Introducing the TXA

The Toronto Xiangqi Association dates back to 1978, when Peter Sung organized the first Toronto championship. We officially became a non-profit organization in 1988.

Elton Yuen (L) and Peter Sung (C) with Zhiwei Zheng

Elton Yuen (L) and Peter Sung (C) with Zhiwei Zheng

Much of our club’s early history revolved around team play. The TXA was originally based on a core group of strong players from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, who developed hot rivalries with New York, and clubs in other Canadian cities. Our top players included Peter Sung, the late Steve Wong, Paul Ng, and Stephen Fung, all of whom have won Toronto championships.

In the 1990s, while he was the TXA’s vice president, Peter Sung established the Xiangqi Home Page, a pioneering information-source that later became the World Xiangqi Federation home page. Peter also developed client software that enabled the earliest Xiangqi competition on the Internet. TXA President Elton Yuen helped organize some of the first formal Internet tournaments.

During this period, the competitive scene got tougher, and our team got better. Former Chinese woman’s champion, Huang YuYing, gave us one of our proudest moments when she won the World Woman’s Champion in the 1995 World Cup in Singapore and gained her International Grand Master title. Huang also led Canada to victory in the first international Internet team tournament in 1996.

Other strong players who joined us during the 1990s included Lo Ban, a former Hanoi champion, Lu LiangCheng, a former star from Taiwan, and Nguyen Phuc, who went from being a cafe veteran to one of Canada’s top players. Phuc won the 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001 Toronto championships, and became an International Master at the 1997 World Cup in Hong Kong.

Canadian and North American champions

Zheng Ximing

Zheng Ximing

Between 1993 and 2006, Toronto won no less than six Canadian championships. We retired and got to keep two trophies by winning them three times each. The individual Canadian championship was more elusive, but in 2002, Huang Yuying shared it with Calgary’s Wang JingYuan as part of Wang’s remarkable streak of four straight individual titles.

In 2008, the Canadian Championships were incorporated into the North American Championships. Thanks to three-time Toronto champion, Zheng Ximing, Toronto came home with both trophies. XiMing became the first individual North American champion, and, together with the ageless Peter Sung, won the first North American team championship. In 2012, XiMing teamed up with 2009 Toronto champion, LiYaChao to win Toronto’s second North American championship. After this, he received the title of North American Grandmaster from the WXF. Sadly, he passed away in 2022.

Wang Weiqiang

Wang Weiqiang

Between 2011 and 2014, Wang WeiQiang won four consecutive Toronto championships, the first ever player to do so. He continues to be Toronto’s top player and has been awarded the title of International Master by the WXF.

In 2018 the TXA hosted the Elite Cup, and international team tournament that attracted 18 teams from China, Macau, Philippines, Germany, the US and Canada. Team Canada took first place with Wang WeiQiang as a member.

Since the 1980s, various Toronto players have favoured “Undercover Xiangqi” or Jieqi. This is a variant where the pieces are hidden when the game begins, and are revealed as they are first moved. Jieqi originated in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province and has spread rapidly among Chinese and Vietnamese players during the last 20 years.

The TXA held its first Jieqi championship in 2012, a year after the first ever formal Jieqi tournament was held in Hong Kong. We have held three more since then. In 2020, we turned our Jieqi championship into an international online tournament for over 200 players. Later that year, we helped organize the GT Cup, and online Jieqi team tournament contested by 75 teams from 15 countries.

Visits by the world’s best players

Cai FuRu lectures at New Kennedy Square

Cai RuFu lectures at New Kennedy Square

The TXA has been visited by many of China’s strongest players. During every visit, we organize a public demonstration, and post a report on the home page. In October 1998, our guests were grandmaster, Tao HanMing, and renowned women’s players, Zheng GuoFeng and Gao Hua. As a result of these visits, most of China’s greatest players are honourary councilors to our club.

Unfortunately, beginning in 2000, the Chinese players were rejected for Visitor Visas several times by the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. For years we worked very hard with the other Canadian Clubs to try to resume these visits. In 2012, the grandmasters were finally allowed to return, and we staged two wonderful events in Markham featuring the grandmasters, Xu Tianhong and Wu Xia, and the master, Xu Chao. Other great players have visited from China since then, including the legendary grandmasters, Cai RuFu and Lu Qin.

Community reach

Through the years, the Toronto Xiangqi Association has provided many players at all levels with opportunities to play and learn. Our longtime unofficial clubhouse is the food court at New Kennedy Square in Markham, where players can be found at any time. We have held many events there.

On various occasions, we have held programs for children, most recently at Beckett Farm Public School in Markham. We demonstrated Xiangqi at Harbourfront Centre in 2014 and at the Toronto Dragon Boat Race Festival in 2024.

Delivery to The Scarborough Hospital

Delivery to The Scarborough Hospital

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the TXA and its sister club the Markham Xiangqi Association, raised $30,000 in the first week of a campaign to obtain and donate greatly needed PPE to hospitals in Markham and Scarborough. The campaign was called Working Together to Share.

Elton Yuen and Bill Brydon provided guidance on Xiangqi to the author Catherine Little for her children’s book, Endgame: The Secret Force 136, published in 2023. In this book, a child learns that his great-grandfather volunteered to join the Canadian army during the Second World War, despite the discrimination faced by Chinese people in Canada at that time. We strongly endorse the book’s message.

In 2023, we celebrated our 35th anniversary by holding two international tournaments, one for Xiangqi, and one for Jieqi. These were held at Willow Springs Winery in Stouffville, which has long been a staunch supporter of our events.

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