Autumn 2002 (10.3)
Beats Former Chess World Champion
The world's youngest Grandmaster of
chess, 15-year-old Teymur Rajabov from Azerbaijan, has had an
astounding year. Recently, he pulled off a surprise victory against
former World Champion Anatoly Karpov (1951-) during the "Russia
vs. the World" competition held September 8-11 at Moscow's
Kremlin Palace. Russian chess master Karpov had held the world
championship for 10 years, from 1975 to 1985.
In these games, dubbed as "Match of the Century 2002",
Teymur also tied with chess great Garry Kasparov (1963-), who
grew up in Baku and now makes his home in Moscow. Kasparov became
the world's top chess player in 1985, after winning that title
from Karpov. He held onto the number one position until 2000,
when he lost the world championship during a 16-game match against
his former protégé Vladimir Kramnik. The Russia
vs. the World tournament has been held only twice before-during
the Cold War era, when the competition was known as USSR vs.
the World. The Soviets won both series: in Belgrade by a slim
margin of one point in 1970, and in London by two points in 1984.
This time around, Russia was favored to win the global competition,
since three of its 12 team members had been world champions:
Karpov, Kasparov and Kramnik. Notably, out of the 12 members
on the World team, all but four were from former Soviet Republics
or Eastern Bloc countries - in particular, Azerbaijan, Ukraine,
Georgia, Armenia, Latvia and Hungary. Other countries represented
were India, Israel and England.
Russian President Vladimir Putin opened
the "Russia vs. the World" competition at the Kremlin
Palace with a brief address, welcoming the world's greatest chess
players to Moscow. After four days and 10 rounds of competition,
the World beat Russia, 52-48.
Out of the 24 players, Teymur ranked 12th - a superb showing,
considering he was by far the youngest player in the competition.
The next oldest competitors were Russian player Alexander Grischuk
and Ukrainian player Ruslan Ponomariov, who are both 18. Teymur
scored a total of five points for the World team, with three
wins, four ties and three losses. Overall, Alexei Shirov from
Spain (an ethnic Russian originally from Latvia) ranked first
in the competition, Boris Gelfand from Israel ranked second and
Vassily Ivanchuk from Ukraine ranked third. Karpov and Kasparov
placed ninth and 16th, respectively. Vladimir Akopian from Armenia
Moscow Grand Prix
Teymur had another unexpected success at the FIDE (International
Chess Federation) Moscow Grand Prix earlier this year on June
1-5, 2002. During the competition, Teymur defeated Peter Svidler
(three-time Russian champion), Vladimir Akopian (Armenia's best
chess player and the 1999 Vice Champion of the World), Vassily
Ivanchuk (2002 Vice Champion of the World from Ukraine) and Alexander
Belyavsky (four-time USSR Champion). Teymur and Kasparov emerged
in the final round as the two strongest players out of the 32.
"I played two matches against Kasparov," Teymur said.
"I lost the first match. Then, in the second, I had the
advantage of playing White [meaning, he had the first move],
but I wasn't able to defeat him. We ended up tying that match."
Kasparov was declared the winner, and Teymur placed second. After
the competition, Teymur was featured in Robert Byrne's weekly
Sunday chess analysis column in the New York Times (NYT). The
Rising Star From Kasparov Country," ran on June 23,
2002. Referring to the fact that both Teymur and Kasparov are
from Baku, Byrne joked, "Maybe there's something in the
What does the future hold for Teymur? "I haven't quite decided
yet if I will make a career out of chess," Teymur told Azerbaijan
International. "Whatever I do, I want to continue my education
and have an interesting profession besides chess."
To learn more about Teymur Rajabov (often spelled Teimour Radjabov
or Racabov), visit FIDE.com. See also "All
the Right Moves: Teymur Rajabov, International Chess Master"
in AI 7.4
On Garry Kasparov, see "Kasparov:
The World's Chess Champion" and "Computer
Challenges: IBM's Deep Blue to Play Garry Kasparov"
both in AI 3.3 (Autumn 1995).
For an in-depth analysis of the Grand Prix matches, visit KASPAROV.com.
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AI 10.3 (Autumn 2002)
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