Fri, 05 Sep 2003

Utut-Karpov set for another showdown

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A replay between Indonesian chess grand master Utut Adianto and Anatoly Karpov moved a step closer to realization after the organizers confirmed they had agreed on a fee with the 52-year- old former world champion from Russia.

"We have already made contact with Karpov about the match. He has agreed to the fee. What we have yet to finalize is the issue of prizes," Chairman Jeffrie Geovanie told reporters after the inauguration of the new board of the Indonesian Chess Association (Percasi) here on Thursday.

The Match of the Legends, as the match has been dubbed, is scheduled to take place in Jakarta from Oct. 13 to Oct. 19.

As regards how much Karpov will get paid, Jeffrie, said the organizers were planning to allocate US$170,000 to cover the cost of the encounter.

It appears that prizes have yet to be settled but the Indonesian side is likely to bow to Karpov's demand for a ratio of US$30,000 for the winner and US$20,000 for the loser as was the case when the two players met for the first time back in 1997 in Jakarta.

Utut was pipped by Karpov in 1997 at the playoff stage after both played to a 3-3 draw in six games comprising two apiece of normal games, blindfold games and rapid games.

The Indonesian 38-year-old still trails his Russian opponent 4-7 in head-to-head matches with their last meeting in the 2002 Cam d'Agde tournament ending in a draw.

"Given minus three currently against Karpov, I'm keen to make it minus two," Utut said when asked about his prospects.

Karpov, who dominated world chess in the 1980s before compatriot Gary Kasparov came to the limelight, is currently ranked 21st in the world with an elo-rating of 2693.

Utut, who will be the only Indonesian to compete at the upcoming World Championship in the Netherlands this November, has 2573 but his rating is likely to increase by around eight points after his modest run at the Aeroflot in Moscow and Asian Championship in Qatar in February, and at the Biel Masters Open in July.

Utut is also expected to spearhead the national team in its bid to win gold medals at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam in December, where chess will be featured for the first time as a competitive event in the biennial multi-event sporting showcase.