Jericho Chess Players Inspire

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Under the beautiful weather, on Sunday, Sept. 14, three young chess stars, Wesley Wang and Evelyn Zhu of Jericho, and Katherine Qi of East Meadow, spent several hours conducting chess clinics for little chess enthusiasts and shared with them valuable chess tips and tactics that have helped them achieve chess success.

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Jericho’s Evelyn Zhu and Wesley Wang join East Meadow’s Katherine Qi (center).

They know a thing or two about what it takes to win at chess — the three talented kids will be representing the U.S. in the 2014 World Youth Championship this month in South Africa.

Their activity was part of the first annual Chess-in-the-Park event held in Syosset-Woodbury Community Park, championed by Syosset Chess Mates, with the help of Long Island Chess Mates and headed by International chess Grandmaster Gennady Sagalchik. The event attracted close to 200 participants, including approximately 60 players, children and adults. During the whole day, the event also hosted several other chess activities including casual play, blitz tournaments and Bughouse tournaments. The event raised $1,415 for the three youngsters for their trip to South Africa. The event was also generously sponsored by two Woodbury vendors, the Fresh Market and Woodbury Pizzeria Ristorante.

Randi Gertler, the owner of Syosset Chess Mates said the benefit of playing chess is well known and that communities across the country are racing to create after-school chess programs and start local chess clubs.

“It is no surprising that the event turned out to be such a success,” said Gertler. “We plan to hold the event each year going forward.”

Both Syosset Chess Mates and LI Chess Mates are non-profit organizations, actively promoting chess among scholastic players in Long Island. Each week, during the school year, both hold chess classes for scholastic players at seven different locations and provide chess lessons to more than 300 students. Among the current student body, reside several top players in their respective age groups. According to Sagalchik, he has not seen “such a deep talent pool” in his 20-plis years of coaching.

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Steve Mosco, former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

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