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Harvard Chess Club Trounces Yale

Team Finishes Undefeated in Annual Competition

By Ethan M. Tucker

As Harvard's football team players lost their battle in the brutal November cold, a somewhat more reserved Crimson troop sat in the stands of the Yale Bowl resting on the laurels of victory: The Harvard Chess Club had done it again.

In the serene atmosphere of Yale's Timothy Dwight College Saturday morning, Harvard and Yale clashed in a contest of brains rather than brawn--with Harvard emerging victorious by a score of 6 and a half to one and a half.

Eight games showcased the top four players from each team, matched up against each other in rank order. The pairs played two games apiece, so that players would get a turn at each color.

The Harvard squad finished undefeated, winning five of its games and playing three to a draw. One point was awarded for each win, and a draw earned half a point.

The Yalies accompanied their opponents to the Phelps gate after the match, where they parted ways to head over to the other sporting event of the day.

John M. Bronsteen '97 said he enjoyed the chess victory, but his heart went out to the football team. "It wasn't much consolation for losing The Game," he said.

The annual competition takes place on the morning of the Harvard Yale football game, said Chess Club President Jeremy L. Martin '96. Harvard won last year also, by a smaller margin of 4 and a half to 3 and a half.

Martin cited the overall quality of the team's players as the key to success. "Essentially, we had more depth, although they had one very strong player," he said.

Yale's number one competitor, Bobby Seltzer, is ranked a Senior Master, putting him in the top two percent of chess players in the country.

While Harvard had no player of this stature, all of its players were of Expert level, or in the top 10 percent nationwide. The other Yale players were ranked at less than Expert level. All rankings are computed by the United States Chess Federation.

Seltzer was expected to fare well, but Oliver S. Tai '96 pulled off an upset by beating his opponent in both games. "I didn't think he was playing that well that day," Tai said.

But Tai attributed his victory to a difference in strategy. "[Seltzer] is a much more aggressive player," he said. "I tried to keep it conservative which ismore my style. I played a nonstandard opening,which he obviously didn't seem to be used to."

Along with Martin, Bronsteen and Tai, WenningXing '96 journeyed to Yale for the chess event

Along with Martin, Bronsteen and Tai, WenningXing '96 journeyed to Yale for the chess event

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