Albany Area Chess Club 2017 Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the Albany Area Chess Club will be held Wednesday September 27th at 7:30 PM at the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church, 2291 Western Avenue, Guilderland, NY. The business of this meeting will include: approval of the minutes of last year’s meeting; receipt of Treasurer’s report of financial status of the club; receipt of Secretary’s report of club activities for preceding year; consideration of a by-laws amendment changing the quorum requirement; nomination and election of officers for 2017-18; sponsorship of a Make-the-Right-Move tournament; determination of dues for the 2017-18 year; and determination of format for the 2017-18 club championship tournament. Members should come prepared to pay renewal dues at the end of the meeting. Prospective members and former members are welcome to attend and join or re-join at the end of the meeting.

Saratoga Staunton Chess Club annual meeting and club championship tournament

The Saratoga Staunton Club’s annual meeting will be held Sunday September 24, 2017 at 7:30 PM. The championship tournament usually starts one week later, which would be October 1. Combined membership/entry fee is $16; there has been discussion of raising it. 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 relatively small tournament. 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.

The club is planning to also host some Quick Chess events; tentatively, on Oct 8 and Dec 10 but no one has checked for conflicts yet. That and any other events will be discussed at the meeting. I will announce it here when it is decided.

Register for the Peter Henner Memorial Tournament July 28-30

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.

Your Move,
Jeremy

ENYCA Player Spotlight: Phil Thomas

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.

Phil puts the pressure on, GM or not.

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.

Phil was focused and in top form.

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.

Saratoga Staunton Chess Club – Annual Meeting and 2016 Club Championship Tournament

We are getting started a little bit earlier this year.  I suppose I should figure out how to edit the entry for the club at http://www.enyca.org/home/clubs/

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.

Chess in and Beyond Albany N.Y.

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 2015-16 School Year At a Glance

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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.

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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.

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National Chess Day Tournament at Albany Academy

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.

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Cake from Right Move 100th Tournament Celebration

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.

TOP SCHOOLS

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.

top schools

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.

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Right Move Tournament at La Salle

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

top 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.

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Sandeep Alampalli, Right Move President, with Coach of the Year Mr. David Sterner with Dr. Laurie Miroff, Right Move Vice President, in the background.

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.

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Dr. Sreenivas Alampalli with Albany Academy team during an award ceremony.

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.l1506138837iamg@1506138837ssehc1506138837evomt1506138837hgir1506138837

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.

By: Sandeep Alampalli, President, Right Move

A Little More Bill Little

Many thanks and Congratulations to everyone involved, even in spirit, to the First Annual Bill Little Memorial Chess Tournament at Siena College.

Pointless Image!

Here are the results of the tournament for those who wish to see wins, losses and therebetween.

Here are the Saturday Evening Blitz Results if you are curious?

Always exceptional Tournament Direction from the one and only Steve Immitt.

Steve Immitt, TD
Steve Immitt TD

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.

Brian Niebanck, Chess Club Prezident
Brian Niebanck, President of the Siena Chess Club

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.

Deep Thinkers
Mr. Chi on the Right, Playing Black.

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.

Can you say something about chess and the Albany Chinese Sunday School in Latham?  

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!

Chess Fun at ACS
Chess Fun at ACS

Were you a student at Albany Chinese School, or always an instructor?

Yes, I was a student at Chinese School since I was seven. I started teaching at the Chinese School when I entered 9th grade, and I stopped attending the “normal” Chinese School in 10th grade.

How is going to the Chinese school different from school M-Friday?

Not much was really different, besides the fact that school only met two hours a week and that everyone was Chinese!

Is it only for Chinese students?

I know for sure that Chinese School isn’t just for Chinese students. I know there are many classes such as English as a Second Language (ESL) that are offered.

Again, Thank You – Mr. Patrick Chi.

AgevsYouth
William Wu Plays Black

Games to Follow.  

RIP Lemmy of Motorhead

 

In Remembrance of a Local Chess Legend

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.

Yours Sincerely,
Jeremy

P.S. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read Mr. Mockler’s post last year on Bill: Passing of a Chess Warrior. Bill’s obituary can be found here: William Little Tribute