Checkmate in Saratoga

For over 200 years the town of Saratoga was known as the historical landmark for the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point in the Revolutionary War, but this weekend it was different. On March 12 and 13, the town of Saratoga instead marked a new turn in the chess career of a very special student of chess. Seventh grader Alexander Soiefer exceeded his own and everyone else’s expectations by winning every single one of his six chess games at the 49th New York State Scholastic Championships in Saratoga Springs.  Making his accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that it was not only his first time at the New York State Championships but that he was playing in the High School Reserve, a section that consisted mostly of students two to five years his senior. 

In each one of his games, Alec competed against chess players that were not only older but more experienced, however he never allowed himself to be intimidated. Not even the highest rated player in his section was enough to stop him as Alec brushed him aside in the fifth round. His total victory, however, came to a rather anti-climatic end in the last round, where Alec destroyed his last competitor in just 15 moves.  By the end of the tournament Alec was the only player in his section with a perfect 6-0 record.  His reward was over two hundred rating points, the respect and admiration of his peers, and a trophy so large that he had to have his chess coach carry it all the way home.  

This is only the beginning. Way to go, Alec!