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Chess Master Checks Into Cyberspace

It's a dream come true for ten amateur chess players who have been selected to play reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov today via the Net. The opportunity comes courtesy of Intel and its Virtual Chess Challenge, an event designed to demonstrate the power the Internet has to build relationships worldwide.

Kasparov will play online from Intel's Munich office, where ten PCs will be linked through the Internet Chess Club to the ten players' PCs at locations around the world. The event takes place today at 12 p.m. EST and 6 p.m. CET/Munich time and can be accessed at Intel's Web site. Visitors to the site can also replay the games for a few hours after the event.

All male, the challengers range in ability from average to strong, and in age from 10-year-old Sunil Matabeek, a New York City student who aspires to become a grand master, to 50-year-old Danny Mozes, a systems analyst from Israel.

Another youthful player, 12-year old Luke McShane of London, has a distinct advantage over the other challengers in that he has played Kasparov before. McShane won the World Under 10 Championship in 1992 at the age of 8, and this year became the youngest-ever qualifier for the British Championship. McShane says playing Kasparov on the Net won't be much different from playing him in person. After all, says McShane, "I know he's somewhere at the other end."