Saturday, June 01, 2013

Alekseev and Huzman win the Beer-Sheba Club - 40th anniversary tournament


Alekseev and Huzman win the Beer-Sheba Club -40 anniversary tournament
By Yochanan Afek

The champion club of the city of Beer-Sheba 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 Korchnoj 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. 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 Yudassin, 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.

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 11 rounds were played over four days and provided plenty of exciting fighting chess. After the second day there were two players sharing the lead: The No.1 rated Russian Evgeny Alekseev and the oldest participant, Alex Huzman with 4.5/ 6.

However the following day saw the tense match between the leaders which resulted in Huzman first and only defeat and 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 to finish against Maxim Rodshtein.

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