The great chess opera

10/1/2003 – Did you like this morning's story about Brussels 1987? Soon after we had published it we got a letter telling us that the tournament had produced something even better than Plaskett's puzzle: an operatic aria composed around a game between Ljubojevic and Kasparov. This you have to hear to believe!

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Better than Plaskett’s Puzzle

Soon after we had published the story about Plaskett's Puzzle we received the following letter:

Your interesting article on Jim Plaskett’s chess puzzle and the Swift super-GM in Brussels in 1987 ignored, in my opinion, the really best thing that came from that tournament. The very talented Murielle Lucie Clement wrote a short opera – one aria, really – based on a game between Ljubomir Ljubojevic and Garry Kasparov played in the blitz tournament that was held there. Ljubo won the game, Garry the blitz tournament, three points ahead of the field.

For a long time the opera has not been available, but now you can download the complete piece, with the wonderfully talented Ms. Clement singing the part of the “White Queen” (Ljubojevic).

Susan Grumer

On the above page you can click "ecouter" (= listen) to hear a small segment of the aria. Click the download icon on the bottom right to retrieve the entire piece, a 4 MB file in MP3 format. For your pleasure Susan Grumer has transcribed the key passages of the libretto and inserted them into the relevant positions in the game. The best way to experience this unusual chess feast is to download the MP3 file, start it in your media player, return to this page and read the score while listening to it.

Ljubojevic,L (2620) - Kasparov,G (2735) [A21]
Brussels blitz Brussels, 1987

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 f5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.e3 g6 6.Nge2 Bg7 7.0-0 0-0.

What shall I do now? Now he is thinking. Shall I drink coffee? Yes, why not? He thinks he has time to drink coffee. 8.d3 c6 9.b4 Be6 10.b5 d5 11.bxc6 bxc6 12.Qa4 g5 13.Ba3.

To his answer there is a solution. 13...Rf7. He thinks I'll escape his way. Wait, my friend look what I do! 14.Rac1 Rd7 15.Bb4 a5. Hazy now. 16.Ba3 Bf7 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Nb5 Na6 19.Rc6 Nb4 20.Bxb4 axb4 21.Qxb4 Rxa2 22.Nec3 Ra8 23.Nd6 Bf8 24.Nxf7 Rxf7 25.Qb3 Ra3 26.Qc2 e4 27.dxe4 dxe4 28.Rd1 Qe8 29.Nb5 Ra2 30.Qc4 Ra4 31.Qc2 Ra2 32.Qxa2 Qxc6 33.Nd4 Qd5 34.Qc2 Ng4 35.h3 Ne5 36.Nxf5 Nd3 37.g4 h5 38.Qc8 Qa2 39.Rf1 Kh7 40.Bxe4

I/he won this game! 1-0

Susan Grumer was introduced to the world of chess as a player on the Men’s Team from the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 1972 Olympiad in Skopje. By coincidence she shared the spotlight with Yugoslavia’s newest grandmaster, Ljubomir Ljubojevic, because she was seven months pregnant at the time. After a long absence from playing the game, she recently returned to chess and can be found on Mig Greengard’s training site, www.chessninja.com as inky1.


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