Monday, February 24, 2014
Chess by Stephen Dann
Tournament chess players tend to be loyal to their favorite traditional events. Despite recent weather, this is very true of President's Day, formerly called Washington's Birthday. Last weekend, 1,167 attended the World Amateur Team event in Parsippany, N.J., as well as 24 competing in the 89th Western Mass./CT Valley Championship in Amherst, both weather-challenged this year, but neither event was for large cash prizes.
Princeton University A repeated as the team winner, and Clifford McLaughlin from the Brookfields swept the two-day Amherst event. Neither even extended to Monday, but both were six rounds.
Young regional players largely finished second in the "world" event in New Jersey, with 278 teams yet again, losing out on tiebreak, as three teams finished with 5.5 match points. Akshat Chandra of New Jersey was top board; Grand Xu of Shrewsbury, Siddharth Arun of Medfield and Jason Tang of Belmont, all born between 1997 and 2002, almost pulled off a great upset, seeing that teams were all bound to have an average rating under master level.
The mammoth event was rated on Wednesday at www.uschess.org, and the rating report was 44 printed pages. The story with the colorful team names can be found at www.njscf.org. Akshat Chadra's story, "Quest to Chess Grandmaster," can be found at www.questtogm.com. The other three budding Bay State stars are enshrined at www.masschess.org, without fanfare as scholastic players, instructors and junior role models.
At www.365chess.com, you not only view possibly "the biggest chess games database online," but you can see 53 of Chandra's games since he began competing in rated events at age 10 in early 2010. Also in this chess database, you can view 1,190 of GM Alexander Ivanov (of Newton) contests, 257 games of John Curdo (of Auburn) from the past seven decades, as well as 86 games of James Rizzitano of Southboro. No sport has such detail of professional and amateur individual accomplishment which details every single move much deeper than sports cards ever could.
For decades, before it moved first to Easter weekend, then to become a Memorial Day weekend classic, the Massachusetts Open was on the same winter weekend as the Western Mass. title event. This year, a 36-player $5 Open was also conducted in Somerville on a stormy Saturday, summarized at www.boylstonchessclub.org
You can also view the local weeknight storm woes at www.wachusettchess.org, www.metrowestchess.org, and in Worcester at www.chesspals.com. Who says that chess is not a physical sport just to get to the playing site?
Last week the Murray Marble 1909 composed problem solution was 1. Be4, enabling seven different checkmates if the B is captured by seven different pieces. Quite a chess composing feat for the lad of 24 who rarely left his home on Murray Avenue behind the YMCA, which now is a parking lot. But many believe that today's problem, from the same contest, is a step up in chess composition.
Answer to quiz: You get another week to solve today's three-mover. Same idea, find a challenging, odd, key move the produces this forced checkmate in a wide variety of ways where every piece on the board is involved. Maybe you'll win an international award for your thinking like Marble did 105 years ago. Details next week.