Tournament Draws Strong Field


June 22, 2001

Position No. 5643: White to play and win. From the game M. Robertson -K. Tatum, PSW Open, Los Angeles 2001.

Solution to Position No. 5642: Black wins with 1 ... Kf5 2 a5 Nd8! 3 axb6 Nf7 4 bxa7 g6 mate.


The Pacific Southwest Open, the Santa Monica Bay Chess Club's traditional summer tournament held on the Fourth of July for 40 years, shifted to June 15-17 this year and still attracted a fair turnout of 126 players. The field, bolstered by recent Armenian immigrants, was the strongest in years.

Top-rated IM Melikset Khachian led the 58-player Open section with an impressive 51/2-1/2 total that included wins on Sunday over IM Andranik Matikozyan and state champion Cyrus Lakdawala. Only IM Varuzhan Akobian, who finished second at 5-1, held him to a draw.

Next at 41/2-11/2 were Matikozyan, state champion Levon Altounian, IM Nikolay Andrianov and top experts Scott Haubrich, Sid Morriss and Gennadiy Titkov.

Frank Berry scored 51/2-1/2 to win the 68-player Amateur (under-1800) section. Moheb Boules, Bobby Hall and Harut Keshishian tied for second at 5-1. Class prizes went to Ron Hoffman and Bruce Margolin (tied for best under-1600); Tongzhou Wang (best under-1400); Sarkis Toneryan (best under-1200); and Anatoliy Manko (best unrated).

Randy Hough directed. The next major open tournament is the Southern California Open, scheduled Labor Day weekend in San Diego.


A special scholastic tournament takes place June 30 at St. Paul the Apostle School, 1536 Selby Ave., in Westwood. The tournament will resemble many other scholastic events, with trophies as prizes in all three sections (for grades K-3, K-6 and K-12). The special feature, though, is that all proceeds from the tournament will go to a permanent scholastic chess fund administered by the California Community Federation. Organizers Richard Rico and John Surlow are donating their time to raise money for the fund, which must match the $5,000 contributed by an anonymous donor, before July 1.

For details about the tournament, call John Surlow at (310) 479-8377 or send a message to To make a contribution to the fund, send a check to Chess Set Educational Trust, c/o Mike Carr, 25601 Chrisanta Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92691.

A new chess league is forming in Los Angeles. Any group of four players may enter as a team. There are no fees. Current plans call for weekly team matches, beginning in September, at a time limit of 60 minutes per player. Games will not be rated. For more information, send a message to


The Wilshire Chess Society will run its monthly tournament of 45-minute games on Sunday in Community Room C of the Westside Pavilion (near Barnes & Noble bookstore), Pico at Westwood in Los Angeles. Register at the site before 10:30 a.m., or call Michael Jeffreys at (310) 473-6291.

John Surlow plans a series of chess workshops for young players (ages 5 to 14) at St. Paul the Apostle School. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 27, 28, and July 10, 11 and 12. For all of the details, call him at (310) 479-8377.

The first International Tijuana Cup takes place next Friday to July 1 in the Jai Alai Palace, 1450 Ave. Revolucion in Tijuana. The five-round, non-rated tournament is open to all. The first round begins at 8 p.m. Friday, and entrants can register at the site between 5 and 7 p.m. For more information, call Gustavo Hernandez at 01152-6-685-3607 or visit

Woody's Mates won the 12th Mountain Team Chess Challenge, a three-month chess league for teams in towns near Lake Arrowhead. The winners (Mauricio Lopez, Bill Menzel, Mike La Budda and captain David Wiltse) compiled a score of 291/2-181/2, a point ahead of Lloyd's Rooketeers. League director Don La Suer, Arnold Baldwin and Lopez registered the best individual results. The 2001 Summer Chess Caravan, a six-round tournament at the La Palma Chess Club, begins next Friday. The club runs tournaments on Friday evenings in Central Park, 7821 Walker St. in La Palma. For more information, call Brian Scanlon at (714) 523-2550.


IM Khachian (Armenia) -C. Lakdawala (U.S.A.), Pacific Southwest Open, Los Angeles 2001: 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 The Winawer variation of the French Defense. 4 e5 Qd7 To defend g7 by advancing the f-pawn. The main line continues 4 ... c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7. 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 b6 7 Qg4 f5 8 Qg3 Ba6 9 Bxa6 Nxa6 Black has significant positional advantages (an outpost at c4 for a Knight and the lever ... c7-c5), but can he protect his King? His development lags. Theory favors White. 10 Ne2 Nb8 11 Nf4 Kf7 Not 11 ... Nbc6?? 12 Nxe6! Qxe6 13 Qxg7, winning for White. 12 Qf3 Ne7 13 Qh5+ Kg8 Awkward, but 13...g6? 14 Qg5 Ng8 15 h4 Qe7 16 Qg3 looks worse. Then 16 ... Nc6 loses to 17 h5 g5 18 Ng6! hxg6 19 hxg6+ Kg7 20 Rxh8 Kxh8 21 Qh3+ Kg7 22 Bxg5 Qe8 23 Qh7+ Kf8 24 Bf6. 14 h4 Nbc6 15 Rh3 Rf8 16 Rg3 Ng6!? Also reasonable are 16 ... Rf7 and 16 ... Na5 17 Qg5 Ng6. 17 Nh3 Of course, 17 Nxg6? hxg6 18 Qxg6 Rxh4 activates Black's KR. Nce7 18 Bg5 Rf7 19 Kd2 c5 20 Qe2 Black's Kingside has withstood the first assault. Now White hopes to invade on the Queenside before Black untangles his pieces. Nf8 Immediate counterplay by 20 ... Qa4?! costs the exchange to 21 h5 Nf8 22 dxc5 bxc5 23 h6 Ng6 24 hxg7 Kxg7 25 Bf6+. 21 h5 h6 22 Bxe7 Rxe7 23 dxc5 bxc5 24 Rb1 Kh7 25 Nf4 Rg8 26 Qb5! Inviting 26 . . . Qxb5?! 27 Rxb5 Rc7 28 Rb8 (threatening 29 Rxf8) Rc6 29 Rb7 Ra6 30 c4, when Black remains tied up. Qc7! 27 Qb8 Qc6 28 Qb5 Qc7 29 Qb8 Qa5?? Ambitious, as Black needs a win to share first place. Objectively, he should settle for repetition with 29 ... Qc6. It's uncertain if White can retain any advantage. For example, 30 Qd6!? Qxd6 31 exd6 Rd7 32 Nd3 c4 (possibly 32 ... Rxd6 33 Nxc5 Nd7 survives) 33 Ne5 Rxd6 34 Rb7 Ra6 35 Rg6 Rxa3? 36 Rf6 Ra1 37 Rff7 Rf1 38 Ke3 Rc1 39 Rb8 wins, but Black foils the idea with 35 ... Kh8! 36 Rf6 gxf6 37 Nf7+, drawing. 30 Ng6! Rf7 Forced, as 30 ... Nxg6 loses instantly to 31 hxg6+ Kh8 32 Qxg8+! Kxg8 33 Rb8+. 31 Qe8 Qc7 32 Rb8 c4 Black can barely move. Neither 32 ... d4 33 c4 nor 32

Cullum -La Suer, Mountain League, Running Springs 2001: 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e5 The Albin Counter Gambit. 3 b3? Usual is 3 dxe5 d4 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 g3. exd4 4 Qxd4 Nc6!? Insisting on a pawn sac! Simply 4 ... Nf6 is good, too. 5 Qxd5 Bd6 6 Nc3 Nf6 7 Qd1 Better, though still uncomfortable, is 7 Qd3. Bf5! 8 Nf3 Qe7! 9 g3? Too slow. Even 9 e3? Rd8 10 Bd2 loses material to 10 ... Bb4! 11 Rc1 (or 11 Qe2 Rxd2! 12 Qxd2 Ne4) Ba3. Perhaps 9 Nh4 offers a little hope. Rd8 10 Bd2 Nb4! 11 Nd4? If 11 Bg2, then 11 ... Bc2! 12 Qc1 Nd3+ wins White's Queen. Nd3 mate.

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