The second great tournament of 1999 began last Sunday, and already the unexpected has happened. British grandmaster Michael Adams, an outstanding player but a likely candidate for last place in this elite field, has taken the early lead in a double round robin in Linares, Spain. Adams has started with 3-1, notching wins over Peter Leko and Vassily Ivanchuk.
The only other players to win a game, Russian standouts Garry Kasparov and Peter Svidler, share second place at 2 1/2-1 1/2. Kasparov’s score includes a fighting draw against Viswanathan Anand, who nearly kept pace with Kasparov last month in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. Kasparov has predicted that the Linares winner will score 9-5, and he claims that only three players (himself, Anand and Vladimir Kramnik) can reach that level.
Other scores: Anand (India), Kramnik (Russia) and Topalov (Bulgaria), 2-2; Ivanchuk (Ukraine) and Leko (Hungary), 1-3.
The 1999 Southern California State Elementary Championship, held Feb. 20 at St. Paul the Apostle School in Westwood, attracted 226 entrants, another excellent turnout. Surprisingly, the slump in adult tournament attendance has not disturbed the scholastic chess boom, which relies on a seemingly endless supply of newcomers to tournament chess.
Anthony Ong earned a state championship title by scoring a perfect 5-0 in the grades K-6 Open section. Anthony, rated over 1700 at age 10, is one of the stars of the remarkable Ong family that regularly brings a half-dozen or more members to local tournaments. Ted Toman finished second with 4 1/2- 1/2.
Adam Saven scored 5-0 in the grades K-6 Under-800 section. Martin Minasyan, Scotty Morrow and David Philipson had 4 1/2- 1/2.
Elliott Liu won the Primary (grades K-3) section, scoring 4 1/2- 1/2. Aleksandr Kavutskiy, Julian Landaw and David Serbin were close behind at 4-1.
Walter Bourdaghs and Harry Fukano achieved perfect 5-0 scores in the Primary Under-650 section.
The scholastic chess season continues with the 1999 Southern California State Junior High Championship March 6 at Castaic Middle School, 28900 Hillcrest Parkway in Castaic. It’s a two-section tournament for students in grades K-9. For full information, call Jay Stallings at (805) 288-1705.
Chess Palace in Los Alamitos hosted another successful “Super Sunday” tournament last weekend. Viktor Kuperman took first prize with 4 1/2- 1/2 in the field of 25 players. Top-rated Mark Duckworth (who lost to Kuperman in the last round), Class A winner Paul Clift and Honorio Nocon tied for second place with 4-1 scores. For more news on Chess Palace events, call (562) 598-5099 or visit the club’s Web site at www.jps.net/chesspal.
The March 99 Expo Open, a free non-rated tournament, will be held March 7 and March 14 at the Exposition Park branch of the public library, 3665 S. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles. Each entrant will play two one-hour games each Sunday afternoon. For more information, call the library at (323) 732-0169.
Players may still enter the Santa Monica Bay Chess Club’s annual championship tournament, which began Monday. Register at the club, 633 Kensington Rd. in Santa Monica, at 7:00 p.m. March 1.