CHESS

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

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

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