14th World Champion Alexander Khalifman present
Position of the day
Black to move and win.
Black to move and win.


Happy New Year!

The New Year celebrations have just blowed over, however chess life never stops - the first big tournament of 2003 has already begun.

Now it is right time, while it's not too late, to resume the results of the previous year. We remember 2002 as the year of bright & important events like some kind of flashing pictures from exhibition - "The Return of the Prodigal", "The Grand Fair in Bled", "The Cathedral Church of Prague" & even eccentric "Cossacks write a petition to the Sultan of Kalmykia".

To be serious, this year, replete with different tournaments & even political events, didn't figure us any conclusive leader. Let's have a look at best players' results:

Kasparov - success in Linares & grand-prix in Moscow, brilliant performance in Olympiad, but games devoid of vitality in Prague & failure in the Match of the New Century.

Kramnik - he almost didn't play: winner at mini-tournament in Paris, bad results in the Match of the New Century & in Prague, & something non-understandable against "non-human monster".

Anand had a better year - wins in Prague, Tournoi de Bastia, in rather pale World Cup & in match against Ponomariov. However, no success in Dubai & average results in Linares & in the Match of the New Century.

Ponomariov - got the title of World Champion in the match against Ivanchuk & showed good result in Linares, but everything else is humdrum, if we mention Grand-Prix in Moscow, Dubai, the Olympiad or match against Anand.

Leko - triumph in Dortmund & Dubai, however bad luck in Wijk-aan-Zee & quite obscure play for Hungarian team in Bled.

The same happened to other leading world chessplayers - you can check it yourself if you like.

The conclusion is not surprising - we can't name one or few chessplayers, who is head & shoulders above others. There is a solid group - 15-20 players of very high level, & their success of failure depends primarily on good form, frame of mind & preparations.

As a matter of fact, it showed that FIDE's decision about world championship among four competitors had been rather strange. OK, we'll see what 2003 will come to! Best wishes for Year 2003!

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