The three mayoral candidates in Waterbury were invited to City Hall to help The Brass”Bury” Chess Club reawaken after a decade long slumber. When Democrat Neil O’Leary couldn’t make it, the other two candidates sat down for a head-to-head game of chess. Republican five-term incumbent Mike Jarjura, left, had never played the game before, and Independent Party candidate Larry De Pillo, right, said his game was beyond rusty. With the help of club members the two candidates engaged in a spirited game that lasted 25 minutes. Photographs by John Murray

George Robert Eason is the first chairman of the Brass “Bury” Chess Club and showed Larry De Pillo the magnetic chess game he invented. The club meets every Thursday at the Silas Bronson Library in downtown Waterbury from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Eason said the club members hope to introduce chess to the youth of Waterbury and they offer free lessons to beginners. 

Both mayoral candidates had their own coach for the game, De Pillo’s was Dave Gharis, and Jarjura’s was William Torres, they are the best two players in the club. Jarjura also had the additional help of Dzevdet Rasdi from Macedonia, far right. After Jarjura won the game, De Pillo chuckled that the mayor needed the extra help. “It was a 2 on 1,” De Pillo laughed.

At one point someone suggested the candidates skip the election and let the chess game decide who the next mayor of Waterbury would be. Both men laughed, but they – and Neil O’Leary – are happy to let the voters decide.