Chess

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Mind Games -

HANG on to your chess­boards, ‘cos Garry Kas­parov’s com­ing to town.

The leg­endary for­mer world cham­pion is ex­pected to head Down Un­der around Easter.

Among other things, he’s sched­uled to present prizes at the fa­mous Doe­berl Cup chess tour­na­ment in Can­berra.

There’s also talk that he might meet Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott.

Kas­parov is cur­rently cam­paign­ing to be­come the next pres­i­dent of the World Chess Fed­er­a­tion, and no doubt he’s keen to win Aus­tralia’s vote. I hope he gets it: he’s an en­er­getic pub­lic­ity-mag­net who would lift the game’s pro­file and may be able to at­tract new spon­sor­ship. And he could hardly do worse than his op­po­nent, the chaotic in­cum­bent Kir­san Ilyumzhi­nov.

Kas­parov be­came world cham­pion in 1985, aged 22, and held the ti­tle for a re­mark­able 15 years. He’s also well known for los­ing to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, a turn­ing point in the bat­tle be­tween hu­mans and com­put­ers.

Since re­tir­ing from chess in 2005, Kas­parov has been a tire­less hu­man rights cam­paigner and vo­cal op­po­nent of au­to­cratic Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. He’s also writ­ten sev­eral highly re­garded books.

Kas­parov is not the only for­eign star at­tend­ing the Doe­berl Cup. In­de­fati­ga­ble or­gan­iser Charles Bishop tells me that no fewer than seven grand­mas­ters have signed up for the na­tion’s pre­mier tour­na­ment, in­clud­ing the very strong Ro­ma­nian Di­eter Nisi­peanu (rated 2691, No 55 in the world), Dutch­man Loek Van Wely (2678) and Ar­me­nia’s Hrant Melkumyan (2630). Leading the lo­cal charge will be new Aus­tralian cham­pion Max Illing­worth.

A flood of early en­tries has or­gan­is­ers hop­ing for record num­bers at this year’s event.

The Doe­berl has been go­ing since 1963 and is con­sid­ered the best tour­na­ment of its kind. Not only does it at­tract a galaxy of star play­ers, it is al­ways very well or­gan­ised with a unique at­mos­phere and an air of ca­ma­raderie. To find out more, visit doe­berl­cup.com.au or check out Bill Egan’s ex­cel­lent book on the tour­na­ment (we­gan@pcug.org.au).

An­other very strong event – the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional Open – will be held im­me­di­ately af­ter the Doe­berl Cup. De­tails: sio.nswca.org.au

Here is one of Kas­parov’s great­est games.

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