Bringing Weekenders Back to Upstate New York

By Jennifer Shahade |  May 27, 2016  |   News


Continental Chess Association is more well known for its mega tournaments with hundreds of players and tens of thousands of dollar prize funds.  However, CCA has also recently been running smaller tournaments in upstate New York.  A previous article focused on the Central New York Open in Syracuse, the first multi day in the area in almost 20 years.  CCA also is increasing weekend swiss activity in the Albany area, having run the inaugural Bill Little Open April 1st to 3rd and planning events on the horizon such as the Schenectady Open in July.  These events have drawn well and featured strong players and fighting chess. The Bill Little Memorial at Siena College featured a $2000 prize fund that was not enough to attract any GMs or IMs, but 70 players participated in three sections including five masters in the top section. The tournament recognizes Bill Little who was a fixture in Albany chess for many decades.  Peter Henner remembers his contributions: Bill was a longtime member of both the Albany and Schenectady clubs, a player whose rating ranged from Class A to expert, and a regular tournament player in the area for more than 40 years.  However, he was really the soul of capital district chess: a cheerleader for all players, with words of encouragement or, as needed, consolation, and always ready to help do whatever was needed to promote the game. In later years, it was his habit to attend both the Albany and Schenectady club during tournament nights, record all of the games, and publish the most interesting, with insightful commentary on the Eastern New York Chess Association website. Chief TD Steve Immitt also has a recollection of Bill.  Back in the day when Steve actually played chess J, Steve showed up late for a tournament.  Bill was very gracious and persuaded all the players to allow repairing of the round so that Steve could play round 1.  Back in the days before computer pairings, this was not so easy!  I will leave it to the reader to figure out whether Steve the director would approve of Steve the player. In this year’s tournament, after 5 rounds there was a three way tie for first between Patrick Chi, David Carter, and 10-year-old master Max Lu.  All scored 4-1.  Carter lost only to Chi.  Chi drew with Lu and Christopher Chabris while Lu drew with Chi and WFM Martha Samadashvili.  Each of the co-champions received $250.  Lu had a nice tactic to dispatch FM Robert Sulman in the last round.

Show Solution

Solution:  16. Rxe6 Kxe6  17. Re1+ Kd6  18. Qxf6+ Kc7  19. Qf4+ Kb6  20. Qd6

Here's the full game:

[pgn] [Event "Bill Little Memorial"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.04.03"] [White "Lu, Max"] [Black "FM Sulman, Robert"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D01"] [WhiteElo "2180"] [BlackElo "2222"] [PlyCount "42"] [EventDate "2016.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Qd2 Bg7 5. Bh6 Bxh6 6. Qxh6 c5 7. e3 cxd4 8. exd4 Nc6 9. O-O-O Qa5 10. a3 Bd7 11. Nf3 Bg4 12. Bb5 Bxf3 13. gxf3 Rc8 14. Rhe1 e6 15. Qg7 Ke7 16. Rxe6+ Kxe6 17. Re1+ Kd6 18. Qxf6+ Kc7 19. Qf4+ Kb6 20. Qd6 Qxb5 21. Nxb5 Kxb5 1-0 [/pgn]
Here is Chi’s win over Carter.
[pgn] [Event "2016 Bill Little Memorial"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.04.02"] [White "Chi, Patrick"] [Black "Carter, Dave"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D45"] [WhiteElo "2300"] [BlackElo "2205"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "2016.04.02"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. b3 O-O 8. Be2 Re8 9. O-O b6 10. Bb2 Bb7 11. Rfd1 Rc8 12. Rac1 c5 13. Qb1 a6 14. dxc5 bxc5 15. Na4 Qe7 16. Qa1 e5 17. cxd5 e4 18. Ne1 Nxd5 19. Bxa6 Bxa6 20. Rxd5 Ne5 21. Bxe5 Bxe5 22. Qb1 Bxh2+ 23. Kxh2 Qh4+ 24. Kg1 Rc6 25. f4 Rh6 26. Nxc5 Qh2+ 27. Kf2 Qh4+ 28. g3 Qh2+ 29. Ng2 Rh3 30. Nxe4 f5 31. Rxf5 Rxe4 32. Rg5 Bb7 33. Rc8+ Kf7 34. Rc7+ Re7 35. Rxb7 Rxb7 36. Qf5+ 1-0[/pgn]
Other section winners were: Under 1800         Brian Furtado, Scott Boyce, Arthur Alowitz           4-1          $150 each Under 1400         Yeshwanth Polamreddy                                                                5-0          $100 (Unr limited to $100) Mixed Double   WFM Martha Samadashvili & Alan Geiger             7-3          $50 each


The following month CCA held another one of its regularly scheduled tournaments – this time in a resort setting.  The New York State Open was held May 20-22 at Tiki Resort at Lake George.  While this tournament has been held at Lake George for over a decade, the attendance this year broke a record with over 100 players for the first time.  It boasted a $3000 prize fund and 105 players.  There were fewer masters in this tournament, but there were a few luminaries.  GM Joel Benjamin won the tournament with a score of 5-0.  He took home $400 for his efforts.   In round 4, Joel defeated second seeded Wall Street Journal Chess columnist Christopher Chabris who finished in a tie for third at 4-1.  Benjamin won on time.

[pgn] [Event "New York State Open"] [Site "Lake George Village,NY"] [Date "2016.05.22"] [White "Benjamin, Joel"] [Black "Chabris, Christopher"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A28"] [WhiteElo "2624"] [BlackElo "2290"] [Annotator "Townsend,William"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2016.05.??"] [EventRounds "5"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e3 Bb4 5. Qc2 O-O 6. Nd5 a5 7. Bd3 h6 8. a3 Bc5 9. b3 d6 10. Nxf6+ Qxf6 11. Bb2 Be6 12. Be4 Ba7 13. O-O Qe7 14. d4 Bg4 15. dxe5 Bxf3 16. Bxf3 dxe5 17. Rad1 Bc5 18. Qf5 Rfd8 19. Rxd8+ Rxd8 20. Bd5 Rf8 21. Ra1 Bd6 22. g3 Nd8 23. Rd1 c6 24. Be4 g6 25. Qg4 h5 26. Qf3 Ne6 27. h4 Nc5 28. Bc2 Nd7 29. g4 Nf6 30. g5 Ng4 31. Qe4 Bc5 32. Kg2 Rd8 33. Rxd8+ Qxd8 34. Bc3 Qd7 $2 35. Bxa5 {Black lost on time.} 1-0[/pgn]
In the last round, Benjamin sacs an exchange to defeat Canadian FM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux.
[pgn] [Event "New York State Open"] [Site "Lake George Village,NY"] [Date "2016.05.22"] [White "Rodrigue Lemieux, Shawn"] [Black "Benjamin, Joel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B15"] [WhiteElo "2181"] [BlackElo "2624"] [Annotator "Townsend,William"] [PlyCount "62"] [EventDate "2016.05.??"] [EventRounds "5"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Be2 Nh6 6. e5 O-O 7. Bf4 f6 8. O-O Bg4 9. h3 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 fxe5 11. Bxe5 Bxe5 12. dxe5 e6 13. Re1 Qh4 14. Ne2 Rxf3 $5 15. gxf3 Nf5 16. Kg2 Qg5+ 17. Kh1 Qh4 18. Kg2 Nd7 19. f4 Rf8 20. Qd3 Qh5 21. Ng3 Nh4+ 22. Kh1 Qh6 23. Ne2 Nxe5 $1 24. fxe5 Rf3 25. Rad1 Rxd3 26. Rxd3 Qg5 27. Ng3 Qf4 28. Re2 c5 29. b3 b5 30. Rde3 d4 31. Rd3 c4 0-1[/pgn]
Special mention goes to David Granik.  Rated 1787, he was paired up all 5 rounds and defeated experts Harold Scott and former USCF Executive Director and current Chess Trust director Al Lawrence and pulled off a 200+ point upset over Lecours and only lost to WFM Samadashvili and Chabris!  He gained nearly 100 rating points and won half of the Under 1810 prize.  All his wins were gambits!  Here is his win over Al Lawrence.
[pgn] [Event "New York State Open"] [Site "Lake George Village,NY"] [Date "2016.05.21"] [White "Lawrence, Albert J"] [Black "Granik, David M"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C44"] [WhiteElo "2000"] [BlackElo "1787"] [Annotator "Townsend,William"] [PlyCount "46"] [EventDate "2016.05.??"] [EventRounds "5"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 Nc6 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. Nf3 d6 7. e5 Ng4 8. e6 fxe6 9. Ng5 Nce5 10. Nxe6 Qh4 11. g3 Qf6 12. O-O Bxe6 13. Bxe6 Qxe6 14. f4 O-O-O 15. fxe5 dxe5 16. Qa4 Bc5+ 17. Kg2 h6 18. Re1 Rhf8 19. Re2 Rf2+ 20. Rxf2 Nxf2 21. Qh4 Qc6+ 22. Kf1 Qf3 23. Qxd8+ Kxd8 0-1[/pgn]
The New York State Open again featured a Senior section open to players rated Under 1910 and older than 50.  Timothy Smolinski won that section with a score of 4 ½.  He won his first four games and drew the last round against Philip Ferguson.  The margin of victory was a half point bye as Ferguson won the rest of his games but took a half point bye in round 3.  In the last round game, Smolinski was quite satisfied with a draw since it gave him clear first place.  His opponent tries to mix things up and is worse, but escapes with the draw.
[pgn] [Event "New York State Open"] [Site "Lake George Village,NY"] [Date "2016.05.22"] [White "Smolinski, Timothy"] [Black "Ferguson, Philip J"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B00"] [WhiteElo "1899"] [BlackElo "1820"] [Annotator "Townsend,William"] [PlyCount "48"] [EventDate "2016.05.??"] [EventRounds "5"] [EventCountry "USA"] 1. e4 Nc6 2. f4 d5 3. e5 g5 {He was playing to draw so I had to get wild on him - Ferguson} 4. d4 gxf4 5. Bxf4 Bf5 6. c3 Bg7 7. Nf3 a6 8. Nbd2 h5 9. Nb3 Nh6 10. Bd3 Qc8 11. h3 Nd8 12. Qc2 Bxd3 13. Qxd3 Nf5 14. O-O-O Bh6 15. Bxh6 Rxh6 16. g4 Ng3 17. Rhg1 Ne4 18. Qe3 Rh8 19. Nfd2 Nxd2 20. Rxd2 Ne6 21. g5 Nf8 22. Rf2 b6 23. Rgf1 Qe6 24. Qf3 ({Maybe} 24. Rxf7 O-O-O {- Ferguson}) 24... Rh7 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Here are the other section winners: Under 1610         Erika McLean, Erik Westwig, Andrew Harris,        4-1                          $120 Blaise Loya, Premjith Narayan Under 1210         Abraham Porschet                                                          4 ½- ½                   $100 Mixed Double   Kimberly Kreiss & Erik Aparicio                                   8-2                          $100 each Blitz                        NM Lev Paciorkowski                                                     6 ½ - 1 ½               $40 One of the interesting things about these tournaments is the rating cutoff ending in 10 rather than zero such as 1910 rather than 1900.  Having this option in tournaments from time to time allows players who may be on their floor to be near the top of their section rather than the bottom.   While this may not be a good idea for big money tournaments it gives opportunities to declining players on their floor (such as me from time to time J).  Variety in formats allows serving many different constituencies. NTD/IA Steve Immitt directed both tournaments.  NYS games editor Bill Townsend assisted at the New York State Open and assisted with collecting game scores and choosing games for this article.  Brother John McManus assisted at the Bill Little memorial. Complete results of the Bill Little Memorial can be found at  Complete results of the New York State Open can be found at Previous Continental Chess tournaments can be found at the Continental Chess website at Follow the Chicago Open this weekend here. 

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain Text Comments