Lineup Set for State Championship


June 29, 2001

Position No. 5644: Black to play and win. From the game Griffin-Berry, PSW Open, Los Angeles 2001.

Solution to Position No. 5643: White should pass up the routine 1 Nxe8+ and go for the King with 1 Rxf7+! Bxf7 (useless is 1 ... Kg8 2 Qxh6 Bxf7 3 Nf5) 2 Nf5+ Kf6 3 Qxh6+ Bg6 4 Qg7+ Kxf5 (similar is 4 ... Ke6 5 Re1+ Kxf5) 5 Rf1+ Ke6 (also 5 ... Kg5 6 h4+ leads to mate) 6 Qxg6+ Ke7 7 Rf7+ Kd8 8 Rxd7+! Kxd7 9 Bh3+ Kc7 10 Qf7+, mating.


The Southern California Chess Federation conducted the SCCF Candidates tournament last weekend at the Chess Center in Costa Mesa.

A select field of 20 players competed. No prize money was at stake, but four invitations to next month's state championship went to the highest scorers.

Top-rated IM Melikset Khachian won the tournament, the third straight weekend he has taken first prize. He scored 31/2-1/2, defeating Gregg Small and former state champion Charles Van Buskirk while yielding only a last-round draw to Ron Hermansen.

Next at 3-1 were Hermansen, IM Varuzhan Akobian, Carl Wagner and Karl Yee. On tiebreak, all but Wagner advanced to the state championship.

The four qualifiers join 2000 co-champions Cyrus Lakdawala and IM Jack Peters plus high-rated seeds Levon Altounian and IM Andranik Matikozyan in the Southern California Championship, scheduled July 14-15 and 21-22 in Century City.

The round-robin counts as one of two annual state championships for the chess state of Southern California.

The SCCF has scheduled the second, the Southern California Open, in San Diego on Labor Day weekend.


The special tournament to raise money for a permanent scholastic fund is scheduled to take place Saturday at St. Paul the Apostle School, 1536 Selby Ave., Westwood. Any student in grades K-12 may enter. Register at 8:30 a.m. at the site.

The Exposition Park Chess Club will host a free tournament at 1 p.m. Sunday in the public library, 3665 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. For details, see the club's Web site at

Section winners in the Wilshire Chess Society tournament Sunday at the Westside Pavilion were Richard Henderson, Julian Landaw, Shawn Williams, Gregory Yakubovich, Ilya Malinskiy and Jesus Barraza. The club's next tournament is scheduled July 22. Call Michael Jeffreys at (310) 473-6291 for information.

Michael Brady scored 4-1 to win the Fiddle Point Fiesta, a 23-player tournament at the La Palma Chess Club. Gregg Fritchle, Mafooz Ghafouri and Joe Hanley tied for second at 31/2-11/2. Nicholas Olefer (best Class B) and John Balk (best C) earned class prizes. The club begins the six-round Summer Chess Caravan at 7 tonight in Central Park, 7821 Walker St., La Palma.

Rob Rosenberg scored 31/2-1/2 to win the Emperors of Chess, a scholastic tournament held Saturday in Gardena. Melinda West, Julian Beach, Tony Wu and Joshua Shaham finished a half-point behind. Gregory Comanor and Anthony Warmuth shared first prize in the Junior Varsity (grades K-8) section with scores of 4-1. John Surlow and Kurt Stenzel directed the tournament.

Chess for Success, a new program founded by chess teacher Ivona Jezierska, will host 12 days of chess workshops this summer at 1213 Preston Way in Venice. Classes for children ages 6 to 12 will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning July 5. Students may enroll in individual workshops or a session of six classes. For more information, call (310) 399-0063 or send a message to .


Austin Ong-Yee, SCCF Candidates Tournament, Costa Mesa 2001: 1 d4 f5 2 e4 The Staunton Gambit against the Dutch Defense. fxe4 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 b6 An old Nimzovich idea. Modern theory deals with 4 ... Nc6 and 4 ... c6. 5 f3 e3 Understandably, Black rejects 5 ... exf3?! 6 Nxf3 Bb7 7 Bd3, when he trails badly in development. 6 Bxe3 d5 7 Bd3 e6 8 Nce2 To meet 8 ... c5 by 9 c3. The more natural 8 f4 c5 9 Nf3 allows 9 ... c4 10 Be2 Bb4, when Black takes over e4. Bd6 9 c3 Meek. Either 9 c4 or 9 Ng3 0-0 10 f4 fights for the initiative. 0-0 10 g4? e5! A classic theme. Black parries a flank attack by countering in the center. 11 g5 e4!? Most aggressive, but even 11 ... Nh5 favors Black. 12 gxf6 Both 12 fxe4 Nxe4 and 12 Bc2 exf3! 13 gxf6 Qxf6 are awful for White. exd3 13 fxg7 Re8 14 Qxd3 Qe7 15 Kf2 Ba6 16 Qd2 Nd7 White's extra pawns provide little shelter for his King. Black has excellent compensation. 17 Ng3 Qf7 18 Qc2?! A faulty attempt to plug the f-file. Also inadequate is 18 N1e2 Nf6 19 Nf4? Rxe3! 20 Qxe3 Re8 21 Qd2 Bxf4 22 Qxf4 Ne4+. Nf6 Threatening 19 ... Ng4+. 19 Qf5?? White must retreat with 19 Bd2. Instead, 19 Nf5 Ne4+! 20 fxe4 Rxe4 and 19 Bg5 Bxg3+! 20 Kxg3 (not 20 hxg3? Ne4+) Qxg7 embroil White in pins. Bc8! The rest is painful to watch. 20 Qg5 Ng4+ 21 Ke2 Bf4 22 Qh5 Ba6+ 23 Kd2 Bxe3+ 24 Kc2 Nf2, White Resigns.

GM Timman (Netherlands) -IM Berg (Sweden), Malmo 2001: 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 The Advance variation, again in fashion against the French Defense. c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nf3 Bd7 Instead of the habitual 5 ... Qb6. 6 Be2 f6 Sharper than 6 ... Nge7 7 Na3 cxd4 8 cxd4 Nf5 9 Nc2, when White easily protects his center. 7 0-0 cxd4 Also critical is 7 ... fxe5 8 Nxe5 Nxe5 9 dxe5 Qc7 10 c4. 8 cxd4 fxe5 9 dxe5 After 9 Nxe5 Nxe5 10 dxe5, Berg drew an earlier game with 10 ... Bc5 11 Nd2 Qc7 12 Nb3 Bb6. Timman's choice, retaining the Knights, seems stronger, as White wants a full board for maximum attacking chances. In an endgame, Black's passed d-pawn would prove valuable. Bc5 Worth consideration is 9 ... Qc7 10 Re1 Nh6!? 11 Nc3 a6 12 Bd3 Nf7 13 Bf4 Be7, not revealing where Black will hide his King. 10 Nc3 a6 11 Bd3 Nge7 12 Ne2! A great maneuver. White clears the c-file while bringing the Knight to a powerful post at f4. Rc8?! Black should eliminate the troublesome Knight with 12 ... Nb4 13 Bb1 Bb5 14 Re1 Bxe2 15 Qxe2 Rc8, holding White to a small advantage. 13 Nf4 Qb6 14 a3 a5 15 Rb1 g6 Black can prevent b2-b4 by 15 ... Qa7, but 16 Ng5 Nxe5 17 Nfxe6 g6 18 Bf4 leaves his King too exposed. Nor does 15 ... 0-0 16 Bxh7+ Kxh7 17 Ng5+ Kg8 18 Qh5 Rxf4 19 Bxf4 solve Black's problems. 16 b4! axb4 17 axb4 Nxb4 No better is 17 ... Bxb4 18 Ng5. 18 Bd2 0-0 If Black supports his pinned Knight by 18 ... Nec6, then 19 Ng5 attacks. Neither 19 ... Nxe5 20 Bxb4 Bxb4 21 Qe2 nor 19 ... Ke7 20 Qg4 Nxe5 21 Qh4 Kd6 22 Rxb4! Bxb4 23 Nxd5 exd5 24 Bxb4+ will survive. 19 Ng5 Qc6?! Toughest is 19 ... Rxf4 20 Bxf4 Qa7, when White can proceed cautiously with 21 Qd2 or keep Black off-balance with 21 Nxh7!? Kxh7 22 Qh5+ Kg7 23 Qh6+ Kf7 24 Bxg6+. 20 Rxb4! Bxb4 21 Bxb4 Rxf4 22 Bxe7 Material is nearly even, but Black cannot stop the threats of 23 Nxh7 and 23 g3 Rd4 24 Qf3. Qc3 Or 22 . . . h6 23 Bxg6! hxg5 24 Qh5 Rh4 25 Bh7+ Kg7 26 Qg6+ Kh8 27 Bf6 mate. 23 g3 Ba4 24 Qe2 Bc2 25 Bxc2 Rd4, and Black Resigns. Simply 26 Bb1 sets up 27 Nxh7.

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