Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

The US Chess League has been in full swing since the last week in August. The New England Nor’easters are the local team and appear to be a national menace to the other teams. Recall that the Nor’easters swept the league in 2010, appropriating the national title with the then-highest score ever achieved. The commemoration of its achievement appears as a plaque on the wall of the Boylston Chess Club, its home base in Somerville.

The team was captained by David Vigorito and led by Sam Shankland, a Brandeis student, and Robert Hungaski, then living in Connecticut, both of whom registered good results. Another consistent scorer was their fourth board, Alex Cherniak. The 2010 championship match was against the Miami Sharks. In that match, Chris Chase, one of the writers of this column, scored 1-0 on third board without making a move. His opponent, Charles Galofre, had car issues and couldn’t make the match. He asked to play from his car via cellphone but his offer was quite properly declined and he forfeited. Shankland and Hungaski (who this year will play for the Manhattan Applesauce) also won to give the Nor’easters a clear 3-1 win of the title.

The rules of the league require that for each four-player match, the average rating of each team cannot exceed 2400.75. To ensure a balanced team, players rated below 2000 will be treated as having a 2000 rating, and players above 2600 are treated as having a 2600 rating.


There are four divisions now, Atlantic, Northeast, South, and Pacific. This year, the Nor’easters have an all-star roster. Notable additions to the 10-player team include: Steven Winer and Lawyer Times. The other members are Shankland, Alexander Ivanov, Vigorito, Charles Riordan, Mika Brattain, Ben Goldberg, Andrew Liu, and Carey Theil.

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The Nor’easters have jumped out to a good lead in the Northeast Division. At this writing it has a team score of 6-1, the highest in the league along with the Dallas Destiny in the Southern Division. The Nor’easters started the season with a drawn match with its local rival, the Boston Blitz, whose home base is not Boston but Cambridge, at Harvard University. There followed victories against the Baltimore Kingfishers (2.5-1.5), the New York Knights (2.5-1.5), the Carolina Cobras (3-1), the New Jersey Knockouts (3-1), and the Los Angeles Vibe (3.5-.5). The team’s other draw was in the fourth round against the dreaded Connecticut Dreadnaughts. The Nor’easters have received cardinal support from its lower boards. Its secret weapons have been the youngster Andrew Liu, 15, who has delivered with a score of 3-1, and the veteran, Lawyer Times on fourth board, with a score of 5-0.

Ilya Krasik has taken over managing the Blitz from last year’s captain, Jorge Sammour-Hasbun. The Blitz includes such stars as Eugene Perelshteyn, Denys Shmelov, Marc Esserman and Vadim Martirosov. After 7 rounds, they have 3 wins and 4 losses.

Brevity: J. Sammour-Hasbun v. B. Kreiman (1993) 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.0–0 Bc5 6.e5 d5 7.exf6 dxc4 8.Re1+ Be6 9.fxg7 Rg8 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Bxe7 Kxe7 12.Qd2 Rxg7 13.Qh6 Rg6 14.Qh4+ Kd7 15.Ne5+ Nxe5 16.Qxd4+ Kc6 17.Qxe5 Bd5 18.g3 Qh4 19.Qf5 Rag8 20.Nc3 Rxg3+; 0-1

Winners: Manchester Blitzfest: 1st Vadim Martirosov, 22.5-2.5; 2d: Braden Bournival, 22-3; WMCA Memorial: 1st-3d: John Curdo, Cliff McLaughlin, and Matthew Meredith: 3-1


Coming Events: Boylston Legends of Chess
Oct. 19, BCC Scholastic Grand Prix and BCC
Annual Blitz, Oct. 20, 240B Elm St., Somerville,