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April 19, 2013

Chess tournaments a family affair in Cooperstown

By Greg Klein
The Daily Star

---- — This month the Guzy family chess honors went to Carson Guzy — but he has some competition.

Carson, 11, a sixth-grader at Cooperstown Central School, is one of four Guzy children who excel at chess. Older brother Blake, 13, and younger twin siblings, Devon and Cooper, 9, also play.

It was Carson who won big at the SuperNationals V Chess Tournament in Nashville, finishing ninth out of 387 in his age bracket. More than 15,000 kids played in the April 5 to 7 tournament overall, the biggest children’s chess event ever.

“I didn’t lose any games,” he said while holding up a 2-foot-tall trophy. “I had two ties and that counts as a loss.”

Carson said he played games against children from India and Japan during the tournament.

“We didn’t talk, really,” he said. “We just played.” 

The Guzy children seem to have inherited their love of chess from their parents, Brian and Suzanne. The parents, who moved to Cooperstown from New York City last year, have been promoting chess in the area. They have been playing with CCS students through the CROP Program and are hoping to start a school club.

Brian Guzy also gives private chess lessons. Last weekend, he took a chess team to Albany for a local tournament.

“I played when I was a kid, and I just loved to play,” Brian said. “The school the kids attended in New York City had a chess-based curriculum. I would love to start a chess-based curriculum in the (local) schools.”

The Guzy children say they play each other all the time in practice, but they have not met in a tournament. The older boys are in different classes. Devon and Cooper could play one another, girls and boys compete in the same division, but that would only happen in a tournament final.

“They have a rule that they keep siblings away from one another until the finals, so we haven’t had to deal with that yet, thankfully,” Brian said.

It may happen soon the way the children play. The Guzy’s living room is filled with chess trophies. But even better than the hardware, is the affect the game has on the children, according to Suzanne.

“It really is a great way to teach them to be patient, and to be observant,” she said. “A game can last up to four hours so we have taught them to sit and watch.”

“For blunders,” the children volunteered in unison.

“Yes, it is called blundering,” Suzanne continued, “when you make an error and give up a piece for no reason.”

There’s not much blundering going on from these players. However, they all know rule 20.

“I teach all of my students rule 20, right guys,” Brian said, “which is no annoying behavior while your opponent is thinking.”