The Peter Henner Memorial Tournament will be held next weekend, July 28-30, at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel in Albany. More info can be found here: http://www.chesstour.com/phm17.htm
I strongly encourage everyone to register for this tournament.
Firstly, and most importantly, playing in this tournament shows our gratitude and remembrance for Peter and his efforts to promote chess in our community. He was our dear friend and colleague, and he deserves a big turnout for his memorial tournament.
Secondly, if we want to have more local tournaments we NEED to attend these events. This is a tournament held by Continental Chess in our area – something many people have expressed interest in seeing more of. Continental Chess does not routinely hold many tournaments nearby, so we need to make it appealing to them. The larger the turnout the more appealing it is for Continental Chess to set up annual tournaments here.
A small speech about Peter is being prepared for the start of the tournament. I hope we can get a strong local turnout to show our support. Please consider registering for this tournament.
Welcome to ENYCA’s Player Spotlight on local expert and all around good guy Phil Thomas. Phil is a friendly up-and-coming local talent known for his sharp and accurate play, and stone-faced positional objectivity. A staple of the Capital District tournament circuit since 2006, each year has seen Phil improving his game, inspiring his comrades, and dispatching his opponents with sparkling play.
(Interview conducted by Rob Fusco)
Rob Fusco – Firstly, Phil, thanks for offering us some insight into you. Please tell us a little bit about where you come from, what you do, etc.
Phil Thomas – You’re welcome. Well I was born and raised in Albany, NY to a Nigerian father and American mother. I work locally for a distribution company.
RF – What brought you to chess to begin with, and what keeps you hungry to progress? Who inspires you? Favorite players? What about their games inspire you?
PT – When I was very young my aunt showed me how the pieces moved. Though I really fell in love with chess when I played some local chess hustlers (The late Daryl Perkins). It reminded me of something Former World Champ Mikhail Tal said in his book. I was infected with the chess microbes and didn’t even know it. What inspires me about chess is the constant ebb and flow. The ability at each turn to respond with an eximious rejoinder. The constant search for the truth. The look on an opponents face when you play a great move, and put them into difficult position. My favorite players are Mikhail Tal, Capablanca, Rashid Nezmetdinov, and Garry Kasparov just to mention a few. I love the the great attacking prowess of Tal, Nez and Kasparov. I also love the effortless positional masterpieces displayed by Capablanca.
RF – Congratulations on your performance at the NYS blitz championships, and congratulations on a very nice draw against GM Michael Rohde. Lets start with your impressions of that event and the participants.
PT – Thanks. I felt it was a great tournament with a strong field filled with plenty of masters. I felt very good going into this tournament. I was ready to play.
RF – GM Rohde offered you a draw in a position which seemed equal or very slightly worse for him. You had over thirty seconds on your clock and he was well under the fifteen second mark. Why would a player known for his speed accept this offer?
PT – Yes he was very low on time. I knew I could [have] easily flagged him. In the moment though I choose to take the road of integrity and not flag a man of his stature in a seemingly drawn position. Who knows in the future if I’d do it again, or if he’d do it for me. In that moment though that’s how I felt.
RF – Your improvement over the board since you began in 2006 with an over the board rating of 1367 has been steady and consistent. As of this interview your last standard rating is 2028, and your blitz rating sits at 2069. Where do you see yourself both ratings wise and title wise over the next five years? Moreover, how important is your rating to you? Is it the be-all, end-all, or is it just a number that chases you around as you chase good moves?
PT – Well In the next 5 years I plan to be 2350 and a solid FM. Ratings are not super important to me. They are like batting averages.
RF – Let us in on the secrets to your success. How and how often do you study? Do you prefer books or computers? Favorite authors/coaches?
PT – Well I study tactics everyday. I like books and software. Some authors who helped me a ton are Aron Nimzowitch and Vladimir Vukovic.
RF – What do you consider to be the primary determinant of success in tournament chess and for a chess player?
PT – Patience.
RF – You adopted a very stringent physical training regimen in recent years and enjoyed a perhaps not-so-coincidental boost in chess performance. Do you think physical fitness is important to OTB play?
PT – Yes, I wholeheartedly believe that there is a direct correlation with being fit and a boost in chess performance. Fitness teaches me patience, discipline, concentration, and focus – which I directly apply when playing chess.
RF – Some players marvel for hours over endgame compositions, some are lit up by brilliant sacrificial tactics, and some are content to pore over reams of opening theory. What phase or aspect of chess excites you the most?
PT – I personally love the middle game. I feel it’s the phase of the game where I’m most creative. I think of it as your opponent with each move is challenging you with a math problem with difficulty ranging from simple addition and subtraction to advanced calculus. If you answer correctly you maintain the balance or get an advantage. With an incorrect answer you do the opposite.
RF – Share one or two of your favorite tournament stories or chess anecdotes.
PT – Two stories that resonate in my mind are Mikhail Tal when in deep calculation he randomly thought about a hippo in a pond. The other story is where Frank Marshall played an amazing move and people showered the table with gold coins.
RF – The tournament scene in Upstate NY is often hot and cold. What events would you like to see more of, and what might local promoters do to attract larger player numbers and keep people coming back consistently (besides double and triple booking OTB events on the same day)?
PT – I think it will take time to build up the local chess scene. I feel that activity is a must though.There has to be at least a monthly or bimonthly event. As the old saying goes. “Build it and they will come”.
RF – Any favorite local players we should keep our eyes on?
PT – Yes the local players I like are Martha, Patrick, and of course the swashbuckling, risk taking, attacker Michael Mockler.
RF – What are your five favorite chess books and why?
PT – My System, The Art of Attack, Think Like A Grandmaster, The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal, Forcing Chess Moves. These books all helped me greatly and caused me to look at chess differently.
RF – I’d like to end this interview with a game of your choice. Please give an example of one of your favorite games with light notation and impressions.
PT – Well not a game but a particular move stands out in my mind. It was a league game several years ago against Arthur Alowitz. I played the A-bomb of a move Rf6!!. I can remember the position. The move was actually published in Bill [Townsend]’s tactics section of the Schenectady Gazette. At this point I knew my chess game was improving.
Thanks for the interview. All the best and good chess.
The Saratoga Staunton Club’s annual meeting will be held Sunday September 18, 2016 at 7:30 PM. The championship is scheduled to start, one week later, on September 25. Combined membership/entry fee is $16. The club meets at the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church, 175 Fifth Av. Saratoga Springs, NY. New members are welcome and encouraged.
Notes on the tournament: Most likely it will be a double round robin, depending on entries. The past few years it has been a small tournament, and while I haven’t checked what the ratings of all the players were I would guess the average rating has been around 1900 the past few years. Also, it is run semi-informally, allowing for players to reschedule games as needed to accommodate the players. Most players have rescheduled games in the past. The length of the tournament will be determined by the entries and how many games have to be rescheduled. It is a great way to play one rated game a week.
There is no need to attend the annual meeting to play in the tournament, in the past entries have even been accepted after the tournament has started.
At the meeting, in addition to the details for the Club Championship Tournament we will also be discussing the possibility of the club hosting other events, such as a scholastic tournament, or one night blitz or quickchess tournaments.
The Albany Area Chess Club will host a thematic tournament this Wednesday, August 10. No fee for members. Non members wishing to participate are welcome to pay $10 for an annual membership that is prorated and good until October of 2016). The theme of the unrated tournament is playing the Marshall Attack against the Ruy Lopez and begins with Move 12 by white after both sides have entered the Marshall Attack. Located at the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church on 2291 Western Ave, Guilderland, NY 12084.
Robb Stewart was kind enough to submit the following game from his visit to Albany, NY for the New York Open. Although he lost to a player nearly 400 rating points his lesser, he is willing to have it published with his comments and analysis. The game goes down the main line of the Bayonet attack in the Kings Indian Defense and can be seen or downloaded for your convenience and computer assisted analysis here.
The Bennington Open Chess Tournament in southwestern Vermont is happening Saturday August 20th, 2016. It takes place at the Bennington Free Library on 101 Silver St. 05201. It will be a 4 round, swiss in 2 sections. The open section will afford $200 for first place and $120 for second. The under 1650 section promises $120 for first and $80 for second. There are additional prizes for lower rated players. Time controls are Game in 60 minutes, with a 5 second delay. Rounds start at 10am, 1pm, 3:40pm and 6:15. The entry fee for USCF rated players is $30 before Aug 18, and $35 at the door. You may contact Parker Montgomery in Meddlebury, Vt at vermonty64 (at) earthlink (dot) net. Or call “Monty” at 802.349.7739
The 7th Annual Hartford Open in Connecticut is September 23-25th at the Sheraton Hartford Hotel at Bradley Airport, Windsor Locks, Ct. 06096 There are sections for Open, Under 2010, Under 1610, and Under 1210. Entrance fee is $68 on line at Chessaction.com by 9/21. $80 on site. Under 1210 section is $48. There are 2 and 3 day schedules available. Saturday at 9:30 pm there will be a Blitz tournament.
Make The Right Move, in association with the ENYCA, has been offering opportunities for kids of all ages and levels of ability to enjoy chess, learning, and competition. This article gives a summary of the 2015-16 school year activities.
Chess Tent at Madison Avenue Fair
2015-16 School Year has been a great success with more than 1700 total participants and 35+ schools participating, with 16+ tournaments organized in the Capital District area. The first tournament of the year started at the Albany Academy on October 10, 2015 and ended with the last tournament of the year on June 4, 2016 at LaSalle.
Make the Right Move reached a major milestone during this school year with our 100th tournament being celebrated on January 16, 2016 at the Albany High School. Over this year, there was an increase in number of scholastic players participating and number of tournaments held, and has been regarded as a great place to learn chess, and most importantly, have fun.
Following the organization’s tradition, the chess year ends with a grand picnic on Wednesday June 22, 2016 at the Christian Brothers Academy. At this picnic various schools and individuals were recognized for theirs efforts. Also, Coach of the year award to Mr. David Sterner and Hall of Fame award to Dr. Sreenivas Alampalli will be presented. Below are details related to top schools and individuals honored for their achievements during this school year.
During the 2015-2016 School year, more than 35 schools participated in the Right Move Tournaments. Below are the top 10 schools with highest total points.
All team scores are posted here. Consistent attendance at all tournaments with many players (at least four) is a key to be on the above list.
SCHOLASTIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Right Move congratulates Karthik Narayan, 2015-16 Scholastic Player of the Year. Top Scholastic Players and Scholastic Player of the Year Award are based on “Top ten scores” in the tournaments hosted by the Right Move with both rated and unrated sections. Thus, TRM 96 through TRM 108, MLK 2016 Tournament in Kingston and Miller 2016 Tournament were used in calculating these scores. Right Move also congratulates Mr. William Matters with 35.5 points for his high score in the Adults Section. All individual scores are posted here.
TOP Scholastic Players
COACH OF THE YEAR
Right Move presents its Coach of the Year Award to Mr. David Sterner. Mr. Sterner has been coaching and promoting chess at Albany High School. He has worked with AHS for the past three years on a volunteer basis. He provides weekly lessons, reviews games, attends tournaments, and has been a mentor and positive role model for AHS students. Mr. Sterner is an accomplished local chess player and knows a great deal about the history of the game. He is able to teach in a way that inspires beginners and motivates more advanced players. Congratulations Mr. Sterner.
HALL OF FAME AWARD
Right Move presents its Hall of Fame Award to Dr. Sreenivas Alampalli in recognition for his past and continued commitment and efforts to the success of the Right Move. Sreenivas was the President of Right Move during 2011 – 2013. He is a USCF certified senior tournament director and instrumental in organizing the Right Move tournaments.
2015-16 School Year Tournament Sponsors
Right Move thanks schools for hosting tournaments. It is not possible to organize these tournaments without schools and their teachers taking the lead. We also thank all sponsors of the 2015-16 school year tournaments. Their generous contributions make these scholastic tournaments possible. If interested in sponsoring one of the upcoming tournaments, please contact us at moc.l1501260568iamg@1501260568ssehc1501260568evomt1501260568hgir1501260568
Officers and Tournament Directors
Numerous volunteers make the Right Move chess tournaments possible and we thank all their efforts during the year. Nothing is possible without the dedication, direction and hard work of Brother John McManus, Executive Director of Right Move and all our appreciation goes to him for his dedicated service. We also thank all officers and tournament directors that worked hard to successfully plan and organize these events. 2015-16 School Year officers
President: Sandeep Alampalli
Vice president: Dr. Liz Gialanella
Secretary: Dr. Laurie Miroff
Treasurer: Santhosh Abraham
Tournament Directors: John McManus, Dr. Sreenivas Alampalli, Sandeep Alampalli, and Santhosh Abraham
2016-2017 School Year
Get the up-to-date information, tentative 2016-17 schedule, and
registration details at www.chestrm.org
Officers for the 2016-2017 School Year
President: Sandeep Alampalli
Vice president: Dr. Laurie Miroff
Secretary: Santhosh Abraham
Treasurer: Mahadevan Balasubramaniam
Right Move hopes you can join us for the 2016-2017 year.
Here are the Saturday Evening Blitz Results if you are curious?
Always exceptional Tournament Direction from the one and only Steve Immitt.
Many thanks to Brian Niebanck, president of the Siena Chess Club. He is a Junior, a Religious Studies major, and a Philosophy minor. His ambition is to soon attend seminary school and become a Protestant minister. In addition to Chess, Brian is also involved on campus with guided tours, Ultimate Frisbee, and Habitat for Humanity. He is one of the elite few who has submitted a game, with annotations, for publication on ENYCA.org.
Congratulations Patrick Chi, first place winner of the Open Section and Blitz tournament. Mr. Chi turns 18 years of age this April. And so, Happy Birthday as well.
About the victor.
Who and/or what helped you improve in chess along the way?
I need to thank my parents for everything they have done for me in terms of my chess “career.” From driving me to chess lessons to taking me to tournaments across the country, had they not sacrificed their own time I would be nowhere near where I am today. They also pushed to study, to work hard, and really just to love the game of chess.
My students. I honestly believe that they have helped me grow as a chess player and chess ambassador. Teaching chess to other kids is really just something new and something refreshing, and something that just gives great joy. It’s nice to give back to the community that has taught me everything that I know and love.
How old were you when you learned to play chess and who showed you how to play?
I think I first learned to play chess when I was six, when I went to the local Niskayuna Recreation Center to take lessons from Mr. Chu. Mr. Chu introduced me to the game of chess, and I immediately fell in love.
Has Chess helped you in any way outside of the chess world?
Yes, in so many ways. It has taught me how to celebrate victory and how to face defeat. It has taught me how to focus intensely and socialize gregariously (skittles blitz for example). It has taught me how to exercise self-control, handle immense pressure, and so much more.
I remember that I took the Albany Chinese School extracurricular chess class, which I believe was very early in my life. Aside from that, I think the Albany Chinese School is a great program that not only offers a great language and cultural program in terms of Chinese itself, but also a wealth of extracurriculars, including chess!
It was a warm summer day, 06 June 2014, in the late afternoon. I was sitting on a bench outside of the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church in Guilderland, NY, waiting for someone to open the church doors for the Albany Chess Club. As typical for me, I had taken the bus to the church and would wait half an hour before anyone would show up. But at least it was a sunny day, I thought. And there was a bench to sit on.
Not long after I arrived, a car pulled into the parking lot. And out walked Mr. Bill Little. Donning his familiar green flat cap and spectacles, Bill noticed me sitting by myself and came by to join me. “Nice day isn’t it?” I recall him saying with a smile. I smiled too, and soon after we got to chatting. I told him about my recent visit home to Chicago, and immediately he spoke about his experiences in the “windy city”. Of playing chess ‘sharks’ in the park – hustlers who would play chess for money. And how he would take them on and win. We shared a good laugh, and eventually I asked him to tell me more about his life experiences. He talked about trips to Scotland, books he had read, and of course experiences in chess tournaments. It was all exciting and fascinating to me. Eventually another chess club member showed up and unlocked the church doors, and our conversation continued inside over some games of chess.
In the nine months that I had begun living in Albany and joined the club, this was the first time I had the chance to share a deep conversation with Bill. And I cherish it to this day. Nine months after that conversation, and exactly one year ago from today, Bill Little passed away at the age of 74.
Bill was a long-time fixture of chess in the Capital District, beginning to play in the Schenectady Club back in 1950. He had played in several local clubs, won several club championships, and was well known in the Capital District area. I had not known Bill for nearly as long as his close friends, but I nonetheless cherish the few memories I have of him. I recall my first participation in the Albany Club Championship in Fall of 2013, and how Bill would record all the games live during the rounds, walking from board to board and scribbling in his green notebook. He would stay till the final games late into the evening, watching in excitement after every move. Afterwards he would comment on the games in the ENYCA blog, mentioning not only the game score but also his analysis and his perspective on the participants’ play. He would do this for not only the Albany Club, but for all of the clubs in the area, driving out of his way several times a week. He truly made the Capital Region feel like a chess community, rather than several independent chess clubs.
I would smile and jump for joy whenever Bill mentioned me in this very ENYCA blog. His kind and thoughtful words in his posts were engaging and personable, even going so far as to talk about my chess style and my academic studies at SUNY Albany. He would treat everyone with respect, addressing people for example as “Mr. Berman,” and he would provide viewpoints from both sides of the chess board. It was a joy for me to see my name in print, and to see someone so interested in my games. It brought a sort of honor and good feeling to know that we as chess players didn’t just show up to the club to play pointless games; instead Bill made those games exciting battles of chess strategy, full of rich historical context and featuring clever feats of human intuition and creativity.
I know he made me proud to be a chess player. Proud to go out and play my games. Proud to talk about chess and share my experiences with the community. I wish I had more time to get to know Bill. More time to watch him engage in the community. And more time to play chess with him. I believe I share the feelings of most chess players in the community when I say that I miss Bill Little.
Philidor played two blindfold games simultaneously in 1783. This feat of human memory was touted as one of the greatest skills of memory ever displayed. “…it is a phenomenon in the history of man, so should be hoarded among the best samples of human memory, till memory shall be no more.”
Who then could so easily forget March 26th of 2015 when our local chess community was struck by the news of “Passing of a Chess Warrior“?
So as to not forget, our collective memory of Bill Little is being retained at the Bill Little Memorial Chess Tournament taking place in less than two weeks. Many cultures, sub cultures, and individuals have their own unique ways of dealing with loss and preserving the memory of those who once lived among us. Chess players in this case seem to find a healthy way to engage their denial, anger, bargaining and yes, grief, in part, by playing chess.
Parmenidies made the case that “nihil fit ex nihilo”, Latin for “Nothing comes of nothing.” But in the case of Bill Little, who lives with us no more, we do have something. A person we have joining in on April 2nd at the Bill Little Memorial is Patrick Chi. This young man has submitted a number of games and other worthy materials for soon to be published articles.
If you din’t ever get to play Bill Little, it is your loss. If you don’t try to get a game in with Patrick before he goes off to College, that too will be an unfortunate loss.
Just announced on March 1st: the next time Magnus Carlson plays a challenger for the title of World Champion, the match will be in New York City! The only information so far is that it will happen over November 11-30, 2016. How cool is that??!!
All of us wonder from time to time about the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Science fiction fans regale us with the story of how a super computer the size of a small city, named Deep Thought eventually arrived at THE answer. It took eons of profound calculation, but the ultimate truth turned out to be the prophetic number 42. And so the much older and wiser head scratching human race had to go back to the drawing board and propose a better question. Lesson learned, that while we might arrive at a final answer to some conundrum, it is the questions we ask along the way that often prove most important.
In the not so science fiction world of global commerce, International Business Machine invented Deep Blue, a highly specialized super computer to defeat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov. The take away from that victory of machine over wo/man, is that the best computer could overcome human-kind’s elite champion in a highly specialized and complex task.
Now that we are collectively bested by machines in our chess endeavors, we can say to ourselves and the machines: “Your good at chess, better than me, but how good is your Kung-Fu?” Are your tactics and positional notions as good as Sandeep Alampalli is at debate? Could a computer or even a super computer draw a National Master in chess AND win first place in the NY State History Competition like Sandeep did? Can silicon based artificial intelligence also gain a Black Belt, attend Youth Court and remain the teenage President of Make the Right Move for two years? Can any hardware or software combination boast that it also serves as a regional Secretary of the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT)?
The simple answer to the questions above is not 42, but NO. Sorry DeepMind, you may well be Google’s AI victory of software over humans in the game of GO, but you only do one thing really well. Sandeep Alampalli does many things exceptionally.