Ghaem Maghami beats Karpov in 'Mate of the King'

by ChessBase
2/5/2009 – The event was staged in Teheran to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Four classical, four rapid and four blitz games between the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov and the best ever Iranian player Ehsan Ghaem Maghami. A special rule: play to mate or dead draw, to entertain the public. The Iranian GM won the match narrowly. Illustrated report.

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Mate of the King

Anatoli Karpov vs Ghaem Maghami

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the Iran Chess Federation organized a Combined Match between GM Anatoly Karpov of Russia and GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran, from 26 January until 03 February 2009.

The FIDE Laws of Chess were applied with the following exception: as a special condition, in respect to the public and the media, it was decided that all games should continue until the last playable move on the board. A player could not offer a draw or even resign the game. In a losing position a player had to continue until mate, and in a drawn position both players had to continue until a three-fold repetition of position, until lack of mating material for both sides, or until stalemate. This rule follows a proposal by Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, Treasurer of the Asian Chess Federation, who presented it in a ChessBase article which was vigorously discussed by our readers.

Proponent of the play-to-mate rule in chess: Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh

The Karpov-Maghami match consisted of three parts:

  • Four Classical Games: 90 Min. + 30 Sec./Move (Fischer Mode increment from move one)
  • Four Rapid Games: 25 Min. + 10 Sec./Move (Fischer Mode increment from move one)
  • Twelve Blitz Games: 4 Min. + 2 Sec./Move (Delay time increment from move one)

Both the classical and rapid chess matches ended in a tie – with just two draws in the classical games. In the blitz match Karpov won four games, and Ghaem Maghami five, so that the Iranian player was victorious in the overall competition.

Anatoly Karpov, the 12th World Champion and chess legend, is well known. Not so Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (picture above), who was the first grandmaster in Iranian chess history. Ehsan won 14 Asian medals, including the individual and team Asian club championship. FIDE awarded him the title of most active and successful chess player in the world in 2004. He has won over 40 high level international tournaments and remains the champion of Western Asia sind 2004. He has won four medals in the world university championships and participated in the last five FIDE World Cups. Finally one should mention that Ehsan's seven Iranian chess champion titles are an unbroken record in the country. Best rating: 2633, current rating: 2604.

Ehsan Ghaem Maghami (right) picks up Anatoly Karpov at Teheran airport

Karpov and Ghaem Maghami in the press conference before the start of the match

The drawing of colours

The two players discuss the first game, which Karpov won

The event was covered by Iranian TV

During the match the organisers used prediction to bring more interest for chess spectators. Every day spectators filled out a paper (untill one hour after the start of the regular games) predicting the result of the game and number of moves that would be played. The predictions were put up on the wall (with four last digits of the spectator's mobile phone number). After the press conference four golden coins were distributed to the spectators with the most accurate predictions. This caused everyone to stay until the end of the game, to find out who were the lucky ones.

Interestingly on the first day six specators correctly predicted that Karpov would win in 42 moves. On the second and third days nobody got it right – WGM Atousa Pourkashiyan came close in game two and received a golden coin from Ehsan (picture above).

Narrowly defeated – Anatoly Karpov in Teheran


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