The ongoing World Championship tournament in New Delhi is supposed to be
the world body FIDE's showcase for the world.
That being the case, after only a few days of play, the Delhi organisers
have succeeded brilliantly in capturing FIDE's contemptuous attitude to
both elite chess players and their fans.
Competition has taken place in a cramped playing hall, so small that the
organisers were contemplating banning spectators for the first round in
order to provide extra space for the players.
Eventually spectators were given view of a few of the games through a
single aisle in the middle of the playing hall, albeit too close for
comfort for the competitors unlucky enough to be playing next to the aisle
- complaints about the noise level were frequent. Before the tournament,
the organisers had promised that spectators would enjoy head-set commentary
from Grandmasters such as Valery Salov, but no service has been evident to
The tournament media centre, initially featuring a single telephone, has
doubled as an analysis room for the players, causing further congestion.
(The Indian press has been extremely harsh on the organisers, "a mess"
being one of the more polite sescriptions of the event.)
Tensions also remain high between FIDE and the Delhi organisers. After
months of failure in the hunt for sponsors, the organisers had shortly
before the start of the tournament sold naming rights to a local company
NIIT, a technology company, had already established links to chess through
their advertising campaign during the cricket World Cup which gave Indian
cricket lovers the privilege of seeing a campaign featuring Viswanatahn
Anand between almsot every over.
However upon his arrival in New delhi, FIDE President Kirsan Iljumzhinov
was offended that the NITT deal had not been cleared with him and forced
the organisers to remove all signage referring to the NIIT World
Championships. Iljumzhinov claimed that since NIIT was sponsoring the
Championship to the tune of 'only' $US128,000 and he had given $50m to
chess (or so he claimed), they had no right to take naming rights to 'his'
Over the board, Australia's Alex Wohl failed to survive the first round,
although he was in good company, with Vladimir Kramnik's aide Joel Lautier
and Ukrainian wonder-kid Ruslan Ponomariov also being eliminated at the
same stage of the tournament.
** The following game was played in the British club competition last
Opening: Queen's Gambit Accepted
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 d5 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 Bg4 5.Bxc4 e6 6.h3 Bh5 7.Nbd2 Nbd7 8.g4
Looks aggressive but achieves little.
9...Be4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Nf3 h5 12.Bd3 Ng5 13.Nxg5?!
13.gxh5 Nxf3+ 14.Qxf3 Ne5!? 15.dxe5 Qxd3 16.Qxb7 Rd8 17.Qc6+ leads to a
draw, a result which, by now, should satisfy White.
13...Qxg5 14.Be4 c6 15.Bf3 hxg4 16.hxg4 Rxh1+ 17.Bxh1 Bb4+ 18.Kf1 0-0-0
19.a3 Be7 20.Bd2 Rh8 21.Bf3 Qb5+!?
Rather greedy, but a direct kingside attack is unlikely to be successful.
22.Kg1 Qxb2 23.Rb1 Qa2 24.a4 Bd6 25.Be1 Bh2+ 26.Kg2 Bc7 27.Ra1 Qb2 28.Rb1
Qa3 29.Qc2 Qd6 30.Qb3 Nb6 (Diagram) 31.a5?
31.Kf1 was necessary, although after 31...Kd7 Black stays on top. Ftacnik,
however, did not see the danger.
On 32.Kxh1, Qh2 is mate.
32...Qh2+ 33.Kf3 Bg3?
Too clever by half. 33...Qh3+! 34.Ke2 Qf1+ 35.Kd2 Nc4+ - as noticed by some
of the onlookers - would have won immediately. The text move hopes for
34.axb6 Rxe1! but Ftacnik finds an ingenious defence.
34.Qb2! Qh3 35.fxg3!
Not 35.axb6 Bxf2+! and Black wins
35...Rh2 36.axb6! Rxb2 37.Rxb2 axb6
Sadly forced, since 37...Qh1+ 38.Kf2! Qxe4? loses to 38.bxa7.
38.Kf2 b5 Draw Agreed
Material is in rough balance and after 39.Bf3 neither side has any clear