Akopian Moves to Chess Championship Finals

LAS VEGAS (Associated Press)–Vladimir Akopian eliminated England’s Michael Adams in the semifinals Tuesday of the World Chess Championship at Caesar’s Palace here.

Akopian of Armenia won for the second time with the black pieces in this four-game mini-match.

He is now guaranteed $396,000 with a chance at the top prize of $660,000 and the title of World Chess Champion. Adams–the fifth seed–will take home $172,800.

Adams seemed to obtain a good position early in Tuesday’s game. He made an unwise exchange–however–and the Armenian seized his opportunity–gaining an advantage that he nursed to victory.

As a youth–Akopian–now 27–won world junior championships in the under-16–under-18 and under-20 divisions. He will begin a match Sunday for the adult title.

Alexander Khalifman moved within one game of playing Akopian for the championship as he defeated 46th-seeded Liviu Nisipeanu of Romania.

Grandmaster Larry Christiansen described the game as "another display of power chess" by the Russian player. Khalifman obtained an edge in the opening and gradually improved his position until it was sufficient for victory.

Nisipeanu–who is virtually unknown outside of his homeland–has upset superstars Alexei Shirov of Spain and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine here.

The Federation Internationale des Echecs is sponsoring this tournament. It is the second time an elimination style event has been used to determine the world champion.

For the first time–the current champion–who previously played a long match against a challenger every three years–will not have the opportunity to defend his title.

The federation plans to have a championship every year.

Garry Kasparov–generally recognized as the world’s best player–and Anatoly Karpov–the current world champion–are not playing here. They are involved in disputes with the federation.

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