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Alabamian shines in US Juniors

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Stuart Rachels of Birmingham, Ala., scored 6 points from nine games to win the 1988 United States Junior Championship, which was held at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The top 10 rated players in the nation up to the age of 20 were invited to play. Top-seeded international master Patrick Wolff, 20, of Belmont, Mass. (last year's champion), and Benjamin Finegold, 18, of Columbus, Ohio, tied for second with 6 points each. Sharing fourth place with 5 points were Alex Sherzer, 17, of Fallston, Md., and Alexander Fishbein, 19, of Boulder, Colo. Filling out the field were Adam Lief of Palo Alto, Calif.; Daniel Pillone of Brielle, N.J.; Ron Buckmire of Troy, N.Y.; Danny Edelman of Cambridge, Mass.; and Andrew Serotta of Lansdale, Pa. Rachels, now 18, first gained fame by earning a master's rating at the age of 11 years, 10 months - the youngest player ever to do so. He has shown steady improvement, and this win gives him another opportunity to showcase his talent, qualifying him to compete in the 1988 World Junior Championship now under way in Adelaide, Australia. He is joined by Wolff, who earned a spot by finishing a strong third in last year's tournament in Manila.

Today's game from the US Junior features an impressive display by Rachels. His opponent, the 17-year-old Serotta, revives a hoary variation of the Sicilian Defense, at one time quite popular but which in recent years fell into desuetude, since all the critical complications have favored White. About a decade ago the variation was revived with some success as Black introduced a positional sacrifice of the exchange which offered practical chances. When Serotta violates the spirit of the opening by attempting to maintain material equality, he is mercilessly dissected by Rachels, who stymies all attempts at counterplay. Sicilian Defense


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