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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, December 1, 2011
Albany Championship: Will the strong survive?
By Peter Henner
This year, the Albany Club Championship has seen more than its share of surprises. After three rounds, no one has a perfect score and two of the four players rated over 1800 have lost games to lower rated players.
The surprise of the tournament has been Art Alowitz, who, despite being rated only 1680, has followed up his draws against Class A players Tim Wright and me with a win over a third Class A player, Gordon Magat. This week, Alowitz is playing the only Expert in the tournament, defending Champion Dean Howard.
Howard gave up a second-round draw to Jason Denham and, in a major upset, lost to Cory Northrup, both players rated 500 points lower. Howard's game against Northrup was thrilling to watch; in severe time pressure, he missed a move that gave Northrup a crushing advantage and, to the disappointment of the spectators, Northrup missed a forced mate in three moves.
Howard battled back, and was able to queen a pawn to reach an end game of Queen v. two Knights and Pawn. Although Howard had less than 10 seconds left on his clock, he was able to use the five-second delay function to remain in the game, and turned down a sure draw to keep on playing for a win, before blundering and losing.
Alowitz played solidly against Magat and perhaps the game would have been a draw had Magat not tried a little bit too hard to win, blundering and losing.
There is a time when higher rated players should accept that they have not been able to win, and accept a draw, rather than play inferior moves in the hope that a lower rated player will blunder.
Magat is tied for first with Alowitz at 2-1; followed by John Lack at 1½ - ½; Howard, 1½ - 1½; Tim Wright, 1½ - 1½ (who lost to fellow Class A player John Lack); Peter Henner, 1-1; Northrup, 1-2; Denham, ½- 1½; and Chris Caravaty, ½ - 2½.
The chess community is sorry to learn that we will lose Akhil Kamma, who recently began playing seriously in our area and was a very enthusiastic player. Kamma was leading his section in the Schenectady Championship and had already qualified for the finals, and had a score of 1½ - ½ in the Albany Championship. Unfortunately for the chess community, he is relocating.
Last month, 10 of the strongest players in the world competed in the Tal Memorial Tournament in Moscow.
The average rating of the competitors was over 2750 and, as might be expected in a tournament of this strength, most of the games were drawn. The highest rated player in the world, Magnus Carlsen, won with a score of 5½ out of 9, by virtue of a last-round win against the American competitor Hikaru Nakamura, who finished last with 3-6.
The full standings and all of the games are available at www.chessdom.com.
Hudson River Coffee House Speed Tournament
The Hudson River Coffee House, located at 27 Quail St., at the corner of Hudson Avenue in Albany, is hosting its second unrated speed chess tournament on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m.
Once again, it will be a four-round tournament with a game in 15 time control. The entry fee is $12.
This week's problem
In the last round of the Tal Memorial, Russian player Peter Svidler defeated former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik has just played 40…R:a7, a serious blunder, leading to a forced mate in three moves. Can you find it?