YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Champions Unite to Chide Officials


April 27, 2001

Position No. 5635: White to play and win. From the game Pikula--Savic, Yugoslavia 2001.

Solution to Position No. 5634: White wins with 1 Nf6! Bxf6 2 Rxc7 Bxh4 3 Rgxg7. If 1 . . . gxf6 2 Rxc7 or 1 . . . Qf7 2 fxe5 Rxc1 3 Rxc1 gxf6 4 Bxf6+ Kg8 5 Rg1+ Kf8 6 Rg7, Black loses too much material.


World champion Vladimir Kramnik and former champions Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov set aside their differences to release a powerful joint statement. The champions wrote, "The time-honored traditions and rules of classical chess are not to be toyed with." They criticized the World Chess Federation for trying to accelerate games and for attempting to replace the traditional two-player world championship match with a monstrous 100-player knockout tournament.

The full text of the letter and a subsequent interview with Kramnik were posted at In the interview, Kramnik came across as a sensible fellow with a conciliatory attitude, saying, "Personally, I am ready to cooperate with FIDE under the stipulation that this organization will change its policies." He added, "The chess community and outsiders should know about serious problems that exist in chess." He complained that FIDE falsely portrays its policies as overdue reforms unanimously supported by top players and challenged FIDE to conduct a vote of those players on the format of the world championship.

Kramnik also addressed FIDE's efforts to promote chess. He said, "Chess will never be more popular than either soccer or tennis because this game is too complex." Decrying FIDE's neglect of "the cultural component" of chess, Kramnik said, "For most of the FIDE functionaries, chess is a mere product which should be sold at maximum profit."

Artiom Tarasov, whose company bought the rights to market FIDE's tournaments, seemed to confirm Kramnik's judgment when he said, "This struggle is an ordinary market competition." Tarasov repeated his threat to stage tournaments in conflict with those run by independent organizers who do not join FIDE's Grand Prix, saying, "War is war." Almost simultaneously, bumbling FIDE Executive Director Emmanuel Omuku wrote that FIDE would not make such a threat.

Tarasov's interview and a brief statement by several grandmasters critical of Karpov are posted at

Kasparov defeated British businessman Terence Chapman, 2 1/2-1 1/2, in their charity match last weekend in London. Playing with a two-pawn handicap, Kasparov won the first and fourth games. Chapman, who appears to be master strength, won the third game convincingly. Will other stars experiment with the entertaining match format?

Kramnik and Kasparov will compete in a 25-minute tournament Saturday and Sunday in Zurich. The tournament honors Viktor Korchnoi, who celebrated his 70th birthday last month. Korchnoi, former world champion Boris Spassky and other stars will participate. For coverage, visit


David Ayvazyan became state junior high champion Saturday in Castaic by winning the Championship section of the Southern California State Junior High Championship. Ayvazyan scored a perfect 4-0, including an upset victory over his teammate, expert Alen Melikamanian, in the final round. They led Toll Middle School of Glendale to the team title.

David Grigoryan swept the Junior Varsity (under-1,000) section, scoring 5-0. Gregory Comanor, Alex Siemons and Eric Vetter all achieved perfect 5-0 scores in the Booster (under-700) section. Meadows School of Santa Clarita took team honors in both sections.

A total of 198 students competed.

State champion Levon Altounian and IM Varuzhan Akobian shared first place in the Ventura County Open last weekend in Thousand Oaks. Each scored 3 1/2- 1/2, including a quick draw in their third-round encounter.

Carsten Hansen (a visitor from Denmark), Ron Hermansen and John Hillery tied for third place at 3-1. The surprisingly strong 24-player Open section featured 11 masters.

Sterling Conway-Jones swept the 52-player Amateur (under-1,800) section with a perfect 4-0 score. William Au and Gary Ware finished second and earned Class B honors with scores of 3 1/2- 1/2. Lisa Edmondson earned the prize for best woman with 3-1. Karl Longos, Mark Luttrull, Patrick Meherin, Arkadiy Onikul and Robert Salas shared the under-1,400 and unrated prizes at 2-2.

Dan Nystrom and Chuck Smith of the Ventura County Chess Club directed the tournament. The excellent turnout can be attributed to three factors: a pleasant setting that encourages entrants to compete every year, a moderate entry fee and the dearth of conflicting tournaments.

Los Angeles Times Articles