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Shabalov, Hahn Win in Seattle

With a score of 6½ out of 9, GM Alexander Shabalov of Pittsburgh is the new U.S. Chess Champion, finishing in first place by a half point. Shabalov clinched the championship and the $25,000 first place prize by winning in the final round against wild card entry IM Varuzhan Akobian of Glendale. Tying for second with 6-3each were GMs Gregory Kaidanov, Alexander Goldin,Boris Gulko, Joel Benjamin, Alex Stripunsky, Alexander Ivanov, and John Fedorowicz.  Last year's champion,  Larry Christiansen, tied for 9th place with 5½ points.

Women's International Master Anna Hahn of New Jersey is the new U.S. Women's Chess Champion. Hahn, defending U.S. Women's Champion WIM Jennifer Shahade  and 1998 U.S. Women's Champion IM Irina Krush all scored 4½ points. In  a shock result in the playoff, underdog Hahn defeated both Krush and Shahade to win the title of U.S.  Women's Chess Champion for the first time.

Shahade's excellent performance was good enough for both an IM norm and a Women's Grandmaster norm. She needs one more norm to earn these titles. Stephen Muhammad and Igor Foygel both earned their third and final International Master norms.

The U.S. Chess Championship was held January 9-18, 2003 at the Seattle Center in Seattle, WA. The tournament was a nine round Swiss system tournament. One game was played each day, with a  rest day on January 14, where the players gave of their free time to go into the community to help promote scholastic chess in the Seattle area. The tournament was organized by America's Foundation for Chess (AF4C). Major sponsorship for the record-breaking prize fund of $253,000 on offer was provided by the AF4C's president and co-founder Erik Anderson, Chiropractors for a Healthy Mind and Body, and ChessMaster, the US's No.1 selling chess software program. For more information, visit http://www.af4c.org/. -- USCF news release


Late news: CALTECHnically Won Tops Amateur Team West

As we go to press, the Cal Tech team of Whee Ky Ma, Eugene Yanayt, Eugene Perelshteyn and Howard Liu has taken first place in the 20th Annual U.S. Amateur Team West with a score of 5½-½. Though initially ranked only 11th at 2070, the Cal Tech stars played up in the last four rounds, and scored 3½ out of 4. Ma also took the prize for best score on first board with 5½-½ (on tiebreak over IM Jack Peters). The Western champions will participate in an on-line playoff with the other three regional winners in March, and a full report on the tournament will appear in our next issue.



Kasparov, Computer Tie

The first official Man v. Machine World Chess Championship, held at the New York Athletic Club in  New York City between Grandmaster (GM) Garry Kasparov and the computer Deep Junior, ended  with a draw. Kasparov took the early lead in the match with a quick victory in game one. Game two  was a draw, and Deep Junior tied the match with a win in game 3. Games four and five were both  draws. In game six, played on February 7, Kasparov equalized easily with the black pieces. On move  23 Kasparov played a thematic exchange sacrifice, giving up his rook in exchange for a Knight and  two pawns. The game was drawn by agreement on move 28, leaving the match tied at 3-3. 

"I had one item on my agenda today: not to lose," said Kasparov after the match. "I'm quite satisfied  with this performance." Since neither Kasparov nor Deep Junior was able to win the match, the  championship trophy will be kept in the FIDE office in Switzerland until the next Man vs. Machine  World Chess Championship, according to World Chess Federation (FIDE) president Kirsan  Ilyumzhinov. 

Kasparov is the highest rated chess player in the world with a FIDE rating of 2847. In 1997 he  played a six game match against the IBM computer program, Deep Blue. In the most famous chess  match in history, Deep Blue defeated Kasparov by the score of 3 ½ - 2 ½. The FIDE Man vs.  Machine World Chess Championship is Kasparov's first serious match against a computer since his  loss to Deep Blue. 

Deep Junior, programmed by Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky, has won the world computer chess championship three times. "It's very clear that Deep Junior is a stronger program," Kasparov said when asked to compare Deep Junior with Deep Blue. "Deep Junior is the best program ever in existence."

The match is sponsored by FIDE and X3D Technologies Corporation and sanctioned by FIDE and  the United States Chess Federation. -- USCF news release


Deep Junior - GM Garry Kasparov

6th Match Game, New York 2003

SICILIAN DEFENSE, Najdorf Variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Kh1 Bd7 10. Be3 Bc6 11. Bf3 Nbd7 12. a4 b6 13. Qd3 Bb7 14. h3 Rc8 15. Rad1 h6 16. Rfe1 Qc7 17.  g3 Rfd8 18. Kh2 Re8 19. Re2 Qc4 20. Qxc4 Rxc4 21. Nd2 Rc7 22. Bg2 Rec8 23. Nb3 Rxc3 24. bxc3 Bxe4 25. Bc1 Bxg2 26. Kxg2 Rxc3 27. Ba3 Ne8 28. f4 f6 draw