Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of both Fide and Kalmykia, has a persuasive manner and an even more persuasive wallet. Which is why his fiefdom of Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, has turned into the world capital of chess. In December, the city will stage Ilyumzhinov's new-style Fide world championship. By contrast with the old head-to-head challenge matches, the new format is a mass-participation knock-out tournament with a $5m prize fund. The stature of the event, however, will depend mainly on how many of Kasparov, Karpov and possibly even Deep Blue can be lured to participate. Without them, the event will lead only to yet another person to add to the growing list of those who pin the title of "world champion" on their lapels.

As a practice run for the new event, the Russian Championship is currently taking place in Elista, also on a knock-out format. With too many of the matches having to be decided by rapid play-offs, it is not a very good advertisement - unless you value excitement and entertainment above good chess.

Try this game, for example - a splendid attacking performance by Bareyev in one of the quick-play, sudden death deciders.

When Black has played 19...f5 to safeguard his K-side, it may seem that his rooks belong on e8 and f8, but Bareyev decided that they would be more effective on the d-file. His judgement was proved correct when he launched the decisive attack with 24...Rd3! If White accepts the sacrifice with 25.Bxd3 Rxd3 26.Qc1 he is demolished by 26...Qh4 27.h3 Rxh3 or 27.g3 Bxg3 28.fxg3 Rxg3+. Declining the offer had much the same effect. At the end 28.Kxh2 Qxf2+ leads to mate next move.

White: Alexander Kharitonov

Black: Yevgeny Bareyev

1 d4 Nf6 15 Qh4 c5

2 Nf3 d5 16 Bb2 cxd4

3 c4 e6 17 Bxd4 Rad8

4 Nc3 c6 18 Ng4 Nxg4

5 e3 Nbd7 19 Qxg4 f5

6 Qc2 Bd6 20 Qh3 Rd7

7 Be2 0-0 21 Bc3 Red8

8 0-0 Re8 22 Re1 Bc7

9 Rd1 Qe7 23 Bf1 Be4

10 b3 b6 24 Qe3 Rd3

11 e4 Nxe4 25 Qc1 Qh4

12 Nxe4 dxe4 26 h3 Rxh3

13 Qxe4 Bb7 27 gxh3 Bf2+

14 Ne5 Nf6 White resigned

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