The Albany-area chess phenom Deepak Aaron had beaten all but one opponent during three years of simultaneous chess matches. But now Aaron, 18, is studying chemical engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. “We thought last year was the last year,” said Ashok Aaron, Deepak’s father.
But the chance to inspire emerging chess stars — and help out charities — brought Aaron back to Middletown for a fourth time, just one day before he was to fly to Atlanta. At college, Aaron has cut chess practice from nearly five hours daily to as little as an hour. Competitions now only take place during the summer or breaks. His father admits Aaron has gotten a little rusty.
Twenty challengers hoped to capitalize on that rust Saturday. None of them was successful, as the Albany-area chess phenom won against all of them.
The last one remaining on the board was Middletown swim coach Frank Woodward. Woodward, playing the black pieces, attempted to ride his counterattack to victory. The game unfolded very slowly, but Aaron gradually pulled ahead by a few pawns. Woodward kept the pawns at bay. But Aaron eventually used a knight to shepherd a pawn across the board, and Woodward had nowhere to go. “There’s nothing I can do about it,” said Woodward, conceding after three hours. He extended his hand to Aaron. “Great job.”
But all isn’t lost for those seeking another shot at Aaron. “I hope to come back next year,” Aaron said. “I’ve still got winter break.”