Akobian settles the controversy about his Samford Fellowship

A controversy arose in May when Dmitry Schneider was passed over for the lucrative and prestigious Samford Fellowship Award in favor of Varuzhan Akobian. This award is given annually to the most promising young chess player in America.

Although Akobian was rated 53 points higher and was one year older, many felt that Schneider was more deserving of the award primarily because Akobian was a recent arrival in the country and was virtually unknown.

However, at the just concluded World Open in Philadelphia, Akobian proved that he was the proper recipient of the award. Akobian produced a grandmaster performance rating of 2737 and tied for first place. Moreover, in the play off tournament where I was a scorekeeper, Akobian was leading after the first section, after defeating Grandmaster Onischuk who, at 2746, is the highest rated player in the US.

(I had to leave after the first half, so I do not know if Akobian became the World Open winner, but he was still in first place when I left).

Akobian is 18 years old and is rated 2570 by the USCF. He will undoubtedly be gaining a lot of rating points from the World Open, where he lost no games and defeated Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov while drawing grandmasters Yusupov, Smirin and Rowson.

Sam Sloan

[Event "World Open playoff"]
[Site "Philadelphia"]
[Date "2002.07.07"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Akobian,Varuzhan"]
[Black "Onischuk,Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E44"]
[WhiteElo "2570"]
[BlackElo "2746"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 O-O 5.Nge2 b6 6.a3 Bxc3+
7.Nxc3 Bb7 8.Bd3 Bxg2 9.Rg1 Bb7 10.e4 Ne8 11.Qh5 g6 12.Qh6
Nc6 13.Bg5 f6 14.Be3 e5 15.d5 Nd4 16.O-O-O Qe7 17.Ne2 Nb3+
18.Kb1 Nc5 19.Bc2 a5 20.Rg2 Ba6 21.Rdg1 Bxc4 22.Ng3 Kh8
23.Qh4 Ng7 24.Bh6 Rg8 25.Bxg7+ Qxg7 26.Nf5 Qf7 27.Nh6 Qg7
28.Nxg8 Rxg8 29.f4 exf4 30.Qxf4 d6 31.h4 Nd7 32.Rf2 Ba6
33.Rh1 Rf8 34.h5 g5 35.h6 Qg6 36.Qg3 {The last five moves
are illegible. Black resigned on move 41. The last five
moves for White were Qf3, Rg1, Rx something, Qxc7 or Qxf7
and something takes knight.} 1-0

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