Kasparov Makes First Move

NEW YORK, June 21, 1999 — To kick off the “Kasparov vs. the World” chess tournament on Microsoft’s MSN Gaming Zone, world chess champion Garry Kasparov made his first move on a life-size chess board in New York City’s Bryant Park. The move — Pawn to E4, a common opening move — will be analyzed by four young chess experts, who will offer guidance and suggestions to a “world team” made up of MSN visitors. The team has 24 hours to vote on a countermove; Kasparov will respond with another move 24 hours later, and the game will continue with one move daily until there is a winner — or a draw.

Expert analysis, strategy and suggested moves will be offered by the World Team Coaches, four next-generation chess champions who’ve already gained recognition in the international chess community:

  • Etienne Bacrot, 16, became the youngest grandmaster in history at only 14 years old.

  • Florin Felecan, 19, is the highest-rated American chess player under 21.

  • Irina Krush, 15, is the U.S. women’s chess champion and youngest member of the U.S. Olympiad team.

  • Elisabeth Phtz, 14, is ranked eighth in the World Championship of youngsters and is a member of the female German National Chess Team.

“This event takes chess in an exciting, new direction by allowing the world to participate in a game against one of the greatest players in history,” said international grandmaster and tournament moderator Danny King. After each of Kasparov’s moves, King will conduct a live chat on MSN to discuss the coaches’ strategies and the world team’s move options.

Other tournament activities include a sweepstakes to meet Garry Kasparov, chats and strategy sessions with chess experts, and daily updates on the tournament available by e-mail.

“Since the birth of the Internet, which has significantly affected the game of chess, I have dreamed of this type of match,” said Kasparov. “No matter who you are or where you live, whether you’re a grandmaster or a casual player, technology gives you the opportunity to take part in the biggest chess event in history.”

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