It was refreshing to see the former chairman of the Grandmasters Association, Bessel Kok, announce his candidacy for the FIDE presidency last Monday. His bid was endorsed by former Czech president Vaclav Havel. Ali Nihat Yazici, the president of Turkish Chess Federation, is running for deputy president of FIDE on the same ticket. The elections will take place next June during the chess olympiad in Turin, Italy.
As the head of several important European telecommunication companies, Kok has enormous business experience and could manage FIDE efficiently and transparently. He was the driving force behind the Prague agreement in 2002 that spelled out the terms of a unified world title. However, the current FIDE leadership was reluctant to adopt it. As a result we still have the FIDE world champion, Veselin Topalov, and the classical world champion, Vladimir Kramnik. Their negotiations to stage a match were aborted last week.
Yazici is a tireless chess promoter who organized over 60 major events, including world championships and European championships. Thanks to his initiative, chess is now taught in all primary schools in Turkey.
Any time you have so many talented players participating in an event such as the sixth World Team Championship in the Israeli town of Beersheba this month, you can expect to see many creative ideas. The American grandmaster Boris Gulko chipped in with an improvement in a sharp line of the Richter-Rauzer Sicilian against the Cuban grandmaster Lenier Dominguez. After castling in opposite directions, both sides unleashed their pawns to destroy the enemy kings. Gulko lost the battle after he provided white with a target to attack.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.0-0-0 0-0 9.f3 (Dominguez prefers rolling his kingside pawns to the central play 9.f4.) 9...a6 10.h4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 b5 12.Kb1 Qc7 13.Qd2 b4 (Advancing the pawns immediately makes more sense than the often played 13...Rd8. Black rarely gets to play through the center.) 14.Ne2 a5 (Gulko tries to improve on his game against Benjamin from the U.S. championship in Seattle in 2000, where he wasted time with 14...Rb8.) 15.Nd4 Ba6!? (Gulko's new idea. The exchange of the light bishops eliminates one good attacking piece.) 16.Bxa6 Rxa6 17.Qe2 Rb6 18.g4 Rc8 19.h5 h6? (Black is not only providing white with a target, but he is also chasing the bishop where it wants to go anyway. It was preferable to create attacking chances on the queenside and let white find a way how to breach black's defensive wall on the other wing. For example, after 19...a4 20.Be3 [20.h6 is met by 20...g6] 20...Nd7 21.g5 a3 22.g6 axb2 23.h6! hxg6 24.hxg7 and now black can survive either after 24...Kxg7 or after 24...Bf6. The combination 19...Nxe4?! 20.Bxe7 Ng3 21.Qd2 Nxh1 22.Bh4 a4 23.Rxh1 Qc3 24.Rd1 d5 seems to be to white's advantage.) 20.Be3 Nd7 (A clever defense, hoping to lure white to take the exchange.)
21.Rhg1! (Preparing an assault against the black king. Dominguez is not interested in winning the exchange with 21.Nb5?! since after 21...Rxb5 22.Qxb5 Qxc2+ 23.Ka1 Bf6 24.Rb1 Nc5, his attack on the kingside is stopped and black threatens to win with 25...Nd3.) 21...Bf6 22.g5! (White opens the lines against the enemy king first.) 22...hxg5 23.Bxg5 Kh8 24.Bxf6! (Eliminating a vital defender of the pawn on g7.) 24...Nxf6 25.Rg5 (By attacking the pawn on a5, white wins a tempo to double his rooks.) 25...a4 26.Qd2?! (The direct 26.Rdg1! is more to the point, for example 26...Ne8 27.Qg2 f6 28.Rg6 and white breaks with h5-h6.) 26...Qe7 (Reacting to the threat 27.Nb5, black also brings the queen to help his king.) 27.Rdg1 Rg8 (The black king is boxed in the corner. White would love to toss away his h-pawn to deliver a deadly check on the h-file.) 28.Qg2 Ne8? (Black should have defended the pawn on g7 with 28...Qg7, leaving the knight on f6.)
29.Rg6! (A splendid rook turn, jamming the g-pawn. At the same time white is threatening to win outright with 30.Rh6+!) 29...Qf8 (After 29...fxg6 30.hxg6 Qh4 31.Rh1 Qh6 32.Nxe6 white should win. And after 29...Kh7 30.h6! fxg6 31.Qxg6+ Kh8 32.Rh1! white mates soon.) 30.Nxe6! (Paving the way to clear the h-file.) 30...fxe6 31.h6 Qf7 (White now mates, but even after 31...Rb7 32.Rh1 gxh6 33.Rgxh6+ Qxh6 34.Rxh6+ Rh7 35.Rxh7+ Kxh7 36.Qh3+ Kg7 37.Qxe6 white still succeeds, albeit more slowly.) 32.Rh1! (An elegant finish, threatening 33.hxg7 mate.) Black resigned.
Igor Ivanov (1947-2005)
The Utah grandmaster Igor Ivanov died last Thursday at the age of 58. He won the USCF Grand Prix competition nine times, and it is estimated that he played some 7,000 games in his career. Ivanov was also a prolific chess teacher and an outstanding musician. We published his most exciting game on April 25, accessible at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/24/AR2005042401193.html. Solutionto today's study by L. Kubbel (White: Kc7,Rh4,Ba4,P:b2,f2,f4; Black: Ke6,Qg6,P:d3,f6): 1.f5+! Kxf5 2.Bd7+ Ke5 3.f4+ Kd5 4.Bc6+ Kc5 5.b4+ Kxb4 6.f5+ and white wins.