Hart House Chess Club Tournaments

"Where the Kibitzer is King"

Next Event: 2024 Canadian Zonals and Women's Zonals (March 27-April 2)

The Hart House Chess Club, the official Chess Club of the University of Toronto, is delighted to announce that we have won the bid to host the 2024 Canadian Zonal Championship and the 2024 Canadian Women’s Zonal Championship. Also known as the Canadian Chess Championship, the tournament is the most important chess tournament for Canadian Chess in 2024. English flyer  French flyer

From March 27th – April 2nd, 2024, the 2024 Canadian Zonal will crown Canadian Champions and select players to compete for Canada in the 2024 Olympiad in Budapest and the 2025 World Cup. The Olympiad and World Cup are two of the most important chess tournaments in the world.

In addition to providing the best possible experience for the elite of Canadian Chess, the tournament aims to attract a new audience of players to the Zonal Championships and Zonals weekend. The 4-day Swiss tournament, is open to up to 200 public members. We hope to see you at Hart House this Spring!

Important Details

  • WHERE: Great HallMusic RoomDebates Room, Hart House, University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto ON, M5S 3H3
  • WHEN: Wednesday, March 27th to Tuesday, April 2nd (Easter Long Weekend)
  • SCHEDULE: 10 Round Swiss for Open Zonals, 9 Round Swiss for Women’s Section, 7 Round Swiss for General Section
    • Open Zonals Section: March 27th – April 2nd (1-2-1-2-1-2-1)
      • Wednesday, March 27th: Round 1 @ 6pm
      • Thursday, March 28th: Round 2 @ 10am, Round 3 @ 5pm
      • Friday, March 29th: Round 4 @ 5pm
      • Saturday, March 30th: Round 5 @ 10am, Round 6 @ 5pm
      • Sunday, March 31st: Round 7 @ 5pm
      • Monday, April 1st: Round 8 @ 10am, Round 9 @ 5pm
      • Tuesday, April 2nd: Round 10 @ 10am
    • Women Zonals: March 28th – April 2nd (2-1-2-1-2-1)
      • Thursday, March 28th: Round 1 @ 10am, Round 2 @ 5pm
      • Friday, March 29th: Round 3 @ 5pm
      • Saturday, March 30th: Round 4 @ 10am, Round 5 @ 5pm
      • Sunday, March 31st: Round 6 @ 5pm
      • Monday, April 1st: Round 7 @ 10am, Round 8 @ 5pm
      • Tuesday, April 2nd: Round 9 @ 10am
    • General Sections: March 29th – April 1st (2-2-2-1)
      • Friday, March 29th: Round 1 @ 10am, Round 2 @ 5pm
      • Saturday, March 30th: Round 3 @ 10am, Round 4 @ 5pm
      • Sunday, March 31st: Round 5 @ 10am, Round 6 @ 5pm
      • Monday, April 1st: Round 7 @ 10am
  • TIME CONTROL: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.
  • RATING: All sections will be CFC rated. Open Zonal, Women Zonal, Premier, U1800, sections will also be FIDE rated.
  • FORFEIT TIME: Players who do not arrive within 30 minutes of the round start time will be forfeited.
  • ORGANIZER: Hart House Chess Club; Victor Zheng, Tanner McNamara, Alex Ferreira, Bowen Zhang
  • Arbiters: IA Omar Shah, FA Alex Ferreira, FA Uttam Dhungel
  • EMAIL: zonal@harthousechess.com
  • MAX CAPACITY: 300 players



  • FIDE Standard ratings used for Zonal Section eligibility
  • Minimum rating of 2000 FIDE OR 2200 CFC/FQE for the Canada Zonal section at start of tournament
    • FIDE March Ratings
    • CFC Ratings from week of March 21
    • Must be under FIDE CANADA flag
  • No minimum rating for the Canada Women Zonal section, however all players must be under the FIDE CANADA flag
  • 3 sections for General Sections: Premier, U1800, U1400. No play-ups. General section players deemed unrated will play in the U1400 section. Foreign Players OK.


  • Zonal/Closed sections: FIDE rating 
  • General Sections: CFC rating (if none exists, then UNR)
  • FORCED BYE may be offered a rated extra game


Zonals: $9500 based on 200 entries into all Sections
General: $4000 based on 200 entries into all Sections

Canadian Zonal

  • 1st place = next Open Olympiad team + next Open World Cup + $2500
    [tied for 1st place = IM title]
  • 2nd place = FM title + IM norm + $1500
  • 3rd place = FM title + IM norm + $1000
  • 4th place = $500
  • 5th place to 8th place: $250 each
  • 65% in 10 games (6.5/10) = FM title
  • 50% in 10 games (5/10) = CM title

Total: $6500 based on 200 entries in the entire festival.

Canadian Women’s Zonal

  • 1st place = next Women Olympiad team + next Women World Cup + $1500
    [tied for 1st place = WIM title]
  • 2nd place = WFM title + WIM norm + $1000
  • 3rd place = WFM title + WIM norm + $500
  • 65% in 9 games (6/9) = WFM title
  • 50% in 9 games (4.5/9) = WCM title

Total: $3000 based on 200 entries in the entire festival.

Prizes for Premier/U1800/U1400

  • Minimum $4000 guaranteed based on 200 entries in all sections
  • Unrated players are ineligible for prizes
  • Prizes are split, no tiebreaks used.

University of Toronto Prize: top U of T student finisher in Open Zonals ($250) and top U of T student finisher in Women’s Zonal ($250). Provided by the Hart House Chess Club.

Tiebreaks (for Zonal/Closed sections)

Tiebreaks will be used for both prize money and final standings. For details on direct titles, see here.

  1. Buchholz Cut 1 (Buchholz less lowest opponent score)
  2. Buchholz System (sum of scores of all opponents)
  3. Sonneborn-Berger (scores of defeated + half-scores of drawn)
  4. Cumulative system (Sum of progressive scores)
  5. Most Games played as Black
  6. Drawing of Lots


Hart House, University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle, Toronto ON, M5S 3H3

The tournament will be hosted at the historic, neo-gothic building, Hart House, at the University of Toronto. Hart House is regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful student centers and is a visual icon of the University of Toronto. The grand interior of Hart House is designed with high arched ceilings that vary from room to room.

Since 2008, the venue has hosted two of the largest annual Toronto chess events, the Hart House Holidays and Hart House Reading Week Open Chess Tournaments, regularly attracting over 200 players.

Entry Fees

Zonals: $160 by March 1st, 11:59 pm ET, $200 before 11:59 pm ET Monday, March 25th, 2024. No onsite entries.

General Sections: $90 by March 1st, 11:59 pm ET, $100 before 11:59 pm ET Monday, March 25th, 2024. Onsite entries if space-permits.


  • Free entry for IM/WIM/GM/WGM by March 1st
  • GMs: up to 3 bursaries towards accommodation/travel if registered before March 1st
  • U of T students: $40 automatic discount. Unrated players: $40 discount
  • All discount questions can be emailed to zonal@harthousechess.com.


Website: register online before 11:59 pm ET Monday, March 25th, 2024. No onsite registration. 

Phone: register via Hart House Information Services daily between 7 am and 11 pm. Be ready to provide payment information.

In-person: register in person via the Hart House Information Services daily between 7 am and 11 pm.

Other Info

  • DGT Boards: HHCC will provide 12 DGT boards for the Crown section. Games will be published online with a delay.
  • Side Events: lectures/simuls planned, to be announced
  • Playing Up: No playing up allowed for any section
  • Byes
    • In Zonal/Closed sections: no half-point byes
    • In Premier, U1800, U1400: up to 3 half-point byes (If requested by 11:59 pm March 25th, ONLY for Rounds 1-6)
    • Any other requested byes will be 0-point.
  • CFC ID: Registrants for all non-junior only sections must be current CFC members https://chess.ca/membership-fees. Payment should be done online. Unrated players should get a CFC membership prior to registering.
  • Equipment: Chess sets and clocks supplied. Scoresheets provided and must be used.
  • Notation: Notation is mandatory for all moves starting from move 1.
  • Withdrawals: see our Policies.
  • Unrated players should review our New To Tournament Guide
  • ParkingParking is available in select locations. Due to ongoing Landmark Project construction, parking is very limited and may be higher than expected. Expect to pay $25 per day or more.
  • Photography: By signing up, you permit HHCC the ability to take and use photos from the tournament on its social media. If you would not like your photo used, please email us.
  • Foreign Ratings: all participants must disclose all foreign ratings at time of registration or via email.
  • Prizes: Prizes are not paid by cash. Either cheques or direct deposit are issued within 2 weeks of the tournament.
    Accessibility and Visitor Information: Hart House is an accessible building and conveniently located. For further details, visit Visitor Information and Accessibility.
  • Fair Play: No cell-phones in playing hall. DGT boards will be run on a 15 minute delay, metal detectors will be used to ensure no cell-phones are on persons.
  • Defaults: A player who forfeits will need to deposit $100 to return, if they forfeit again, their opponent will get that $100.
  • Appeals: Committee Chair: IA Hal Bond
    • Within 1 hour of the end of the round
    • In writing to the Chief Organizer
    • Accompanied by a $100 deposit
  • Food and Restaurants: Hart House is located in Downtown Toronto, just minutes from most major restaurants and eateries, including Tim-Hortons, McDonald’s, and Starbucks. In addition, sit-down restaurants are located throughout the area on Bloor, College, Spadina, Bay and Yonge Streets. All are within 15 minutes of walking distance.
  • French Translations: Ahmed Khalf
  • Volunteers & Floaters: we welcome more volunteers and floater players. Please email us at zonal@harthousechess.com if interested.


The Hart House Chess Club has served as one of the premier destinations for Canadian chess for the past 128 years. Since its founding in 1919, Hart House has hosted numerous Canadian Open and Closed tournaments (see photos) and welcomed many World Champions. For more, see our Club History.


Chess Results Open Zonals (updated weekly)
Chess Results Women’s Zonals (updated weekly)
Chess Results Premier (updated weekly)
Chess Results U1800 (updated weekly)
Chess Results U1400 (updated weekly)

The Hart House Chess Club runs numerous significant tournaments annually, attracting hundreds of community members and visitors worldwide. This webpage aims to list the most up-to-date information about the latest Hart House Chess Club events. Our main website, harthousechess.com, will continue to be used for event promotion, Club announcements, and the Club’s student outreach.


Event Release: 2024 Reading Week Open

We are thrilled to announce to the Hart House community that the annual Hart House Reading Week Open Chess Tournament is back for another year! We invite you to join...

Read More