A History of the Kenilworth Chess Club

by Michael David Wojcio

1972-1980 | 1980-1990 | The Club Championship | Exhibitions | The Future


Our Longest Running Tradition

To maintain a stable membership, a club needs to build traditions. Rich Falcetano, who lived in Kenilworth, was instrumental in starting the ladder tournaments at the club again and getting me elected as president, but his biggest contribution was starting the Kenilworth Club Championship in 1991. It has been our longest-running tradition. Since its inception in 1991-1992, the Club Championship has been won the most by Scott Massey, who won it 12 times! In fact, he has only lost the championship two times--to expert Rene Ray (who moved to Florida) in 1996 and to FIDE Master Steve Stokyo in 2005. The Under-1800 player who has won the most is Greg Tomkovich, who has achieved this honor three times.

U-1800 Champion
Scott Massey
Bill Simonitis
Scott Massey
Yaacov Norwitz
Scott Massey
Bill Cohen
Scott Massey
Bill Cohen
Rene Ray
R. Satianatan
Scott Massey
Jonathan Cohen
Scott Massey
Jonathan Cohen
Scott Massey
Greg Tomkovich
Scott Massey
Jeff Olson
Scott Massey
Greg Tomkovich
Scott Massey
Ari Minkov
Scott Massey
Greg Tomkovich
Scott Massey
Michael Wojcio
Steve Stoyko
Joseph Demetrick


You can see a complete write-up about the 2005 Kenilworth Chess Club Championship at our website. Here are some games from past championships.

In the first two games, National Master and perennial champion Scott Massey demonstrates some flawless technique. In both cases, he is even able to checkmate his opponents in the endgame despite reduced material.

Four Knights 
Nimzovich Variation 

Scott Massey (2250)
Rich Falcetano (1930)

Kenilworth Chess Club Championship
Kenilworth, NJ USA, 1996

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e4 Bc5 5. Nxe5 Nxe5 6. d4 Bb4 7. dxe5 Nxe4 8. Qd4 f5 9. exf6 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Nxf6 11. Ba3!? d6 12. c5 d5 Black refuses to undouble White's pawns and open up the position for his two Bishops. 13. c6! So Scott finds another way to use his Bishops, opening up the a3-f8 diagonal and preventing Black from castling easily. 13... bxc6 14. Bd3 Kf7 15. O-O Re8 16. Rfe1 a5 Black has defended well--castling by hand and preparing to exchange off a Bishop with Ba6xd3. 17. Qh4 Kg8 18. f3! A nice multi-purpose move which most of all keeps Black's Knight from getting active while preparing to win the battle for the e-file by exchanging one pair of Rooks and then playing the other to e1, now supported by the Queen at h4. 18... Ba6 19. Bxa6 Rxa6 This Rook will be a bit out of play here. 20. Rxe8+ Qxe8 21. Re1 Qg6 21... Qf7 may be more accurate. 22. Qh3! Ra8 The only way to prevent infiltration of the Queen to c8. 23. Qe6+ Qf7 24. Qxf7+ White has to stake his hopes on the ending, where his more active Rook and superior minor piece give him real chances. An alternative way to the ending might be 24. Qxc6!? Re8 25. Kf1 Rxe1+ 26. Kxe1 Qe8+ 27. Qxe8+ Nxe8 28. Kd2 24... Kxf7 25. Re7+ Kg6 26. Rxc7 Rb8 27. Kf2 Rb1 28. Bf8! Rb2+ 28... Ne8 29. Re7 Rb8 30. a4 29. Ke3! White keeps his pieces active and does not worry about losing a few unimportant pawns. 29... Rxa2? This falls into White's plans. Better defensive prospects might be found in either 29... h5 30. Rxg7+ Kf5 31. a3 or 29... Ne8 30. Re7 Rb8 31. Kd4! though White's active pieces will rule the day. 30. Rxg7+ Kf5 31. g4+ Ke6 32. Re7+ Kd6 33. Rxh7+ Ke6 34. Re7+ Kd6 35. Kd3! and there is nothing to be done about White's coming discovered check with his Rook, which will win at least the Exchange. A very strong performance by Scott. 1-0


Dragon, Yugoslav Attack 
Rauser Main Line 

Scott Massey (2250)
Greg Tomkovich (1761)

Kenilworth Chess Club Championship
Kenilworth, NJ USA, 2004

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O d5 This variation of the Sicilian Dragon is well known to theory. 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd4 White probably should decline the pawn he could have by 12. Nxd5?! cxd5 13. Qxd5 Qc7 (13... Rb8!?) 14. Qc5 (14. Qxa8?! Bf5 15. Qxf8+ Kxf8 ) 14... Qb7 (14... Qb8!? 15. b3 Bf5 16. Bd3 Rc8 17. Qa5 Rc3! 18. Bxf5 Rxe3! 19. Be4 Qf4! ) 15. b3 Bf5 16. Bd3 Rfc8 17. Qa5 Qc6 18. Bxf5 gxf5 19. Qd2 f4! and Black has plenty of compensation. 12... e5 13. Bc5 Re8 13... Be6 14. Bxf8?! Qxf8 is the more common Exchange sacrifice, which is judged roughly equal due to Black's excellent attacking chances on the Queenside. 14. Ne4 14. Nxd5 cxd5 15. Qxd5 Qxd5 16. Rxd5 Be6 regains the pawn, though White keeps some edge. 14... Be6 14... Qc7!? 15. h4 h5 16. g4 or 14... f5!? 15. Nd6 Bf8 16. Bb5! 15. Ba6!? 15. h4 f5 16. Ng5 15... Nc7? This falls in with White's plans of playing against Black's weak queenside pawns in an ending. Better was >= 15... f5! 16. Nd6 Bf8! 17. Nb7 Qf6 16. Bb7 Qxd2+ 17. Rxd2!? Less complicated is 17. Nxd2 Rad8 18. Bxc6 Bd7 19. Bxd7 Rxd7 20. Ne4 +- and White is up a pawn. 17... Bh6 18. Bxa8 18. Nf6+!? 18... Rxa8 19. Bd6 Bxd2+ 20. Kxd2 Rd8 21. Kc1 Nd5 22. Bxe5 and White has secured his pawn advantage. 22... h5?! 23. Rd1! Ra8 24. b3 a5 25. a4 Kf8 26. Rd4 Ne3 27. g3 Nf1 28. Ng5 Bf5 29. g4! hxg4 30. fxg4 Bc8 31. Rf4 Ba6 White now has a powerful mating attack: 32. Rxf7+ Ke8 33. Bd6! Rd8 34. Re7+ Kf8 35. Nh7+ Kg8 36. Nf6+ Kf8 37. Rd7# 1-0


In the following game, Greg and Ed Selling exchange blows in a tough King's Indian Defense until Ed exposes his King for a nice concluding attack.

King's Indian DefenseE70

Greg Tomkovich (1761)
Ed Selling (1764)

Kenilworth Chess Club Championship
Kenilworth, NJ USA, 1997

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e4 Bg7 5. Bd3 O-O 6. Nge2 Seirawan's favorite anti-King's Indian system. 6... Nc6 7. O-O e5 7... Nd7! 8. Be3 e5 9. d5 Nd4 = 8. d5 Ne7 8... Nd4!? 9. f3 Ne8?! 9... >= Nd7 10. Be3 f5 11. f4?! 11. c5! 11... fxe4 11... Nf6!? 12. fxe5 Ng4!? 12. Nxe4 Nf5 13. Bd2 b6? 13... exf4 14. Bxf4 Bxb2 14. Qc2 Nd4 15. Nxd4 exd4 16. Ng3 Bh6? 17. f5! Bxd2 18. Qxd2 gxf5 19. Nxf5 >= 19. Bxf5! xd4 19... Bxf5 20. Bxf5 Ng7 21. Bc2 Qh4 22. g3 Qg4 23. Qd3 Qh3 24. Qxd4 Rxf1+ 25. Rxf1 Rf8? 26. Rxf8+ Kxf8 27. Qf6+ Kg8 27... Ke8?? 28. Ba4++- 28. Qd8+ Kf7 29. Qxc7+ Kf6 30. Qxd6+ Kg5 31. Qf4+ and White soon forces mate. 1-0




The following is a typical Mike Wojcio game: both sides look lost for quite a while...

Chigorin Variation 

Mike Wojcio
Howard Osterman

Kenilworth Chess Club Championship
Kenilworth, NJ USA, 1998

1. e4 e6 2. Qe2 c5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. c3 e5 5. g3 Nf6 6. Bg2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Na3 a6 8... d5!= 9. Nc2 Qc7 10. d4 cxd4 11. cxd4 exd4?! 11... d6= 12. Ncxd4 Nxd4 13. Nxd4 Qe5? The Queen quickly becomes exposed here. 14. Nf5 d5 15. Bf4 Qe6 16. Nd4 16. Nxe7+ Qxe7 17. e5 16... Qb6 17. exd5 Nxd5 18. Bxd5 Qxd4 19. Rfd1 Qf6 20. Be5! Qg5 21. Bf4 21. h4! 21... Bg4? This basically loses a piece against good play by White. But Black does have some threats. 21... Qf6 22. f3+- Bc5+ 23. Kg2 Rae8 24. Qxe8 Bh3+ 25. Kh1! Rxe8 26. Bxg5 h6 27. Rac1 Bb6 28. Bd2 Re2 29. f4 Bg4 30. Bg2 Rf2 31. Be1 1-0



The Great Controversy

If you want to talk about one of the most memorable things to happen at the Kenilworth Chess Club, we would harken back to 1995 and the controversial game between Scott Massey and Jason Cohen. Now that was really something! Jason’s father, Bill, was directing the tournament and everything came down to Scott and Jason's game. It was a hard fought battle that lasted well into the ending. Suddenly, Jason, in serious time trouble with less than a minute on his clock, claimed a draw by Rule 14H of the USCF Rules of Play (based on “insufficient losing chances in sudden death”). Because they were not using a time-delay clock, the rule could be claimed. It states: “In a sudden death time control, a player on the move with two minutes or less of remaining time may stop the clock and ask the director to declare the game a draw on the grounds that the player has insufficient losing chances” (14H1, p. 49). The tournament director is supposed to make a ruling, or, if he is unable to do so, to allow the game to go on and have the claim examined at a later time. Instead of making a ruling that night, however, Bill Cohen decided to make the ruling at a later time. This decision ended up delaying the game for three weeks, allowing Jason plenty of time to analyze the position--time he would not have had if the position had been played out immediately. After all, Jason had less than a minute on his clock. Scott, meanwhile, had at least seven minutes left.

Pictures of Bill Cohen and his son Jason, circa 1990.


There are many things wrong with the "insufficient losing chances" rule, and I'm sure I'm not the first to point that out. I see there is an article by Eric C. Johnson that addresses some issues with the rule, for example. The most obvious problem is that it is difficult for TDs to apply the rule except in the most obvious cases (such as where material is even and there are no pawns left). But if you would locate a copy of the 5th Edition of the USCF's Official Rules of Chess and read over the specific language of Rule 14H (which goes on for about five pages), you'll see that the rule is just too complicated not to be confusing to players and TDs alike. The language goes on for so long that it even become self-contradictory. It says at one point that "When ruling, the director should not consider the ratings of those playing" (14H2) but later it says "The draw shall be awarded if the director believes that a Class C player would have little chance to lose the position against a Master with both players having ample time" (14H2). If that contradiction were not bad enough, the rules then go on to state (in language that had to have been written in a committee) "The exact losing chances of any position cannot be calculated, but a director wishing a more precise standard may consider little to mean less than 10 percent" (14H2d). If there has ever been a more self-contradictory sentence written in the annals of chess, I'd like to see it. The rules say that you cannot apply percentages to losing chances and then suggest that directors call it a draw if they think the chances are 10 percent that someone might win. How can you arrive at "10 percent" if percentages do not apply?

If that were not bad enough, the rules then state that if the Director denies that there are "insufficient losing chances" he should deduct a time penalty from the person making the claim. Why? Because if the claim is incorrect, then the player should be interpreted as having made an illegal draw offer before he had moved, since draw offers are supposed to be made upon completing a move and at no other time. Yet the rules also state that the claim of a draw based on "insufficient losing chances" should be made by "a player on the move with 2 minutes or less of remaining time may stop the clock and ask the tournament director to declare a draw." That certainly creates a bit of a Catch-22 situation. After all, if by the rules you can only request a draw due to "insufficient losing chances" when it is your turn to move, but you can only offer a draw after you have moved, why should you be punished as having offered a draw out of turn if your claim is overruled? And why should a time penalty be exacted when you already have less than two minutes on your clock? The rule is absurd.

But let's return to the controversy. Here is the position in which Jason stopped the clock:

The Adjourned Position in Cohen-Massey, 1995

In my opinion, there were obvious losing chances since in a Rook ending with passed pawns it’s rather complicated. Plus Jason would likely have had to play perfectly to draw the game. Scott was later of the opinion that the game is drawn with best play by Black, but the drawing method is far from obvious.

I called up Bill Goichberg and I told him the circumstances. He told me that the game should be resumed. During the controversy Bill Cohen did not accept Bill Goichhberg’s ruling. However, Bill told me a few days later that he would agree to a ruling by Glenn Petersen, and Glenn ruled that the game should continue.

So the game was resumed, with Jason having 45 seconds and Scott 7 minutes on their clocks. Of course, both players had plenty of time to analyze the position, but clearly Scott had done the more thorough job. White had his King on c4, pawn on f3, and Rook on h6, while Black had his Rook at h2, pawn on h4, and King on f4. Black had just played Ke5-f4 when Jason stopped the clock and made his claim. So that is where the position resumed, with Scott to move.


Jason Cohen
Scott Massey (2250)

Kenilworth Chess Club Championship
Kenilworth, NJ USA, 1995

1... Kf4 In this position Jason as White, with less then one minute left, stopped the clock and claimed a draw. He said there were "no losing chances" for White because of Black's rook pawn. Scott (Black) had about seven minutes left on his clock. This is where the position resumed after three weeks of controversy. Fritz immediately rates the position as winning for Black. And though White can put up a lot of resistance, there are certainly "losing chances" galore. 2. Kd3? As Jason, even with three weeks to analyze the position, immediately proves. Scott thought that the only move that can hold the position was 2. Rf6+! Kg5! the best try -- gaining a tempo(2... Kg3 3. Kd3=) (2... Ke5 going back to the previous position 3. Rh6= h3 4. Rh4 Rh1 (4... Kf5 5. Kd3 (5. f4!? Ke4 6. Kc3 Rh1 7. Kc2 h2 8. Kb2) ) 5. Kc3=) 3. Rf8 h3 4. f4+! where will Black put his King? 4... Kg6! Planning Rh1, h2, and Rc1+ winning.(4... Kg4 5. f5 Rf2 6. Rg8+ Kh4 7. Rh8+ Kg3 8. Rg8+ Kh2 9. Rg5 Rg2 10. Rh5=) 5. Rh8 Rh1 6. Kc3 Kf5! 7. Rh4! Ke4 (7... h2 8. Kb2! Ke4 9. f5+ Kxf5 10. Rh8=) 8. Kb2 Kf3 9. f5 Kg3 10. Rh6 Rf1 11. f6 h2 12. Rg6+ Kf4 (12... Kh3 13. Rh6+ Kg2 14. Rg6+ Kh1) 13. f7 Rb1+ 14. Ka3!! Rb8 15. Rh6 Kg3 16. Rg6+ Kf2 17. Rf6+= 2... h3! 3. Rf6+ Kg5! White cannot get back to the h-file now. 4. Rf8 Rh1!! 5. Ke2 h2 6. Rg8+ Kf6 and White lost on time in a lost position. There is no way to prevent Black from Queening a pawn or winning with a well-known maneuver after 7.Rh8 Ra1! 8.Rxh7 Ra2+ and the White Rook falls at h7. 0-1 [Scott Massey]



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Updated June 08, 2005