GM Perelshteyn on Rediscovering Live Speed Chess
By GM Eugene Perelshteyn   
January 16, 2012
It is no wonder that more and more chessplayers prefer playing chess in the comfort of their homes.  Armed with a trusted mouse, you can quickly get a challenge on or ICC and then go over a game with Houdini, who will poke fun at your moves at lightening speed and with a cold silicon heart.  Is this the future of chess?  

What about the excitement of playing blitz with a friend and feeling over-the-board tension, exchanging witty jokes and experiencing the thrill of pieces flying while the seconds count down to zero?  Internet chess cannot fully replace the thrill of OTB chess, and that’s why chess clubs are still around and growing strong.

Recently, I decided to re-discover the art of speed chess (G/10) with real pieces, clocks, and yes – real human beings, by visiting the newest chess club in New England.  Located in Norwalk, Connecticut, Fairfield County Chess Club is not your average chess club.  As chessplayers we are used to playing in basements, churches, libraries, cafeterias and anything that is big enough to fit a few tables and chairs.  We don’t ask for much.  So, what makes this club different?

First of all, it has a two-story building all to itself.  The second floor is spacious with chess pieces neatly set up on wooden tables.  Throughout the club there are rooms with comfortable armchairs, where players can relax between games, and flat-screen TVs that are used for lectures and pairings.  It felt odd, VIP-style.  It made me recall my visit to the famous Saint Louis Chess Club.   However, I was surprised to find that Fairfield County Chess Club has limited resources.  It is completely self-sufficient thanks to the dedication and hard work of Daniel Lowinger and Melvin Patrick.  Despite the terrible recession, these passionate individuals followed their dreams to build a chess community.

While the Fairfield County Chess club is merely a year old, it already has a strong membership base.  The club is home to scholastic programs, Grand-Prix tournaments and Grandmaster lectures.  One GM lecture was conducted by none other than the legendary Yuri Averbakh, the oldest living Grandmaster!

The tournament I played in turned out to be surprisingly strong for a G/10 tourney with 6 GMs (Hess, Stripunsky, Kudrin, Rogers, Perelshteyn, Kekelidze) and 3 IMs (Sarkar, Bonin, Vioreanu).  Top seed GM Robert Hess, who is now a freshman at Yale, decided to shake off some rust, but was upset by a talented youngster Kapil Chandran.

I had a perfect score and was paired in round 4 against another surprise of the tournament, world-renowned GM and journalist Ian Rogers from Australia.  Take a look at this game how my older opponent conducts the attack with youthful vigor and a finishing coup-de-grace move!


White resigned due to 31.Qb8 Rxh2 32.Qxh2 Qd3+ 33.Kg1 Rf5–+ 0–1

I managed to come back after this round with victories over IM Justin Sarkar, and GM Mikheil Kekelidze (see below), tying for first with GM Sergey Kudrin with 5.5/7.



The club celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, and I wish it all the best in 2012!