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The king of Nova Scotia chess


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Alvah Mayo ponders his next move. Mayo is the Nova Scotia provincial chess champion and will take part in the national championships in August. Matt Jones-The News

How do you beat five of the best chess players in the province?

"By building a small advantage and keeping control of the position," says Westville's Alvah Mayo, the Nova Scotia provincial chess champion. "You don't want to let anything too wild and random happen. You get an advantage and you drive it home."

Mayo, a 32 year-old Convergys employee, claimed the title of provincial champion in a six player round robin tournament held at Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax. Mayo says it was a difficult battle.

"I had to win the last four games in a row to win the championship, and that includes a win over the defending champion. It was pretty tense."

Mayo is a former champion as well, having last won the title five years ago.

"I've been playing nationally rated chess since I was nine years old," he says. "When I was a young man, my older brother taught me the moves of chess. I got involved in some of the local tournaments, and there was a chess club in New Glasgow, so that's where I got my start."

By winning the provincial championship, Mayo now qualifies for the national championship, held in Ontario in the first week of August. The competition will feature the 24 top players in the country.

Mayo admits his chances are "not all that great," but he'll give it his best.

"There's some professional players there that do nothing but play chess, whereas I work a day job. I have no delusions of grandeur that I'm going to win, but I might finish about the middle of the field."

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