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Utah will play host to its first U.S. Amateur Championship May 27-29.

For the first time, this tournament will be split between East and West. The Eastern tournament will be at the Somerset Hilton, Somerset, N.J., on the same dates.

The Western tournament will be at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon.Both tournaments will be conducted as six-round Swiss system meets - that is, winners play winners and losers play losers; there are no eliminations.

The Western tournament will be conducted in two sections: "open" and "reserve."

The open section is open to all players who have a national U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) rating less than 2200.

The reserve section is open to all players whose rating is less than 1800.

Because it is an amateur championship, no cash prizes will be awarded. The five top-scoring players in each section will receive engraved trophies. Trophies will also be awarded in both sections for the highest- scoring player age 55 and over, top junior under 16 and under 13.

In the open section, trophies will go to the top two players in classes A, B, C and to the top woman player.

The reserve section will have trophies for the highest scoring players, under 11 and under 9, the two top players in classes C, D, E and below, unrated and top woman player.

The entry fees are $30 and $15 for players under 18 if paid in advance. However, the fees will be increased $5 if paid at the playing site.

Times for the rounds are:

Round 1: May 27, 1 p.m.

Round 2: May 27, 6 p.m.

Round 3: May 28, 10 a.m.

Round 4: May 28, 4 p.m.

Round 5: May 29, 9 a.m.

Round 6: May 29, 4 p.m.

The tournament will be directed by Robert Tanner, president of the Utah Chess Association and a USCF certified senior tournament director.

At the time of registration, any player may apply for one bye.

An awards ceremony will be held for the open section before the final round. The trophies will be sent to the winners by the U.S. Chess Federation after they have been engraved.

Craig Bishop, a Colorado artist, has prepared a special poster that will be available as a souvenir of the tournament. Chess books and equipment will also be sold during the tournament at Snowbird.

Any local chess buff and patron may be of service by furnishing "wheels" for out-of-state players.

-ELITIST? - "Is chess becoming too elitist at the international levels?" This question is asked by Robert Byrne, chess editor of the New York Times.

"That is the direction the game is taking when sponsors arrange tournaments in which a small number of the highest-ranking grandmasters on the International Chess Federation's (FIDE) computer list play a double-round event. Formerly, the 16-player single round-robin format was standard.

"One of the reasons for this is the competition among the sponsors to be able to boast in their advertisements that theirs is the top-ranked tournament of the year - not just players but also tournaments bear an International Chess Federation ranking number.

"Sure to be one of the contenders this year is the Max Euwe Memorial Tournament sponsored by the Verenigde Spaarbank in Amsterdam. In this event there were only four players, and all were world championship candidates in the current cycle.

"Jan Timman of the Netherlands spurted into the lead with 31/2 points out of the first four rounds and took the prize with 41/2-11/2."

-CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SOLVERS! - Covert Copier, Ardean Watts, E.O. Smith, Hal Knight, Robert Tanner, Mark Stranger, Mel Puller, Paul R. Lindeman, Hal Harmon, Dean Thompson, Mark H. Timothy, David D. Kirk, William DeVroom, Kay Lundstrom, John Nielson, Brian Griffith, Ken Frost, Raymond Linner, Wendell R. Hurst, Alan E. Brown, Joan Nay, Allan Nicholas, Michael Marsch and Erick DeMillard.