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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 25, 2011

With diagram and solution
Grandmasters rebound to dominate world junior championship

By Peter Henner

Grandmasters Swiercz Dariusz from Poland and Robert Hovhannisyan from Armenia tied with 10½ out of 13 points to win the World Junior Chess Championship, with Dariusz winning the title on tiebreaker points. Although the first half of the tournament was dominated by the Italian International Master Rombaldoni Axel and the Indian Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) Master Girish A Koushik, both faded in the second half of the tournament as a number of Grandmasters finished very strong.

Nevertheless, although Rombaldoni and Koushik both were able to score only 1½ points in the last six rounds, both achieved Grandmaster “norms,” indicating that their play was at a grandmaster level. A player is awarded the title of Grandmaster after scoring three norms in internationally sanctioned tournaments. Koushik won four straight games against grandmasters.

The American Grandmaster Ray Robson, who finished fourth with a score of 9-4, had his chances. He played Hovhannisyan in the 12th round and, had he won, he would have been only ½ point out of first place going into the last round. As it was, he was awarded fourth place on tiebreaks over four other players with the same 9-4 score. By next year, the 16-year-old Robson hopes to join the elite ranks of junior players who can shun the Junior Championship in favor of the super-elite tournaments.

Aaron makes us proud

The Capital District can be very proud that one of our local players, 16-year-old Deepak Aaron was the other United States representative.

He finished strong, scoring 21⁄2 points in the last three rounds, to finish with a score of 6-7, in a tie for 70th through 85th place (he was placed 83rd on tiebreaks).

Although his final result is a little disappointing, he obtained valuable international experience.

All of his games are available on Bill Little’s blog on the Eastern New York Chess Association website, www.enyca.org.

Speed chess in Schenectady

John Barnes directed another speed chess tournament at the Schenectady Chess Club on Aug. 20. As might be expected in late August, there was a small turnout, with only six players competing.

The tournament was dominated by John Leisner, with a 9-1 score. Tim Wright and Bill Little tied for second and third with 6½-3½; John Barnes was fourth with 6-4; Richard Chu, 2-8; and Michael Lacetti, 0-10.

Lacetti was the lowest rated player; although perhaps out-matched, he gave his usual tough opposition to all opponents, even though he failed to win the game.

Barnes will also direct the Schenectady Club speed chess championship next month.

Upcoming events

The New York State Championship, which will be held over Labor Day weekend, is a major chess event for the Capital District. The tournament offers an opportunity for participants to play against similarly rated players in sections for significant prize amounts.

The Open section, the only internationally rated tournament that is held in the Capital District on an annual basis, offers players an opportunity to play against the strongest players in the state, including a few Grandmasters and international masters. 

The Schenectady-Albany match, revived last year after a hiatus of several years, has been one of the highlights of the chess year in the Capital District. In past years, 20 players per side (meaning 40 of the strongest chess players in the Capital District) completed for either Albany or Schenectady.

Today, when many of the players in the Capital District are members of both the Schenectady and the Albany clubs, the match is likely to be more informal, with players assigned to play for Schenectady or Albany to ensure that everyone has a good game, rather than to give bragging rights to either Schenectady or Albany.

This week’s problem

It is commonly believed that Grandmasters are Grandmasters because of their ability to think farther ahead than the rest of us. In actuality, even chess players of modest rating can think and visualize the position many moves ahead.

However, we are not Grandmasters because, while we may be able to visualize the position, we cannot see the possibilities and evaluate them as well as stronger players. 

Albany Champion Dean Howard’s remarkable winning streak came to an end in the New York State Open, played in Lake George on May 21 and 22.  He has just played 27... Rc7, which leads to a forced mate in seven. See if you can visualize the entire mating combination without setting up a board.

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