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Friday, May 15, 1998

Chess

Mishap upsets event

By Quah Seng Sun

LAST week in the Russian republic of Kalmykia, its president Kirsan Iljumzhinov who is also president of the World Chess Federation was about to stage a strong knock-out tournament when news of an accident on the outskirts of the nation's capital Elista came through.

Former women's world champion Maia Chiburdanidze, Georgian Chess Federation president Zurab Azmaiparashvili and Kiril Georgiev were in a car travelling from Volvograd to Elista when their driver tried to overtake another vehicle along the narrow road but met a third one coming from the opposite direction.

According to reports from Elista, the driver avoided a head-on collision but he lost control of the car, causing it to roll down a hill.

Chiburdanidze, who was beside the driver, was thrown from the car; she suffered severe knocks on her head and multiple contusions on the chest and liver regions.

Luckily for her, the accident occurred near a village hospital about 15km from Elista. She was taken to the hospital and her condition is reportedly stable and not critical.

Azmaiparashvili and Georgiev, who were in the backseat, suffered minor head injuries and scratches.

Iljumzhinov later postponed the tournament by one day, with the agreement of the other players who were all upset by the bad news.

The knock-out event was originally due to begin on May 5 in Elista with a US$100,000 prize money. This tournament for the President's Cup was supposed to have been the Russian Championship which has since been postponed to July in St Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) but Iljumzhinov decided that his event should still proceed as planned.

And since it was no longer an internal Russian event, Iljumzhinov was able to attract a much stronger field with some players from outside Russia also taking part.

To get an idea of the strength of this tournament, the grandmasters in this 32-player field are Valery Salov, Evgeny Bareev, Sergei Rublevsky, Alexander Khalifman, Vadim Zvjaginsev, Sergei Tiviakov, Alexey Dreev, Konstantin Sakeav, Evgeny Sveshnikov, Ildar Ibragimov, Alexander Galkin, Marat Makarov, Alexander Fominyh and Alisa Galliamova (all from Russia), Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Onischuk, Vladimir Tukmakov and Vladimir Malaniuk (all from Ukraine), Boris Gelfand and Aleksej Aleksandrov (both from Belarus), Vladimir Akopian and Rafael Vaganian (both from Armenia), Kiril Georgiev (Bulgaria), Mikhail Gurevich (Belgium), Jaan Ehlvest (Estonia), Viktor Bologan (Moldavia), and Georgi Giorgadze (Georgia).

When I looked at this list of players, it struck me that if the Soviet Union had not disintegrated in 1991, this tournament in Elista would just about qualify as the Soviet championship itself.

Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Estonia, Moldavia and Georgia were all formerly a part of the Soviet Union, and Mikhail Gurevich, now playing for Belgium, was a former Soviet player.

Only Georgiev stood out differently from the rest of the players.

In the first stage of the knock-out event over last weekend, Ivanchuk beat Ehlvest 2-0, Zvjaginsev beat Makarov 2 1/2-1 1/2, Georgiev beat Sveshnikov 1 1/2-1/2, Vaganian beat Shovunov 2-0, Bologan beat Akopian 1 1/2-1/2, Sakaev beat Erendzhenov 2-0, Bareev beat Tukmakov 2-0, Gurevich beat Poddubny 1 1/2-1/2, Gelfand beat Malaniuk 2-0, Tiviakov beat Galliamova 4 1/2-3 1/2, Khalifman beat Galkin 1 1/2-1/2, Aleksandrov beat Lusto 2-0, Rublevsky beat Ibragimov 2-0, Dreev beat Kozak 1 1/2-1/2, Salov beat Onischuk 1 1/2-1/2 and Giorgadze beat Fominyh 4-3.

I shall have more news for you next week but in the meantime, readers with Internet access can visit the official tournament web site at http://www.ruschess.com .

Mak is Selangor junior champion

THE 12th Royal Selangor juniors open tournament on May 1 and 2 was the first of several activities organised by the Chess Association of Selangor in conjunction with its silver jubilee celebrations.

Despite losing to Lim Yee Weng in the sixth round, Mak Weng Yee was declared winner of the 29-player under-18 section of the tournament due to a better tiebreak. Both players had scored 5 1/2 points from the seven-round event.

Given the tie-break system which is commonly used in such events, it would be almost impossible for players who lose in the early rounds of a tournament to score highly on tie-breaks. In Lim's case, the title slipped from his hands after a surprising loss to Samantha Lee in the third round.

In joint third and fourth places were Wong Ziwei and Premnaath with five points each. Samantha Lee, Wong Kat Fooi, Choo Voo Koon, Chua Lin Kiat, Marina Soh and Law Zhe Kang scored four points each.

The under-14 section of the tournament was won by Perak schoolboy Aaron Yee who obtained 6 1/2 points from seven games. The second place went to Gerald Soh with six points, while sharing the third to sixth prizes with 5 1/2 points each were Effahrin Farid, Wong Zi Chuan, Choi Wai Yew and Ragu Ram.

This was the most popular age-group event of the junior tournament with 60 players taking part. The third age-group category was the under-10 section which attracted 28 players.

Effaliana Farid was the winner with 6 1/2 points and second was Ooi Ching Chung with six points. Hemnaath scored five points to take the third prize while the fourth to ninth places were shared by Thaw Chee How, Chan Tze Chen, Eric Ng Keng Gee, Mo Kim Hung, Gavin Ng Khai Wei and Lee Su Lynn who obtained 4 1/2 points each.

On May 3, the Chess Association of Selangor organised a six-round Allegro tournament that attracted 40 participants. Mohd Saprin Sabri was the winner with 5 1/2 points, followed by Lim Yee Weng and Azhari Mohd Nor with five points each, and Chay Joon Hoong and Lau Tze Thong with 4 1/2 points each.

This weekend, the second half of the Royal Selangor juniors open tournament will take place at the Sunway College in Subang Jaya. This will be for the under-12, under-16 and under-20 age-groups.

On May 23 and 24, the CAS silver jubilee blitz tournament will be organised and this event will be followed by the Royal Selangor silver jubilee open chess tournament from May 27 to 31.

The Sakura Selangor junior girls tournament will be played on May 30 and 31.

For all these events, intending participants can call Mrs Jackie Wong (03-703 8237) or Lim Tse Pin (03-733 0927) for registration details.

Perak Grand Prix

The Perak International Chess Association will hold the next stage of their nine-leg chess grand prix at the Perpustakaan Tun Razak in Ipoh this weekend.

Six rounds are scheduled for the two-day event, and the time control will be 60 minutes per player for each game. Only players who are born, residing, working or studying in Perak are eligible to take part.

The overall grand prix standings will be based on the best five tournament performances of each player and the top 24 players at the end of the series will qualify for the state championship in September. The interim grand prix standings will also be used for selecting Perak players to national events like the Merdeka team championship.

Those interested in playing this weekend must register at the playing venue by 1.15pm tomorrow. For details, call W.K. Wong (05-366 1692).

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