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Indian Victory Demonstrates Decline of Soviet Chess Power


REGGIO EMILIA, Italy--The Soviet Union's breakup spells the end of Soviet chess dominance, said an Indian university student who beat world chess champion Gary Kasparov at a tournament here.

"The unbeatable Soviet chess team has dissolved. The best master will be scattered in different teams of the new republics," Indian master Viswanathan Anand was quoted as saying in Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport, an Italian sports daily.

"From now on it will be a battle between equal players, more interesting."

Anand, a 22-year-old economics student from Madras, fought off nine Soviet chess aces, including Kasparov, and finished atop the final standings with six points for a first prize of $8000.

Kasparov, who has reigned as world champion since 1985, reportedly received $36,000 to play in this northern city. He finished runner-up with 5.5 points. Former Soviet world champion Anatoly Karpov ended up with five points.

Aim to End Soviet Domination

Anand, who practices six hours a day, said he aims to end Soviet domination and take the world title in 1996. He can't challenge Kasparov in next year's championships because he lost a qualifying match to Karpov, who dominated the world scene from 1975 to 1985.

If Anand's victory symbolized the crumbling of the Soviet chess monolith, a former Soviet chess champion expressed it in more human terms.

"Several young chess talents live like street bums these days because there isn't any tournament money available," Boris Spassky, famous for his chess duel with American Bobby Fisher in the early 1970s, told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The only possibility is to play abroad," said Spassky, who was in Reggio to observe the tournament, which ended Monday.

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