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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 31, 2011

Dean Howard wins Albany Championship

By Peter Henner

Dean Howard recovered from his only loss in the preliminary section of the Albany Chess Club Championship to win his last four games and win the club championship.

He defeated John Lack in a tense time pressures scramble, to tie for first with a 4-1 score, and then defeated me in a playoff to reach the two game match with Gordon Magat, the winner of the other preliminary section. He then defeated Magat 2-0 in the playoff match.

Magat, after losing the first game, had to play for a win in the second game, even with the black pieces. On several occasions, he declined the opportunity to play moves that were probably objectively better, but which would have led to a drawn position; choosing instead to play riskier moves for a win.

Although he held onto a material advantage of one pawn, he had a difficult position, which Howard forcefully exploited to win the game. (See this week’s problem).

Finnerman wins Schenectady Consolation

David Finnerman, who has returned to active chess after a layoff of several years, has given notice that he will be a force to be reckoned with on the Capital District chess scene.

He won the Schenectady Consolation Swiss (a tournament for those players who did not qualify for the championship section) with a perfect score of 5-0.

This tournament, combined with his strong fourth-place finish in the Class B section of the Eastern Class Championships in Sturbridge, Mass. will put his rating close to, if not over, the 1800 Class A level.

Capital District Chess League play

With the conclusion of the club championships, the Capital District chess community will focus on the annual league matches.

The RPI team, which must complete its schedule before the end of the semester, has already played Albany A, losing 4-0, and the Schenectady Geezers, losing 3½ - ½.  Both matches were much more hard-fought than the final scores indicate.

RPI will be playing Albany B on Wednesday, March 30.

Aronian wins Melody Amber

The Armenian Lev Aronian won the Melody Amber Tournament, placing first among 12 of the strongest players in the world.  The tournament combines two separate tournaments, one where the players play “blindfolded” without sight of the board, and one where the players play under a fast time control.

Aronian placed first with a total score of 15½ - 6½, ahead of the Norwegian Magnus Carlson with 14½ - 7½, and World Champion Vishy Anand, with 13-9.

The only American contestant, Hikaru Nakamura, tied for fifth, with a score of 10½-11½.

Aronian won the Blindfold section with a score of 81⁄2- 21⁄2, while Carlson set a record for the highest winning score in the Rapid section, with a score of 91⁄2 - 11⁄2.  Among top-level chess players, who are very close in playing strength, it is very hard to achieve such an overwhelming score; it is common for tournaments to be won with winning percentages of 60 to 70 percent. 

This week's problem

Dean Howard finished off his run to the Albany Club Championship with a pretty combination to decide his playoff game against Gordon Magat. Although he is down a pawn, he has an overwhelming position. Can you see how he won? 

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