James A. Black, Jr. Featured in the New York Times

Last week, after the Marshall Chess Club’s 95th Annual Championship, I emailed Dylan Loeb McClain of the NYTimes chess column and suggested that perhaps he might include a game by the 12 year old Phenom Christopher Wu, who finished in clear second place at the MCC Championship and put up a stellar performance in order to do so. I have a feeling that this email was either ignored or unopened. However, I was pleased to see an article this morning featuring one of the games from that event, along with profiling three talented young African American masters from New York City.

Every Sunday morning before riding my bike over the williamsburg bridge to open the chess club, I hang out at Variety coffee shop in Brooklyn and read McClain’s Sunday chess column. The barista, who pulls the column out for me, often shouts out ideas over the roar of the Marzocco and Mazzer machines. Today’s column can be read in full here. In the game, Black beats Treger almost effortlessly, grabbing space and refuting his dubious opening with a mixture of king-side pressure and zen-like patience. (Treger’s defense in the game is “Tiger’s Modern.”) Black managed to finish 5th in the tournament, an impressive result for a young master at a prestigious event. I’ve known Black for about a year now in my role as Tournament Director, and I will say he is one of the nicest masters I have ever met; as genial as he is genius. He has no sense of entitlement or overbearing ego. He never makes absurd claims and is as gracious in losing as he is in winning. He is always smiling and friendly and says hello. Along with his colleagues and several other members of the Marshall, he is headed off to Brazil next week for the World Youth Championship– and we will be cheering him/them on.

Treger’s king before the game.

Treger’s king after the game.