GM Becerra is all the way to the left of this picture. This was taken at last year’s SPICE Cup at Texas Tech University

Forty players no match for chess grandmaster at Marco event
6:19 p.m., Saturday, April 19, 2008

Scratching his head while stroking his chin, Julio Becerra exhibited the typical physical signs of a person deep in thought as he stood hunched over a chess board Saturday afternoon.

The No. 8 chess player in the U.S. folded his arms across his chest; he uncrossed them and leaned on the table.

His eyes darted from the board to his challenger, then back to the board, where both players had the same pieces left, five each – three pawns, the queen, and of course, the king.

The chess grandmaster competed against 40 players simultaneously at Marco Island’s Mackle Park on Saturday.

He had whittled down the opponents to the last one, Dennis Dunn.

More than four hours after the first move, Dunn, 64, conceded the game, although not without giving Becerra — 30 years his junior — a challenge.

“At one point, (Dunn) could have had me. He had the advantage toward the end, but he made one move, I’m not sure why, and that got him in trouble,” explained Becerra, who drove from his home in Miami for the event.

For the second year, Marco Island Chess Enthusiasts (MICE) organized the simultaneous tournament with a grandmaster.

Players from age 6 to those who were six years old during World War II unrolled portable chess boards and set up the pieces just after 10 a.m. The final move of the final match didn’t occur until after 2 p.m.

“I know I’m going to lose, but I want to play so I can get tips from him,” said 12-year-old Max Kimball, sitting in front of his portable board before the matches began.

He lasted into the second hour against the grandmaster.

The home-schooled Marco student plays chess every Saturday with MICE and was one of more than a dozen young chess players to compete against Becerra on Saturday.

“(Chess) teaches focus, concern, and attention to detail. Those are sorely missed (with children) today,” said Mario Sanchez, who heads MICE and is a professor of computer science at Miami-Dade College.

Here is the full article.

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