World stars align in Siberia
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 ugra-chess.com.
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 latimes.com/