Kindred’s Special: 2009 Marchand Memorial Open

Once again the Rochester Chess Center sponsored at John Fisher College its annual and prestigious memorial tournament in honor of Dr. Erich W. Marchand.  This year’s attendance was lower than usual with 112 entries but many strong players returned to the fight who have been missing in recent years, making the open section 44-strong!

One GM Giorgio Kacheishvili (2684) and four IMs.  IM Alex Lenderman (2587) and IM Bryan Smith (2560) shared lst place and Iladai Adu (2334) were the names I was able to get by phone if the above is correct as Ron Lohrman had to leave to teach a school chess class and the connection was spotty. Sorry for that.

Although a smaller turnout than past years, a number of returning local chess players who were idle for various reasons in the past participated. Yours truly, the KindredSpirit, had intended to play coming out of retirement but was hospitalized shortly before the event for eight days so I had to miss it.

A word about Dr. Erich W. Marchand. Dr. Marchand was a brilliant mathematician who worked for Eastman Kodak Research, moving his family to Rochester from Missouri where he was a well known master and state title holder. He also was associated with the University of Rochester and tutored a number of UR students, held chess classes for ($18 for 10 lessons) beginners and experienced players alikeas well as private lessons. While in Missouri he had published a pamplet on the Slav Defense. Although very busy he found time to join and play chess at the Rochester Chess & Checker Club, later coined The Rochester Chess Club. For many years he served as its President. He won the New York State Championship title a number of times, managed a 6th place finish in the US Open and for years was the most active player in the United States Chess Federation. Politically he served USCF in three important ways. He was one of 4 members of the Elo Rating Committee who revised the rating system so it was viable for the huge increase in Swiss System tournaments. He was elected Vice President of USCF. He served in Region II as a USCF Regional Director. But perhaps most important of all, he had admiration and respect of all players whom he came across.

I first became acquainted with Dr. Marchand when I was a child visiting the club with my mom who was there to meet my oldest brother who was in a team match event against Buffalo. His opponent as I recall was named Fox and a very strong expert also. Later, after joining the club and entering the club championship held over the winter months, I managed to reach the finals and played him for the first time. I lose a 50+ mover in a KIA that was my favorite opening at the time, much like Bobby Fischer. He published our game in his column in the old Chess Life newspaper. Soon after, I started with Marcy Shupp the club newsletter after the club moved to the Central Branch YMCA, another effort of the good doctor. Prior to that though, he asked me to take over the duties of the club treasurer as our membership was badly in arrears and I managed to grow the membership rapidly threatening all who were in arrears no entrance to the club quarters. Everybody renewed and we got lots more because people naturally like things well run and operated. He also asked me to assume duties as a program director because of the ideas I had discussed with him regarding improvements and some new schedules. As a result he got me a USCF Region II Directorship and also in NYSCA. Dr. Marchand was many times city champion, club champion, NYS champion. When I visited his home for a lunch and meeting, he showed me his vast array of trophies he had won which filled a whole attic. His scorebooks were so numerous that they would fill a shelf or more in my bookcase.

I remember his columns he had in Chess Life that carried over when it became a magazine. He was a skilled writer(was a Professor of English) and excellent instruction amid showing the amateur games he collected from his many tournaments. He always chose games that were instructive and understandable by the average player as well as masters and higher.

His one request of his chess friends and acquaintenances was that they should meet and play chess in his memory. Dr. Marchand died shortly after celebrating his 85th birthday.

In recent years a number of well known Grandmasters and International Masters as well those seeking to play for enjoyment, win a possible prize, or wanting to test their mettle against the competition and hopefully gain some rating points– all journeying to Rochester to participate. The event is extremely well organized and run by the capable hands of the TD Mike Liotiti and Ron Lohrman. Per usual, the Rochester Chess Center offers a large assortment of chess materials for sale, often at discount. John Fisher College has an excellent and inexpensive menu from breakfast to lunch and dinner.

If you could not make this event March 28-29 why not plan to schedule it in 2010. 

The Rochester Chess Center is located at 221 Norris Drive, runs east/west between Culver and Winton. The exit to Winton is one-way so you have to turn right at the next street, go down two or three streets, turn right and then left. There is plenty of parking space. If you enter from Culver, take the left fork. A huge sign adorns the building.

Chess classes are held regularly for children and adults. Team league play is on Monday nights; Wednesday nights the Community Chess Club meets, and on weekends there are scheduled tournaments. I understand that recently women are starting to hold tournaments as well but can likewise play in the open events.

Rochester Chess Center, 221 Norris Dr., Rochester, NY 14610,  tel. 585-442-2430,  www.chessset.com

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