Exactly seventeen years ago yesterday, the Wilson Wildcats came to Reifsteck Field only to lose to the Brighton Barons, 21 -7. Last night the Wildcats came back in full force.
I was worried about the game as Wilson is the defending Class A champs and last week shut out Leadership Academy. I was keenly hoping WE Barons could avenge the title game lost two years ago. I saw WE because I am a proud Baron, captain of the 1981 championship team.
Alas, my fears were confirmed. As described by Paul Gotham in Floyd paces Wilson onslaught (PICKIN’ SPLINTERS), the Wildcats scored on their first possession and never looked back. 46 – 7.
OK, so I was not the football captain back in 1981, but the chess team captain when we won the title. And, that match when Wilson beat us two years ago was chess. (SEE BELOW). Although chess is not as popular as football, for all students, being on the chess team is an experience generating memorable moments lasting a lifetime.
Two years ago, the football Barons made it to the title game. We extensively covered their great run (SEE AT END). This year the team is off to a tough 0-2 start. But analysts at the Democrat and Chronicle predict a solid season for the Barons as they have many returning seniors.
Barons, Barons, what’s your cry?
— Brighton High School sports chant
For several years now, we’ve given our love many times to city chess and the Wilson Wildcat’s dynasty including last year’s win over SOTA in the playoff finals.But this year was to be Brighton’s. The 35th anniversary of that championship season when we Barons wore the Monroe County Chess League crown (now the Upstate New York Interscholastic Chess League.) The Fab Five: Andre, Alan, Phil, Dean and myself.
When I arrived today at Eastridge High School, the final round Wilson v. Brighton was underway. Despite playing undermanned, Brighton was ahead. Throughout the tournament, Brighton had only fielded three players, meaning boards 4 and 5 were automatic forfeits.
At first it was suggested the two players were missing because of Passover. Fair enough. But not true. One unnamable Baron had overslept. Baron, back in the day, we set multiple alarm clocks the night before that championship. The second Baron had another activity. No comment.
But those two unnamables appeared to have dodged checkmate. On pivotal board 3, Wilson’s Sam Cherin was down a rook.
Moving to the Brighton table to take pics of our vast display of hardware, I felt secure. But then a flurry of excitement on the Wildcat side.
Cherin had rallied — and won. Wilson had successfully defended its crown. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.
In the post match interview, I asked Sam if he had seen it coming. When down a rook, he was hoping for a stalemate draw. But Sam was able encircle Black’s king with queen and rook. Then winning back a rook. Then, pressing his attack, the game.
From Avalon to Westland to Claybourne to Edgemoor, disappointment reigns.
At first, I considered downgrading the two overactive oversleepers from Barons to Vassals. But upon reflection, understandable stuff happens. We all oversleep. We all have prior commitments to which we are bound. Seriously, your participation on the team is much appreciated. Next year.
Besides, the Brighton chess world has phenomenal news to celebrate. A couple of months ago, junior Lev “Baron von Richtofen” Paciorkowski [my nickname] became a Master, his rating eclipsing the 2200 threshold. And who is Lev’s favorite player? It’s Paul Morphy from the 19th century! Good call, Lev.Only still in high school, Lev is unsure of his chess future, although he definitely plans to compete in college. Playing at the professional level takes a great deal of time and dedication. But there is no reason why Grandmaster can’t be next.