Chess

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The Independent Culture
GARRY KASPAROV'S stated intention of defending his title of "world champion" - the organisation concerned keeps changing, but nobody sensible would dispute that he is still very much the world's best player - has been intermittently in the news for at least a couple of years now.

Kasparov was due last October to play Alexei Shirov under the auspices of the World Chess Council (WCC). However, the match fell through following the collapse of the said WCC.

This April, a new contest was announced between Kasparov and Anand for the "Ultimate World Chess Championship". This was set up by the Dutch businessman Bessel Kok and the Canadian entrepreneur Serge Grimaux, and was pencilled in for this October, though the venue was not immediately forthcoming.

A long and deafening silence then descended, however - a silence that was finally broken by Anand's manager, Mr Kuruvilla Abraham, when he confirmed that the contest won't be taking place this year and intimated that the potential sponsor, an unnamed corporation from California's Silicon Valley, might have been put off by the huge publicity generated for (presumably) its rivals Microsoft by Kasparov's ongoing interactive game against "The World".

At least Anand, who pulled out of the recent Fide knockout world championship in Las Vegas in order to play Kasparov, has, in contrast to Shirov, been compensated. Reports are that he has already received $250,000.

But it remains a great shame that the strongest player we have at the moment - and I would argue that his results this year make him the strongest player of all time - has now gone so long since his last title match. (This was held under the auspices of the Professional Chessplayers' Association, PCA, in New York, also against Anand - and began almost exactly four years ago.)

The diagram gives the current position (at http://www. msn.zone).

Garry Kasparov vs

"The World" (to move)

46 ...d3! is now forced (not 46 ...b1Q? 47 Rxb1 Kxb1 48 Kxd4! b5 49 Ke4 b4 50 Kf5 and wins) 47 Kf5 and the world will have a difficult choice between:

A) 47 ...Nh8 48 g6 d2 49 g7 d1Q 50 Rxd1 Kxd1 51 gxh8Q b1Q+ when the white king can hide among black's pawns. I suspect this is therefore lost.

B) 47 ...d2 48 Kxg6

Bi) 48 ...d1Q 49 Rxd1 Kxd1 50 h8Q b1Q - Black queens with check but after 51 Kf7 Qb3+ 52 Kf8! the g pawn will be very fast.

Bii) So perhaps 48 ...b1Q! 49 Rxb1 Kxb1 50 h8Q d1Q though eg 51 Qh7!? or 51 Qc3 is very dangerous for Black.

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