Wildcats strike out our undermanned Barons

Wildcats strike out our undermanned Barons

Wilson Magnet High School junior Sam Cherin, a Mets fan. Down by a rook, but as 1973 Mets manager Yogi Berra said: It ain’t over till it’s over. 4/23/16

Barons, Barons, what’s your cry?



from Introductions 1981 Brighton vs. Webster (Democrat & Chronicle) Caption; “Dave Kramer of Brighton concentrates on his next move. He lost.”

— 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. SEE AT END

chess team

That championship season. Row 1: Mark McDonald, Regina Olshan, Ramy Nahas, David Siegel Row 2: Victor Barocas, Robert Rodic, Justin Gastel, Tim Elliott Row 3: Michael Weiss, Dave Silverman, Sandy Goldstein, Meyer Stolberg, Matt Wagman Row 4: Alan Sun, Alan Crane, Phil Ghyzel, Jeremy Salesin, Steven [sic] Shapiro, Dave Kramer [from Crossroads 1981, courtesy Brighton Memorial Library]

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.


Final round. Brighton (left) v. Wilson (Eastridge High School, 4/23/16)

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.


Brighton was awarded 1st place on points. Provided by Ron Lohrman of the Rochester Chess Center

Brighton’s 2016 chess trophies

But those two unnamables appeared to have dodged checkmate. On pivotal board 3, Wilson’s Sam Cherin was down a rook.

wilson w trophy

Wildcats with well deserved trophy

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.

Tournament scoreboard. Provided by Ron Lohrman of the Rochester Chess Center

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.


Lev’s favorite player. Paul Morphy (1838 – 1884)


Congrats, Master Paciorkowski! The D & C only very so rarely reports that Lev lost, unlike this red Baron [Photo: Becky Wiggins (BHS teacher)

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.


City schools shine as Wilson bests SOTA in chess finals

Another RCSD success story. Wilson completes sterling season. Claims 2nd place in the States. Falls just short to Brighton in Rochester Area Interscholastic Chess Playoffs.

Wilson Wildcats open title defense with 5 straight wins. SOTA stands at 5-3; All City is 4-5; East 2-3

Partying at Richmond’s for CHESS, RHYMES and WISDOM

On the People’s Party with DJ Alykhan. And raising $500 for Chess, Rhymes and Wisdom

Chess across the ages at the National Strong Museum of Play

Is chess “the work of Satan?”


In search of Shirley Jackson and finding the Brighton High School Alumni author display case

In grand fashion, Brighton celebrates its volleyball champions and the first Boys state team sports title in school history

Brighton High School remembers its New Wave/retro punk/Art punk past: The De Grads

A poem from former Degrad Jonathan Caws-Elwitt, BHS ’80. And advice to young writers.

Brighton fans celebrate hometown hero Ernie Clement in victory

In search of “Progressive Rock” in the mid-70s at Brighton High School with the University of Rochester’s John Covach


When President George H.W. Bush visited Wilson on May 18th, 1989

“Rochester Promise” kept: Wilson’s Owen Gabbey, three time RCAC player of the year, gains scholarship to the University of Rochester

Wilson’s Owen Gabbey; two time baseball player of the year whose family believes in city schools



Warm snow pants make happy students at the Wilson Foundation Academy. With help from Brand Integrity

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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