Chess in Central Park Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
September 29, 2009
Over 600 came to the Chess-in-the-Parks tournament, Photo Ron Boocock
Central Park has been filled with chess lately. On September 20, GM Robert Hess gave a talk and simultaneous exhibition sponsored by Central Park Conservancy and the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation and organized by Renée Yarzig of Cross-Generation Chess. 

In his speech, the 17-year-old Hess emphasized the importance of learning from losses, the diversity of chessplayers, "I have played individuals from over sixty countries" and balancing chess and life:  

Robert Hess in his simul, Photo Lisa Choy-Zafra
At a young age, I took lessons 2-3 times a week and attended chess club after school as well. In middle school, I told my mother that I did not want to focus only on chess, but rather play sports, hang out with my friends, and do what “normal” boys did. Bobby Fischer once said, “Chess is life.” But for me, and hopefully you kids as well, this is not true. Chess is an extremely positive influence in life, but it should not become your sole preoccupation. Branching out is important: chess cannot consume all your time, but if you are serious about the game, it should hold prominence.  Hopefully my girlfriend and my mother can understand that!

The event also featured a G/40 Youth Championship. The main section was won by Warren Wang. See full results below.

Hess's event could be considered a warm-up for the massive Chess-In-The-Parks G/10 tournament hosted on September 26. Over 600(!) people played in this 9th annual event co-organized by Shaun Smith of Chess-In-The-Schools (CIS) and Ed Feldman of the NYC Parks Department.

Ian Wiggins, the Chess-in-the-Parks champion, Photo Ron Boocock
New York chess stars were also highlighted: IM Yury Lapshun won a two-game G/10 exhibition over IM Dmitry Schneider. Lapshun went on to defeat over 100 players in a "Master Takes on All Comers" booth. GM Lev Alburt also attended. He played with Lapshun and donated copies of his books to the winner of each section.

Shaun Smith of CIS told CLO, "Ian Wiggins, a legend in St. Nicholas Park scored 6-0 and won two decisive blitz games in the playoff over two other expert level players Mauricio Camejo and Jeremiah Williams. Considering the number of strong players in attendance Wiggins' result was great." Enjoy a selection of photos from both events and scroll down for full standings.
IM Yury Lapshun vs. IM Dmitry Schneider

James Black of 318k and 318 alum Rochelle Ballantyne (now at Brooklyn Tech and the college bound program of CIS)  were both 5-1 and playing on board 1 and 2 respectively in the last round. Photo Ron Boocock

The final intense game between Camejo and Wiggins, Photo Ron Boocock

Jonathan Corbblah faces the Umbrella Attack, Photo Ron Boocock

Clouds, but no rain in the Chess-In-The-Parks tournament, Photo Ron Boocock

Co-organizer Shaun Smith, Photo Ron Boocock

GM Lev Alburt vs. Yury Lapshun, Photo Ron Boocock

A winner is crowned! Photo Ron Boocock

Joel Yoffie teaching, Photo Ron Boocock

The G/40 tournament in conjunction with GM Robert Hess's appearance, Photo Lisa Choy-Zafra   

IM Yury Lapshun waits for an opponent, Photo Ron Boocock

Final Standings, Open section

1st Place: Ian Wiggins, 6-0 First in Playoff
2nd Place: Mauricio Camejo, 6-0
3rd Place: Jeremiah Williams, 6-0
4th Place: Mikhail Sher, 5.5-0.5
5th Place: Steadroy Lloyd, 5.5-0.5
6th Place: Eric Fleischman, 5-1
7th Place: Shawn Martinez, 5-1
8th Place:  Dwayne Clark, 5-1
9th Place: Rochelle Ballantyne, 5-1
10th Place: Michael Finneran, 5-1
11th Place: Joshua Colas, 5-1 (Another youngster)
12th Place: Clotaire Colas, 5-1 (Joshua’s uncle)
13th Place: Albert Freeman, 5-1
14th Place: James Black, 5-1
Chris Murden-5.5-0.5

Phineas Fischer Horowitz-6-0
Adult unrated:

Brian Allen 6-0
Teen unrated:

Daniel Steinbrecher-5.5-0.5
Youth unrated:
David Ning-6-0

G/40 Youth Championship

Open- 1st: Warren Wang, 2-5th: Matthew Zafra, Daniel Yedidia, Sheldon Fan and Alexander Bavalsky
Under 1000: Ethan Joo and Franklin Guttman
Unrated: Marcos Muniz, Wesley Wang (brother of Warren) and Charlie Niece;