World champion Gary Kasparov says his decision not to play under the Soviet flag when he defends his title stems from his view that the flag has come to "represent oppression and tyranny," even under the rule of President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
Kasparov has spurned the Communist flag, with its hammer and sickle, in favor of the white, blue and red colors of the Russian Republic, reports Thomas Friedman of the New York Times.Kasparov, 27, is to begin the defense of the world chess title Monday at the new Hotel Macklowe in Manhattan, where he will face his longtime rival, Anatoly Karpov, from whom he wrested the world title in 1985.
"I began my defense of the world championship at a time when my country is in a condition of turmoil and despair," Kasparov said in a telephone interview from his suite at the Regency Hotel.
"I am terribly pained and distracted by the chaos of my homeland - the result of 73 years of Communist dictatorship. I even wonder about my playing chess for three months, living in luxury, while my fellow citizens must struggle each day to find food, with the rule of the law breaking down around them."
As a result, he continued, "I have decided not to play this match under the Communist flag, which, to me, represents oppression and tyranny, but instead, under the white, blue and red Russian Republic flag, which today in my country has become a symbol of protest and hope for the future."
Kasparov explained that his decision to keep a Russian Republic flag next to him at the chess table was not because he identified with Russian nationalism, but because he viewed the Russian Republic as the only vehicle for real change in the Soviet Union.
Boris N. Yeltsin, the radical reformer who was recently elected president of the Russian Republic, "represents the Russian democrats," he said.
Kasparov made clear that his gesture was aimed at the current Communist leadership, under Gorbachev, and at his bitter rival, Anatoly Karpov.
"Karpov represents the power authorities," said Kasparov. "He was (Leonid) Brezhnev's boy when Brezhnev was in power and now he is Gorbachev's boy when Gorbachev is in power."
Neither Karpov nor officials of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) were immediately available to comment on Kasparov's decision.
Kasparov said he was well aware that under the championship's rules, which are set by FIDE, both he and Karpov are technically represented by the Soviet Chess Federation. That federation will insist that the full-size Soviet Communist flag be set on stage at each player's side of the room.
The 12-game match is the first to be played in the United States since 1907. The second half of the match - 12 games if necessary - will be played in Lyon, France.
- THE WINNAH! - Ilya Gurevich, an 18-year-old from Worchester, Mass., has won the 1990 World Junior Championship. The tournament was held in Varone, Chile.
Gurevich, a Soviet emigre, and Alexander Shirov of the Soviet Union tied for first place with identical scores of 10 1/2-2 1/2, but Gurevich was awarded the title because of the superior tiebreak points.
The average FIDE rating of his opponents in the 58-player Swiss-system tourney was higher than Grandmaster Shirov's.
With a pretournament ranking of 11th in the field of the world's top players under 20 years of age, Gurevich was not one of the favorites, but he was the only player who was undefeated.
He will be awarded "international grandmaster" rank when FIDE convenes its congress Nov. 22 in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.
Third place was taken by FIDE international master Vladimir Akopian of the Soviet Union, who scored 9 1/2-3 1/2.
The second United States entrant Alex Sherzer, of Fallston, Md., tied for 13th place with 7 1/2-5 1/2.
- CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SOLVERS! - Monroe Iversen, William D. Price, David D. Kirk, Dean Thompson, Ronnie Millet, Peter Rogers, Farrell Ostler, Jim Turner, Tim Painter, Gordon Green, Kay Lundstrom, Richard Adams, David Ferguson, Donovan Weight, Scott Mitchell, Nathan Kennard, Raeburn Kennard, Michael Brough, David L. Evans, Stephen Kirk, Dale Brimley, John Neilsen, Brent Terry, George Stucki, Kevin Smullin, Ardean Watts, Aaron Brough, Joye McMulland, Ann Neil, Kim Barney, Jack Crandall, Ken Frost, Glennin Cloward, Ted Pathakis, Russell O'Dell, Vali Kremer, Stanley Hunt, Paul R. Lindeman, Hal Harmon, Alison Hermance, William DeVroom, Eugene Wagstaff, Edwin O. Smith, Wilburn West and Curt Jeppson.