Chess Grandmaster Gennady Sagalchik has played a yearly event at Rockland Community College for the past 10-plus years, but something new happened Tuesday: he lost.
Sagalchik was in the middle of playing 14 people at once when Alex Poste, 16, of Suffern, beat him.
“I played him last year, but he won,” Poste said. “I did a lot of studying on the game in the past year.”
Poste was there as part of the chess club from Suffern High School. He’s the president of the club and also teaches instructs others how to play the game.
Outside of the loss, and a draw, Sagalchikwon all the other games. He’s the third grandmaster to participate in RCC’s Chess Grandmaster Challenge, which he said has been going on for about 25 years.
“The team is getting more competitive than in years past,” he said. “It’s not longer taking it easy. Local high schools come to play as well, and the high school level also is getting strong.”
Michael Miller, of Spring Valley, participated in the event for the first time. The RCC student said he read about the event online and thought it’d be fun to enter. He held on for a while, being one of the final three competitors to still have a game going.
“I think I held up alright,” he said. “He used a lot of clever moves that I didn’t see coming, and that was something I thought would happen. His tactics bettered mine.”
Sagalchik added that the most people he’s played at once is somewhere between 40 to 50.
“You have to think on your feet, you have to play fast,” he said. “You have to focus all the time.”