November 25 - 28, 2010
LAX Radisson Hotel
Good to see GM Josh Friedel, one of several recently-minted American GMs within the past four-five years, win this event. Of particular interest to me was the presence of two chess femmes, Tatev Abrahamyan, who was the top-finishing female in 18th place overall (of 41 players) with 4.0/6, and former U.S. Women's Chess Champion WGM Anjelina Belakovskaia, who finished overall in 29th place with 3.0/6.
I know Abrahamyan plays in many events on the west coast, although the publicity she receives is normally limited to her play at the U.S. Women's Chess Championship over the past several years (she has won two separate Goddesschess Fighting Chess Awards for her uncompromising play at the Championships), but Belakovskaia had long since retired from chess -- so I was shocked to see her name on the player list, and pleased as hell to see her competing in this event! Way to go! Are you coming back? Will you be playing in more events? Please say yes!
Belakovskaia is one of several strong foreign chessplayers who came to the United States in the early 90's with the collapse of the Iron Curtain. She won the U.S. Women's Chess Champion title three times - in 1995, 1996 and 1999, and played on several U.S. Women's Chess Olympiad Teams. You can catch a very brief glimpse of her in the film "Searching for Bobby Fischer" as one of a crowd in one of the "chess hustler" scenes in Washington Square. Biography at Wikipedia.
I've been an admirer of Belakovskaia since I first read about her in 2001. During the short-lived tenure of our chess-spoof online newspaper "The International Chessoid" Belakovskaia served as a model for an intrepid female chessplaying character in a serial story that, unfortunately, was never finished when The Chessoid went offline (and no, will not be resurrected -- it was great fun but far too much work).
Today, Belakovskaia, a mother of three, runs a successful real estate brokerage out west. Will we see her in more chess events? I sure hope so!
Chessbase, November 18, 2004: Anjelina Has a Home for You
Anjelina at Facebook
Anjelina's Chess for Parents