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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 20, 2011

Schenectady beats Albany 8-4: blunders decisive

By Peter Henner

The Schenectady-Albany chess match has traditionally been one of the big chess events of the year, with a large cross-section of the Capital District chess community participating.  This year's match was contested on 12 boards, with 24 players participating.  Schenectady won 8-4.

Board 1 was a battle between youthful and veteran club champions: Schenectady's champion, high school player Patrick Chi against Albany's champion, veteran Dean Howard.  Chi was able to win a pawn, which proved to be decisive.

On Board 2, Ashok Aaron, a champion speed chess player, played a relatively rare game for him at a normal time control and broke through the defenses of John Leisner to win for Schenectady.

Although an 8-4 score would appear to be a fairly clear victory, two reversals during individual games gave the matches to Schenectady.

Generally, once a chess player has a decisive advantage, such as a pawn advantage, the chess player is expected to win.  This was certainly true in most of the games of the match, where players who got an advantage ultimately held it and won the game.

However, there were two significant exceptions: Chris Caravaty, a new member of the Albany club, won easily against Schenectady's Cory Northrup, with a Queen and three pawns against a Queen but, in the closing minutes of a time pressure scramble, Caravaty simply blundered his Queen and the game.

In my game against Michael Mockler, I also had what should have been an easy victory: a pawn ahead with two connected pass pawns and far more active pieces.  Unfortunately, I made a simple blunder, losing a Knight which cost me the game.

Had these two games ended in Albany victories, the match would have been a 6-6 tie.

Perhaps the most interesting game was a long, hard-fought battle between Bill Little, playing for Albany although he is a long-time member of both clubs, and Schenectady's Bill Townsend. Townsend had a Queen against a Rook, Knight and pawn, a clear advantage, but a difficult game to win, especially since Townsend only had two minutes left on his clock to finish the last 40 moves of the game.

Townsend had to do all of his thinking when Little's clock was running, or during the 5-second delay before his clock began running, before the players finally agreed to a draw.  The full results are:






Dean Howard

Patrick Chi

0  - 1


Jon Leisner

Ashok Aaron

0  - 1


Gordon Magat

Philip Sells

1  - 0


Tim Wright

John Phillips

0  - 1


Peter Henner

Michael Mockler

0  - 1


Bill Little

Bill Townsend

½   - ½


Jonathan Lack

David Finnerman

0  - 1


Glen Perry

Dilip Aaron

1  - 0


Arthur Alowitz

Richard Chu

½   - ½


Charles Eson

Matt Clough

0  - 1


Chris Caravaty.

Cory Northrup

0 - 1


K. Kamma

Zach Calderone

1  - 0


Deepak Aaron undefeated

Deepak Aaron, now the DeeDeepak Aaron undefeated

Deepak Aaron, now the strongest player in the Capital District with a rating in the 2300s, conducted a simultaneous exhibition at Rensselaerville Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, Oct. 15, taking on all-comers at the same time.

He won all of his games, not giving up any draws or losses.

I hope to have more information about this event next week.

Bilbao Tournament

Six of the strongest players of the world — including the number-one rated player in the world, Magnus Carlson, World Champion V. Anand, and the highest rated United States player, Hikaru Nakamura — competed in the 10-round Bilbao Chess Masters, comprising five rounds played in Sao Paulo Brazil and five rounds in Bilbao Portugal from Sept. 26 through Oct. 10.

The tournament rules provided for 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw, to discourage "Grandmaster draws" among the players and to encourage fighting chess; there were no short draws in the tournament.

Carlson won the tournament by defeating Vasili Ivanchuk in a two-game speed chess playoff after they tied for first place with 15 points each.  Nakamura, Armenian Levon Aronian, and world champion Anand tied for third through fifth with 12 points, with Nakamura winning third place on the basis of a tiebreak system, and Spanish grandmaster Vallejo was sixth with 10.

Nakamura lost a game as the result of a very unusual fluke.  With about 30 seconds left before making his last move before the time control, he walked away from the board to get a glass of orange juice and was forfeited.

Nakamura believed that he had made the requisite 40 moves, and thought that the arbiter had nodded in response to his question that he had made the 40th move.  In fact, the arbiter claimed not to have made any such indication and, under international chess rules, should not have given any indication one way or the other. 

This week’s problem

Even a world champion can occasionally be blown out in a quick game.  Here, Anand, already in a difficult position, has just played 24,... Qf5 to reach the position below.

Can you find Aronian's 25th move, which immediately wins the game? 

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