The Canadian Xiangqi Championships were a bi-annual tradition that began in 1987 and still continue as part of the North American championships.
The first Canadian Xiangqi Championships were organized by the Vancouver Chinese Chess Association. This was the first national xiangqi championship to be organized in North America. It was originally a team competition between Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. In 1989, an individual championship was introduced as well.
In 1991, with the participation of Montreal and Winnipeg, this event became the National Xiangqi Championships of Canada. Also beginning in 1991, a Chinese Xiangqi Team of grandmasters was invited each time as honorary guests who would visit the Canadian championships as well as other North American cities to help promote Xiangqi.
Unfortunately, this special Chinese Team visit was stopped when the Canadian Embassy in Beijing rejected the Chinese Team’s visa applications three times in a row beginning in 2000. The visits resumed in 2012 when three Chinese grandmasters attended the North American championships in Richmond, BC.
Here are three pictures from the first ever visit to Toronto of the Chinese GMs in 1993. The team included GMs Yang Guanlin, Xu TianHong and Lu Qin, and was led by Rong JianXing with Elisa Li. GMs Xu and Lu returned to Toronto in 2012. You can click on any image for a larger version, use the small arrows (>>) at the bottom of each enlarged image to scroll through the gallery, and click on any enlarged image to close the gallery.
The team event was based on the results of round robin matches between all participating cities. Each team consisted of three players, with the top board represented by the champion of each city for that year. The individual event was determined by the result on the top boards.
According to a regulation made by the Organization Committee, any city that could win the Team Champion three times would be honoured by keeping the Team Trophy permanently.
Toronto did not win its first team title until 1993. In 1998, Toronto finally won its 3rd team title and was able to keep the Team Trophy permanently. A new Team Trophy was acquired in 2000.
In 2002, Toronto claimed its first individual Champion and Huang Yuying became the first woman to become Canadian champion. She tied for first with Calgary’s JingYuan Wang, who was on a remarkable run of winning four straight individual titles.
That gave Huang Yuying her third major championship. She has won the Chinese National Championship (1988), the World Championship (1995), and the Canadian Championship (2002). She has also won four Toronto championships.
In 2004, Zheng Ximing became the second Toronto player to claim the Canadian individual Champion.
In 2006, Toronto won its 6th team title and the honour of keeping the 2nd Team Trophy permanently. The 11th Canadian National Championships also marked the end of the Canadian National Championships as the event was replaced by the North American Championships later in 2006.
Here is a gallery of Toronto’s championship teams from 1993 to 2012. You can click on any image for a larger version, use the small arrows (>>) at the bottom of each enlarged image to scroll through the gallery, and click on any enlarged image to close the gallery.
Canadian Xiangqi Championships, 1987 – 2006
- 1987 – not organized
- 1989 – RuoChi Jiang, Calgary
- 1991 – Dau Ung, Edmonton
- 1993 – ZhongQi Ji, Calgary
- 1994 –ZiHan Li, Vancouver
- 1996 – JingYuan Wang, Calgary
- 1998 – JingYuan Wang, Calgary
- 2000 – JingYuan Wang, Calgary
- 2002 – YuYing Huang, Toronto; JingYuan Wang, Calgary
- 2004 –Ximing Zheng, Toronto
- 2006 – Dau Ung, Edmonton