Chess

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The Independent Culture
OVER THE last couple of months, I've looked at the separate leagues in Croatia, Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia. Today, yet another team tournament from that part of the world - with several of the usual suspects from one or more of the other competitions: the Slovenian league.

This was held in Bled from 8 to 14 November, and comprised eight teams including 16 grandmasters and 16 international grandmasters among the 50 or so players.

The favourites were Ptuj with Beliavsky, Mikhalchishin and Arshak Petrosian (as far as I know absolutely no relation of the great Tigran - I believe it's a reasonably common Armenian name) on the top three boards. But their relative weakness lower down told against them and in the end they finished only third on 8/14 match points - which in this league took precedence over game points, of which they obtained 21/42.

Meanwhile Piramida from Maribor, with Kozul, Sax, Mohr . . . were first, on 13 (26.5), ahead of Triglav from Krsko on 12 (26.5); and three of the remaining five teams behind Ptuj (two of them also from Maribor, which is just over the border from Graz, in Austria) - scored between 20.5 and 21.5 with various numbers of game points; while the last two were a little behind.

Although the team names are unfamiliar, the battle on top board in particular certainly signifies, with the powerful group of Beliavksy and Kozul, as already mentioned, plus Dizdar, Ponomariov, Sveshnikov, Cebalo, Atalik and Chernin.

In the Yugoslav team championship in Vrnjacka Banja at the end of August, Alexander Beiavsky scored a daunting 3/3 - one game in the preliminaries and two more in the double-rounded semi-final - against the Turkish grandmaster Suat Atalik. Atalik did manage to avoid the hex in Bled, but only by dint of grim defence with the White pieces after he had quickly obtained a vile structure for minimal compensation.

White: Suat Atalik

Black: Alexander Beliavsky

Slovenian Team Championship

Queen's Gambit Declined

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