On 31 March 2017, the MGCI Chess Team participated in the Toronto Secondary School Chess League (TSSCL) City Finals. The tournament was a four-round Swiss-style tournament hosted at St. Michael’s College School. Both of MGCI’s teams had exceptional performances, with the junior and senior teams finishing first and third overall in their respective divisions.

Junior Chess Team [left to right]: Harrison, Bo, Jason, Hshmat, Harry. Photo: Varun Venkataramanan

The seedings entering the tournament were based on the teams’ performance during league play throughout the year. The junior team, comprised of Harry Zhao, Bo Kong, Hshmat Sahak, Harrison Chiu, and captain Jason Cai, was ranked first overall in the junior division; the senior team of Mike Dai, Matthew Tse, Esmat Sahak, Jeffrey Liu, and captain Varun Venkataramanan was seeded third.

Scoring was summed through the rounds, with one point awarded for a victory and a half-point for a draw. The junior team dominated through the four rounds, earning a total of thirteen and a half points out of a possible sixteen. They clinched first place in the Junior Division after a smart tactical decision by Harry Zhao. The seniors bounced back from a first-round setback to earn twelve points, placing third in the Senior B division. Both teams’ results were not decided until the final few games of the tournament, creating immense suspense for the players. The tournament was also delayed heavily, forcing players to stay until around 7 pm for the conclusion of the final round. Because of the delays, many players had spare time between matches.

For their strong performances, MGCI earned a registration credit of $200.00 towards the Ontario Secondary School Chess Championships on 8 April.

Jason, captain of the junior team, described the TSSCL as an “exhilarating experience,” adding that he is “very proud of all the team members who are very deserving of their success.” Jeffrey, a member of the senior team, said that “it was a very long day but I’m happy we managed to squeeze out a podium finish.” Both teams are extremely proud of their performances and look to build upon their success in future tournaments.