GCF’s first Olympiad fundraiser set for next Saturday

Poland’s Jan-Krzyszytof Duda, who briefly led the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany, which is an eight-player, round-robin grandmaster competition. The Sparkassen Meeting is Duda’s first super tournament of his career. (Photo: Macauley Peterson) 

The Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) will host a dinner at the Promenade Gardens, Middle St, on Saturday, July 28, from 7 pm, the first of a series of fundraisers to facilitate a team travelling to the 2018 Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia, in September.

Tickets for the dinner cost US$50 each or its equivalent and can be obtained from GCF President James Bond, and members Loris Nathoo, Yolander Persaud and Irshad Mohammed. A 10-member playing team in addition to a sprinkling of senior officials will participate in matters relating to chess in Batumi.

The Olympiad is a mammoth team tournament at which 170 countries participated in 2016. Participation is usually high for the Olympiads because there are credible opportunities to achieve FIDE titles of significance. The Olympiad requires each participating nation to field ten members for both the men and women’s playing teams. 

On Sunday July 15, the chess world celebrated the 90th birthday of Hungarian/US Grandmaster Pal Benko, the progenitor of the famous Benko Gambit. All professional chess players would have heard of the Benko Gambit. Guyana’s most prolific chess exponent Maurice Broomes played the gambit against Cuba’s Guillermo Estevez at the 1975 Caribbean Chess Championship in Georgetown. The gambit entails the sacrifice of a pawn early on for vigorous play. Benko played in two World Championship Candidates tournaments and is a renowned composer of endgame studies and problems. (Photo: Benko in Budapest, 2013 by Diana Mihajlova)

In international news, 20-year-old Polish chess champion Jan-Krzysztof Duda surrendered the lead he had briefly held in the 4th round of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany. A first-time competitor, Duda is ranked No 21 in the world and has a FIDE rating of 2737. He is No 1 among the junior grandmasters worldwide.

Other competitors include the Nos 5 and 6 in the world in Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik and the Netherlands’ Anish Giri.

Four grandmasters have now taken the lead in the Sparkassen meet, following Kramnik’s victory over Duda. Giri also won his 4th round match. The competition ends today.

Meanwhile, July 18 marked the 40th anniversary of the start of the Anatoly Karpov-Viktor Korchnoi 1978 World Championship Chess Match in Baguio City, Philippines.

A past world chess champion Karpov detailed his thoughts about his Candidates’ match with Korchnoi, in an interview with an eminent chess publication. Karpov was savouring his 184th tournament victory recently in Spain when he offered the interview. He spoke of Russia’s Arkady Dvorkovich’s run for the presidency of the World Chess Federation in September, and his growth and influence in chess. Incidentally, Dvorkovich was the person who organized the World Cup for FIFA in Russia.

Finally, chess enthusiasts from around the globe applauded renowned presenter of grand chess puzzles, grandmaster Pal Benko who turned 90 last Sunday. Benko is considered a master craftsman for creating and solving chess puzzles.

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