July 21, 1980, Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

"Mirijanian Takes Club Title"

Veteran area chessplayer George Mirijanian of Fitchburg won for the fourth year in a row the Wachusett Chess Club Championship at the St. Joseph Club in Cleghorn.

Mirijanian, who is the highest nationally rated player in North Worcester County, succeeded in retaining his club championship title for another year by defeating challenger Bryant Hopkins III of Leominster, a recent Leominster High School graduate and one of the most up-and-coming players in the region.

The 18-year-old Leominster player drew the white pieces in his crucial final-round match with the defending WCC champ and needed a win to tie Mirijanian in total number of points and force the championship into a sudden-death playoff.

With the pressure of Hopkins to chalk up the full point against his seasoned veteran adversary, the Leominster youth opted for the so-called Modern Variation against Mirijanian's Alekhine's Defense.

This defense, which was introduced into modern master play by world champion Alexander Alekhine at Budapest, Hungary, in 1921, has been one of Mirijanian's most effective weapons in competitive tournament chess.

The underlying wisdom of this bold but challenging defense is to entice White's pawns to move forward so that Black can make them targets for attack.

Hopkins chose not enter into the complications of the so-called Four Pawns Attack against his opponent's defense, but selected a less aggressive but equally sound positional continuation that has gained tremendously in popularity.

The Hopkins-Mirijanian game, which was played at the rate of 40 moves in 90 minutes per player, went as follows:

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 Bg4 5. Be2 e6 6. c4 Nb6 7. Be3 Be7 8. 0-0 0-0 9. Qc2 Bf5 10. Bd3 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 d5 12. b3 a6 13. Rd1 Nc6 14. Nc3 Rc8 15. cxd5 Nxd5 16. Nxd5 Qxd5 17. Ng5 Bxg5 18. Bxg5 Rfe8 19. Qc3 Ne7 20. Qb4 Ng6 21. f3 h6 22. Be3 Red8 23. Rac1 Qb5?! 24. Qxb5 axb5 25. Rc5 c6 26. Bd2?? (A blunder, which ultimately costs Hopkins the game. Called for was the doubling of rooks along the c-file.) 26...Rxd4 27. Rcc1? Rcd8 and Hopkins resigned without facing further loss of material.

Final standings in the 1980 WCC Championship were as follows:

Player              Pts. Rating
George Mirijanian   8.5  1860
Bryant Hopkins III  6.5  1626
Eddie Thurman       6.0  1590
Steve Courtemanche  5.5  1587
Larry Gladding      4.5  1507
Brian Lizotte       4.5  1657
Thomas O'Rourke     3.5  1411
Frank Everett Jr.   3.0  1562
Robert Fortier      3.0  1520
Robert Plourde      0.0  1269

George M