Homepage Rochade Kuppenheim

The Scotsman

Chess News September 2002

to "The Scotsman" chess column

30th September, 2002

IN one of the tightest finishes of recent years in the European Club Championships, the chess world's answer to the Champions' League, Bosna Sarajevo with top GMs Michael Adams and Alexei Shirov on its top boards, took the 2002 title in Kallinthea in Greece by the narrowest of margins.

The championship took a dramatic twist in the final round as Norilsky Nikel, the defending champions from Russia, sensationally burst the bubble of the French top seeds, NAO Chess Club, who looked destined to win the title. After beating Bosna Sarajevo in a tight, 3.5-2.5 fifth round win, NAO, who were playing without world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who had just arrived in Bahrain for his $1 million man vs. machine showdown with Deep Fritz, looked odds on for their first title thanks to replacement top board Alexander Grischuk, who defeated Adams to be the only victor of the match.

Their good form ran out in the final round, which proved to be one of the most decisive encounters of the championship with five wins and only one draw, as Norilsky defeated NAO 3.5-2.5 to tie for first with Bosna on 12 match points. However, by just a half a game point, Bosna took the title with their game score of 27.5 to Norilsky's 27 points.

And, with just 11 match points, the last round disaster for NAO also allowed Polonia Plus GSM to take third as the Warsaw team had a much superior game point tally of 29.5 to NAO's 24. Despite turning in the best TPR of the championship with 2814, NAO top board Grischuk, who scored 5/7 (71.4%), was deprived of the board one individual medal by Polonia's Vasily Ivanchuk, who top-scored on board one with 4.5/6 (75%).


A Grischuk - M Adams
European Club Ch. (5), Petroff's Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 d4 d5 6 Bd3 Nc6 7 0-0 Be7 8 c4 Nb4 9 Be2 0-0 10 Nc3 Bf5 11 a3 Nxc3 12 bxc3 Nc6 13 Re1 Re8 14 Bf4 dxc4 15 Bxc4 Bd6 16 Rxe8+ Qxe8 17 Ng5 Bg6 18 Bxd6 cxd6 19 h4 Qe7 20 Qg4 h6 21 Nh3 Qe4 22 Qg3 Na5 23 Ba2 Qd3 24 Rf1 Qxg3 25 fxg3 Rc8 26 h5 Bd3 27 Bxf7+ Kf8 28 Rf2 Ke7 29 Bd5 Rf8 30 Nf4 Bh7 31 Ba2 Kd7 32 Ne6 Rxf2 33 Kxf2 Bg8 34 Nf8+ Ke8 35 Bxg8 Kxf8 36 Bd5 Ke7 37 Ke3 Kf6 38 Kf4 Nc6 39 Bxc6 bxc6 40 c4 Ke6 41 g4 Kf6 42 g5+ hxg5+ 43 Kg4 1-0

27th September, 2002

FOR many, the game of chess can be divided into three components - namely sport, science and art. However for Eduard "Eddie" Gufeld, who died Monday aged 66 in Los Angeles following a stroke, chess was always an art form. "He was motivated always by a love of the art of chess, the beauty of the game," commented American master and close friend Anthony Saidy on hearing the sad news of his death.

During his tenure as Chairman of the FIDE Commission on Chess Art, Eddie was instrumental in reviving the brilliancy prize in top tournaments. It was his contention that the real winner wasn't necessarily the player who would grind out a no risks first place but, the one who played the most beautiful game. This was something Eddie could easily relate to - he was an erratic player who was capable of beating the world's elite in dazzling style one day, only to blunder to a mere master the next.

A prolific writer, Gufeld had many witty anecdotes from his travels and adventures in chess - and mainly at his own expense. One story goes that Gufeld had never met world champion Mikhail Botvinnik (who was the paradigm of chess as science), and then one day he saw the great man looking at him whilst he was playing - as Eddie would only too regularly do - a risky looking sacrifice. Botvinnik turned and whispered something to fellow Soviet giant Efim Geller. "What did he say?" eagerly asked Gufeld after the game. "Who is this yobbo?" replied Geller.

He participated in eight ultra-strong USSR Championships, his highest placing coming in 1963 when, amongst a field of Soviet giants that included Spassky, Stein, Bronstein, Geller, Polugayevsky, Korchnoi and Taimanov, he scored 11/19 to take seventh place. Playing in his first USSR Championships at Tbilisi whilst still doing his army service in 1959, Gufeld played what can only be described as a Tal-like sacrificial game against the great Mikhail Tal himself - a shock result from the closing rounds that deprived the "Riga Magician" of a hat-trick of Championship gold medals.


E Gufeld - M Tal
USSR Ch., 1959, Exchange Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 Bxc6 dxc6 6 d3 Nd7 7 Nbd2 Be7 8 Nc4 Bf6 9 Qe2 c5 10 Bd2 0-0 11 g4 b5 12 Ne3 g6 13 h4 Nb8 14 0-0-0 Nc6 15 Rdg1 Be6 16 Kb1 Nb4 17 Bxb4 cxb4 18 g5 Bg7 19 Ng4 f5 20 gxf6 Bxg4 21 Rxg4 Qxf6 22 Rh3 a5 23 h5 Ra6 24 hxg6 hxg6 25 Rg2 b3 26 axb3 a4 27 Nh4 axb3 28 Rxg6 Rfa8 29 cxb3 Qf7 30 Rxg7+ Kxg7 31 Nf5+ Kg8 32 Qg4+ Rg6 33 Ne7+ Kg7 34 Nxg6 Qxb3 35 Nxe5+ Kf6 36 Qg6+ Kxe5 37 d4+ 1-0

26th September, 2002

ONE of the most colourful - and controversial - characters of the chess scene, GM Eduard Gufeld, died aged 66 from complications following a massive stroke on Monday afternoon, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Eduard Gufeld was born in the Ukraine on 19 March 1936 but moved to America after the break-up of the Soviet Union in the mid-1990s. A very combative and romantic player over the board, during his peak years in the 1950s and '60s, Gufeld proved to be a dangerous opponent with memorable wins to his name against top players and world champions such as Tal, Spassky, Smyslov, Korchnoi and Bronstein.

However, this romantic and dangerous style he had developed at the board often proved to be a liability and he never made it to the elite Soviet inner-circle of top players. Instead, Gufeld concentrated on writing and nurturing female talents in the game, such as Maya Chiburdanidze, who under his guidance went on to become the Women's World Champion in 1978. As a Soviet chess coach, Gufeld was the trainer of the all-powerful Soviet team that dominated the Chess Olympiad in the 1970s and '80s.

Many allegations - never denied and never properly proven - were made against Gufeld that he was in fact an informant for the KGB, who would report back to his masters on the conduct of chess players; often a bad report would lead to them seeing their privileges being revoked.

Gufeld was also a prolific writer on the game, and had more than a 100 titles to his name. Gufeld regarded chess as a true art form, and his most recent publication was a book for Batsford's entitled "The Search For Mona Lisa". The theme is Gufeld's pursuit of a masterpiece, his Mona Lisa. He reckoned he'd painted it with today's game with Bagirov as the model, from their encounter at the USSR Championships in 1973 - a game which, according to Bagirov, Gufeld "bought furniture for his entire flat" from the many fees he received for annotating their game in various magazines.


V Bagirov - E Gufeld
USSR Ch, 1973, King's Indian Defence

1 d4 g6 2 c4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d6 4 e4 Nf6 5 f3 0-0 6 Be3 Nc6 7 Nge2 Rb8 8 Qd2 a6 9 Bh6 b5 10 h4 e5 11 Bxg7 Kxg7 12 h5 Kh8 13 Nd5 bxc4 14 hxg6 fxg6 15 Qh6 Nh5 16 g4 Rxb2 17 gxh5 g5 18 Rg1 g4 19 0-0-0 Rxa2 20 Nef4 exf4 21 Nxf4 Rxf4 22 Qxf4 c3 23 Bc4 Ra3 24 fxg4 Nb4 25 Kb1 Be6 26 Bxe6 Nd3 27 Qf7 Qb8+ 28 Bb3 Rxb3+ 29 Kc2 Nb4+ 30 Kxb3 Nd5+ 31 Kc2 Qb2+ 32 Kd3 Qb5+ 0-1

25th September, 2002

THE chess world's answer to the Champions League, the European Club Cup competition, takes place all this week in the sunny Mediterranean resort of Kallinthea in Greece, as 45 top club teams battle it out for the title.

Played over seven rounds with six-board teams, many of the world's top players compete in what is regarded as the strongest gathering of club sides in the chess calendar. Despite the absence of world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who is finalising his preparations for next month's $1 million man vs. machine showdown in Bahrain against Deep Fritz, NAO Chess Club, the French champions sponsored by the Syrian-born billionaires Madame Nahed Ojjeh, nevertheless remain top seeds with an impressive line up that includes Svidler, Grischuk, Lautier, Bacrot, Fressinet, Nataf and Horvath.

They'll be chased all the way by second seeds and favourites in the absences of Kramnik, Bosna Sarajevo, who have an equally impressive line up of Adams, Shirov, Sokolov, Georgiev, Movsessian and Radjabov. Money talks in this competition with many of the players being hired guns, and last year's Russian champions, Norilsky Nikel, find themselves slightly weakened as some of their players sought better deals elsewhere. Despite this, Norilsky are third seeds and have amongst their squad Bareev, Dreev, Malakhov, Svjagincev, Rustemov and Dolmatov.

There are two English clubs (Barbican 4NCL and Bristol), one from Wales (Cardiff), two from Ireland (Bray and Crumlin) and non from Scotland. The British teams are non-professional and aren't likely to win the tournament.


B Kantsler - J Lautier
European Club Cup (1), Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 c5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 a3 Bxc3 9 bxc3 Qc7 10 h3 dxc4 11 Bxc4 e5 12 Ba2 Bf5 13 Nh4 Bd7 14 d5 Na5 15 c4 Ne4 16 Bb2 Rae8 17 f4 Qb6 18 Rb1 Qh6 19 Qe1 exf4 20 Rxf4 b6 21 Nf5 Bxf5 22 Rxf5 Nd6 23 Rf4 Qxf4 24 exf4 Rxe1+ 25 Rxe1 Naxc4 26 Bc1 Na5 27 Re7 Nab7 28 Bb2 Re8 29 Rd7 f6 30 Kf2 Kf8 31 Bb1 h6 32 g4 Re7 33 Rxe7 Kxe7 34 Kf3 Nc4 35 Bc1 Nbd6 36 h4 b5 37 Ke2 Nb6 38 Be3 Nxd5 39 Bxc5 Nc3+ 40 Kd3 Nxb1 41 Kc2 Nxa3+ 42 Bxa3 Ke6 43 f5+ Ke5 44 Kd3 a5 0-1

24th September, 2002

THE five MSPs who took on the Scottish Youth Squad last week would have done better to recruit for the day from the Palace of Westminster, where for over a century chess was the only game officially allowed to be played in the House of Commons.

There they even have an exquisite Chess Room, filled with ornate and decorative sets from around the world, all gifted by foreign delegations. But alas, in 1987, "The Times" reported that 'because of the diminishing number of MPs with the time and inclination for chess,' the hallowed Chess Room was to be thrown open for games of chance 'from mah-jong to poker.'

Only two world champions have been allowed to play there: Capablanca in 1919 when he took on the best players in the House, and likewise Garry Kasparov in 1989. Many politicians over the years have been known to play a bit, but the strongest ever was Marmaduke Wyvill MP (1814-96), who came second behind Adolph Anderssen in the great London tournament of 1851 - the first official international tournament.

Former premier James Callaghan was a noted player and at one time held the post of honorary president of the English Chess Association. Likewise Andrew Bonar Law, UK prime minister 1922-23, who for many years was Scotland's foremost politician-chess-player. Of the present intake, easily the strongest in the House is a Scot - the new Lib-Dem member for Argyle and Bute, Alan Reid MP.

In the late 1970s and early 80s, Alan was one of Scotland's leading players who represented his country in the 1978 Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires. During that period he was a permanent fixture in the Scottish and British Championships, and lifted the West of Scotland title in 1977. Recently he found the time to make a comeback of sorts to help his constituency, when he played on second board for Oban as they defeated Inverness 5.5-2.5 in last year's Richardson Cup.


K Fryer - A Reid
Richardson Cup, English Defence

1 c4 b6 2 d4 e6 3 e4 Bb7 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 f3 Qh4+ 6 g3 Qh5 7 Nh3 f5 8 Nf4 Qf7 9 Bd3 Nc6 10 Be3 e5 11 dxe5 Nxe5 12 Nfd5 Bxc3+ 13 bxc3 0-0-0 14 exf5 Nf6 15 Be4 Nxc4 16 Nxf6 Nxe3 17 Qe2 Qxf6 18 Qxe3 d5 0-1

23rd September, 2002

THERE'S no politician that likes to be on the receiving end of a landslide, but last Thursday in the Scottish Parliament a group of five MSPs of all political hues found themselves facing the inevitable as they were humbled 5-0 by a group of Scottish junior internationalists.

The five politicians in the hot seat were: Iain Gray, Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning; Jamie Stone, Lib Dem spokesman on fishing and equal opportunities; Mike Rumbles, Lib Dem Convener, Parliamentary Standards Committee; Keith Harding, Conservative spokesman on local government and housing; and Robin Harper, Rector of Edinburgh University and the only Green MSP. Despite their collective political guile, the MSPs found themselves outmanoeuvred by Scotland's youth squad: Joe Redpath (Edinburgh West), Daniel McGowan (Tiree), Colin Hall (Perth), Louise Macnab (Aberdeen) and Christopher Macdonald (Dollar).

And, despite calls for a recount from the politicians towards the end of the match, not even a valiant rearguard action by Keith Harding (Con) in the final game to finish could save the deposit of the people's representatives. Playing against the youngest member of the squad, 13-year-old Christopher Macdonald, who has been playing chess since he was four and is now a 'veteran' of 106 junior international caps, Harding, a former member of Dunblane Chess Club, was the nearest the politicos came to avoiding the inevitable.

The aim of the event was to raise the profile of junior chess and to highlight its educational and socially inclusive benefits. Many Scottish schools are becoming aware of the value of chess in developing tactical and strategic thinking, concentration and raising academic achievements.


C Macdonald - K Harding
Scottish Parliament Match, English Opening

1 c4 e5 2 g3 Nc6 3 Bg2 Bc5 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 e3 0-0 6 Nge2 d6 7 0-0 Bg4 8 h3 Bh5 9 a3 a5 10 Kh2 Qd7 11 b3 Rab8 12 d3 Bxe2 13 Qxe2 Ne7 14 e4 Bd4 15 Bd2 c6 16 Rac1 Bxc3 17 Bxc3 b6 18 Qb2 c5 19 f4 Nc6 20 fxe5 dxe5 21 Bxe5 Nxe5 22 Qxe5 Qxd3 23 Rcd1 Qxb3 24 Qg5 Qxc4 25 Rxf6 Kh8 26 Rf2 f6 27 Qe3 Qf7 28 e5 Qh5 29 Rdf1 Rfe8 30 e6 Qe5 31 Qxe5 fxe5 32 Bc6 Rec8 33 e7 h6 34 Rf8+ Kh7 35 Be4+ 1-0

19th September, 2002

STEEPED in history and tradition, over the years the Mechanic Institute Chess Club in San Francisco has become regarded as one of the finest clubs in the USA.

Formerly known as the Mercantile Library, the club was formed in 1854 and is thus the oldest chess meeting place in America. Among the great masters who have given exhibitions and lectures at the institute are Johannes Zukertort, Harry Pillsbury, Dr. Emmanuel Lasker, Geza Maroczy, Frank Marshall, Jose Raul Capablanca, Dr. Alexander Alekhine, Dr. Max Euwe and Svetozar Gligoric.

Recently the club paid tribute to former member Imre Konig (1901-1992), with a memorial tournament held on the tenth anniversary of his death with sponsorship bequest from his estate. The ten-player category 12 tournament (average Elo 2538 - thus making it the strongest round robin chess tournament held in the United States in the 21st century) was an interesting international mix that also combined youth and experience.

Despite losing twice, IM Varizhan Akobian, 17, from Glendale, California, the 2002 Samford Scholarship award winner, made all the running in the tournament with some energetic play to take first place a half point ahead of the field. Not only did Akobian take first, but his winning score of 5.5/9 also gave him his second GM norm to add to the one he recently got during his equal first at the 2002 World Open in Philadelphia.


Final standings: 1 IM V Akobian (USA) 5.5/9; 2-5 IM H Nakamura (USA), GM S Atalik (BIH), GM A Baburin (Ireland), GM N De Firmian (USA) 5; 6-7 GM A Yermolinsky (USA), GM A Wojtkiewicz (Poland) 4.5; 8-9 GM J Fedorowicz (USA), GM Y Shulman (Belarus) 4; GM W Browne (USA) 2.5


V Akobian - W Browne
Imre Konig Memorial (7), Queen's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 e3 b6 4 Bd3 Bb7 5 0-0 c5 6 c4 Be7 7 Nc3 cxd4 8 exd4 d5 9 b3 Nc6 10 Be3 Rc8 11 Rc1 0-0 12 Qd2 Nb4 13 Be2 Ne4 14 Qb2 a6 15 a3 Nc6 16 Rfd1 Nxc3 17 Rxc3 Qd6 18 c5 bxc5 19 dxc5 Qb8 20 Qb1 h6 21 b4 e5 22 Rxd5 Nd4 23 Nxd4 Bxd5 24 Nf5 Rfe8 25 Bxa6 Rc6 26 Bc4 Bxc4 27 Rxc4 Bg5 28 Qe4 Ra6 29 h4 Bxe3 30 Qxe3 Qa8 31 Rg4 Rg6 32 Qg3 Kh7 33 h5 Rxg4 34 Qxg4 Rg8 35 Nd6 g6 36 Qf3 Qxf3 37 gxf3 gxh5+ 38 Kh2 Rd8 39 b5 Kg6 1-0

20th September, 2002

AFTER weeks of indecision, the plug has finally been pulled on next month's $1 million match-up in Jerusalem between former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and the Israeli-programmed world computer champion Deep Junior.

"We regret the delay, but all of the parties involved have agreed that there was not enough time to give such a prestigious event the required presentation," said FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who is also the match sponsor. The match, which was to be Kasparov's first encounter in public with a computer since his historic loss in 1997 to IBM's Deep Blue, has now been tentatively rescheduled for December 1. "I've waited five years for my revenge, so what is two more months?" added Kasparov - though no doubt through gritted teeth at the embarrassment of having to postpone.

Curiously the match, which was intended as a "spoiler" and set to start the day before next month's $1 million "Brains in Bahrain" showdown between Kasparov's nemesis Vladimir Kramnik and Junior's arch-rival Deep Fritz, had the opposite effect of simply giving the Bahrain match a much higher-profile as the media focused their attention on man vs. machine encounters.

It was the Young Turks of Varuzhan Akobian, the 2002 Samford Scholarship award winner and 14-year-old Hikaru Nakamura, the bright young hope of American chess, who made all the running in the recent Imre Konig Momeorial held at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco. Winner Akobian also won The Oscar Samuels best-game prize for his sixth round victory over Nakamura.


H Nakamura - V Akobian
Imre Konig Memorial (6), French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Nbd7 6 Nxf6+ Nxf6 7 Nf3 h6 8 Be3 Nd5 9 Bd3 Nxe3 10 fxe3 Bd6 11 e4 e5 12 dxe5 Bc5 13 Bc4 Qe7 14 Qd2 0-0 15 0-0-0 c6 16 Rhf1 b5 17 Bb3 a5 18 a3 a4 19 Ba2 b4 20 axb4 a3 21 b3 Bxb4 22 c3 Ba5 23 b4 Bc7 24 Nd4 Qxe5 25 Nxc6 Qe8 26 Nd4 Bg4 27 Rde1 Be5 28 h3 Be6 29 Nxe6 fxe6 30 Rf5 Bf6 31 Kb1 Kh8 32 Rf3 Be5 33 Rd1 Qc6 34 Rd3 Rac8 35 c4 Qb6 36 c5 Rxc5 37 Rxa3 Rcc8 38 Rd3 Kh7 39 Rb3 Rf2 40 Qd3 Rxg2 0-1

18th September, 2002

MENTION "Iceland" to a chess-player and immediately you'll conjure up images of the famous Reykjavik 1972 encounter between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.

The country has literally been chess crazy ever since that fateful Cold War encounter exactly thirty years ago. Whilst there are several stronger chess nations, the number of chess grandmasters in Iceland per capita of population even dwarfs that of the former USSR and currently Russia. From a population of just over 275,000, they boast no fewer than nine grandmasters of the game; one of which, their first, Fridrik Olafsson, is now the speaker of the Icelandic parliament.

Chess is held in such high esteem in the country that it's put on a level with the performing arts and sports with all professional chess players receiving a government state pension to subsidise their earnings. Such is their quirkiness for the game that when an opinion poll was commissioned a few years ago on which celebrity Icelanders would most like to spend an evening with, they shunned Madonna in preference for Nigel Short!

The Icelandic Championships recently ended in Seltjarnarnes, with last year's joint winner, Hannes Stefansson, going one better this time round. Not only did he win with a score of 9/11, but for most of the tournament it was only a question of whether he would "do a Fischer" by scoring 100%. After getting off to an unbelievable start of 8/8, Stefansson was brought back down to earth in the ninth round when he lost to last year's other co-winner, Helgi Gretarsson. He then drew his final two rounds to take the title one-point clear of the field.


H Stefansson - S Bjornsson
Icelandic Ch. (4), Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 Bb7 10 d4 Re8 11 Nbd2 Bf8 12 d5 Ne7 13 Nf1 h6 14 N3h2 c6 15 dxc6 Bxc6 16 Qf3 d5 17 Ng4 Qd6 18 exd5 Nexd5 19 Rd1 e4 20 Nxf6+ Qxf6 21 Qxf6 Nxf6 22 Bf4 Rad8 23 Ne3 Rd7 24 a4 Rxd1+ 25 Bxd1 Nd7 26 axb5 axb5 27 Ra6 Bb7 28 Ra7 Bc8 29 Be2 b4 30 Bb5 bxc3 31 bxc3 Rd8 32 Ra8 Nb6 33 Rb8 Bd6 34 Bxd6 Rxd6 35 c4 1-0

16th September, 2002

UNLIKE the first Match of the Century in 1970, where the USSR fielded five past and present world champions among their line up that even had the great Paul Keres reduced to playing on board 10(!), the Russians no longer can hold on to the title of "chess tsars" after being trounced in Moscow last week by the Rest of the World.

The simple fact is that due to the break-up of the Soviet Union, they do not have the strength in depth they once had. Instead, they relied on the fact that with three world champions in their line up, they would be favourites to win the match.

However the match turned on the miserable performance from the "three Ks". Between them, the 12th world champion Anatoly Karpov, his successor Garry Kasparov and the 14th and reigning world champion Vladimir Kramnik could only score 13/28 - but at least of the three, Karpov managed to get above 50% with a 5/9 performance.

The showcase event turned into an unmitigated disaster for Kasparov and Kramnik, the world's top two players, who between them managed a sub standard -3 performance - that alone accounting for Russia's losing margin. Both turned in the worst performances of their careers with unheard of scores of below 50%. In particular Kasparov's performance (or lack of it) has to be singled out, the world No.1 only scoring 4/10 (his only win being to usual "customer" Alexei Shirov) for a tournament performance rating of only 2592.

Credit really should go to the canny selections made by R.o.W captain Yasser Seirawan, whose choice of opponents from the start for Kasparov proved inspired. Putting him up against his bugbear Vassily Ivanchuk in the first round got Kasparov off to a losing start - and one which he never recovered from; his woes continuing with his first defeat to a woman when he lost to Judit Polgar, and then a stunning 25 move loss to Armenian GM Vladimir Akopian, a player whom he once denigrated as a "tourist" at the Las Vegas FIDE World Championship in 1999. Revenge is sweet.


V Akopian - G Kasparov
Russia vs. Rest of the World (8), Sicilian Rossolimo

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 0-0 Nge7 5 b3 a6 6 Bxc6 Nxc6 7 Bb2 b5 8 c4 bxc4 9 bxc4 Rb8 10 Bc3 d6 11 Na3 e5 12 Nc2 Be7 13 Ne3 0-0 14 d3 Qe8 15 Rb1 Rxb1 16 Qxb1 Bd8 17 Nd2 g6 18 Nd5 f5 19 exf5 gxf5 20 f4 Rf7 21 Qe1 Rg7 22 Nf3 Qg6 23 g3 Rf7 24 fxe5 f4 25 exd6 fxg3 1-0 (26 Qe8+ Rf8 27 Qxf8+! Kxf8 28 Ne5+)

17th September, 2002

IT'S not often that you find a group of people in the Scottish parliament who are tactically and strategically astute, but this Thursday five of Scotland's best juniors will be pitting their wits against five MSPs in a special chess match there in an effort to raise the profile of the Scottish game.

Bravely putting their heads on the block will be Iain Gray (Lab), Mike Rumbles (Lib), Keith Harding (Con), Robin Harper (Green) and Jamie Stone (Lib). The MSPs will face a very strong line-up of experienced junior internationals aged 13-17: Joe Redpath (Edinburgh West), Daniel McGowan (Tiree), Colin Hall (Perth), Louise Macnab (Aberdeen) and Christopher Macdonald (Dollar).

Many Scottish schools are becoming aware of the value of chess in developing tactical and strategic thinking, concentration and raising academic achievements, besides learning to handle success or failure at the chess board and so building self confidence.

Having (we hope!) disposed of the MSPs, the Youth Squad will be invited to stay on to watch First Minister's Question Time after the match, where no doubt Jack McConnell will have been primed for the obvious planted chess question.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was figuratively in charge as chairman of the organising committee of the "Match of the New Century" played last week at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow. The youngest competitor of the two teams was 15-year-old Teimour Radjabov from Kasparov's home city of Baku, who more than played his part in the Rest of the World's victory over Russia, scoring a solid 5/10 with some dazzling chess.


T Radjabov - V Zvjaginsev
Russia vs. Rest of the World (10), Reti Opening

1 Nf3 e6 2 b3 Nf6 3 Bb2 d5 4 e3 Nbd7 5 d4 Bb4+ 6 Nbd2 Ne4 7 c4 Qf6 8 Qe2 dxc4 9 bxc4 0-0 10 Rg1 b5 11 cxb5 a6 12 a3 Ba5 13 0-0-0 Nxd2 14  xd2 Bb7 15 Nb3 axb5 16 Qc2 c6 17 Bd3 h6 18 g4 Bc7 19 d5 Be5 20 dxe6 Bxb2+ 21 Qxb2 fxe6 22 f4 Qe7 23 g5 h5 24 Qc2 Qxa3+ 25 Kd2 Qb4+ 26 Ke2 Kh8 27 Rg3 Ra3 28 Rh3 Rxb3 29 Rxh5+ Kg8 30 Bh7+ Kf7 31 Rxd7+ Ke8 32 Rd4 Qa3 33 Qd2 Bc8 34 Bg6+ Ke7 35 Rh7 Rg8 36 Rd8 Rxe3+ 37 Kf2 Rf3+ 38 Kg2 1-0

13th September, 2002

GEOPOLITICS looks to have played a decisive role in the final outcome of the "Match of the New Century" held at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, as the Rest of the World trounced Russia 52-48 for a historic win.

In similar events in 1970 and 1984, teams from the Soviet Union narrowly defeated the Rest of the World, and many predicted this event would be a similar win for Russia, who started strong favourites with Kasparov, Kramnik and Karpov among their line up for an average rating of 2708 (2717 over the top ten boards) as opposed to 2695 (2699 top 10).

However, by playing the match for the first time as the Russian Federation rather than the Soviet Union, the Russians found the going much tougher - mainly due to the opposition team being bolstered by former players from the Soviet Union!

All but four players on the Rest of the World team - Anand, Leko, Short and Polgar - came from the former Soviet Union. "If it had been the former Soviet Union against the Rest of the World, the Soviets would have won," claimed Alexei Shirov, an ethnic Russian from Latvia who now plays under the Spanish flag.

Wins in the last two rounds gave Shirov a final score of 7/10 to turn in the best individual score of the match. That, along with solid 6/10 performances by the Ukrainian duo of Ruslan Ponomariov, Vassily Ivanchuk and Israel's Boris Gelfand guided the Rest of the World team to a somewhat easy victory.


Individual scores

Rest of the World 52/100: Shirov 7/10, Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Ponomariov all 6/10, Anand 5/9, Leko 5.5/10, Radjabov 5/10, Azmaiparashvili 2/4, Smirin 4/9, Akopian 1/3, Short 2.5/8, Judit Polgar 2/7.
Russia 48/100: Bareev, Morozevich both 6/10, Karpov, Svidler both 5/9, Grischuk 5.5/10, Dreev 4.5/8, Rublevsky 3/6, Kramnik 4/9, Kasparov 4/10, Khalifman 3.5/9, Motylev 1/6, Zviaginsev 0.5/4.


A Shirov - P Svidler
Russia vs. Rest of the World (10), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 f3 b5 8 g4 h6 9 Qd2 Nbd7 10 0-0-0 Bb7 11 h4 b4 12 Na4 Qa5 13 b3 Rc8 14 Kb1 Nc5 15 Nxc5 dxc5 16 Ne2 Bc6 17 Ng3 Nd7 18 f4 Be7 19 Bd3 Nb6 20 Qf2 Na8 21 g5 Nc7 22 Nh5 Nb5 23 Bxb5 axb5 24 Nxg7+ Kf8 25 Nxe6+ fxe6 26 f5 Ke8 27 fxe6 1-0

12th September, 2002

AT the halfway stage of the "Match of the New Century" being played at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, the Rest of the World continues to hold a slender one-point lead over Russia, who trail 24.5-25.5.

The fifth round of the $1 million match proved to be the most bloodthirsty so far of the contest, with eight decisive games in a 5-5 draw - with a despondent Garry Kasparov dramatically losing yet again, for his second defeat of the match as he sinks to below 50%.

In recent years the once-mighty Kasparov has shown signs of vulnerability with defeats at the hands of IBM's Deep Blue followed by losing his world title to Vladimir Kramnik. First it was the computer and then his former pupil. Now another "dubious" honour for the world No.1 - he suffered his first-ever loss in competitive play to a woman, as he was downed by Hungary's Judit Polgar, the world's strongest female player.

"It was a great feeling to beat Kasparov - especially since I don't have a good score against him," commented a euphoric Polgar. Before the game, world team captain Yasser Seirawan had given her a choice between playing in round four against Morozevich or Kasparov in round five. She didn't hesitate for one moment - "I want to play Garry," was her determined reply.

Round 5 (Russia 5-5 R.O.W): 1 Svidler 1-0 Anand; 2 Grischuk draw Ponomariov; 3 Karpov 1-0 Leko; 4 Rublevsky 0-1 Ivanchuk; 5 Motylev 0-1 Gelfand; 6 Dreev draw Shirov; 7 Kramnik 1-0 Akopian; 8 Kasparov 0-1 Polgar; 9 Morozevich 1-0 Smirin; 10 Bareev 0-1 Radjabov


J Polgar - G Kasparov
Russia vs. Rest of the World (5), Berlin Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Nxe4 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 dxe5 Nf5 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 9 Nc3 h6 10 Rd1+ Ke8 11 h3 Be7 12 Ne2 Nh4 13 Nxh4 Bxh4 14 Be3 Bf5 15 Nd4 Bh7 16 g4 Be7 17 Kg2 h5 18 Nf5 Bf8 19 Kf3 Bg6 20 Rd2 hxg4+ 21 hxg4 Rh3+ 22 Kg2 Rh7 23 Kg3 f6 24 Bf4 Bxf5 25 gxf5 fxe5 26 Re1 Bd6 27 Bxe5 Kd7 28 c4 c5 29 Bxd6 cxd6 30 Re6 Rah8 31 Rexd6+ Kc8 32 R2d5 Rh3+ 33 Kg2 Rh2+ 34 Kf3 R2h3+ 35 Ke4 b6 36 Rc6+ Kb8 37 Rd7 Rh2 38 Ke3 Rf8 39 Rcc7 Rxf5 40 Rb7+ Kc8 41 Rdc7+ Kd8 42 Rxg7 Kc8 1-0

11th September, 2002

AFTER their disappointing start to the first day's play in the Alfa Bank "Match of the New Century" being played at the Kremlin in Moscow, the Russian team came back into contention with two 5.5-4.5 wins in rounds three and four against the Rest of the World, though still find themselves trailing 19.5-20.5 in the $1 million match.

Unlike the previous two USSR vs. R.O.W matches in 1970 and 1984 that the Soviets narrowly won, this time the Russian team is finding the going much tougher as most of their opponents are indeed ex-Soviet! Of the twelve players in the R.O.W team (ten players and two substitutes), the only players whose career did not begin under the Soviet flag are Anand, Leko, Short and Polgar.

Another major problem for the Russians is the under-performance of the three world champion 'Ks' - Kasparov, Kramnik and Karpov - who between them are struggling to maintain 50% in the match.


Round 3 (Russia 5.5-4.5 ROW): 1 Gelfand draw Kasparov; 2 Shirov 1-0 Kramnik; 3 Morozevich 1-0 Akopian; 4 Bareev 1-0 Short; 5 Radjabov 0-1 Svidler; 6 Anand draw Khalifman; 7 Dreev draw Leko; 8 Ponomariov 1-0 Zvjaginsev; 9 Motylev draw Ivanchuk; 10 Smirin draw Grischuk

Round 4 (Russia 5.5-4.5 ROW): 1 Karpov draw Anand; 2 Leko 1-0 Motylev; 3 Khalifman 0-1 Ponomariov; 4 Short 0-1 Morozevich; 5 Grischuk 1-0 Radjabov; 6 Svidler draw Smirin; 7 Kasparov 1-0 Shirov; 8 Kramnik draw Gelfand; 9 Ivanchuk draw Dreev; 10 Azmaiparashvili draw Bareev


A Shirov - V Kramnik
Russia vs. Rest of the World (3), Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Bf5 5 Ng3 Bg6 6 h4 h6 7 Nf3 Nd7 8 h5 Bh7 9 Bd3 Bxd3 10 Qxd3 e6 11 Bf4 Ngf6 12 0-0-0 Be7 13 Kb1 0-0 14 Ne4 Nxe4 15 Qxe4 Nf6 16 Qe2 Qd5 17 Ne5 Qe4 18 Qxe4 Nxe4 19 Rhe1 Nf6 20 g4 Rfd8 21 f3 Rac8 22 c3 Kf8 23 Kc2 Nd5 24 Bc1 c5 25 dxc5 Rxc5 26 f4 b5 27 a3 Kg8 28 g5 hxg5 29 fxg5 b4 30 Nd3 Rcc8 31 axb4 Bxb4 32 Bd2 Be7 33 Ra1 Rc7 34 g6 fxg6 35 hxg6 Rcd7 36 Rxe6 Bf6 37 Rd1 Nc7 38 Re3 Nd5 39 Rh3 Ne7 40 Rg1 Rd6 41 Rg2 a5 42 Nc5 Rb6 43 Bf4 Rb5 44 Ne4 Rf5 45 Bd6 1-0

10th September, 2002

THE first two historic matches between the USSR and the Rest of the World, held respectively in Belgrade in 1970 and London in 1984, ended with narrow victories for the mighty Soviet chess machine.

Now, with the staging of the $1 million Alfa Bank "Match of the New Century" in Moscow between Russia and the Rest of the World, the former Soviets have played their part in getting the R.O.W off to a promising start. Russia's top chess players, despite the high-profile presence of the top two players in the world in Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik, struggled in the first day of the FIDE-sponsored tournament held at the Kremlin, and trail 11.5-8.5 after the first two rounds of play held on Sunday.

The highlight of the opening round was Garry Kasparov's loss to Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine. And in the second round, the R.O.W added a point to its lead, with the youngest player in the tournament, 15-year-old Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, defeating former world champion Anatoly Karpov, 51, the oldest player in the event.

The tournament is a ten-round Scheveningen system where each player on the Russian team will play one game against a member of the world team.


Round 1 (Russia 4-6 R.O.W): Khalifman draw Radjabov; Karpov 0-1 Smirin; Polgar 0-1 Grischuk; Short draw Svidler; Bareev draw Shirov; Morozevich draw Gelfand; Ivanchuk 1-0 Kasparov; Leko draw Kramnik; Rublevsky draw Ponomariov; Motylev 0-1 Anand

Round 2 (Russia 4.5-5.5 R.O.W): Radjabov 1-0 Karpov; Smirin draw Khalifman; Rublevsky 1-0 Polgar; Grischuk draw Short; Shirov 1-0 Morozevich; Gelfand 0-1 Bareev; Kramnik draw Ivanchuk; Kasparov draw Leko; Ponomariov draw Motylev; Anand 1-0 Zvjaginsev


V Ivanchuk - G Kasparov
Russia vs. R.O.W (1), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Rg1 g6 7 g4 Bg7 8 Be3 Nc6 9 f3 e5 10 Nxc6 bxc6 11 Qd2 Be6 12 0-0-0 Bf8 13 Na4 h5 14 h3 Nd7 15 Qc3 hxg4 16 hxg4 d5 17 Qxc6 d4 18 Bd2 Rc8 19 Qb7 Rb8 20 Qxa6 Ra8 21 Qb5 Bxa2 22 Bc4 Bxc4 23 Qxc4 Qf6 24 g5 Qd6 25 Kb1 Rh3 26 Rgf1 Be7 27 b3 Qa3 28 Bc1 Qb4 29 Qxb4 Bxb4 30 f4 Rh4 31 Rh1 Rxh1 32 Rxh1 Ke7 33 f5 Ra6 34 Rh7 Nc5 35 Bd2 Rxa4 36 fxg6 Bxd2 37 bxa4 Nxe4 1-0

9th September, 2002

ON the 30th anniversary week of his momentous world championship victory over Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer continues to make the news in the USA - despite the fact it's been ten-years since he last played.

In a recent edition of 'Entertainment Weekly', the showbiz magazine mentions an impending project with Woody Harrelson of Cheers-fame playing the lead role of Bobby. It's one of those "still in pre-production" films, but Harrelson - who physically resembles Fischer during his peak years and is also an avid chess player - supposedly is keen to do it.

In 1992 Fischer briefly came out of retirement to play old foe Spassky in the notorious "rematch" in war-torn Yugoslavia that broke an embargo imposed by the US government. It was a move that didn't go down well in Washington D.C., and Fischer ended up being outlawed in his own country, and since he has never returned for fear of being imprisoned.

Fischer is virtually a recluse these days apart from the odd outburst or two on radio - most notably one from last year that "congratulated" the 9-11 terrorist attacks last year on his own country. Recently the USCF have made threatening noises about expunging the erratic genius from the record books because of these remarks.

These days Fischer is to be found in Japan, where apparently for the last year he's been heavily involved in the design of a revolutionary new chess clock for Fischer Random Chess, a version of the game he created in an effort to cut out the growing influence of chess databases.

Meanwhile in Washington D.C., chess life goes on and there was a seven-way tie for first on 4/5 in the Atlantic Open recently held there among GMs Igor Novikov, Ildar Ibragimov, Leonid G Yudasin, Alek Wojtkiewicz, Alexander Ivanov, Pavel Blehm and IM Rashid Ziatdinov.


A Sherzer - I Novikov
Atlantic Open (3), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 f4 e5 7 Nf3 Nbd7 8 a4 Be7 9 Bd3 0-0 10 0-0 exf4 11 Kh1 Nc5 12 Bxf4 Bg4 13 Qe1 Bh5 14 Nd4 Bg6 15 Bd2 Qd7 16 Nf5 Bd8 17 Qg3 d5 18 exd5 Re8 19 Rae1 Bc7 20 Qf3 Nxd3 21 cxd3 Rxe1 22 Bxe1 Re8 23 Bh4 Re5 24 Nxg7 Ng4 25 Ne6 Rf5 26 Nxc7 Rxf3 27 gxf3 Ne3 28 Re1 Qh3 0-1

6th September, 2002

THE peace dividend following the recent Prague Agreement has paved the way for a third edition of the "Match of the Century", as Russia and the Rest of the World meet again in an intriguing encounter that will run September 8-12 in Moscow.

The match, organised by Fide president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov with a $1 million prize fund sponsored by the Alfa Bank, will be played over a ten-board Scheveningen System with Rapid Chess. The Russian line-up includes: Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Anatoly Karpov, Alexander Khalifman, Peter Svidler, Evgeny Bareev, Alexei Dreev, Alexander Grischuk, Alexander Morozevich and Sergey Rublevsky. The Rest of the World: Viswanathan Anand (IND), Ruslan Ponomariov (UKR), Vassily Ivanchuk (UKR), Alexei Shirov (ESP), Peter Leko (HUN), Boris Gelfand (ISR), Nigel Short (ENG), Judit Polgar (HUN), Ilya Smirin (ISR) and Teimour Radjabov (AZE).

The history of this match goes back to 1970 when, for the first time, the Soviet Union team took on the "Rest of the World" team in Belgrade. The second match "USSR vs. Rest of the World" was held in London in 1984.

That first match in 1970, dubbed "The Match of the Century", still evokes fond memories for many chess-players with the Russians narrowly winning 20.5-19.5. The game perhaps most published from the event was Boris Spassky's stunning 17-move victory as Black on top board in the opening game over Denmark's Bent Larsen. However, it's often forgotten that Larsen stormed back in convincing style to draw their three-game match 1.5-1.5 - the Great Dane then going on to beat Spassky's replacement Leonid Stein in the last round.


B Spassky - B Larsen
USSR vs. The World, 1970, Queen's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 Nc3 Bb7 5 Bg5 Be7 6 e3 0-0 7 Bd3 c5 8 0-0 Nc6 9 d5 Nb4 10 d6 Bxd6 11 Bxh7+ Kxh7 12 Qxd6 Bxf3 13 gxf3 Ne8 14 Qe7 Qxe7 15 Bxe7 Rg8 16 Rfd1 Nc6 17 Rxd7 Ne5 18 Rb7 Nxc4 19 Ne4 Na5 20 Rd7 Nc6 21 f4 Rc8 22 Rc1 a5 23 a3 Kg6 24 Kg2 Rh8 25 Kf3 Rxh2 26 Ng5 e5 27 Rg1 exf4 28 Bd6 Nxd6 29 Rxd6+ f6 30 Ne6+ Kf5 31 Nxf4 Ne5+ 32 Ke2 Re8 33 Rxb6 Nc4 34 Rb3 g5 35 Nd5 Re5 36 Rd1 g4 37 Kf1 Rh1+ 38 Ke2 Rxd1 0-1

5th September, 2002

FRENCH prodigy Etienne Bacrot was just 4-years-old when he first saw a chessboard. "I just sat down, looked and understood," he once commented.

At 7, he scored his first tournament victory, and by 10 he was winning junior internationals in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Bacrot was destined for greater things, and by March 1997, he became the youngest Grandmaster in chess history at the age of 14 years and 2 months. Immediately his coach, Iosif Dorfman, a former trainer of Garry Kasparov, boldly proclaimed that his pupil was born "to bury Kasparov."

The statement may have sounded good in the glare of the media hype that naturally followed, but these were words that were to come back and haunt both Dorfman and Bacrot. After setting the record, Bacrot struggled with his game and never quite lived up to his earlier promise – some even speculating that he was “burnt out” due to the pressures placed on him by being so young.

Now fast approaching 20, Bacrot may not have the “right stuff” to take on and bury elite players of the calibre of Kasparov, but back home he’s nearing one of his earlier goals: becoming the French No.1. During the recent French Championships held at Val d'Isère (19th-31st August), Bacrot led for most of the tournament before being caught in the final round by French No.1 Joel Lautier, as both finished in equal first on 7.5/11.

In the ensuing rapid playoff, Bacrot beat Lautier 1.5-0.5 to win his fourth consecutive championship title – and ominously closing the rating gap between the two even further.


E Bacrot – L Fressinet
French Ch. (3), Semi-Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 e6 5 Bg5 dxc4 6 e4 b5 7 e5 h6 8 Bh4 g5 9 Nxg5 hxg5 10 Bxg5 Nbd7 11 g3 Rg8 12 h4 Rxg5 13 hxg5 Nd5 14 g6 fxg6 15 Qg4 Qe7 16 Bg2 Kd8 17 Bxd5 cxd5 18 Qxg6 Rb8 19 Rh7 Qe8 20 Qxe8+ Kxe8 21 f4 b4 22 Ne2 Ba6 23 g4 c3 24 b3 Bd3 25 f5 Rb6 26 Nf4 Be4 27 Ke2 Be7 28 Rh8+ Kf7 29 fxe6+ Rxe6 30 Rf1 Ra6 31 e6+ Kg7 32 Re8 Rxa2+ 33 Ke3 Bg5 34 exd7 Rd2 35 Rxe4 dxe4 36 Kxe4 Be7 37 Nd5 Bg5 38 Nf6 1-0

4th September, 2002

THE world chess body Fide has faced a tide of troubles in recent years. The latest in a long list being the recent setback from the International Olympic Committee who stopped dead in the water any attempts to have chess recognised as a sport.

While the move from the IOC must have come as something of a personal setback for the governing body's president, Kirsan Illyumzhinov, as it seemed to be his personal hobby-horse, he at least had comfort in the fact that after the historic Prague Agreement in May, he looked as if he was finally delivering on chess unity - something that he vowed to do on taking office in 1996.

However not everyone has been happy with all the shenanigans in Fide since he came to office, the continual grumblings finally boiling over to a fully-fledged election being called for the top jobs in Fide at the 73rd Fide congress which will be held during the forthcoming Chess Olympiad in Bled in November.

Respected Singaporean chess administrator Ignatius Leong will openly challenge Kirsan for the Fide presidency, his ticket having a strong international flavour with Morten Sand (Norway) as Deputy President, Lin Feng (China) as Vice President, Jean-Claude Loubatiere (France) as General Secretary, and Venezuela's Uvencio Blanco as Treasurer.

In the past, there have been allegations of threats and intimidation being used by some to discourage challengers to Kirsan - most notably Ignatious Leong himself! A former Fide employee, Leong had a serious disagreement with Kirsan during the elections held in Yerevan, Armenia in 1996, which led to his fleeing the Chess Olympiad there and seeking refuge in the American embassy.


M Taimanov - S Zhukhovitsky
Botvinnik Memorial (4), English Opening

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 e5 3 g3 d6 4 Bg2 g6 5 e3 Bg7 6 Nge2 0-0 7 0-0 Nbd7 8 d3 Ne8 9 Bd2 f5 10 f4 Nef6 11 b4 Re8 12 h3 a5 13 a3 axb4 14 axb4 Rxa1 15 Qxa1 e4 16 Qb1 Nb6 17 Rc1 c6 18 b5 d5 19 bxc6 bxc6 20 c5 Nbd7 21 d4 Ba6 22 Bf1 Qc7 23 Na2 Ra8 24 Nb4 Bb5 25 Qb2 h5 26 Ra1 Qb7 27 Nc2 Rxa1 28 Qxa1 Qa6 29 Qxa6 Bxa6 30 Nb4 Bb5 31 Nc1 Kf7 32 Bxb5 cxb5 33 Nca2 1-0

2nd September, 2002

THE player who started the Soviet hegemony in chess, Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995), following the untimely death of Alexander Alekhine in 1946, become the first official FIDE world champion.

Credited with founding the 'Soviet School of Chess', Botvinnik played every world champion of the 20th century, and was world champion himself from 1948 to 1962 apart from two short breaks when he was defeated first by Vasily Smyslov in 1957, and then by Mikhail Tal in 1959.

He was the first player to win the world title three times - but alas this was mainly due to a quirk of the rules where the defeated champion would automatically be guaranteed a rematch the year after his defeat. When he lost to Tigran Petrosian in 1962, FIDE stepped in to abolish the unfair rematch rule and Botvinnik took no further part in the world championship.

Late last year the chess world celebrated what would have been Botvinnink's 90th birthday, and to commemorate the occasion the FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov hosted in Elista, the capital of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Kalmykia where he also serves as the country's president, a memorial event composed of former opponents and pupils of Botvinnik. 67 year old Janis Klovans of Latvia, a former World Veterans Champion, and living-legend 79 year old Svetozar Gligoric from Yugoslavia got the better of Botvinnik's countryman and came equal first on 6/9.


S Gligoric - A Nikitin
Botvinnik Memorial, Dutch Stonewall

1 d4 f5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 e6 4 Nf3 d5 5 c4 c6 6 0-0 Bd6 7 b3 Qe7 8 Bb2 0-0 9 Nbd2 b6 10 Ne5 Bb7 11 Rc1 Na6 12 Ndf3 Rac8 13 e3 Ne4 14 Qe2 Rfd8 15 Nd3 Nb4 16 Nxb4 Bxb4 17 Ne5 Bd6 18 f3 Nf6 19 Rc2 c5 20 Rd1 Ba6 21 Bf1 dxc4 22 Nxc4 cxd4 23 exd4 Nd5 24 Qf2 Bb8 25 Re1 b5 26 Ne5 Rxc2 27 Qxc2 Rc8 28 Qd2 Qb4 29 Qxb4 Nxb4 30 Nd3 Nxd3 31 Bxd3 Kf7 32 d5 exd5 33 Bxf5 Rd8 34 Be6+ Kf8 35 Bd4 Bb7 36 f4 Bd6 37 f5 a6 38 Rc1 Re8 39 g4 Re7 40 h4 Rc7 41 Rxc7 Bxc7 42 g5 Bd6 43 h5 h6 44 f6 gxf6 45 gxh6 Be5 46 Bc5+ Ke8 47 Bf5 Kf7 48 h7 Kg7 49 h6+ 1-0

back to "The Scotsman" chess column