The people behind Accoona Chess

6/6/2005 – On June 21st Rustam Kasimdzhanov will play against a computer. There are still a bunch of free tickets available for the gala event, staged by the Accoona, in the ABC Times Square Studios in New York. But why is a search engine company involved in chess, we hear you ask. The answer is Armand Rousso.

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First the event: if you feel like visiting the ABC Studios on New York's Times Square to watch the match, which will take place on June 21 at 5 p.m., then there is still time to write in for a free invitation. The Accoona organisers have given us 225 tickets to distribute among ChessBase news readers who live in the area – or who are willing to make the trip to New York to attend. There are still just under 100 tickets left. You can use the form given below to apply for one. People who have already done so should not write in again. They will be contacted with a confirmation in the course of this week.


The ABC studios, were the Man vs Machine chess event will be held

After our previous articles a number of readers wrote in to ask why a company that runs an Internet search engine is so intensely involved in chess. The simple answer is that the people behind the enterprise are all great chess aficionados – in fact they include a chess grandmaster who was second to a world champion for many years. Figures.

The Players

Accoona Corp is a company that has launched a Google-like search engine, which provides Artificial Intelligence techniques to enhance the search, and in addition instant business profile information on millions of companies from the Dun & Bradstreet databases. There was a lot of skepticism, after Accoona's launch in December, about the viability of yet another search engine, but today's Alexa rankings (as we write) show Accoona to be number 387 of all web sites in the world – definitely not something to be sneezed at.

SPBD Consulting Group is located in New York City and provides industry expertise and entrepreneurial experience to create new ventures like the Accoona project. SPBD’s founder, Armand Rousso, has been driving Internet enterprises for more than 20 years, and is widely credited for inventing and launching the first Internet e-Commerce company in the world, The International Stamp Exchange. SPBD is currently branching out into biotechnology research.

The Chess Connection

Armand Rousso, Founder and Chairman of SPBD Consulting Corp.; Founder of X3D Technologies Corporation and Accoona Corporation. 1984-1988 Rousso created the first Internet E-commerce company in the world. In 1993 he helped to create the first commodity trading exchange in Moscow, in 1994-1998 he was a co-founder in the US of the first Internet cable company, the first disposable phone company and one of the first phone card companies. From 2000-2004 Rousso founded X3D Technologies, the world’s largest 3D company, and organized four chess spectaculars in New York City: Karpov vs Kasparov, Kasparov vs Deep Junior, Kasparov vs X3D Fritz and the Accoona Women's Chess Championship. He also sponsored the first ACP Internet Championship. All links are given below.

Armand Rousso is an avid amateur chess player who likes to play informal blitz games against players of any strength (up to GM).

Others in the team include Chief Executive Officer Jonathan McCann and V.P. for Technology Alex Jao. These are the people who look after us during the chess events. Alex, for instance, was the person who set up the hardware for the 2003 computer match in New York between Garry Kasparov and X3D-Fritz.


Alex Jao with the X3D-Fritz team that played Garry Kasparov in November 2003


SPBD CEO Jonathan McCann with President Bill Clinton

The events

The involvement in chess by the SPBD and Accoona executives goes back to 2002, when the first rapid chess match between the old rivals Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov was staged in the ABC Times Square studios in New York. Since then there have been a list of sterling events, most of which generated more publicity than any of the major chess events staged in the world today.

  • Man vs Machine in virtual reality: The world's strongest chess player, Garry Kasparov took on a chess program called X3D Fritz. The match was conducted on a virtual reality chessboard which floated in the air in front of Kasparov. Final score: 2:2.

  • Kasparov vs Deep Junior: The match, announced by FIDE, was staged in the posh Athletic Club in New York by Armand Rousso, who collected clippings from over 45,000 articles that appeared on the match.

  • Accoona Women's Championship in New York: Irina Krush defeated Almira Skripchenko in the qualifier and then went down to Women's World Champion Zhu Chen in March this year.

  • X3D Rapid Chess Match Kasparov vs Karpov: The four-game match between the two ex world champions took place in the ABC Times Square studio in New York in December 2002.

  • ACP Inaugural Tournament: Scores of grandmasters took place in the first major event staged by the professional chess players' association, which was sponsored by ChinaCom, the predecessor of Accoona.


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