Another big congress in Yalta?

6/11/2003 – The FIDE world championship match between Ruslan Ponomariov and Garry Kasparov was scheduled to begin next week in Buenos Aires. Then it was postponed to November 2003. Now it looks like it might be held in Yalta (Ukraine) in early September – at least according to our tireless investigative reporter John Henderson.

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11 June, 2003. The on-off-on-off again saga of title matches that were supposed to pave the way for unification in the chess world looks to have taken yet another twist.

There's speculation that the Ruslan Ponomariov – Garry Kasparov match, which was scheduled to start this month in Buenos Aires, but was then tentatively slated for November, may now be moved to Yalta in the Ukraine, starting early September. Ukrainian sources say the change was made following a weekend meeting in Kiev between the country's president, Leonid Kuchma, and FIDE President Kirsan Ilumzhinov.


Picture from a previous world summit in Yalta

And, just to confuse matters even more, it is also rumoured now that, after Einstein's recent announcement of failing to find a sponsor or venue for the Vladimir Kramnik – Peter Leko match, FIDE may step in to (dis?) organise this one also, with the touted venue being...Buenos Aires! Whatever you do, just don't buy early tickets for any of these matches!

A recent article in The Spectator magazine plays on Kirsan's supposed cordial relationship with former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. There is some truth in this allegation as he was officially the last person out of Iraqi after a brief visit to one of Saddam's Palaces to meet his son, Uday – just two days before hostilities began back in March.

The article goes even further and leans heavily towards explaining where some of Ilumzhinov's mysterious wealth has come from, which to-date has propped up chess to the tune of some $30 million – even venturing to suggest where Hussein has gone to, as Ilumzhinov is also president of the Russian region of Kalmykia.

Wherever and whenever Ponamriov finally meets Kasparov, he will have the added confidence of going into the match with a morale-boosting win. The young Ukrainian added his name to the illustrious list of Leon champions that includes Kasparov, Vishy Anand, and Kramnik, as he defeated Bulgarian super-GM Veselin Topalov 2.5-1.5 in the final.

In a closely fought match, Ponomariov had the good fortune to win the decisive third game from initially a lost position (43 Rxg6+! and Black has to give up the queen to avoid mate after 43...hxg6 44.Qf6.), and then on time when his opponent had a repetition on the board and failed to make a move despite having a 10 second increment per move!

V Topalov – R Ponomariov 16th Ciudad de Leon, (2.3) French Winawer 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Qg4 Qa5 8 Bd2 0-0 9 Bd3 Nbc6 10 Nf3 f5 11 exf6 Rxf6 12 Qh5 Nf5 13 Ne5 c4 14 Bxf5 Rxf5 15 Qe8+ Rf8 16 Nxc6 bxc6 17 Qxc6 Rb8 18 0-0 Rb2 19 Bf4 Qxc3 20 Bd6 Rb6 21 Qc7 Rb7 22 Qc5 Re8 23 Qc6 Rd8 24 Rab1 Rxb1 25 Rxb1 Qxc2 26 Rf1 Qg6 27 Qc7 Qe8 28 Be5 Qd7 29 Qc5 Qb7 30 h3 Re8 31 Re1 Bd7 32 Qa5 Rc8 33 Re3 Be8 34 Rg3 Bg6 35 h4 Qb6 36 Qa4 Qb7 37 h5 Be8 38 Qd1 g6 39 Qg4 Qb1+ 40 Kh2 Qf5 41 Qh4 c3 42 Rg5 Qe4 43 Rg4 Qf5 44 Rg5 Qe4 45 Qh3 Rc6 46 hxg6 Bxg6 47 Qh6 Kf7 48 f3 Qe1 49 Rxg6 Qxe5+ 50 dxe5 hxg6 51 Qh7+ Kf8 52 Qd7 Rc4 53 Qd8+ Kg7 54 Qf6+ Kh7 55 Qf7+ Kh6 56 Qf8+ Kh7 57 Qe7+ Kh8 58 Qf6+ 0-1

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