Chess

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WHEREAS ALMOST all tournaments are or have been either all-play-alls, Swisses, or - long ago or recently - knockouts, the Americans last year in their national championship introduced a mixed system with two all-play-all preliminary groups followed by knockout semi- finals and final.

The Championship, sponsored by Interplay, will run in Salt Lake City until 11 September. Fuelled by a prize fund of $100,000, it has attracted 14 Grandmasters and two IMs - Shliperman and Finegold.

Boris Gulko won "Group A" with 5.5/7, ahead of Yermolinsky 4; Christiansen and Dimitry Gurevich 3.5; Fedorowicz, Shliperman and Kudrin 3; and Shabalov 2.5.

In "Group B" Serper made 4.5/7, ahead of Seirawan (who won the three way play-off), Benjamin and Alexander Ivanov 4; DeFirmian (last year's champion), Dzindzihashvili and Kaidanov 3; and Finegold 2;

In the semi-finals Gulko therefore played Seirawan; and Serper, Yermolinsky. After two of the four regular games both matches were equal, with Gulko and Seirawan exchanging wins while the other pair had two draws. Both pairs drew the next two games so they were due to play off on Monday.

This was much the shortest game of the championship - though the Women's Championship, won by Anjelina Belakovskaya, featured some even quicker debacles.

In a Sicilian Najdorf, Fedorowicz played the currently fairly trendy 8 ...b4 and 9 ...Bd7 but after 10 c3 Nxe4? simply doesn't work - 10 ...bxc3, 10 ...Nc6 or 10 ...Be7 is possible. After 13 Nxe6! it was already all over - 13 ...fxe6 14 cxd5 is equally horrible.

White: Sergey Kudrin

Black: John Fedorowitz

Sicilian Najdorf

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