Games: Chess

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The Independent Culture
GARY KASPAROV jetted into London on Thursday for a news conference in connection with his interactive game against "The World" on the Microsoft Network at http://

Originally timed, after 37 moves and nearly three months of play, to coincide with the expected end of the game, it was nothing of the sort since the combatants are still locked in a daunting endgame.

The press conference, held at "Home House" in Portland Square, was chaired and kicked off by Grandmaster Dan King. Diane McDade, PR manager of MSN.COM, pointed out that they'd received nearly 15 million "page views" - an average of 200,000 a day.

Kasparov then explained that the four World team "coaches" - Etienne Bacrot, Florin Felecan, Irina Krush and Elisabeth Pahtz - had been chosen so that none was so famous that the public would automatically back them for their name alone; but since move 10, the suggestions of the team around Irina Krush have been accepted; and indeed he later said he perceived the hand of an extremely strong - and aggressive - player at work directing the World's play.

As a result of the "minefield" created by the World's (unexpectedly) powerful performance, Kasparov and his team - Yuri Dohoian, Boris Alterman and various computers, had spent "100 man hours plus" on the game. He also stated that during the middlegame the result could have gone either way but now it would either be a win for him or a draw; and the result would be clear in "the next 15 days".

Kasparov was lavish in praise of this battle, which he described as "one of the hardest matches I've ever played". I felt this was pure hyperbole until I realised that this is the game he's playing - or rather living - at the moment; so any struggle, let alone one with six pawns, all passed, would have merited huge emotional input.

The moves so far: 37 ...e6 was played on Thursday. 10 ...Qe6!? initiated unfathomable complications. 15 ...Ra8!? is my own only input. Kasparov praised 16 ...Ne4. 26 ...f4 was very aggressive rather than 26 ...Bc5. 32 ...fxg3? activated White's rook. The subtle 35 Kh1 avoided a line with ...Nf4 - vitally with check - later.

White: Gary Kasparov

Black: "The World"

MSN.COM 1999

1 e4 c5

2 Nf3 d6

3 Bb5+ Bd7

4 Bxd7+ Qxd7

5 c4 Nc6

6 Nc3 Nf6

7 0-0 g6

8 d4 cxd4

9 Nxd4 Bg7

10 Nde2 Qe6!?

11 Nd5 Qxe4

12 Nc7+ Kd7

13 Nxa8 Qxc4

14 Nb6+ axb6

15 Nc3 Ra8

16 a4 Ne4

17 Nxe4 Qxe4

18 Qb3 f5

19 Bg5 Qb4

20 Qf7 Be5

21 h3 Rxa4

22 Rxa4 Qxa4

23 Qxh7 Bxb2

24 Qxg6 Qe4

25 Qf7 Bd4

26 Qb3 f4

27 Qf7 Be5

28 h4 b5

29 h5 Qc4

30 Qf5+ Qe6

31 Qxe6+ Kxe6

32 g3 fxg3

33 fxg3 b4

34 Bf4 Bd4+

35 Kh1 b3

36 g4 Kd5

37 g5 e6