Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grandmaster Sam Palatnik visits Cornell

Nikolai M. Krivitski, Ph.D, D.Sc. (left) was a boyhood friend of GM Palatnik. Apparently, they played in tournaments together at age 10. He is the Vice President for Research & Development at Transonic Systems based in Ithaca. Dr. Raissa V. Krivitsky (center), Senior Lecturer in the Department of Russian and faculty advisory board member of the Alice Cook House, hosted the grandmaster (right).

Members of the Cornell Chess Club Jasper Wu (left), 2011-12 President, and National Master Thomas Riccardi (right), shown here with GM Palatnik, were happy to serve as tough opponents for an eight board simultaneous exhibition.

Sam carefully considers his next move against Tom. Since the players were seated in USCF rating order, GM Palatnik was aware that this game on Board 1 would require the most attention. He was right, as this was the last to finish. Palatnik completed his 8-0 sweep, but not without a tough fight from Riccardi. Nikolai Krivitski looks on. Interesting coincidence: I presented a trophy to 6th grader Tom Riccardi at the National Elementary Chess Championship at Opryland Hotel in Nashville back in May 2003.

The Alice Cook House, part of the beautiful student housing complex on the west campus of Cornell University, was the site of the event. The house professor-dean André Dhondt, a native of Belgium where he obtained his Ph.D. in Biology at Ghent State University, and his wife Keila Dhondt, welcomed Sam & Olga Palatnik to campus for the second year in a row with a reception in their apartment.

I first met GM Palatnik on a visit to Nashville in April 1997. We later reunited at the World Chess Hall of Fame in Miami (2003) and again for a chess lesson in Memphis in December 2004. It was my first introduction to Nikolai (who is also a long ago friend of GM Lev Alburt).

No comments: