Lev Paciorkowski Wins the New York State Championship

Lev Paciorkowski vs. Bryan Smith. Photo: Bill Townsend

America’s longest-running chess tournament – the 140th Annual New York State Championship – was held in Albany from August 31 – September 3. Eighteen-year-old Lev Paciorkowski, whose formative chess years were spent playing at the Rochester Chess Center and in the Rochester Interscholastic Chess League and is now a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, took clear 1st with 5 points out of 6. The last time a Rochester-area resident won the NYS Championship was now-GM Ken Rogoff in 1972. Continental Chess Association organized the event.

After 4 rounds, the three highest rated players – the very strong teenager David Brodsky, Philadelphia-based GM Bryan Smith and Paciorkowsi – all had 3.5. Effectively joining their score group (as the highest rated player with 3) was Jay Bonin, himself on a quixotic quest to try to recapture the State Championship. In round 5, Smith-Bonin and Brodsky-Paciorkowski were draws.

But, in Round 6, this same group produced decisive results. Lev Paciorkowski defeated Bryan Smith, and thus reached 5/6 to clinch 1st. Jay Bonin got to 4.5 by winning against David Brodsky. Meanwhile, Jimmy Heiserman also scored 4.5 by virtue of his victory against David Carter. Bonin and Heiserman tied for 2nd in the event.

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