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Russian Immigrant Minister Beats World Chess Champion

October 15, 1996 GMT

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Natan Sharansky, the Soviet dissident-turned-Israeli politician, defeated world champion Garry Kasparov in a chess game on Tuesday.

Kasparov, a Russian citizen, was playing 25 games simultaneously, usually taking less than a second to make each move. Sharansky, whose game ended first after three hours of play, was elated nonetheless.

``My strategy was to keep a deep defense and then go on the attack,″ said Sharansky, a first-time Cabinet minister who has said that during nine years in Soviet prisons he would review chess moves in his head to retain his sanity.

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Kasparov and Sharansky traded queens and several other pieces, with Sharansky frequently sacrificing pieces to attack Kasparov’s king. But after about three hours, Kasparov returned to Sharansky’s board, stared for several seconds, and suddenly reached out his hand to shake Sharansky’s.

When Sharansky learned he would receive a computer for beating the world champion, he laughed and said, ``No! I just bought one two days ago.″

Kasparov dispatched most of the rest of his rivals within the hour, winning 18 times, conceding twice and tying four games. He then stormed out of the room without talking to reporters.

Sharansky, who is not a grand master but is regarded as a strong amateur player, emigrated to Israel in 1986.

On Monday, Kasparov and Sharansky had met on less competitive ground at Sharansky’s office, exchanging Russian greetings and a warm hug.

Kasparov, who is partly of Jewish ancestry, said he was in Israel to establish a chess academy.

``I think it’s very helpful for kids to see a better future .. and learn qualities like self-discipline, logic and responsibility,″ he said.