Albany Chess Club Championship is the scene of fierce competition

By Peter Henner

The Albany Chess Club Championship, which is being held for the first time in several years, is providing an excellent demonstration of the growing quality of chess in the Capital Region.

Twelve competitors have played some exciting chess, and there have been a few surprises. In each of the two preliminary sections, there is one Expert; two Class A players; and three players who, at least on paper, are weaker. However, especially in Section 2, you would not be able to guess the ratings of the players based upon their actual performance.

In  Section 1, Expert Gordon Magat and Class A player Timothy Wright are tied for first with 2 1/2 – 1/2. Wright has defeated Class A player Bill Little and Bob Kemp, while Magat has defeated Mr. Kemp and Art Alowitz. Class A player Bill Little, in third place with 2-1, still has a game remaining against Magat.

Art Alowitz, who is tied for fourth place with Kemp at 1-2, was almost defeated by Tim McCarthy (0-3). McCarthy was two pawns ahead in a rook and pawn ending against the higher rated Alowitz, and seemed to have at least a draw with probable winning chances, when he blundered his rook. In the remaining game, Kemp defeated McCarthy.

In Section 2, the three “weaker” players have been distinguishing themselves. Glen Perry, whose rating improved to 1774 (just below the Class A standard of 1800) after a strong showing in the New York State Championships, is almost a Class A player in name, and is certainly at least Class A strength in practice. He drew John Lack (1852) in a hard-fought, theoretically interesting game, after defeating Chuck Eson in round one. However, Perry lost an exciting game, as a result of inaccurate end game play, to Jason Denham.

Denham is relatively new to tournament chess, and has a provisional rating of 1268, based upon only 12 tournament games. However, he is obviously much stronger than his rating, as evidenced by his win against Perry, and an exceptionally strong game that he played against me (1924). Although he did not take full advantage of some of my inaccurate moves, he nevertheless had an even game until, well into the endgame, he blundered a bishop. Denham also lost to Jon Lack.

The other “weak” player is Chuck Eson, whose rating has improved significantly in the last year, but is still only 1044. Eson is also playing well, and gave both Perry and me a very tough time in our games. I won by finding a difficult move, giving up my queen for rook, bishop and pawn, and then outplaying Eson in a complicated end game, which had chances for both sides.

In the other game in the section, Expert Dean Howard, the top-rated player, defeated me. Standings: Howard 1-0, Lack 1 1/2 – 1/2, Henner 2 – 1, Perry 1 1/2 - 1 1/2, Denham 1 – 2, Eson 0 – 2.

Schenectady upsets

There have also been some upsets in the Schenectady Championships, most notably where Matt Clough, rated 1374, defeated John Barnes (1842), and rising scholastic player Zach Calderon defeated Bill Little. Another scholastic player Corey Northrup came close to defeating Class A player Michael Mockler. Mockler has not been playing well, having also drawn Zach Calderon and another lower rated player, Brij Saran.

Richard Moody, one of the more creative chess players in the Capital District, is also off to a very good start in his first year competing in the Schenectady championships. I hope to have the updated Schenectady standings in next week's column.

Little’s blog is a big help

One of the best sources for information for chess in the Capital District is Bill Little's news blog, Little typically posts the scores of games from local events on his blog, together with excellent commentary.

For example, his blog has the following games described above: Denham-Perry, Clough-Barnes, Lack-Perry, Calderon-Little, Mockler-Northrop, and Howard-Henner.

In his last post, Mr. Little references this column, and suggests that it would be a good idea to include local games here. What do you think? Let me know at

Coming coverage

In next week’s column, I will have a report on the London Chess Congress, which features an eight-man tournament, including four of the strongest players in the world and four strong British players, as well as a variety of other chess events.


This week’s problem features a game where White gave Black rook odds and has now sacrificed a queen. Despite this major material disadvantage, he has a forced mate in three moves.

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