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When he moved from Vancouver to Toronto last year to attend university, Victor Zheng immediately joined the venerable Hart House Chess Club.

“I found a community there,” the computer science student said. Now in its 127th year, Hart House on the University of Toronto campus is Canada’s biggest college club.

Zheng is part of a club executive that organizes weekly casual meetings each Friday that draw up to 150 players. The events are free for students and anyone else in the community who wants to attend.

Over the years, some of the Hart House alumni have played in the upper echelons of Canadian chess. They include international masters Frank Anderson, Zvonko Vranesic, Bruce Amos, Byron Nickoloff and many others.

Grad student Bowen Zhang, who also serves on the club executive, said he is hoping to tap into the many alumni for future special events and demonstrations. The club holds major tournaments in December and during reading week in February.

Both students say the club is as diverse as the university and the city itself, with players from every background.

Mathias Gerusel v. William Lombardy, Toronto, 1957

Handout

It’s Black to move. What would you try?

Black sacrificed his Queen with 12… dxe3 13.Rxd8 exf2+ 14.Kd1 Rfxd8+ 15.Kc1 and now the wonderfully quiet a6. White resigned after 16.Qb3 Nc5 17.Qc3 Na5 18.e4 Nab3+.