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Briefs (right)

A Match is Set to Heal Chess
Split, But Not in Paris

By Dylan Loeb McClain

A schism in the chess world that opened in 1993 in London is to be healed this month in a poor and barren Russian republic on the Caspian Sea.

Thirteen years ago, Garry Kasparov, the undisputed world chess champion, broke with the World Chess Federation, the governing body of the game, over how the federation was organizing a match for the title. Kasparov and his challenger, Nigel Short, an English grandmaster, staged their own match in London, which Kasparov won.

In retaliation, the federation declared that Kasparov was no longer champion and organized a match between Anatoly Karpov, Kasparov’s predecessor, and Jan Timman, a Dutch grandmaster. Karpov won and the federation proclaimed him champion.

Since then, there have been rival claimants to the title of world champion. But now, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the World Chess Federation — who is also president of the republic of Kalmykia, a region in southern Russia next to Kazakhstan — has brokered a deal and arranged a match to settle the issue. It will be in Elista, the republic’s capital, beginning Saturday.

Veselin Topalov, 31, a Bulgarian grandmaster who is the top-ranked player in the world, will play a 12-game match against Vladimir Kramnik, a Russian grandmaster who is also 31 and is ranked No. 4.

The players will divide $1 million, but the winner will go away with something arguably as valuable: He will be the true world champion.

Credit Card Companies to Aid in
Combating Child Pornography

By John Files

Executives from credit card companies, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express, told a congressional panel Thursday they were determined to eliminate the use of their services in the Internet child pornography business.

But they also said it was difficult to keep pace with those who seek to exploit children on the Web and called for broad collaboration among those in the financial services industry and law enforcement authorities around the world.

“Child pornography is a global problem in need of a coordinated response,” said Mark MacCarthy, a senior vice president for public policy for Visa USA.

MacCarthy said that by working together with other financial services companies, the industry could “enhance our efforts to identify Web sites and pinpoint merchants that are trafficking in this illicit activity, cut them off from use of our network, and provide assistance to law enforcement to put them in jail and shut them down for good.”

He added, “The way forward lies in collective action.”