June 03, 2013 12:51

Alekseev & Huzman tie for first at Beersheba 40th anniversary rapid

Alekseev & Huzman tie for first at Beersheba 40th anniversary rapid

Evgeny Alekseev and Alexander Huzman finished in shared first place at the rapid tournament specially dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Beersheba chess club. It was a 12-player round robin with eight of the city’s grandmasters and four European guests. The tournament took place in the local town hall and had a prize fund of 20,000 US $.

By Yochanan Afek | Photos by Daniela Sedlakova

The champion club of the city of Beersheba has celebrated four decades of amazing chess activity under the leadership of the tireless Eliahu Levant. Levant, who celebrated his 85th birthday last February, had arrived at the capital of the Negev (the southern Israeli desert) following a rich organizing and training career in his native city of Leningrad where he had been acting as the secretary of the city’s biggest club. His most famous childhood and life long friend has been Victor Kortchnoi with whom he had already played under the German siege on the city in the second world war (and chess has become the life burning passion of both ever since).

With his name and experience Levant could obtain a job in one of the new country’s more established and central clubs, however as a true Zionist pioneer he preferred to do it his way starting from scratch in the ancient city of Abraham. Exploring the city’s schools he examined some 2000 kids of whom he invited 200 potential talents to be trained in his new club by him and by other newcomer strong masters from the Soviet-Union whom he helped (courtesy the local authorities) in their absorption process.

Evgeny Alekseev vs Daniel Fridman

Those masters (such as Lev Gutman, Leon Lederman , Shlomo Gitterman and Elyahu Shvidler to name just a few) together with the local uprising young talents (of whom Alon Greenfeld shined out to later become a grandmaster, a national champion, a member of the Olympic team as well as its twice medallist captain) soon conquered the national team competition and by now can boast more than 20 champion titles.

Numerous strong players arrived with the second huge immigration wave of the nineties: Leonid Yudasin, Boris Alterman, Mark Tseitlin, Gad Rechlis, Boris Avrukh, Vitaly Golod, Michael Roiz, Alex Huzman, brothers Alex and Victor Mikhalevsky, Dmitry Tiomkin, Alex Finkel and many others made their first steps in the club either as already experienced players or having their chess education there. Numerous international events were held in town over the years highlighted by the finals of the world team championship in 2005.

Boris Avrukh vs Viktor Laznicka

With 38 teams in the various divisions (including two at the top group and one in the ladies division), more than hundred young students and a wealth of trophies, Eliahu Levant says that his life goals have been achieved. Nevertheless he doesn’t seem to rest on his laurels and having said that one can be sure that he is already carefully planning the upcoming season and the race for some fresh titles.

The highlight of the anniversary chess festivities was last week a category 15 rapid GM tournament with 8 of the city’s grandmasters and four European guests. The tournament was naturally organized by Eliahu Levant who also acted as its chief arbiter. The club is the pride of the local town hall which took care of the logistics and the prize fund of 20,000 US $. The time control was 25 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move.


# Name Fed Rating
1 Evgeny Alekseev Russia 2700
2 Viktor Laznicka Czech Republic 2679
3 Sergei Fedorchuk Ukraine 2660
4 Daniel Fridman Germany 2648
5 Maxim Rodshtein Israel 2663
6 Evgeny Postny Israel 2637
7 Michael Roiz Israel 2617
8 Tamir Nabaty Israel 2579
9 Boris Avrukh Israel 2576
10 Alexander Huzman Israel 2572
11 Alon Greenfeld Israel 2538
12 Ilya Khmelniker Israel 2494

The 11 rounds were played over four days and provided plenty of exciting fighting chess. After the first day Huzman, Avrukh, Alekseev, Laznicka and Nabaty were sharing the lead with 2 points out of 3. Roiz & Rodshtein had 1.5 each and Greenfeld, Fedorchuk, Fridman, Postny & Khmelniker 1 each.

After the second day there were two players sharing the lead: The number one rated Russian Evgeny Alekseev and the oldest participant, Alex Huzman with 4.5/ 6. However the following day saw the tense game between the leaders which resulted in Huzman's first and only defeat. This left the Russian sole leader before the final day. In the two remaining rounds he settled to two draws while Huzman managed to catch up in a dramatic last game against Maxim Rodshtein to finish next to Alekseev.

Boris Gelfand's life-long second and strong rapid player Alexander Huzman...

Maxim Rodshtein


Selection of games

PGN file

Beersheba 40 Rapid | Final standings


The tireless organizer Eliahu Levant (l.) here in a game against a 14-year-old
Maxim Rodshtein, about ten years ago | Photo 
Yoav Nissenbaum

Yochanan Afek's picture
Author: Yochanan Afek


anti  johnny foreigner's picture

Inviting foreigners to celebrate a clubs anniversary is silly.

SierraSunset's picture

Any chess club with "beer" in its name is OK in my book!

Peter Doggers's picture

Hmm, maybe I should consider a thumbs up button again. :-)

Kronsteen's picture

Interesting - the article implies that organizing and teaching at a chess club can be a full-time career. Unfortunately not something we see too often in the US.

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