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.

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