Chess - The Scotsman 08/08/2012
DESPITE being a capital of nearly 3 million residents, Kiev doesn’t have a chess club. Once heavily promoted, and used in propaganda to demonstrate the Soviet Union’s ideological superiority, chess in independent Ukraine is mostly dependent on the talent of the previous era.
Gone is the vast machinery of well-funded chess schools, trainers and networks of clubs that produced seven world champions during the Soviet hegemony of the game.
“The Soviet chess school was strong so it couldn’t just disappear, and that inertia includes millions of people that form foundations on which Ukraine still achieves success in chess competition,” said Viktor Kapustin, head of the Ukraine’s chess federation last month.
Since 1991, post-Soviet Ukraine saw Ruslan Ponomariov win the Fide world knockout championship in 2002 and its national team win the chess Olympiad twice; and let’s not forget Vassily Ivanchuk has consistently ranked in the Top 10 for more than 20 years.
But since Ukraine’s independence, government money has all but evaporated. There is no more young talent coming through the “Ukrainian Grandmaster Factory” – and even one of their best talents, Sergey Karjakin switched federations to Russia to secure better funding and training.
Currently in Kiev, the 81st Ukrainian Championship has GM Anton Korobov looking all but unassailable at the top on 7.5/10, with a one-point lead over the top-seeded chasing pack going into the final round.
A Korobov - Y Kuzubov
81st Ukraine Ch., (1)
1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nf3 e6 5 e3 Nbd7 6 Qc2 Bd6 7 g4 h6 8 Rg1 b6 9 h4 Bb4 10 g5 hxg5 11 hxg5 Ne4 12 Bd3 Qc7 13 Bxe4 dxe4 14 Qxe4 Ba6 15 g6 0–0–0 16 gxf7 Bxc4 17 Bd2 Bxc3 18 Bxc3 Bd5 19 Qg4 Rdf8 20 e4 Nf6 21 Qxg7 Qf4 22 exd5 Qe4+ 23 Kf1 Qxf3 24 dxe6 Ne4 25 Qg2 Qf5 26 Rc1 Kb7 27 d5! Qxd5 28 Qg4 Rh2 29 Rd1 Qc5 30 Rd7+ Ka8 31 Rg2 Rxg2 32 Qxg2 Qc4+ 33 Kg1 Nxc3 34 bxc3 Qxc3 35 Qg4 Qe1+ 36 Kg2 1–0
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