First and second row from left to right: Grade 1 to 12: Jayden Qu (BC), Yunqi Liu (QC), Ethan Song (BC), Anthony Atanasov (ON), Max Chen (ON), Nameer Issani (ON), Qiuyu Huang (QC), Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux (QC), Eugene Hua (ON), Joshua Doknjas (BC), Richard Chen (ON) and Sam Song (NB).

120 provincial champions, 12 per province, gathered at the Memorial University, in St. John, Newfoudland, on Victoria Day weekend for the ultimate school competition of the year: the Canadian Chess Challenge, a tournament organized by the Chess’n Math Association which aims to proclaim the national champion by grade.

The Newfoudland Scholastic Chess Association hosted this 30th edition and received the representatives of each province like true champions. Among the competitors, there were five experts, six Canadian masters, five FIDE masters and one  FIDE International Woman Master. A scholastic tournament where the strongest players are eager to participate to represent their province and their grade!

After a day of festivities, (hiking on Signal Hill, which is famous for its very first wireless communication, a boat ride in search of whales, the banquet and the traditional blitz), the players were finally ready for the big moment.

The tournament began on Sunday morning with the official entry of the ten teams. Under the sound of bagpipes, the teams marched into the hall carrying their provincial flags. Following the national anthem, the players shook hands and played their first move.


     Entry of the Newfoundland Labrador Team
​Photo from the PEI's Facebook page

History has been repeating itself for nine years now. Ontario finishes first and Quebec does not despair to dethrone them. And every year, the excitement is at its peak because it is the battle for the first place between two great forces. Together, they had 11 players rated between 2217 and 2491. What a force! We couldn't ask for a better scenario for a national competition!

As in previous years, from the first to the eighth round, Quebec and Ontario were side by side with eight points and won all their matches. And as usual, the top two teams competed in the ninth and final round. As they sat down, the Quebec players knew that they had to win the match to win the tournament, a draw would not suffice because Ontario had picked up more individual points.

With a good fight, the Quebec team had to concede this year too. The game ended by a score of 7½-4½ in favor of Ontario. The Ontario team collected 9 medals including 5 golds while Quebec brought home 7 medals including 3 golds. Congratulations to both teams for their brilliant performances!





Top 3 teams!!


Provinces   Gold   SilverBronze 
British Columbia323
Alberta 23
New Brunswick1  
Manitoba 11
Nova Scotia   2
Saskatchewan  1
Prince Edward Island  1

British Columbia gave a scare to the two top teams with an incredible performance! The team finished in third place by winning the last round against Alberta and winning all their matches with the exception of Quebec (7/5) and Ontario (7/4½). Ouf!! They earned 8 medals including 3 golds for Jayden Qu, Ethan Song and Joshua Doknjas.

Alberta came in fourth place with six wins, losing only against the top three teams. They took home 5 medals including two silvers for Matthew Ivanescu (Edmonton) and Paul Wang (Calgary). 

A solid Manitoba team won five matches to come fifth, earning two medals for Derek Ma and Brock Beach (Winnipeg).

Nova Scotia is the Most Improved Team of the competition with seven more points than last year. New Brunswick, the Top Atlantic Team, jumped three places in the standings, form 9th to 6th. They scored 19-17 against the other Atlantic provinces, tying their matches against PEI and Nova Scotia.


The Chess Challenge - a national event!

Seven players had a perfect score of 9-0. Congratulations to Jayden Qu (British Columbia, Grade 1), Lucas Liu (Quebec, Grade 2), Anthony Atanasov (Ontario, Grade 4), Max Chen (Ontario, Grade 5), Qiuyu Huang (Quebec, Grade 7), Richard Chen (Ontario, Grade 11) and Sam Song (New Brunswick, Grade 12) for their amazing performances!

The Most Valuable Player Award went to Tony Wu from PEI (Grade 7). He scored 25% of his team's points. Wow!

Avram Tcherni, of Saskatchewan, becomes the third player in the 30 year history of the event to have represented his province at the Canadian Chess Challenge Finals 12 years in a row from 2007-2018. He received a plaque and Chess'n Math Association will be sending him a cheque for $1,200 ($100 per year). He joins now Tanraj Sohal of Bristish Columbia and Adam Dorrance of Nova Scotia. 

10 girls participated at the event. Maïli-Jade Ouellet (Montreal) tied for first in grade 10, but lost the playoff game. Greta Qu (Mississauga) came second in grade 3. Lucy Chao (Edmonton) placed fourth in grade 11 with 5½ points. Linda Shi (Montreal) scored 4½ points in grade 12. Gisadi Amarasinghe (Winnipeg) scored 4½ points in grade 2.

​Eight 2017 champions returned to defend their title. Five were successful: Max Chen (ON-Gr.5), Nameer Issani (ON-Gr.6), Qiuyu Huang (QC-Gr.7), Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux (QC-Gr.8) and Richard Chen (ON-Gr.11).



Tony Wu: the most valuable player.


Avram Tcherni will receive a $1,200 cheque, $100 for each year he participated in the National.

The $200 prize for Best Team Shirt went to Newfoundland. Manitoba came second ($100) and Nova Scotia third ($50). 

Newfoundland (left), Manitoba (top right) and Nova Scotia (bottom right).

The Yves Casaubon Outstanding Contribution Award was presented to Christian Lacasse (Montreal), for his many years of dedicated work "behind the scenes" at the Chess Challenge nationals.


The Yves Casaubon Award to Christian Lacasse.

Here are the top 5 in each grade:

Grade 1

1Jayden QuBritish-Columbia9.0/9
2Matthew IvanescuAlberta8.0/9
3Jeremy ZhuOntario7.0/9
4Edouard WangQuebec6.0/9
5William SorgardSaskatchewan5.0/9


Grade 1 champion: Jayden Qu


Grade 2

1Yunki (Lucas) LiuQuebec9.0/9
2Richard GuoOntario8.0/9
3BiaoBiao Boyong GuoBritish Columbia6.0/9
4Zachary LeBlancNew Brunswick5.0/9
5Gisadi AmarasingheManitoba4.5/9


Grade 2 champion: Yunki (Lucas) Liu


Grade 3

1Ethan SongBritish Colombia8.0/9
2Greta QuOntario7.5/9
3Leo LinSaskatchewan7.0/9
4Yash DarvekarAlberta5.0/9
4James LiQuebec5.0/9


Grade 3 champion: Ethan Song 


Grade 4

1Anthony AtanasovOntario9.0/9
2Kevin ZhongQuebec8.0/9
3Anand Rishi ChandraAlberta7.0/9
4Eric JiangBritish Columbia6.0/9
5Zachary PicheManitoba5.0/9


Grade 4 champion: Anthony Atanasov


Grade 5

1Max ChenOntario9.0/9
2Richard Q. ZhengQuebec8.0/9
3Madoc SullivanNova Scotia6.5/10
4Martin RiquelmeManitoba5.5/10
5Hemant SrinivasanAlberta5.0/9


Grade 5 champion: Max Chen


Grade 6

1Nameer IssaniOntario8.5/9
2Paul WangAlberta8.0/9
3Luka SpasojevicBritish Columbia6.5/9
4Haruaki OmichiQuebec5.0/9
5Tanish BhattNewfoundland4.0/9


Grade 6 champion: Nameer Issani 


Grade 7

1Qiuyu HuangQuebec9.0/9
2Neil DoknjasBritish Columbia8.0/9
3Dongze (Tony) WuPrince Edward Island7.0/9
4Jeffrey Rendei ZhaoOntario5.5/9
5Andi SuperceanuAlberta4.5/9


Grade 7 champion: Qiuyu Huang

** Did you notice the beautiful pins on Qiuyu's cap? At the National, the players exchange pins from their home province, it's a tradition. And Qiuyu usually pin them on his cap, go look our blogs from the National 2016 and 2017.


Grade 8

1Shawn Rodrigue-LemieuxQuebec9.0/10
2Nicholas VetteseOntario8.0/10
3Ian ZhaoAlberta8.0/10
4Victor ZhengBritish Columbia7.0/10
5Alexander SasataSaskatchewan4.5/9

Shawn won the playoff game against Nicholas for the first place.

​Ian won the playoff game against Victor for the third place.

Grade 8 champion: Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux


Grade 9

1Eugene HuaOntario8.0/9
2Brian YangBritish Columbia7.0/9
3Jonas DorniedenNova Scotia6.5/9
4Maxim VasicAlberta5.5/9
4Gabriel Philip TinicaQuebec5.5/9


Grade 9 champion: Eugene Hua


Grade 10

1Joshua DoknjasBritish Columbia8.5/10
2Maïli-Jade OuelletQuebec7.5/10
3Derek MaManitoba7.0/9
4Hairan LiangOntario6.0/9
5Daley MerriganNewfoundland5.0/9

Joshua won the playoff game against Maïli-Jade for the first place.

Grade 10 champion: Joshua Doknjas


Grade 11

1Richard ChenOntario9.0/9
2Ananda SahaQuebec8.5/10
3William BremnerBritish Columbia7.5/10
4Lucy ChaoAlberta5.5/9
5Ben YeomansNew Brunswick3.5/9
5Zeyu (Andrew) LiSaskatchewan3.5/9

Ananda won the playoff game against William for the second place.

Grade 11 champion: Richard Chen


Grade 12

1Ziyuan (Sam) SongNew Brunswick9.0/9
2Brock BeachManitoba7.5/9
3Johnny BurnAlberta6.0/9
4James LiBritish Columbia5.5/9
4Joey ZhongOntario5.5/9


Grade 12 champion: Sam Song 


Teams photos

And Prince Edward Island:

Photos of the festivities:

The traditional blitz was part of the festivities. Richard Chen, of Ontario, won the open section. In the U1500, Luka Spasojevic (BC), Madoc Sullivan (NS) and Johnny Burn (AB) finished in first place, but Luka officially won by computer tiebreak.

The blitz is a popular activiy for the Quebec team at the National, 7 members participated!

The bughouse tournament was held after the awards ceremony on Monday. "The Hustlers" with John and Joshua Doknjas won first place. 


Nice visit of St. John, Newfoundland.

Time to relax after the first day of the tournament. Everyone from Team Quebec was there, parents and players. Beautiful team spirit!

The Quebec team is lucky to have a captain so involved and passionate in Lefong Hua ! It was his 13th year as captain.

The Chess'n Math Association thanks you and invites you in Vancouver for the Canadian Chess Challenge 2019!


Scholar's Mate and Échec au Roi would like to thank Lefong Hua for his beautiful pictures! We took them from the Facebook page of the "Ligue d'échecs du dimanche", grouping of the strongest junior players in Quebec.


Visit these two links for many more photos of the 2018 Canadian Chess Challenge:

- Photos from Lefong Hua 

- Virginie Roux, from Chess'n Math in Montreal took a lot of photos.


For complete results, see:

Ratings CCC 2018

Results CCC 2018


About us

The Chess and Math Association (CMA) is a non-profit organization which, with our provincial coordinators, aims to promote chess in schools in Canada.