CANADIAN CHESS CHALLENGE 2016
SO CLOSE ...
ONTARIO WINS AGAIN!
2016 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
First and second row from left to right: Grade 1 to 12: Alex Jikai Yan (QC), Anthony Atanasov (ON), Max Chen (ON), Nameer Issani (ON), Qiuyu Huang (QC), Nicholas Vettese (ON), Eugene Hua (ON), Maïli-Jade Ouellet (QC), Richard Chen (ON), Ziyuan (Sam) Song (NB), Janak Awatramani (BC) and Jeremy Hui (BC).
120 provincial champions, 12 per province, gathered at the University of Regina, in Saskatchewan, 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 Saskatchewan Scholastic Chess Association, who were the hosts for the first time since the beginning of the Chess Challenge in 1988, received the representatives of each province like true champions. After a day of festivities, (laser tag party, truck full of video games, 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 sang by Don MacKinnon, the players shook hands and played their first move.
Jimmy Bartha carries the flag for Saskatchewan.
Since the Ontario reign during the last six years, Quebec has never been so close to the top of the podium. It was a true battle from start to finish. From the first to the eighth round, Quebec and Ontario were side by side with eight points and won all their matches.
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.
This match was an emotional roller coaster for spectators and players. Who could have predicted a victory from Haruaki Omichi over Nameer Issani! At one point, Quebec was ahead, but the strong Ontario team managed to snatch a draw (6-6). After two days of competition, Team Ontario won the tiebreaker and was proclaimed champion for the seventh consecutive year. With their first place win, the Ontario team collected 11 medals, including six gold, while Quebec won ten medals, including three gold. Thank you both for this spectacular battle!
Top three teams
British Columbia finished in third place earning 11 medals, including two gold, winning all their matches with the exception of Quebec (8.5/3.5) and Ontario (10/2). The most medals BC has ever won were eight in 2011. Bravo!
Alberta came in fourth place with six wins and two bronze medals, losing only against the top three teams. But what about Saskatchewan’s amazing fifth place! With their victories against all Maritime Provinces and mostly because of their draw against Manitoba, the host team did their best performance ever, finishing sixth in 2011 and in 1998. Jumping two places in the standings (7th to 5th), and scoring 11 more points than last year, Saskatchewan is the Most Improved Team of the competition.
Newfoundland won the title of the Top Atlantic Team with perfect performances against New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The battle for the title: Ontario against Quebec
Three players had a perfect score of 9-0 and they belong to the Ontario delegation. Congratulations to Nicholas Vettese (Toronto), Eugene Hua (Waterdown) and Richard Chen (Ancaster) for their amazing performances!
The Most Valuable Player award went to Adam Dorrance for the fifth time in six years. This great player from Nova Scotia played at the National for the last time. He received a special award for competing in the Chess Challenge twelve straight years. He not only played, but also finished first eight times. He joins Lefong Hua (Qc) and Lloyd May (On) for the second place record of titles ever won! Tanraj Sohal (BC) came first with nine Canadian titles. Besides a plaque, Adam received a cash prize of $1200 from Larry Bevand of the Chess’n Math Association, $100 for each year he participated in the Canadian Challenge.
Adam Dorrance receiving a plaque and a check for the amount of $1200
from Larry Bevand, $100 for each year he participated in the Chess Challenge.
The winner of the Best Team Shirt contest was Team Newfoundland with a knight logo passing over their Province. It took more than one round of votes to determine the winner because Quebec and Saskatchewan were tied for first place. The $350 prize was divided between the three provinces. Which one is your favorite?
The Yves Casaubon Outstanding Contribution Award was presented to The Saskatchewan Scholastic Chess Association and their outstanding volunteers. It took a long time organize this National. A tremendous job!!
Here are the Top 5 in each grade:
|1||Alex Jikai Yan||Quebec||8.0/9|
|2||Ryan Yang||Bristish Columbia||8.5/10|
Ryan Yang 1-0 Andrew Ksenych
Grade 1 champion: Alex Jikai Yan
|3||Daniel Wang||British Columbia||7.0/9|
|4||Phu Vo||Prince Edward Island||5.5/9|
Anthony Atanasov 1-0 Kevin Zhong
Grade 2 champion: Anthony Atanasov
|2||Richard Q. Zheng||Quebec||8.5/10|
|5||Andrew Xu||British Columbia||4.5/9|
Max Chen 1-0 Richard Q. Zheng
Grade 3 champion: Max Chen
|3||Lucian Wu||British Columbia||7.0/9|
|5||Seamus MacEachern||Prince Edward Island||5.0/9|
Nameer Issani 1-0 Haruaki Omichi
Grade 4 champion: Nameer Issani
|3||Neil Doknjas||British Columbia||7.0/9|
Grade 5 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.
|3||Leo Qu||British Columbia||8.0/11|
Leo Qu 1-0 Ian Zhao
Leo Qu 1-0 Alexander Sasata
Ian Zhao 1-0 Alexander Sasata
Grade 6 champion: Nicholas Vettese
|2||Gabriel Philip Tinica||Quebec||7.5/9|
|3||Ethan Low||British Columbia||6.5/9|
|4||Cynthia Cui||New Brunswick||5.0/9|
Grade 7 champion: Eugene Hua
|2||Joshua Doknjas||British Columbia||7.0/9|
|5||Ruiqian (Ray) Dai||Saskatchewan||4.5/9|
Derek Ma 1-0 Jeff Wang
Grade 8 champion: Maïli-Jade Ouellet
|3||Matthew Geng||British Columbia||7.5/10|
Ananda Saha 1-0 Matthew Geng
Grade 9 champion: Richard Chen
|1||Ziyuan (Sam) Song||New Brunswick||8.5/9|
|3||Jason Cao||British Columbia||7.5/9|
Grade 10 champion: Ziyuan (Sam) Song
|1||Janak Awatramani||British Columbia||10.0/11|
|3||Olivier Kenta Chiku-Ratté||Quebec||8.0/11|
|5||Lal Tiwari||Nova Scotia||4.0/9|
Janak Awatramani 1-0 Michael Song
Janak Awatramani 1-0 Olivier Kenta Chiku-Ratté
Michael Song 1-0 Olivier Kenta Chiku-Ratté
Grade 11 champion: Janak Awatramani
|1||Jeremy Hui||British Colombia||8.0/9|
|3||Adam Dorrance||Nova Scotia||7.5/10|
Zehn Nasir 1-0 Adam Dorrance
Grade 12 champion: Jeremy Hui
Photos of the festivities:
On the menu for the festivities: banquet, laser tag game and a truck full of video games.
Each player received a welcome bag that contains: an identification card, the official booklet of the tournament, a nice CCC participation certificate, a scorebook, chocolate chess pieces, chess pencils, chess erasers, etc.
The traditional blitz was also part of the festivities. Super stars Janak Aswatramani (Vancouver, BC) and Michael Song (Thornhill, ON) finished in first place. Janak was declared the winner in overtime.
The Canadian Chess Challenge is in Toronto in 2017. We hope to see you there!
Scholar's Mate and Échec au Roi would like to thank Victoria Doknjas and Lefong Hua for their beautiful pictures!
For more photos of the Canadian Chess Challenge, see
We also used some pictures from the Facebook page of
Pour complete results, see: