by Sam Sloan

NEW YORK - April 7, 1997 - Adam Maltese, aged 9, has won the eight thousand dollars first prize for players rated under 1800 at the New York Open Chess Championship.

Adam lost his first round game, but then won his remaining 8 games in a row to take clear first. All of his opponents were adults.

In the first round, Adam lost to Gustavo Franco (1793). Adam then defeated Rockford Riviere (1747), Li Zhang (1625), Peter Maiwald (1654), Leonid Goltser (1788), Jeff Magid (1777), Haylin Svan Lim (1655), Frank Paciulli (1793) and Richard Knauss (1784).

Adam Maltese
Photo Credit - Michael Atkins

Adam generally got a bad game out of the opening and early part of the game. However, he then battled back and won through extremely accurate play in the endgame.

Adam is coached by Taghian M. Taghian, the Manager of the Manhattan Chess Club.

The top boards in the Open Section featured previously unknown young men from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union battling for the big prize money. Almost all of the pre-tournament favorites and those expected to do well bombed out. In the final round, on board one, Krasenkow of Poland defeated Morozevic of Russia. On board two, Zvjaginsev of Russia lost to Bologan of Moldova. As a result, Krasenkow tied with Bologan for the top two prizes and each won nine thousand dollars.

Bologan lost to Krasenkow in round 4, but then won all of his remaining games, defeating Yermolinsky, Granda, Milov and Zvjaginsev in the final four rounds.

The most talked about game in the tournament was the hotly disputed last round game between Nati Ribshtein of Israel and Emory Tate of the USA. Tate had 18 seconds left on his clock and sudden death time controls applied. With no chance of making the time limit, Tate stopped the clock and invoked the "no winning chances" rule, a little known and little understood USCF rule. His opponent, who spoke no English, did not understand. The arbiters accepted Tate's claim. Under the rule, Tate was required to take half of his time off the clock, which would leave him with only 9 seconds for the remainder of the game, but he would get 5 seconds added for every move that he played. However, Tate became abusive about this and, after being warned three times by Chief Arbiter Carol Jarecki to stop his abusive behavior, Tate was forfeited by Assistant Arbiter Vincent Moore.

This controversial ruling was still being debated late into the night and perhaps will be debated for years to come.

The New York Open this year had 57 grandmasters and was undoubtedly the strongest Swiss System chess event ever held in America. The main factor contributing to the great strength of the tournament was the generous offer by tournament organizer Jose Cuchi of free airline tickets and hotel rooms to any grandmaster rated over 2600, plus the total prize fund of $140,000.

Tonight, Monday, April 7, will be held the New York City Blitz Championship at the Marshall Chess Club. In the past, this has been the strongest blitz chess event in America. It will likely be tremendously strong this year as well, coming directly after the New York Open, with so many strong players from all over the world now in New York for the New York Open.

Sam Sloan

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