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Cubans set world record

April 30, 2004 11:23 IST

Cuba broke its own world record for the number of people playing chess at the same time in the same place on Thursday, with 13,000 players at the foot of Che Guevara's tomb, organizers said.

Former world chess champion and Grand Master Anatoly Karpov was on hand, playing 11 simultaneous games before the monument where the bones of the Argentine-born revolutionary icon lie in this central Cuban town.

Cuba set the previous world record for multi-board chess play on Dec. 7, 2002. According to the Guinness Book of Records, 11,320 Cubans played 5,660 simultaneous games of chess in Havana's Revolution Square.

On that day even Cuban President Fidel Castro turned out to play. But Castro, who is 77 and has been in power for 45 years, did not show up on Thursday.

Karpov, a living legend of world chess who dominated the game from 1975 to 1985, said he had been inspired to become a chess master by Cuban Jose Raul Capablanca, world champion from 1921 to 1927.

Guevara, who fought as a guerrilla alongside Castro in Cuba's Sierra Maestra mountains, was also a chess fan.

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