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Chinese Team Stars in Las Vegas


March 16, 2001

Position #5629: White to play and win. From the game Kishnev-Rabiega, Germany 2001.

Solution to Position #5628: White wins a Knight by 1 c4 Nde7 2 d5. If 1 . . . Nxd4, then 2 Qxd5! Rxd5 3 Bxd5 wins more material.


A field of 864 players, led by 29 grandmasters, competed in the National Open last weekend in Las Vegas. Most members of the Chinese national team made successful American debuts, warming up for the U.S.-China match now underway in Seattle.

Vladimir Akopian of Armenia and Zhang Zhong of China tied for first place with scores of 5 1/2- 1/2, winning $6,000 apiece. Next at 5-1 were Chinese junior stars Yin Hao and Ni Hua and GMs Alexander Baburin (Ireland), Dmitry Gurevich (Illinois), Ildar Ibragimov (Russia), Alexander Ivanov (Massachusetts), Ye Jiangchuan (China), Alexander Stripunsky (New York) and Alex Yermolinsky (El Cerrito, Calif.).

Grandmasters Yuri Shulman (Belarus) and Alek Wojtkiewicz (Poland) shared first place in the Charles Linklater Memorial, an international title tournament that ended March 8 at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco. Each scored an undefeated 7-3. Gregory Shahade (Pennsylvania) also went undefeated and tied for third place at 6 1/2-3 1/2 with Alexander Baburin, who overcame two losses with a tournament-high five wins.

Michael Mulyar (Colorado) and IM Mladen Vucic (Novato) tied for fifth place at 5 1/2-4 1/2. Shahade and Mulyar fulfilled IM norms and should receive the title of International Master later this year.

The two Southern Californians, state champions Cyrus Lakdawala (San Diego) and Levon Altounian (Glendale), needed last-round victories to reach the IM standard of 5 1/2 points, but both fell short. Lakdawala scored 5-5, Altounian 4 1/2-5 1/2.

Other scores: Alexander Kretchetov (Russia), 4-6; WGM Camilla Baginskaite (El Cerrito, Calif.), 3 1/2-6 1/2; and Aaron Stearns (Mountain View), 0-11.

The Mechanics Institute, one of the oldest chess clubs in the country, has run several costly international tournaments thanks to a generous bequest from Charles Linklater, a former club member.


The Southern California High School Championship will take place Saturday and Sunday at Monroe High School in North Hills. All students in grades K-12 are eligible to play. The winner of the two-day Open section earns the title of 2001 state high school champion. Separate under-1400 and under-1000 sections are scheduled on Saturday only. Call Randy Hough at (626) 282-7412, or register at the site before 9 a.m.

Chess Palace, 4336 Katella Ave. in Los Alamitos, holds its monthly Super Sunday tournament on Sunday. It consists of five 30-minute games, starting at noon. For information on all Chess Palace events, call (562) 598-5099.

"Bad Bishops," a chess club for children, meets daily from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Multicultural Center School, Compton Boulevard at Central in Compton. The new club, the first in Compton since 1966, teaches kids ages 6 to 14 how to play chess.

Franklin Carroll won last Sunday's tournament at Chess Academy. Bill Faulk finished second. Grandmaster Eduard Gufeld, who offers free books to anyone who manages to draw or win in his weekly simultaneous exhibition, reports that he "saved his books." The club, at 1335 N. La Brea Ave. in Hollywood, hosts another tournament (at 11 a.m.) and simul (at 3 p.m.) Sunday. Call (323) 883-0164 or (323) 512-4564 for information.


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