This article by Quah Seng-Sun was originally published in THE STAR, a Malaysian newspaper, on 23 Jan 1998
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"I might have lost the match," said Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, "but I don't recognise Anatoly Karpov as the world champion. The title of World Champion is vacant."

This comment by Anand came in the wake of his loss at the hands of Karpov in the finals of the world chess championship which took place in Lausanne, Switzerland, earlier this month. Clearly, Anand believed that having come out tops in the elimination contests in the Groningen, Netherlands, half of the championship, he had won one of the strongest events in chess history.

Anand said his match against Karpov was conducted under strongly unfavourable conditions (he played 31 elimination games in Groningen in order to qualify for a shot against Karpov) and so, the result of that final match could not be taken seriously.

Although generally he praised the knockout system in Groningen, Anand condemned Karpov's advantage of being seeded directly to the final. He was justifiably proud of his victory in Groningen but he pointed to the 31 games he played compared to Karpov's eight.

The world chess championship had begun in Groningen on Dec 8 and it ended in Lausanne on Jan 9. It was organised by the World Chess Federation and during the championship, International Olympic Council president Juan Antonio Samaranch was a special guest of the Fide president, Kirsan Iljumzhinov.

At the closing ceremony, Samaranch said the way was clear for chess to appear in the Olympics provided there was unity. This remark was clearly aimed at the non-participation of Gary Kasparov in the championship. Kasparov had refused to take part because he wanted to know the source of funds for the prize monies, which Fide felt was not their obligation to reveal to him.

Samaranch congratulated Karpov on winning the world title but, turning to Anand and speaking in Spanish, the IOC president also said: "Anand, I know you speak Spanish very well. You will be a future world champion."

Earlier, Samaranch was interviewed by Chess Planet which owns and operates the very popular Chess Planet website ( Part of the interview is reproduced here with permission.

Chess Planet: The world championship is running in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne and you recently said Fide has been recognised by the IOC. What more should be done to see chess fully accepted as a sport?

Samaranch: As I said during the opening ceremony, the IOC recognises Fide but it is much different with the Olympic program. We have Olympic committees in 200 countries, but half of them recognise chess as a sport and the other half as a cultural activity. To solve this problem, one should be precise about what is a sport. Chess definitely fulfills the purpose of the IOC on a competition point of view, but sport also demands physical activity and this is not blatant in chess. However it is clear that chess players have to be fit to play at the highest level.

CP: Why is the final of the world chess championship taking place in the Olympic Museum of Lausanne?

Samaranch: I have a great respect for chess, and one should not forget that the Fide headquarters is in Lausanne. We are very happy to welcome Fide here, in the Olympic Museum.

CP: What do you think about the final between Karpov and Anand ?

Samaranch: It is a fascinating final, and a balanced one up to now. This shows that Fide did the right choice when changing the championship's formula. The fact that the matches do not last as long as before is a path in the right direction for chess to be recognised as an Olympic sport."


The World Chess Federation (FIDE) has finally released its January 1998 international rating list. According to sources, the release of the list was delayed to enable some national chess federations to pay FIDE their overdue annual fees.

Again, the top player among the Malaysians is FIDE master Mas Hafizulhelmi who has a rating of 2375. Ooi Chern Ee is rated at 2340, while international master Jimmy Liew is third in the rating standings at 2330.

Lim Chuin Hoong is a newcomer to the latest list and he is rated at 2275. Next in line are Mok Tze-Meng at 2260, Zakaria Fadli at 2250, Mohd Irman Ibrahim at 2220, Mohd Saprin Sabri at 2210, Ng Ee-Vern at 2210, Mohd Kamal Abdullah at 2205, Yeoh Chin-Seng at 2195, Mohd Fairin Zakaria at 2185, Tan Hong Ghee at 2150, Lim Yee-Weng at 2130, Julian Navaratnam at 2120, and Azahari Md Nor at 2115.

Also new to the rating list is Lim Kian Hwa at 2110. The remaining rated Malaysian players are Thomas Lam 2105, Wong Zi-Jing 2090, Lim Tse-Pin 2070, Tan Wei Sin 2070, Pang Siew Chong 2065, Roslina Marmono 2065, Ismail Ahmad 2055, Nurul Huda Wahiduddin 2040, Mohan Raj 2025, Soh Zee Wee 2025, Eliza Hanim Ibrahim 2015, Eliza Hanum Ibrahim 2015, and Khairunnisa Wahiduddin 2005.


The Union High School in Penang will organise their first Union open tournament next month. This will be played over seven rounds.

The entry fee for the one-day tournament is RM7 per player, and participants are required to register themselves at the school hall at 7.30am on Feb 15. Six cash prizes ranging from RM150 to RM20 will be offered. In addition, trophies will be given to the best under-12, under-18, women's and Union High School players.

For more details, contact Lim Chu Ai (tel: 04-226-7067), Lim Swee TIn (tel: 04-262-9824) or Wong Wai Quan (e-mail:


The Royal Selangor Club will hold chess classes for beginners every Sunday morning in the Card Room. Readers interested in attending the classes can contact Dr Wahid Karim (tel: 03-251-2961) or drop by the club on Sundays to register.

Copyright: Star Publications (M) Berhad. Thank you. Author: SSQuah

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