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Seven Players Tie for First Place in Philadelphia's World Open


July 13, 2001

Position No. 5646: Black to play and win. From the game Vest-Curdo, World Open, Philadelphia 2001.

Solution to Position No. 5645: Black draws by 1 . . . Qxb2! 2 Qxb2 Rd1+ 3 Kh2 Nf3+ 4 Kg2 Ne1+ 5 Kh2 (else 5 . . . Nd3+ wins the Queen) Nf3+, repeating.


The 29th World Open ended in a seven-way tie for first place Sunday in Philadelphia. Grandmasters Joel Benjamin (New York), Alexander Goldin (Israel), Alexander Ivanov (Massachusetts), Alexander Onischuk (Ukraine), Ilya Smirin (Israel), Yuri Shulman (Texas) and Leonid Yudasin (Israel) scored 7-2 in the 226-player Open section and earned about $4,170 apiece.

Goldin won a blitz playoff to become the official champion. Goldin has had great success in the World Open. He tied for first last year and won outright (with an amazing score of 81/2-1/2) in 1998.

Bill Goichberg of the Continental Chess Assn. began the World Open in 1973, offering an unprecedented $15,000 prize fund. Over the years, the tournament has established itself as the richest and usually the largest in the country. This edition charged the highest entry fee ever ($280) and paid $175,000 in prizes. By World Open standards, the turnout of 1,234 players was unspectacular. The tournament drew more than 1,400 entrants in 1998 and 1999.

The strongest tournament of the summer, featuring six of the world's top nine players, began Thursday in Dortmund, Germany. Daily coverage, in English, is available at


Congratulations to Nshan Keshishian, whose All American Assn. Chess Club celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend. Nshan's program has taught chess to hundreds of youngsters in Hollywood and Glendale, with unparalleled success. Several students have won state and national honors in their age groups, while the club habitually monopolizes team titles at scholastic tournaments.

Nshan also deserves recognition for organizing the successful U.S. versus Armenia team match in Glendale in 1994, for assembling the team (which included his son Harut) that won the 2001 U.S. Amateur Team Championship and for helping to bring many outstanding Armenian players to Los Angeles. Vladimir Akopian, Smbat Lputian and Artashes Minasian, the core of the Armenian Olympiad team, will honor Nshan by coming to the club's anniversary party.

The 13th annual Southern California Championship will be held Saturday, Sunday and July 21-22 in Century City. The sponsoring Southern California Chess Federation (SCCF) will proclaim the winner of the eight-player round robin the 2001 state champion.

Months ago, when SCCF leaders worried that they could not afford to hold the tournament this year, the organization accepted a generous offer of a free playing site. An unfortunate drawback to the arrangement is that no spectators can be admitted to the site.

The SCCF will try to appease fans by making the games available at the SCCF Web site at For fastest service, tournament director John Hillery has promised to mail copies of the games on Monday and July 23 to all who send two self-addressed stamped envelopes to John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Place, Los Angeles, CA 90038. The SCCF magazine Rank and File will provide full coverage in its next issue in September.

Walter Avelar, Robert Hurdle and Simon Kogan shared first place with scores of 31/2-1/2 in a 23-player rating tournament at the Santa Monica Bay Chess Club. The club begins a six-rounder at 7 p.m. Monday in Joslyn Park, 633 Kensington Road in Santa Monica. For information, call Pete Savino at (310) 827-2789.

The July Octos take place Saturday in the Chess Center, 2651 Irvine Ave. in Costa Mesa. Each entrant plays three games within his eight-player group. For details, call Mike Carr at (949) 768-3538 or write to

Robert Berwin and Gordon Brooks tied for first place with 4-1 scores in the Pasadena Chess Club's Liberty Open. Bill Conrad, Constance McClendon, Cary Johnson and Al Kaletsky received class prizes. The club runs tournaments continuously on Friday evenings in the Pasadena Senior Center, 85 E. Holly St. in Pasadena.

The Knights of Valencia begin a six-round tournament of 45-minute games at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Suite G, 25864 Tournament Road in Valencia. Call Jay Stallings at (661) 288-1705 or write to for details.


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