s gold, Canada was one of only 8 countries to win a gold medal. India led the medal standings with 3 gold medals, 2 silver, and 3 bronze.
August 14-18. Over 300 young players from Canada, USA, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, and Costa Rica competed in boys’ and girls’ age categories from under-8 to under-18.
We were well represented at the event, as lots of ACC players took part: Harmony Zhu (1st U-8G), Zehn Nasir (=6th U-16B), Pi Nasir, Zhanna Sametova (=5th U-16G), Danny Zotkin (=5th U-12B), Daniel Sirkovich, Alexandre Michelashvili, Stefan Markarov, Nicholas Vettesse, and Vlad Nitu. (I hope I haven’t missed anyone!) And of course we’re big fans of some of the other strong Canadian juniors as well!
The tournament is complete and final results are posted on the official site.
The Canadian team consists of 28 players in 12 age and gender categories – Open and Girls Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-14, Under-16, and Under-18.
Local Toronto players on the team include Arhant Washimkar and Harmony Zhu, who are regular club players at ACC – now representing all of Canada in the U8 Open and U8 Girls categories. Way to go, Arhant and Harmony! [Harmony is a former member of the Golden Knight Chess Club in Burnaby, BC – see comments, below.]
Alex Florea and Rebecca Giblon, who are also currently playing at ACC in the Toronto Junior and Toronto Women’s Championships, are competing for Canada in U16 Open and U16 Girls. Mark Plotkin, also playing at ACC in the Toronto Junior, is playing in the U14 Open category. [Thanks, Jack, for the intel.] Good luck, Mark, Alex, and Rebecca!
Among other notable participants, Richard Wang (U14), from Edmonton, earned his IM title at this year’s Canadian Closed (at age 13) and must be one of our best medal hopes this year. Jason Cao (U12), from Victoria, is of course famous as the U10 World Champion of 2010. And Ashley Tapp (U12 Girls), also from BC, has already become a bit of a chess celebrity through her recent fundraising campaign. Good luck to all our young Canadian players!
Team Canada at the WYCC is led once again by Andrew Giblon as Head of Delegation, with FM Andrew Peredun and IM Edward Porper as official coaches.
Most of the Canadian contingent are staying twenty minutes outside Maribor in the picturesque Hotel Tisa …
… where they are busy training:
Meanwhile, the tournament site is ready and waiting:
Round One – Thursday, November 8
Round One starts at 15:00 Central European Time, 9:00 am Toronto time. Pairings and results are posted on the WYCC site. (Filter Federation=CAN to see Team Canada’s results.) Selected games are running live on chessbomb.
Early pairings in a large Swiss are, as usual, heavy rating mismatches, so there aren’t many surprises in the first-round results. Among the winners, Mark Plotkin (1928) beats teammate Kajan Thanabalachandran (UNR) in U10 Open; Arhant Washimkar (UNR) beats Slovenian Aleksander Dajcman (UNR) in U8 Open; and Harmony Zhu (UNR) gets a first-round bye in U8 Girls.
Rounds Two to Four – Friday-Sunday, November 9-11
While there are a number of players with fine records and good games, only two now are still perfect. Richard Wang, number 4 seed in U14 Open, is 4/4 and will be defending top board in his section next round. Meanwhile Harmony Zhu, with 4/4 in U8 Girls, will be playing the top seed in her section next round. Two big games to watch in Round 5 action early Monday morning!
With a break day coming up Tuesday, there are two rounds on Monday.
In Round 5, Harmony draws the U8 Girls top-seed, Hungarian Judit Juhasz! In Round 6, she loses to the number-3 seed, Russian Taisiya Tereshechkina.
After six rounds, there are four Canadians holding places in the top-20 in their categories:
Richard Wang in U14 Open has 5.0/6, and is currently in 2nd place (initally 4th seed). Harmony Zhu in U8 Girls has 4.5/6, and is currently in 9th (initially 91st). Arhant Washimkar in U8 Open has 4.5/6, and is currently in 12th (initially 129th). Qiyu Zhou in U12 Girls has 4.0/6, and is currently in 19th (initially 15th).
Rounds Seven to Nine – Wednesday to Friday, November 14-16
After nine rounds, our three contenders are still looking good for a top-ten finish. Harmony, Qiyu, and Richard all won their Round-9 games, and all have 6.5/9 going into the last two rounds.
Here’s Harmony’s Round-9 win:
Round Ten – Saturday, November 17
Unofficial results show Qiyu losing to Kazakhstani WIM Zhansaya Abdumalik (top seed in Girls U12), while Richard and Harmony, each winning their games, are heading into the final round with 7.5/10. Harmony and Richard are also both 6th in their sections.
Harmony is also celebrating her 7th birthday today – Happy birthday, Harmony!
Good luck to everyone in the final round!
Round Eleven – Sunday, November 18 – Final Round!
It’s an early-morning round, to make time for closing ceremonies later in the afternoon.
In U8 Girls, Harmony Zhu is playing Motahare Asadi on board 1.
In U14 Open, Richard Wang is playing Radoslaw Gajek on board 2.
Harmony, with a loss, finishes 8th in the world among girls under 8. Richard, with a last-round win, takes a bronze medal for Canada for players under 14.