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|June 7, 1999||
Anand, Karpov set for 'Advanced Chess'
In late April, just as India was going crazy, getting ready for World Cup cricket, Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand was hoping to take a quiet well-deserved break. He had completed four hectic months of chess super-tournaments.
He must also have been hoping to prepare for his upcoming 'Advanced Chess' encounter with Anatoly Karpov, scheduled to start on June 10. As things turned out, it was not to be a quiet break at all. He made sports headlines - twice.
First, he won the 1998 Chess Oscar for the second consecutive year. The selection of the Chess Oscar winner is a democratic process, where top chess journalists from over 50 countries submit lists of the year's best. Anand won handily over his two nearest rivals, Morezovich and Kasparov.
Unbelievably, Anand's 1998 performance had even outshone his spectacular one a year earlier.
Next, he made headlines again, when the announcement for the privately sponsored 'Ultimate World Chess Championship' (UWCC) match between Anand and Garry Kasparov was made. Anand had signed a contractual agreement with FIDE that forbids his playing in any other championship series. In order to honour this, he has bowed out of FIDE's own World Championship tourney, which is to be held in August. For the UWCC match, Anand and Kasparov are slated to play a total of 16 games, sometime in October. The venue is likely to be Prague, with a total purse of US $3million for the match.
But first, Anand must face Karpov in Leon, Spain. 'Advanced Chess' is an ultra-modern chess format, where players can work with a chess-playing computer before making the moves.
The idea behind an 'Advanced Chess' match is very sound, especially if it is two GMs who are duelling. The computer will take care of the tactics and the long calculations in different variations. The GMs will do the strategic thinking, a facet where humans are considered vastly superior.
This is only the second year that an 'Advanced Chess' match is being held. Last year, Garry Kasparov and Vaselin Topalov played in the same format, and Kasparov won. Anand was to challenge Garry this year, but Kasparov had some differences with the organisers and pulled out of the match.
Anand and Karpov will play a total of six games, two every day for three days. Each player is given only one hour for the entire game, so that there is the element of time pressure. In standard games, each player typically gets two hours to make the first forty moves.
If Anand wins this match, it will be a great way to begin his preparations for his World Championship challenge. Also, a cricket-crazy nation may take a moment off to applaud, before turning its eyes back at Lord's cricket ground.
Mail Sports Editor
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