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Khachiyan Tops Los Angeles Open

By Randy Hough

Los Angeles' Columbus Day tournament, only the third in the last 15 years, drew 101 players to the LAX Wyndham October 12-14. Despite a generous half-point bye policy, many potential participants found themselves unable to play, making the event a financial failure albeit an artistic success.

State Champion Melikset Khachiyan justified his top seed and continued his string of successes by topping the 47-player Open section with 5½ points of 6. His victims included masters Jerry Hanken, Eduardo Ortiz, and Nathaniel Graham. Leading by a point going into the last round, Khachiyan raised eyebrows with his choice of the Schliemann Defense to FM Michael Casella's Ruy Lopez, but earned the draw after a tactical slugfest.

Graham recovered to tie for second by winning a tough, uneven game against the strong unrated player Igor Shheinberg. IM Tim Taylor, recovering after a miserable start of a draw and a loss, joined Casella and FM Emory Tate in a tie for third at 4½. Also at 5 was Reynaldo Del Pilar. A complete list of prize winners appears below.

The Amateur (Under 1800) section was more hospitable to upsets. The 21st seed, Howard Liu of Caltech, rated only 1573, overcame a point deficit by knocking off leader Tom Jarrell (12th seeded) with Black in the finale to leave them tied for first at 5-1. Among those only a half point behind were two La Canada High students, Daniel Ortiz and David Bennett - who didn't know each other before the tournament though they live on the same block! Rated 1295 and 1148 respectively (yes, provisional ratings!), they split the Under 1400 money.

Randy Hough directed for SCCF with help from Todd Imada.

Prize Winners

Open: 1st: Melikset Khachiyan, 5½-½. 2nd/3rd: Reynaldo Del Pilar and Nathaniel Graham, 5. 4th/6th: Timothy Taylor, Emory Tate, and Michael Casella, 4½. 1st/4th under 2200: Roger Norman, Eugene Yanayt, Alan LaCombe, and Ed Cohen, 4. 1st/2nd Under 2000: Auluvance Tillmon and Diana Durham, 3½. 3rd/6th Under 2000: Neil Bershad, Elliott Liu, Marina Asami, and Arkadiy Onikul, 3.

Amateur: 1st/2nd: Tom Jarrell and Howard Liu (Under 1600), 5. 3rd/8th: Gary Ware, Mike Maready, William Au, Kyle Rieb (2nd Under 1600), Daniel Ortiz, and David Bennett (last two split Under 1400), 4½. 3rd Under 1600: Daniel Hustwit, 4. 1st Under 1200: Michael Redden, 3. Unrated: Landon Alvey, 3.