Saratoga Staunton Club Annual Meeting

The Saratoga Staunton Club is holding its annual meeting on Sunday, October 25, 2020, at 7 PM. The meeting will be held using Zoom. We will not be meeting in person in the foreseeable future and our annual over the board championship has been canceled for 2020. We will be discussing how we can all stay active in chess without meeting in person. If you wish to join us email me mailto:[email protected] and I will send you the Zoom link. We may limit access in the unlikely event that too many people want to show up for the Zoom meeting.

Saratoga Staunton Club News

I am trying to figure out what other clubs are doing before we formally try to have our annual meeting. I don’t even know if we have the ability to do a meeting online. In any case, I just sent out a message to those who follow the Staunton Club, you can see a copy here Also, we are still having blitz tournaments (just for fun 5+5 no prizes) every Sunday at approximately 7:15 on  join our team if you want to play.

Proctors Saturday tournament on

Message from Ashok Aaron:
The much awaited Proctors City Mission Fifth Saturday Tournament (FST) is happening this weekend. Please pass the word and play in this online Swiss tournament on !!!

Fifth Saturday Tournament (FST) on’s “ProctorsCityMissionChess” club – 5 minutes blitz tournament on Saturday (August 29, 2020). Swiss Tournament starts at 1:05pm (New York Time). Five rounds of blitz chess. You can play all the rounds irrespective of wins, draws or losses. Sign up one hour prior to the starting time. Be available to start your game by 1pm and subsequent rounds. Entry is free for all.

If you are not on, you need to sign-up for a free account. Afterwards join the “ProctorsCityMissionChess” club on to play in this tournament. Cash prizes or gift cards to Walmart for the top three players as per official standings – First prize – $100.00, Second prize – $75.00 and Third prize – $50.00 (Cash/Gift Card prizes based on a minimum of 20 participants). If the number of participants is below 20, then it will be 50% cash/gift card prizes (Gift cards are for school students in the capital district and US only). Special prize(s) is an additional bonus.

Any questions please email me or feel free to message on “ProctorsCityMissionChess” club on

Best to all even as we get ready to bid goodbye to summer

Ashok Aaron

To join the club:

  1. Connect to and click or point to the Connect link. Depending on your interface, you will probably it on the left of your screen. It could appear as a pair of comic-strip quote balloons.
  2. Click on “Clubs”
  3. Enter “Proctors” in the search window. Click ProctorsCityMissionChess , which should be the only option.
  4. When the club page opens, click “Join”. Try to do this in advance of the event, to give them time to respond to your request.

An optional Zoom meeting will start at about 12:30, so players can meet and talk before the games begin.

Meeting ID: 595 746 3342
Passcode: 346510

Announcement of new chess mailing list

I have created a new mailing list. Greater Capital District Chess Discussion: I intend to announce its existence using the social media methods open to me. I believe it is important to have a two-way chess dedicated means of communication between local chess players. I sketched out some of what I’m hoping for in the first post Hopefully, signing up is straight forward, if you wish to sign up and are having difficulty email me [email protected] and I will send you an invitation to join.

50th Anniversary event this Saturday, August 8 [Updated]

I played my first rated chess event on August 8-9, 1970. That event began with my first three losses. I recovered to finish 3-3, kept playing, and today I hold the FNM title. (Former National Master.)

I had hoped to sponsor a tournament to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that event. That is obviously impossible now, so the next best thing is a speed tournament on from 2:00 – 3:30 PM EDT this Saturday. (Probably followed by some casual games, or maybe another kind of tournament.)
To enter, go to and join the club. There is no cost to do this. The event will be open for entries an hour in advance.
Many thanks to Ashok Aaron for helping set this up.

UPDATE: Thanks to Thana Battes, some participants will receive books from Lee Battes’s collection. Lee was one of the top local players for many years, until his death three years ago. Thana wants his books to go to someone who will use them, so I made some selections that I hope will be interesting.
Naturally, I can’t hand them out directly, but I occasionally drive to most of the Capital District, so deliveries or pickups can be arranged before too long.

There will also be a Zoom meeting starting at 1:00 or a little earlier, for people to meet and greet, and maybe see a couple of my old games. I’ll share my screen so people can watch the tournament, and any games that follow. The link will be posted here about three hours before we start, and I’ll send it today to people who have Emailed me.
UPDATE2: Here is the Zoom info:
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 595 746 3342
Passcode: 1970

If you have questions or suggestions, please send email to xdeanhowardx at ymindspringy dot zcomz after making the obvious changes.
As of Friday morning, I’ve heard from 12 people in three states and one foreign country, and expect a few more to drop in. I’m looking forward to seeing faces I haven’t seen in months, if not years.

What the Saratoga Staunton Club is doing until OTB play is possible again.

We (The Saratoga Staunton Club – )created (with tournaments on Tuesdays) and tournaments on Sundays) All the tournaments start at 7:15. Everything is very informal and low key, but you and any chess playing friends are welcome to join the Saratoga Staunton Club team/club on either. My username is sapolion; feel free to challenge me to a correspondence game if you like. There are numerous ways to play online and it’s just something we are doing to let our friends and members play people they know.

Saratoga Staunton Club on Lichess

I copied what the Skidmore Chess Club did, by forming a team on Lichess. Every Sunday we will have a blitz (g5 – no delay or increment) tournament automatic pairings by Lichess join or leave whenever you like for 90 minutes starting at approximately 7:15. I check Lichess daily and before our events for new team members. I challenge everyone who signs up to two casual correspondence games with the maximum time limit. You need to create a free Lichess account before joining the team. The link is 

Plans and Variations: Surviving against a Grandmaster.

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez gave a 34-board simultaneous exhibition at the East Greenbush Chess Club and finished undefeated. I was one of three players to get a draw, along with John Leisner and Al Geiger.
Before the exhibition, he gave an excellent lecture. One of his points was that it is important to have a plan before you try to calculate variations. Our game illustrated that principle in several ways.

Two days later I was amazed to discover that Ke2 and …b4 both deserved two question marks because I had a forced win with …Ka5 followed by ..Kb4 and Kxc5 and there’s no fortress.

Bill Matters and Phil Ferguson deserve many thanks for organizing this event. Bill forwarded my question to GM Ramirez about the finish. Ramirez confirmed that 37. Ke2 was a losing move, but it gave Black chances to go wrong. It wasn’t a bad choice practically. Lines with 37… Ka5 38 c3 looked scary so I played not to lose.

Ramirez also commented that I played a good game “after he let me off the hook.” Considering how I played the opening, that’s as much of a compliment as I could have asked for.