Westford – Geoffrey LePoer sat around a chessboard playing the white figures in the final match against the current club champion.
The 43-year-old Westford man offered his competitor Martin Laine a draw – an agreement between the two players to end the game in a time – but he did not accept it. So LePoer later got him and ended the near four-hour duel and five-week tournament as a champion.
“Given that I haven’t played in seven years, I didn’t expect to win,” LePoer said. “If you can get hot for three or four weeks, you’re in the game. It’s just like American Idol.”
Beating 24 participants, LePoer won the Feb. 11 Reggie Boone Memorial Chess Tournament by earning a score of 4.5 points out of a possible 5. The Wachusett Chess Club, one of the oldest and most active chess clubs in Massachusetts, sponsored the five-week tournament that was held at Fitchburg State College and rated by the U.S. Chess Federation in Crossville, Tenn.
“Three of [LePoer’s] wins were against higher-rated players,” said tournament director George Mirijanian in an e-mail to the Eagle. “As a result of his victory, Geoff has moved up in the club’s ranking to No. 3.”
LePoer is no stranger to winning competitive chess, which has about a 55 percent chance of winning if participants play the white figures over the black ones, he said.
In 1999, he won the Wachusett Chess Club Championship and is currently rated Class A by the U.S. Chess Federation. In early 1980s, the former Ashby native played for the North Middlesex Regional High School chess team in the North Worcester County Scholastic Chess League.
“It’s the most extreme of puzzles,” LePoer said of his passion for chess. “Some people like crosswords, but for me that is a static activity. I like playing against someone. I like the analysis. I love tournaments and competitions.”
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