Reminders, as Tennyson expressed it, that the old order changeth, continue to arrive in the chess world. Following the death of former world champion Vasily Smyslov and the Great Dane, Bent Larsen, news has arrived that Boris Spassky, 75, former world champion and longtime adversary of Bobby Fischer, suffered a stroke in Moscow, while visiting as a guest at the Women’s Blitz championship. Although his life was in danger, latest reports are that he is in stable condition, can eat and move around, though he has suffered some paralysis on one side.
Also, in a reminder that chess is not solvable by human beings playing over the board, youngster Magnus Carlsen, the No. 1 rated player in the world, lost three games, as first board for Norway. One loss was to Baadur Jobava of Georgia, a second to England’s Mickey Adams, and lastly to Sanan Sjugirov, a 17-year-old Russian. This game will be published in a subsequent column. Carlsen has been generous with his appearances and cavalier with his openings and needs to buckle down.
However, change has simply not assaulted FIDE, the world chess organization. Anatoly Karpov, backed by his ancient foe, Garry Kasparov, girdled the earth in an attempt to unseat current president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, but as Belgium’s Bessel Kok did before him, Karpov, sporting a message of greater sponsorship without Ilyumzhinov, failed to unseat his rival. Ilyumzhinov has offered him a vice presidency. Kirsan does not obey Tennyson’s pronouncement about yielding to the new. The only way to remove Ilyumzhinov would be for the European nations, the United States, and a few others to create their own organization with representative voting rights, but they apparently do not have the funds and/or will to do so.
Let us, however, return to the Olympiad, where the real change was going on. It was an assembly of 147 men’s teams, with five men’s teams from Russia. There were 115 women’s teams, including three from Russia. The American team has been strong, consisting of Hikaru Nakamura, Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, Yuri Shulman, and Robert Hess. Their final scores, respectively, were 6-4, 7-3, 5.5-4.5,5.5-4.5, and 3-1. The team was running near the top but finally faltered (losses by Kamsky and Shulman) in the penultimate 10th round with a loss against Israel. The United States ended in ninth place.
The victor was the Ukrainian team, headed by Vassily Ivanchuk scoring a sensational 8-2. Second place was Russia-1, with the Israeli team in third. Russia-1 won the women’s Olympiad with a perfect 11-0 score. The American women’s team, headed by Irina Krush, ended strongly in fifth place.
Brevity: A, Santasiere vs. E.B. Adams (c. 1926) 1.d4 d5 2.e3 e6 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.Nd2 Bd6 5.f4 Nc6 6.c3 Ne7 7.Nh3 0–0 8.0–0 Bd7 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Ng6 11.Nxf6+ gxf6 12.f5 exf5 13.Bxf5 Bxf5 14.Rxf5 Kh8 15.Qh5 Rg8 16.Qxh7+ Kxh7 17.Rh5+ Kg7 18.Bh6+ Kh8 19.Bf8 mate.
Winners: Maine v. N.H. match (10 players, two rounds), N.H. 11-Maine 9. Top scorers, Patrick Sciacca, Erin Dame, both of N.H., 2-0. David Plotkin of Maine, 2-0. Boylston Thursday night Swiss, tie for 1st, Eric Goden and Alex Slive, 3.5-.5; 3d Bernardo Iglesias, 2.5-1.5
Coming Events: Boylston Legends, Ernst Grunfeld Saturday, 240B Elm St., Somerville www.Boylstonchessclub.org; Max Malyutta Memorial Saturday, Blackstone Chess Academy. 250 Main St., Pawtucket, R.I. Info: Rhodeislandchess@yahoo.com