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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 21, 2010

It’s fall tournament season for local chess clubs

By Peter Henner

The Schenectady Chess Club’s annual championship began on Oct. 14, with 15 players divided into two preliminary sections, which will play on Thursday nights. The top players in each section will then compete in a championship section.

The tournament is missing some of its more prominent local players, such as high school master Deepak Aaron, Carl Adamec, and defending champion Phil Sells. The highest rated player is a rapidly improving young Patrick Chi, followed by veteran players Alan LeCours, John Phillips, John Barnes, and Bill Little.

The strongest local tournament is the Saratoga Staunton Club Championship, which is contested on Sunday nights. The relatively small field of nine players includes former masters Steve Taylor (who has jumped out to an early 3-0 lead), Jonathan Feinberg, Lee Battes, and Gary Farrell, as well as Bill Little and Alan LeCours. Little, who is retired, and also writes an excellent blog for the Eastern New York Chess Association (enyca.blogspot.com) is probably the only local player who will play in all three local tournaments.

The recently reorganized Albany club, which has not conducted a tournament for several years, will begin its tournament on Wednesday, Nov.10. The tournament will be a round-robin format, and will be open to all club members who are members of the United States Chess Federation.

The club conducted an organization meeting on Oct. 6, re-electing Tim Wright as president, Chuck Eson as vice president,  Art Alowitz as secretary, and Jon Leisner as treasurer, and designating a Competition Committee.

The club will conduct a variety of events over the next year, including lessons and thematic tournaments, where the players are required to play a specific variation of a known opening, as both black and white. The club will also host open nights, where no scheduled events will occur, but members and visitors are free to play casual games. 

Handicap Speed Tournament

On Oct. 7, the Schenectady club conducted its annual handicap blitz championship. The 10-minute total time for the game is divided on the basis of rating among players with the lower rated player receiving extra time. For four players rated more than 400 points apart, the lower rated player receives seven minutes, the higher-rated player only three minutes for the entire game. For players rated 200 points apart, the division of time is 6 minutes for the lower rated player and four for the higher rated player.

The winner of the $30 first prize was Cory Northrup, rated only 1436, with a score of 5-2. The second highest rated player, John Phillips, was last with 1 ½-5 ½.

I had been leading the tournament, until my last-round loss, and tied for second and third at 4 ½-2 ½ with Matt Clough (who, like Northrup, is rated under 1500).

Other scores: Zach Calderon 4-3, Hector Calderon 3 ½-3½, Michael Lacetti, 3-4, and Richard Moody, 2-5 (whose two wins were against Northrup and me).

John Barnes did an excellent job of directing the tournament.

Richard Moody is a long-time local player from Berne, whose rating has never been higher than the low 1800s (currently 1650), but he has nevertheless established an international reputation for creative ideas in chess and chess scholarship. (See chessville.com/reviews/TwoBooksbyRichardMoody.htm.) He has written books and articles on chess theory, and his opponents can always expect a very interesting game from him.

The Olympiad

One-hundred-and-forty-nine teams representing 141 national chess federations (Russia sent five separate teams) competed in the open section (both men and women) of the 37th Chess Olympiad from Sept. 19 through Oct. 3. Second-rated Ukraine won the gold, ahead of top-rated Russia 1 (silver) and Israel (bronze). The ninth-rated United States team finished ninth.

In the women’s section, top-rated Russia 1 won all 11 of its matches to take gold, followed by China (silver) and Georgia (bronze). The sixth-rated United States team finished fifth, behind fourth-place Cuba.

This week’s problem, from the Olympiad, was submitted by reader Dan Van Riper, a chess master from Albany who has retired from active competition.

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