YORK — York’s Richard Judy, 49, is the state’s newest chess champion.
Judy tied with five others at the Maine State Chess Championship held at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland on Sept. 19 and 20, 2009.
He just recently picked up his trophy.
“It looks like the Stanley Cup, it’s huge,” he said Thursday, March 25, referring to the annual National Hockey Leauge trophy.
Judy said he was surprised by the win. This was at least his sixth attempt at a championship title.
“Maine has a lot of strong players,” he said
Judy is ranked ninth in the state by the United States Chess Federation.
An estimated 60 chess players competed in the championship.
“It’s difficult to win,” he said. “It’s a five-round tournament. For the championship, I had three wins and two draws. I had to play my friend in the last round; that game went five hours.”
That friend, Alan Schalk of Berwick, is among the winners of the six-way tie for first place. They were the only two among the six from the Seacoast area, he said.
The event’s co-champions included David Plotkin, Roger Morin, Ruben Babayan and Andrey Savov, according to chessmaine.net. The Web site does not provide the players’ hometowns.
Judy has been playing chess since attending Goffstown High School in Goffstown, N.H. His father also played chess, Judy said, but never competed.
“My dad taught me, I used to play with him, then I joined the high school team,” said Judy. “It teaches you to plan ahead and keeps the mind sharp. It’s not as big in this country as it is in Europe and Russia. Studies show you do better in school if you play chess. There’s an old expression: ‘A minute to learn, a lifetime to master.'”
Judy has been living on Long Beach Avenue in York for about 20 years.
He works with developmentally disabled individuals through Affinity Inc. in Portland, and also tutors students in chess.
For the last five years, he has headed up a chess camp at the Grant House held each July by the York Parks and Recreation Department.
There’s usually an estimated 20 students who give up five summer afternoons to play chess.
“I like to teach the younger players,” Judy said. “It keeps them away from video games.”