16 April 2008

The 1st and 2nd GMA World Cups

A few weeks ago, in Kamsky - Topalov Update, a quote from Roustam (Rustam) Kamsky caught my attention:
In 1989 Gata, only 15 years old, wins 2-nd place in Palma de Mayorka, competing against 160 grandmasters from around the world. That qualified him to play in world championship qualifier held in Moscow but Kamsky was not invited.

I knew that he was referring to the GMA World Cup, rather than the World Championship, but I wasn't sure which events he meant. I decided to investigate. The 1st World Cup was a series of six tournaments that brought together the best players in the world.

  • Brussels, April 1988
  • Belfort, June 1988
  • Reykjavik, October 1988
  • Barcelona, April 1989
  • Rotterdam, June 1989
  • Skelleftea, August 1989

The 2008-9 Grand Prix that starts in a few days was modelled after the GMA World Cup. The 2nd World Cup began with three qualifying tournaments, called GMA Opens.

  • Belgrade, December 1988
  • Moscow, May 1989
  • Palma de Mallorca, December 1989

Gata Kamsky finished tied for 2nd/3rd at Palma. A final qualifying tournament was held

  • Moscow, May-June 1990
bringing together the eight best finishers from each of the three GMA Opens plus 19 players qualified by rating. Of the 43 qualified players, 42 assembled in Moscow. Kamsky, who in March 1989 had stayed in the U.S. with his father after playing in the New York Open, was missing. Reports mentioned that the Kamskys were afraid to visit Russia for fear of political repercussions. This was despite the fact that Boris Gulko, another Soviet-era dissident living in the U.S., managed to obtain a visa and play.

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