European supremacy Chess
It would be interesting to work out how the continents have fared in producing great players. In fact, there have been very few from outside Europe and the USA. JR Capablanca, a Cuban, was the first great master to break the European hegemony-- he wrested the world title from Dr Emanuel Lasker in 1921. Then the unknown Indian, Mir Sultan Khan, caused a great deal of sensation in the early thirties when he won the British championship thrice. He did remarkably well in the tournaments that he played during his very short chess career. Then the Asians had to wait for another 50 years before Grandmaster V Anand burst into the international scene. He won the FIDE world championship to become the first Asian to achieve the feat.
What about the other continents? Some South American countries have a long tradition of chess. Argentina, in particular, was benefited by the migration of some European players before the Second World War. Most of these players travelled to Buenos Aires for the 1939 Chess Olympiad, but could not return home after the war began. Players like Najdorf, Eliskases and Pilnik decided to stay back in South America after the war was finally over. These players represented Argentina in international events on a regular basis. However, none of them could quite reach the world class. It was not easy to meet the Soviet challenge in the fifties!
Henrique Mecking, the Brazilian grandmaster, is another player considered to have the potential to become world champion. But he quit chess in the mid seventies and it remains unknown whether he could really have made it to the very top. Mecking is playing again these days, but he is no longer his old self. Very few players have done well after a long hibernation. Even the brilliant Gata Kamasky is not doing well, after staying away from the game for some years. Top level chess is not for seasonal or occasional players.
So, there are not many names from outside Europe and the USA. But things will definitely change in future. India and China have already proved that they will be fighting for the top honours very soon.
Here is a game played by Mecking.
White-Henrique Mecking (2615)
Black-Victor Korchnoi (2670) [C68]
Candidates, Augusta 1974
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.00 Qd6 6.d3 f6 7.Be3 Bg4 8.Nbd2 000 9.Rb1 Ne7 10.b4 g5 11.a4 Ng6 12.b5 cxb5 13.axb5 axb5 14.Rxb5 Qc6 15.Rb2 Bc5 16.Nb3 Bb4 17.Nfd4 exd4 18.Qxg4+ Qd7 19.Qxd7+ Rxd7 20.Nxd4 Bc3 21.Ra2 Rxd4 22.Ra3 Rb4 23.Rxc3 Re8 24.f3 Kd7 25.Ra1 Rb5 26.Kf2 Kd6 27.Raa3 h5 28.Ra4 c6 29.Rca3 g4 30.Ra5 Ree5 31.Rxb5 Rxb5 32.fxg4 hxg4 33.Kg3 Rb1 34.Bd4 Rc1 35.Rc3 b5 36.Bxf6 b4 37.Rb3 Rf1 38.Bg5 c5 39.c3 bxc3 40.Rxc3 Rd1 41.Be3 c4 1-0
Position after 17.Nfd4
(R) thedailystar.net 2005