When SOCOG's Bob Elphinston met World Chess Federation (FIDE) representatives in Lausanne earlier this month, the world chess body had a last chance to rehabilitate its discredited assertion that chess would be a demonstration sport at the Sydney Olympics.
The parties agreed in principle to cooperate on organising a chess exhibition during
Sydney 2000, but SOCOG and FIDE appear to have vastly differing ideas of some important
details of the event. According to Elphinston, "The IOC has requested that we agree
to a Chess exhibition in the Village... with all costs being met by the International
Chess Federation, FIDE. They will select the 4 top Chess players in the world - 2 men and
2 women who will play against the athletes in the Village
and also provide an excellent form of entertainment for interested athletes."
Yet FIDE, who are hardly in a position to offer the services of Garry Kasparov or his peers, claim only to have an event which would "involve four of our leading players". In addition FIDE dispute that they will have to fund the event, saying "we are still trying to come to terms with the IOC on the funding of the exhibition." SOCOG were perhaps hoping for a repeat of the spectacular show at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when Kasparov gave a simultaneous display against Olympic competitors. They will therefore be more than surprised to learn that FIDE has recently written to the Australian Chess Federation asking them to "draw up the list of local participants in the exhibition" as well as asking the ACF to seek sponsorship for the project.
So, unfortunately for SOCOG and Australian chess fans, we are unlikely to see any overseas chess superstars in Australia in September. While the Olympic Village may yet host a chess exhibition of sorts, chess, unlike bridge, appears to be as far away as ever from being considered an Olympic sport.
A classic attack from the first of this year's World Championship qualifiers.
Pula Zonal 2000
Opening: Bishop's Opening
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Bb3 d5 5.Nf3 Bd6!? 6.Nc3 dxe4 7.Nxe4 Nxe4 8.dxe4 Qe7?!
9.Ng5! 0-0 10.Nxh7!! Kxh7 11.Qh5+ Kg8 12.Bg5 Qc7 13.Rd1! Nd7 14.Rd3 Nc5 15.Rg3 Be7 16.Bh6
Bf6 17.Qg6! Qa5+
On 17...Nxb3 18.Qxf6 mates.
18.c3 Qd8 19.Bxg7 Nxb3 20.Qh6 Qd2+ 21.Qxd2 Nxd2 22.Bxf6+ Kh7 23.Kxd2 Be6 24.Kc2 a5 25.Rd1 Rg8 26.b3 a4 27.Kb2 axb3 28.axb3 Rxg3 29.hxg3 Ra5 30.f4 exf4 31.gxf4 Bg4 32.Rd8 1-0
April Chess Competition
Solution: 1.d3 e5 2.Bh6 Qg5 3.Qc1 Qxc1+ 4.Bxc1 f6.
Prizewinners: 1st. S.Hill, Wahroonga; Runners-up. R.Schinaia, Ascot Vale
(Vic); P.Brown, Wallabi Point; T.Chisholm, Killara; G.Sepers, Blacktown;