Europe vs Asia encounter in a fairly remote location

by ChessBase
9/17/2001 – Europe vs Asia encounter in a fairly remote location The rapid play encounter Europe vs Asia is currently under way (Sept. 16th-20th 2001) in the Batumi Opera House. Just getting to this remote location is quite an adventure, as the European team captain Alexander von Gleich reports. News, games and pictures from Batumi are available. More...

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Europe vs Asia

1. Schedule and games

The event takes place from September 16 – 20. The playing speed is 25 minutes for all moves with no increments per move. The men's and women's teams play all-play-all Scheveninger tournaments against each other.

Live coverage is available here...


  • Saturday, 15.9.2001: arrival
  • Sunday, 16.9.2001: openings ceremony

  • Monday:
    13.00 h: Round 1+2 women
    15.00 h: Round 1+2 men
    18.00 h: Round 3+4 women
    20.00 h: Round 3+4 men
  • Tuesday:
    15.00 h: round 5+6 men
    17.00 h: round 5+6 women
    19.00 h: round 7+8 men

  • Wednesday:
    15.00 h: round 9+10 men
    17.00 h: round 7+8 women
    19.00 h: round 11+12 men

Thursday: closing ceremony.

The teams

Europe   Asia
E1: Garry Kasparov, Russia   A1: Rustam Kasimdschanov, Usbekistan
E2: Loek van Wely, Netherlands   A2: Ye Jiangchuan, China
E3: Zurab Azmajparashvili, Georgia
  A3: Evgeny Vladimirov, Kasachstan
E4: Etienne Bacrot, France   A4: Utut Adianto, Indonesia
E5: Emil Sutowski, Israel   A5: Dao Thien Hai, Vietnam
E6: Mikhail Gurevich, Belgium   A6: Ian Rogers, Australia
E7: Maia Chiburdanidse, Georgia   A7: Xie Jun, China
E8: Ekatarina Kovalewskaia, Russia   A8: Xu Yuhua, China
E9: Nana Ioseliani, Georgia   A9: Zhu Chen, China
E10: Nino Gurieli
  A10: Hoang Than Trang, Vietnam
Alexander von Gleich, Germany (captain)
  Ignatius Leong, Singapore (captain)

Pictures and details of the players are available here...

Arrival of the players

Getting to Batumi is not that easy. Only a very few planes can land at the airport, and the paths carved through the country that they jokingly refer to as "roads" are certainly not the kind we are used to in the West.

A well-known joke is: How do you recognise a drunken driver in Tiflis? He drives in a straight line and does not avoid the potholes.

When the 1998 European Championship took place in Batumi, Alexander von Gleich decided to drive by car from his home in Tiflis to Batumi. Alexander owns a Jeep, but he still didn't succeed. Somewhere in the mountains he lost the road and had to give up his brave attempt.

All the players of the match Europe vs Asia travel via Turkey. They land in Trabzon, which is not far from the Turkish-Georgian border, and then drive to Batumi by car. Garry Kasparov refuse to take this route, having an excellent knowledge of the quality of the Georgian "roads". But if you cannot fly there, and cars and trains are not acceptable for the world's best player, what is left?

There are no problems without solutions for the art of Georgian improvisation. The railway company still owns a special train with two Pullman cars which in the days of the USSR were used to transport high government officials. The Director of Railways was consulted and he agreed to attach these to a regular train.

Thus Garry Kasparov and his team travelled from Tiflis to Georgia in a special train that comes from the good old Soviet Communist days.

The openings ceremony

The tournament is being held in the opera house of Batumi, a beautiful location for chess. The opening ceremony was an hour-long affair that was shown live on local TV.

Garry Kasparov spoke briefly ("after all this is a rapid chess event") to paricipants and visitors of the tournament: "I'm very happy to be part of the first ever Europe-Asia chess match. I think city of Batumi in Georgia is an excellent choice for this historical occasion. Batumi is being duly rewarded for its outstanding recent chess organizing activities while I'm sure that such major international event will revitalize great Georgian chess school."

Rounds 1 + 2 – A disaster for Europe

17.9.01: The first round started with an hour's delay, due to technical problems – a power surge knocked out four computers. But once things got going the audience were able to see the games projected on giant screens, with the moves taken off electronic chessboards. First it was the women, with the Asians winning the first round 3.5-0.5 and the second with 3.0-1.0 for a devastating total of 6.5-1.5. It was up to the European men to win back some ground, but they scored only 3.0-3.0 with black and then 2.0-4.0 with white. Garry Kasparov won both games against Ian Rogers, but Gurevich and Sutowski scored zero points in their four games against Kasimdzhanov and Ye, Bacrot got 1-1 against Vladimirov, Van Wely lost 0.5 –1.5 against Dao. Thank heavens for organiser Zurab Asmaiparischwili who was able to avert the worst with a 1.5-0.5 win over Adianto. Total score: 6.5-13.5.

Rounds 3 + 4 – Europe fights back

17.9.01: Well, it was not a comeback, but a small improvement in the score. The European womens team still proved no match for the Asians and lost by 1.0-3.0 and 1.5-2.5. But in the men's section the Europeans won 4.0-2.0 and 4.0-2.0, with Garry Kasparov once again winning both games.

Total scores after day one:

Europe men
Asia men
Europe women
Asia women
Europe total
Asia total

Rounds 5 + 6 – Europe catches up!

18.9.01: Garry Kasparov conceded his first draw in this tournament, when he overlooked a pretty counter by his opponent Utut Adianto. Van Wely scored two victories over Vladimirov, as did Gurevich over Dao, while Sutowsky beat Rogers 1.5:0.5. The 4-2 and 5-1 victories in the men's section brought the grand total in the Europe-Asia team match to 26-26.

Rounds 7 + 8 – Asia back in the lead

18.9.01: Things did not go so well for Europe in the women's section. World champion Xie Jun scored two wins over Kowalewskaia, all the other matches were won 1.5-0.5 by the Asians. And with this the Asian team went back into the lead, with a total of 32.5-27.5. In the men's section Garry Kasparov scored another whitewash against his ex-second Evgeny Vladimirov, who was fired in 1986 during the London/Leningrad world championship match because of a suspicion that he was spying for the opponent Karpov. The incredible Kasparov now has 7.5 points from 8 games and a tournament performance of over 3000!

Total scores after day two:

Europe men
Asia men
Europe women
Asia women
Europe total
Asia total

Europe beats Asia

Rounds 7 + 8

20.9.01: The last two round of the final day in Batumi saw two clear 4-2 victories for the men. Ian Rogers lost both his games against Asmaiparaschwili and was interestingly replaced by the Asian team captain by a female player: Zhu Chen.

Garry Kasparov with another incredible result.

Rounds 9 + 10

20.9.01: The unstoppable Garry Kasparov once again scored two straight wins against the Asian top board Kasimdzhanov, and Loek van Wely who won both games against his female opponent Zhu Chen. The final result: 5.5-0.5 and 4-2.

Final scores after day three:

Europe men
Asia men
Europe women
Asia women
Europe total
Asia total

The end

The captain of the victorious European team and organiser of the event, Alexander von Gleich, sent us some final pictures from Batumi – of the venue and the prize-giving.

The playing site of the team match Europe vs Asia

The prize giving ceremony

The prize for the highest scorer, Xu Yuhua in the women's section...

and for the victorious European team (left captain von Gleich

Garry Kasparov, as you know, scored an incredible 11 points out of 12 games, with an Elo performance we calculate as 3043! We asked Garry for his best games in Batumi and he selected four. You will also find a file with all the games from Batumi, by courtesy of Mark Crowther of TWIC. In some cases the notation is still not complete.


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