We have written before that Walter Champion’s prizes in the Massachusetts Open had been sort of a beacon light that may have attracted a number of New England chess specialists to gather like moths around the annual tournament. Each player has been given the opportunity to present his victories in the slender hope that his insights could be publicly recognized and that he might be crowned single game champion by the “Champion Award.”
All very well, but a number of weeks have gone by and the tournament director, Bob Messenger, has not, so far as we know, identified the winners. Curious to know why, we e-mailed John Curdo, veteran of well over 800 tournament victories and our former column annotator, who has agreed to preside as the judge for this award. Curdo is notoriously and often exasperatingly thorough in his chess analysis.
We have gotten an explanation of the hiatus, which we certainly consider to be more than adequate. Curdo says that he received 96 scores of capable chess, no doubt some written in script similar to that found on Egyptian tombs. He says he thinks he can do his work over a period of three weeks. We have thought that perhaps the games submissions should be limited to one per player or maybe the last round. Walter Champion, have a heart!
On the local front, we are also having trouble leaving the subject of Carissa Yip, 9, making life miserable for adults. At the recent “Legends of Chess — Emanuel Lasker” tournament at the Boylston Club, she only managed to score 2.5 points out of 4, but — wait a minute — in the process drew with Eric Godin, the victor of the tournament. She lost to veteran Henry Terrie of New Hampshire and dispatched a couple of players to boost her rating to expert status — 2011. This is remarkable.
Her proud but unquestionably perplexed father has stated that “according to the USCF record, Carissa is the youngest ever female expert in the country.” We note that Awonder Liang of Wisconsin has become the youngest national master in United States Chess Federation history. Awonder was 17 days shy of his 10th birthday. Might Carissa top this record? Nothing like this has happened in New England in our memory. Patrick Wolff emerged as a future US champion in his early teens.
This again raises the question of the ability of women in chess. As far back as 1974, we wrote a column asking “Why, oh, why no women?” Later however, Judith Polgar, grasping her teddy bear, started demolishing adults and won the unrated but strong section in the New York Open at age 9. Young women recently numbered 280 in the All-Girls Nationals in Chicago.
Chess prodigies come and go, but can Clarissa keep up this escalation?
Brevity: J.Cochrane vs. Captain Evans (1843) 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 h5 6.Bc4 Rh7 7.Nxf7 Rxf7 8.Bxf7+ Kxf7 9.d4 Bh6 10.Bxf4 Bxf4 11.0–0 Qxh4 12.Rxf4+ Nf6 13.e5 d5 14.Rxf6+ Kg7 15.Qd2 Nd7 16.Qh6+; 1-0
Winners: Boylston Thursday Night Swiss Open: Tie for 1st: Evan Rabin and Thomas Carr, 3.5-.5; Metrowest Summer Solstice: 1st, Denys Shmelov, 4-0.
Coming Events: Waltham Blazing Hot G/40, July 19, IBM Building, 404 Wyman St., Waltham. Info@walthamchessclub.org; Boylston Scholastic Grand Prix, July 21, 240B Elm St., Somerville, www.boylstonchessclub.org.
CORRECTION: We mistakenly reported last week that Carissa Yip was born in Hong Kong. She was born in Boston.