The Changing Face of Chess

After having retrieved my NEW IN CHESS from the mailbox, I got into my vehicle and flipped through the pages. However, I kept sitting there reading these stories. This issue wasn't the usual issue which profiled the same 20 top European players… but there was a refreshing air about this issue.

Firstly, my favorite player,
Judit Polgar was on the cover so I knew I'd see some exciting games on the inside. I was not disappointed.  Secondly, to my delight, I see two articles on Latin American players: one on 15-year old GM Alejandro Ramirez of Costa Rica and the surprise winner of the Carlos Torre Memorial Mérida Tournament  IM Yuniesky Quesada of Cuba. See story here.

Ramirez has earned the distinction of being not only one of the world's youngest GMs, but he is the first Central American to earn the coveted title. Quesada's story was concerning his scintillating performance at the Torre Memorial. He beat four strong GMs in match play including GM Boris Gelfand (2703) to win the crown!

Also in this magazine (and with increasing frequency) is a story concerning an Indian player… and not GM Viswanathan Anand this time. This time it was 20-year old GM Surya  Shekhar Ganguly (left) who won the Indian Championship after a grueling 23 rounds of chess. GM Evgeny Vladimirov wrote with effusive praise the rise of the Indian players.

What does all of this mean? Simply that other nations such as China, India and Cuba are more frequently able to enter the debate at the highest levels of chess. This bodes well for chess in the long run and will serve as a means for chess to reach distance places. Perhaps this will inspire unsuspecting nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to develop a viable chess culture.

Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

GM Surya Shekar Ganguly
(Photo by

Posted by The Chess Drum: 6 February 2004