By Jaime Pilapil
Chess lovers all over the world are now excited to witness the much anticipated 12-game match between old-time rivals Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov from September 21 to 24 in Valencia, Spain.
The last time the two tangled was in 2002 when Karpov, 58, defeated Kasparov, 46, in a rapid time control match 2.5-1.5.
In 2006 the two tied for first place in a blitz tournament, ahead of Victor Korchnoi and Judit Polgar.
Kasparov has not been involved in playing serious chess and lately has been busy coaching young Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen, aside from his busy stint as a politician.
Karpov, for his part, usually limits his play to exhibition events, and has revamped his style to specialize in rapid chess. He was world champion from 1975 to 1985 (undisputed) and from 1993-1999. His peak rating was 2780 achieved in July 1994.
Kasparov was undisputed world champion from 1985 to 1993 and bolted FIDE to establish his own championship. His peak rating of 2851 was achieved in July 1999.
The controversial rivalry between Karpov and Kasparov started in the 1984 world championship match which was eventually abandoned after FIDE president Florencio Campomanes called off the match because of players’ fatigue. The grueling match was extended to six months only to end abruptly.
The two again faced each other in the years 1986 (london, Leningrad), 1987 (Sevilla), 1990 (New York, Lyon), with Kasparov retaining his title.
All in all, Kasparov and Karpov battled each other five times in seven years for the world championship title.
The Sevilla, Spain match was regarded as the most widely televised chess match in the world. In 2000 after 15 years, Kasparov’s reign as World Champion ended with a loss to Kramnik in London.
Kasparov announced his retirement from competitive chess in March 2005 after twenty years as the number one ranked player in the world.
Karpov had a chance to challenge American chess wizard Bobby Fisher in 1975 but the championship match was nipped in the bud due to misunderstanding to resolve the winner in case of a tie after the agreed number of games.
In their five world championship matches, the score was 21-19 in favor of Kasparov with 104 draws.
Organizers of the Valencia match said on day one there will be a press conference early in the morning wherein the audience will be allowed to have autograph signing with Kasparov and Karpov. The day will finish with a simul by Kasparov and Karpov.
For the next two days, the two will play rapid games (25 min time control) and on day 4, the players will compete in blitz games (5 min time control), making the total number of games to 12. On the last day there will be a closing ceremony.
The match will be covered live by a leading chess website.
Various media entities, including broadcast and print, will cover the event. -30-
By Jaime Pilapil