Former world champion Garry Kasparov has announced that he will stand for president of Fidé, the World Chess Federation, next year. He is challenging the incumbent, the colourful Kirsan Ilumzinov, former president of Kalmykia. The adjective ‘colourful’ is very much an understatement. An openly declared friend of Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi, it looked like the death knell for President Assad, when Kirsan popped up in Damascus to discuss the future of schools chess in Syria. So far, though, Assad has escaped the curse of Kirsan. The incumbent also makes no secret of the fact that he is an alien abductee, who could have graced an episode of The X Files. None of this does chess much credit and it is to be hoped that Kasparov’s campaign will be successful, and place a true chess expert in the driving seat. An example of a former world champion who became president of Fidé was the Dutchman Dr Max Euwe (see this week’s puzzle).
Kasparov is no stranger to chess politics. In 1985 the World Championship between him and Karpov was stopped peremptorily by the then Fidé president Florencio Campomanes. Kasparov, who had been trailing, had picked up and seemed to be on a roll, which guaranteed a thrilling finish. At this critical juncture Campomanes intervened to halt the match. The following year Professor Lincoln Lucena of Brazil and I launched a campaign to unseat him, with Lucena running for Fidé president and I for general secretary — a campaign in which Kasparov became our most enthusiastic and tireless worker. Sadly, the three of us were political neophytes and the wily Campomanes easily outmanoeuvred us, in spite of Kasparov’s prestige as the freshly crowned world champion.
This week I give some extracts of play which demonstrate Kasparov’s chessboard genius.
Kasparov-Yusupov: Frunze 1981
(see diagram 1)
Kasparov’s next move enables him to blast through into the black position. 31 Ne4 fxe4 32 f5 Rg5 33 Rxg5 hxg5 34 f6 Kh6 35 fxe7 Qxe7 36 Bf7 d6 37 Rf1 g4 38 Bxe6 Qxe6 39 Qh4+ Kg7 Black resigns
Sunye Neto-Kasparov: Graz, 1981
(see diagram 2)
Kasparov now demonstrates the incredible tactical possibilities when rook and knight coordinate near the opposing king. 42 … Bxe3!! 43 fxe3 If 43 Qxe3 Rd1+ mates. 43 … Rdxg2! 44 Qc3 If 44 Nxg2 Nd2+ or 44 Qxb6 Rh2 45 Ne2 Rgg2 wins. 44 … Rh2 45 Ne2 Kh7! 46 Qc8 A better try was 46 Qb4! 46 … Rh1+ 47 Kf2 Nd2! White resigns After 48 Ng3 Rh2+ 49 Ke1 Nf3+ 50 Kf1 Rxb2 Black wins.
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