Baruch chess team blitzes Central Park; has 2 top finishers
October 18, 2004

On Saturday, Oct. 2, the Baruch College chess team got a chance to represent Baruch College in the Fourth Annual Chess-in-the-Parks Rapid Open, played at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. The outdoor tournament featured a total of 436 players in six different sections and lasted all day. After six rounds of 10-minute chess matches, the team was able to achieve some of its goals and enjoy a day of chess.

Led by team captain Bobby Moy, the team entered the individual competition with the goal of having at least one player earn a top-five position in each of the three sections it competed in. In the Intermediate section, besides Moy, Baruch had newcomer Pierre Narcisse. In the less-experienced Adult Unrated section, Konstantinos Konsantinidis represented the team, the section’s champion two years ago; Colleen Harris, the only female on the team; and Sandró Lemberg, who made his competitive chess debut. Finally, in the most-killed Open section, Baruch featured Michael Layevskiy.

Baruch came together and got off to a great start. Moy and Konstantinidis got easy victories, while Lemberg scored a surprise draw. Layevskiy got a bye, and Harris and Narcisse were unable to participate, because they registered late. The team finished with four out of a possible six points in the round.

Baruch kept pace in the second round, scoring 3.5 points, but went scoreless for the third round. Whether it was being plainly outmatched or making costly mistakes, nothing was going right for the Baruch team. Narcisse, who was matched up against much younger players throughout the day, made the mistake of being too nice and giving his opponent a rematch after soundly defeating him. Unfortunately for Narcisse, the referee came over after the second match — the one that counted. Narcisse was a good sport about it, even jokingly saying, “It was fun playing against little kids.”

The team rebounded in the fourth and fifth rounds, getting four and five points, respectively. Narcisse got his first win in the fourth round, and Harris broke out for her only victory of the day in the fifth. The only bad results came from Lemberg, who lost four straight games after his draw.

Entering the sixth round, the team still had high hopes, with Moy, Konstantinidis, and Layevskiy still in contention for a top-five finish. The team achieved mixed results. Lemberg was spared another defeat by gaining a point with a bye and was joined by Moy and Konstantinidis each earning solid victories. Narcisse, Harris and Layevskiy were however unable to deliver and all lost. Layevskiy remarked, “I was playing against a master, so I did not expect to win.”

In the end, Moy and Konstantinidis each finished 5-1, which was good enough to achieve two of the team’s goals. Konstantinidis won fourth place in the 62-person Adult Unrated section, while Moy finished fifth out of 74 in his section. In the Open, Layevskiy placed 29th out of 85 with 3.5 out of six points. Narcisse finished 52nd in Intermediate with 2.5 points. Harris had two points for a 44th place Adult Unrated finish, while Lemberg only managed 1.5 points to end up in the 52nd position. Baruch finished with 19.5 out of a 36 possible points.

Konstantinidis was very happy with his result. “It was nice to have the support of the team,” he said. Harris agreed, stating, “It is great to play chess. I am happy to have played in the tournament.” The team is now preparing for its next tournament, the team Pan-Am tournament, in Kansas City in late December.

Representing Baruch, chess team captain, Bobby Moy quickly ponders his next move.. PHOTO BY SANDRO LEMBERG FOR THE TICKER