HENRY Kissinger is well known in chess circles for having telephoned Bobby Fischer, urging America’s reluctant dragon to board a plane to Reykjavik, Iceland, to begin his match with then world champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union.
It was July 1972, Kissinger was Richard Nixon’s presidential adviser and ideology was at the forefront of foreign policy. The master strategist purportedly opened with: ‘‘ This is one of the worst chess players in the world speaking to the best.’’
Somehow Fischer did arrive and the match was completed. Prevailing by a margin of four points, he became the new world champion.
Fast forward to July this year. Barack Obama is in the White House and Kissinger, retired, is being interviewed for German magazine In the following illuminating exchange, Kissinger makes allusions to chess.
Do you think it was helpful for Obama to deliver a speech to the Islamic world in Cairo? Or has he created a lot of illusions about what politics can deliver?
Kissinger: Obama is like a chess player who is playing simultaneous chess and has opened his game with an unusual opening. Now he’s got to play his hand as he plays his various counterparts. We haven’t gotten beyond the opening game move yet. I have no quarrel with the opening move.
‘‘ Obama is like a chess master’’ proclaimed headline.
Armenian superstar Levon Aronian has convincingly won this year’s Grand Slam
A. Sadikov: White to play and draw final at Bilbao, Spain, with a round to spare. He had replaced world-rated No. 1 Veselin Topalov, winner of this year’s Nanjing tournament, who withdrew because of reduced prize money.
It was a four-player, double-round event, with an unusual point-scoring system designed to reward positive outcomes: three points for a win, one for a draw. Final standings under the Bilbao and traditional scoring systems were: Aronian (second placegetter at Nanjing) 13 and 4.5; Sergey Karjakin (winner at Wijk aan Zee) 8 and 3; Alexander Grischuk (winner at Linares) 7 and 3; Alexei Shirov (winner at Sofia) 3 and 1.5.
Australian Open champion Aleks Wohl, an international master, has won the strong Wiesbaden Open in Germany with a ratings performance of 2685. Shane Dibley of Sydney has won the International Correspondence Chess Federation’s IM title.
The Melbourne Chess Club, established in 1866, is the longest continuously operating chess club in the southern hemisphere. Now located on the corner of Leicester and Fitzroy Streets, it is open daily from 5pm. The club can be reached by telephoning (03) 9416 3149. Its website, www.melbournechessclub.org, is well worth a visit.
Last week’s solutions: (1) 1.Rxe4 Qxg3 2.Rxd4! Qg4 (the black queen has no safe flight square) 3.Rxg4 Bxg4 4.Bxg6 and Fischer won. (2) Key 1.Ng6, threat 2.Nh4#. If 1 . . . Nc6 2.Qf6#, or 1 . . . Bc4 2.Qe5#, or 1 . . . N(a5)c4 2.Qd3#, or 1 . . . N(e3)c4 2.Qxf3#, or 1 . . . Ng2 2.Qc5#. Phil Viner