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.


GM Wojtkiewicz (Poland)--D. Filipovich (Canada), World Open, Philadelphia 2001: 1 Nf3 d5 2 d4 Nf6 3 c4 c6 4 Qc2 Avoiding the Slav Defense, 4 Nc3 dxc4. g6 5 Bf4 Na6 6 e3 Bf5 7 Qb3 Nb4? Clever, but 7 . . . Qb6 is stronger. 8 Qxb4 e5 9 Qxb7 Rb8 10 Qxc6+ Bd7 Black expects 11 Qa6 exf4, with fair compensation. 11 Qxf6! This “sacrifice” will net more than enough for the Queen. Qxf6 12 Bxe5 Qb6 13 b3 The hasty 13 Bxh8?? loses to 13 . . . Qxb2. Bb4+ 14 Nbd2 0-0 15 Bxb8 Rxb8 16 Bd3 Bg4 Also 16 . . . Qa5 17 Ke2 Bg4 fails, as 18 Rhd1 Bc3 19 Rac1 maintains White’s material advantage. 17 0-0 Qa5 18 Ne5! Bxd2 19 Nxg4 Bc3 20 Rad1 Qxa2 If 20 . . . dxc4, then 21 Bxc4 Qxa2 22 Nh6+ Kg7 23 Nxf7 gives White connected passers. 21 Nf6+ Kg7 22 Nxd5 Qxb3 23 Nxc3 Qxc3 24 c5 Black’s heavy pieces cannot stop White’s passers. a5 25 Be4 a4 26 Rc1 Qa5 27 c6 a3 28 d5 Qc7 White meets 28 . . . Qb4 easily by 29 Rfd1! Qxe4 30 c7 Rc8 31 d6. 29 Rfd1 Qd6 30 c7 Rc8 31 Rc6 Destroying Black’s blockade. Qe5 32 d6! a2 Or 32 . . . Qxe4 33 d7, and White gets a new Queen. 33 Rcc1 Qxe4 34 d7 Rxc7 35 d8Q, Black Resigns.

GM Apicella (France)--GM M. Gurevich (Belgium), Clichy 2001: 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 f4 The Steinitz variation against the French Defense. c5 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 Be3 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bc5 9 Qd2 0-0 Aggressive. Black can nearly equalize with the safer 9 . . . Nxd4 10 Bxd4 Bxd4 11 Qxd4 Qb6. 10 0-0-0 Nxd4 11 Bxd4 a6 12 h4 b5 13 Bxc5 Tests of 13 h5 and 13 Rh3 suggest that Black gets adequate counterplay from 13 . . . b4 14 Na4 Bxd4 15 Qxd4 Qa5 16 b3 Bb7. Nxc5 14 Qd4 Qc7 15 a3? A strategic error, helping Black open a Queenside file. The correct 15 Kb1 Rb8 16 Bd3 b4 17 Ne2 Bd7 18 Qe3 Rfc8 19 Nd4 maintains a solid position and plans an eventual Kingside attack. Bd7 16 f5 More bark than bite. Black defends economically. Rfc8 17 f6?! gxf6 18 gxf6 Kh8! As 19 Qg4 Rg8 leads nowhere for White. 19 Kb1 Rab8 20 Be2 White cannot stop Black on the Queenside. If 20 Bd3 a5 21 Ne2 b4, both 22 Qg4 Rg8 23 Qh5 Nxd3 24 cxd3 Qc2+ 25 Ka1 bxa3 and 22 axb4 Rxb4 23 Qe3 Nxd3 24 Qxd3 Bb5 25 Qd2 Bxe2 26 Qxe2 Qc3 27 b3 Rcb8 28 Rh3 Rxb3+ end in mate. a5 21 Bh5 b4 Anticipating 22 axb4 axb4 23 Ne2 Ne4 24 Qd3 (or 24 Rc1 Nc3+!) Bb5 25 Qb3 Bc4 26 Qe3 Bxe2 27 Qxe2 Nc3+! 28 bxc3 bxc3+, mating. 22 Bxf7!? Hoping for 22 . . . bxc3? 23 Qg4 Rg8 24 Bxg8 Rxg8, when 25 f7! Rf8 26 Qd4+ e5 27 Qxc3 keeps White alive. e5! 23 Qe3 Nor does 23 Nxd5 exd4 24 Nxc7 Rxc7 25 axb4 Rxb4 help. Bf5! Relying on 24 Qg5 Qxf7 25 Qxf5 bxc3. 24 axb4 axb4 25 Nxd5 Qxf7 26 Ne7 b3! 27 Nxf5 bxc2+ 28 Kxc2 Ne4+, White Resigns. The finish might be 29 Kd3 Qc4 mate or 29 Kb1 Ra8 30 b3 Rc3.