World stars align in Siberia

Los Angeles Times - - The Guide - Jack Peters

The 39th Chess Olympiad be­gan Tues­day in Khanty-Man­siysk, a small Siberian city in Rus­sia. The im­mense tour­na­ment has at­tracted 146 men’s teams and 114 women’s teams rep­re­sent­ing 142 na­tions. Half of the 484 par­tic­i­pants in the men’s sec­tion hold the grand­mas­ter ti­tle.

The ninth-seeded U.S. men’s team con­sists of grand­mas­ters Hikaru Naka­mura (Mis­souri), Gata Kam­sky (New York), Alexan­der Onis­chuk (Vir­ginia), Yury Shul­man (Illi­nois) and Robert Hess (New York). That’s an im­pres­sive lineup with a fair chance at a medal. They de­feated Faroe Is­lands, 4-0, and Mon­go­lia, 31⁄ 2-1⁄2, in their first two matches.

The sixth-seeded U.S. women’s team is prob­a­bly the best ever, led by IM Irina Krush (New York), IM Anna Za­ton­skih (New York) and rapidly im­prov­ing Tatev Abra­hamyan (Glen­dale). They opened with easy vic­to­ries over the Dominican Re­pub­lic and Es­to­nia.

The men’s and women’s events are 11-round com­pe­ti­tions on four boards. The U.S. took bronze medals in both sec­tions in the 2008 Olympiad in Dres­den.

Two South­ern Cal­i­for­nia grand­mas­ters are ac­com­pa­ny­ing the teams. Varuzhan Ako­bian will serve as coach to the men’s team, while Me­lik­set Khachiyan will coach the women’s team.

Games are sched­uled at 2 a.m. PDT daily, ex­cept for Sept. 26 and Oct. 2. For live games, see

In­ter­na­tional news

Ukraine grand­mas­ter Kateryna Lahno, ranked sev­enth in the world, won the Women’s World Blitz Cham­pi­onship in Moscow. The time limit was three min­utes per game, plus two sec­onds per move.

Lahno scored 20-10 in the 16-player dou­ble round robin. Next were GM Ta­tiana Kos­int­seva (Rus­sia), 19-11, and WGM Valentina Gun­ina (Rus­sia), 181⁄ 2-111⁄ 2.

Irina Krush fin­ished 13th with 12-18. Krush had qual­i­fied for the tour­na­ment by tak­ing first place in the semi­fi­nal with an out­stand­ing 19-7 score.

For more news and a sec­ond game, see


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