This article by Quah Seng-Sun was originally published in THE STAR, a Malaysian newspaper, on 27 Feb 1998
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Well, I told you last week that there would be an announcement by Gary Kasparov before the start of the Linares super-grandmaster tournament.

Yes, he did make an announcement but I could not help laughing when I learnt what it was all it. Do you what Kasparov did? He announced the formation of yet another chess organisation - the World Chess Council!

I suppose I should not have been surprised, but I was caught unawares. Clearly, I am amazed by this man's gall. How many so-called organisations has he created or helped to create in the last 12 years to promote his own ends? And how many chess professionals will fall for it again just like the way they fell for his past endeavours?

There was the Professional Chess Association and before it, the Grandmaster Association. All had the Kasparov touch in their formation, and all suffered the same Kasparov touch when they went into oblivion.

Let me go back in time. During the Dubai Chess Olympiad in 1986, Kasparov, who was already the world champion, played a big part in drumming up support for forming the Grandmaster Association.

One of its aims was to work with the World Chess Federation (Fide), but a more important objective was to provide reasonable income for the top grandmasters through the organising of a Chess World Cup grand prix.

The idea worked for several years until Kasparov had a fallout with the Grandmaster Association's president, Bessel Kok, who was at that time the chief executive of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunication (SWIFT).

Kok had his principles. He wanted everything run in a very disciplined manner diametrically opposite to Kasparov's style. With Kok's departure, the association quickly lost its standing in the chess world and it died a quiet death.

Fast forwarding to 1993: Nigel Short had some disagreements with Fide on holding the world championship match between himself and Kasparov.

Kasparov seized the opportunity to convince Short that the time was ripe for them to play their match outside Fide's jurisdiction. To give their match some credence, Kasparov formed the Professional Chess Association.

Although the Professional Chess Association did try to hold qualifying events for their version of the world championship, there were accusations that the organisation was only looking after the interests of a few elite players.

In reality, the Professional Chess Association served only the interest of Gary Kasparov. This organisation only lasted until 1995 when Kasparov played a match against Viswanathan Anand, after which it drifted into a long hibernation.

There were no more qualifying tournaments, no more so-called Professional Chess Association's version of the world chess championship matches. No wonder some people referred to Kasparov as the person who nominated himself Champion.

So there is every reason to be skeptical about Kasparov's latest project, the new World Chess Council. Will it last or suffer the same fate as its two predecessors?

At the opening ceremony of the Linares tournament, he announced that the main purpose of this new body, whose president is Luis Rentero, would be to organise a match in Seville and Linares sometime no later than October this year, when Kasparov would defend his "title".

However, at present nobody has the details on the match and how it will materialise. There is no information on Kasparov's probable opponent or how he will be chosen, although there are rumours that Vladimir Kramnik and Anand will be playing a match soon and the winner will play Kasparov.

It will be interesting to see how this alliance between Kasparov and the volatile and controversial Rentero will work out. Rentero, the owner of a supermarket chain in Spain, has been associated with the Linares super-grandmaster tournament since its inception.

He is certainly no fool when it comes to finance and business. For him to agree to be the president of Kasparov's World Chess Council, he must have seen some possible short-term benefits in it.

Anyway, back to this year's Linares tournament. This is a double round-robin event where the rate of play is two hours for the first 40 moves, then one hour for the next 20 moves, and finally 30 minutes for play-to-the-finish.

In the first round on Sunday, Vassily Ivanchuk, who was playing the black pieces against Kramnik, countered the latter's favourite Queen's Pawn Opening with the Chigorin Defence.

The game followed the opening theory for a while but after some complications provoked by Ivanchuk, Kramnik obtained a favourable ending due to a superior pawn structure and the position of his king.

However, the Ukrainian grandmaster defended very resourcefully and managed to draw a very instructive rook endgame.

Alexei Shirov, who was up against Anand, played badly in a Caro-Kann Defence and quickly obtained an inferior position. Anand was able to isolate his opponent's pawns which condemned the latter to a passive game.

Once Anand traded his queen for Shirov's two rooks, it became clear that the Indian grandmaster would soon pocket the full point. The exchange allowed Anand to capture all of Shirov's vulnerable pawns one after the other.

And in the third game of the first round, between Peter Svidler and Kasparov, the Scheveningen variation of the Sicilian Defence was played.

Kasparov's treatment of the opening was especially interesting. He avoided the usual moves ...Bf8 and ...g6, so as not to weaken his kingside too early. After that, the position appeared to be level for the remainder of the game.


Players in the south of the peninsula can take part in the 10th Tebrau open chess tournament. Organised by the Rukun Tetangga Taman Sri Tebrau with assistance from the Johor Bahru Chess Club, the event will be held on Mar 22 at the Sek Men Sri Tebrau in Johor Bahru.

There are three sections in this tournament and the entry fees are RM10 for the open section, RM6 for the under-16 section and RM5 for the under-12 section. Entries close on Mar 20, and only the first 200 entries will be accepted.

For more details, contact Narayanan Krishnan (tel: 07-333-8215).


Readers with Internet access can connect to the tournament web site at

Vladimir Kramnik - Vassily Ivanchuk

1. Nf3 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. Bf4 Bg4 4. e3 e6 5. c4 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 Nf6 (Also playable is 6...Nge7 from which it can later go ...Ng6 and ...Nh4) 7. Rc1 O-O 8. h3 8...Bxf3 (A common theme in this opening: Black gives up the two bishops so as to free his position with ...e5) 9. Qxf3 Qe7 10. Bg5 (The only way to prevent the opening of the centre) 10... Bxc3+ 11. Rxc3 Qb4 12. Bxf6 (Otherwise Black would play 12...Ne4) 12... Qxb2 13. Rb3 Qc1+ 14. Qd1 Qxd1+ 15. Kxd1 dxc4 16. Rxb7 gxf6 17. Kd2 Rab8 18. Rxc7 Na5 19. Kc2 (19. Kc3 would probably have been countered by 19... Rb1, leaving the rook on h1 out of play) 19... Rb4 20. Rxa7 Ra4 21. Rxa5 (A necessary sacrifice) 21... Rxa5 22. Bxc4 h5 23. h4 Rc8 24. Kd3 Rxc4 (An interesting decision. As he has no chance of winning this position, Ivanchuk decides to return the exchange so as to reach a rook ending where he has a pawn less but is compensated with a tenable position) 25. Kxc4 Rxa2 26. Rf1 f5 (White's pawns are paralysed and his rook on f1 passively guards the second rank) 27. d5 Kf8 28. dxe6 fxe6 29. Kd4 Ke7 30. Ke5 Ra4 31. f3 Ra5+ (Not 31... Rxh4 which is answered by 32. Ra1, and followed by Ra7+ and Rxe6) 32. Kf4 Ra2 33. Rb1 Kf6 (If 33... Rxg2, then 34. Ke5) 34. Kg3 Re2 35. Rb3 e5 36. Rb6+ Kg7 37. Rb3 Kf6 38. Ra3 Kg6 39. Kh3 Kf6 40. g4 hxg4+ 41. fxg4 fxg4+ 42. Kxg4 Kg6 43. h5+ Kh6 44. Ra6+ Kh7 45. Ra3 Kh6 46. Kf5 e4 47. Kxe4 Kxh5 48. Kf5 Rf2+ 49. Ke6 Re2 (Holding the pawn from behind and forcing White to retrace his steps) 50. Kf5 Rf2+ 51. Ke5 Kg6 52. e4 Rb2 53. Ra7 Rb5+ 54. Ke6 Rb6+ 55. Ke7 Rb5 56. Ra6+ Kg5 57. Re6 Kf4 58. Kf6 Rh5 (58... Rh5 59. Re8 Rh6+ 60. Kg7 Rh5) 1/2-1/2

Alexei Shirov - Viswanathan Anand

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 c5 6. Be3 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Ne7 8. c4 (This variation became popular after Boris Gelfand's victory over Anatoly Karpov in 1995) 8... Nbc6 9. Nc3 Nxd4 10. Bxd4 dxc4 11. Bxc4 (This is a novelty, instead of 11.Qa4+, played in Xie Jun-Chiburdanidze, Groningen 1997, and continuing 11... Nc6 12. Rd1 Bd3 13. Bxd3 cxd3 14. Be3 Bb4 15. O-O Bxc3 16. bxc3 Qd5 17. Bd4 O-O) 11... Nc6 12. Bb5 Be7 13. O-O O-O (Black's position is already very comfortable. His minor pieces are occupying good squares) 14. Bxc6 bxc6 15. Ne2 c5 16. Bc3 Qb6 17. Ng3 Bg6 18. Qg4 Rad8 19. h4 h6 20. h5 Bh7 21. f4 c4+ 22. Kh2 Bb4 23. f5 exf5 24. Nxf5 Bxf5 25. Rxf5 Bxc3 26. bxc3 Qe6 (White's pawns on c3, e5 and h5 are all isolated and vulnerable) 27. Raf1 Rfe8 28. R1f4 Rd5 29. Re4 Re7 (White is completely tied up) 30. Qf4 Rc7 31. Rxc4 Qxf5 (Exchanging the queen for the two rooks) 32. Qxf5 Rxc4 (Black now plans to double the rooks against the isolated pawns and capture them one by one) 33. Qb1 Rd8 34. Qb7 Rxc3 35. Qxa7 Rcc8 36. a4 Ra8 37. Qc7 Rdc8 38. Qb7 Re8 39. Qc6 Rac8 40. Qd7 Rcd8 41. Qc7 Rd5 42. a5 Rdxe5 43. a6 R5e7 44. Qc6 Rf8 45. Kh3 Ra7 46. g4 Rfa8 47. Kh4 Rxa6 48. Qb7 Ra5 49. Qc6 Rf8 50. Qb6 Rg5 51. Qb3 Kh8 52. Qb4 Re8 53. Qa4 Rd8 54. Qe4 f5 55. gxf5 Rf8 0-1 (White will lose all his remaining pawns)

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

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