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Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 18:00 GMT
Cuba aims for chess record
Thousands of people attend the chess tournament in Havana
Cuba wants to break Mexico's record

Cuba is hosting what it claims to be the world's biggest simultaneous chess competition.

Cuban President Fidel Castro (left) ponders his move
President Castro ponders his move
Hundreds of tables line Revolution Square in the capital, Havana, as thousands of chess players huddle in intense concentration over their boards.

Eleven thousand are taking on more than 500 chess masters.

It is part of the closing ceremony of the event being described as the first Cuban Olympic Games.

Chess pedigree

The idea is to top the world record of 10,007 tables set recently by Mexico.

Each one of the masters is playing 25 to 30 people simultaneously.

The event is part of the Cuban Olympic Games, organised after the country decided not to take part in the Central American-Caribbean Games because of security problems.

The competition is supported at the highest levels of government.

President Fidel Castro dropped in for an hour, one of several people playing one of the experts, before heading off to take part in a summit of Caribbean leaders.

Cuba has a chess pedigree.

The revolutionary hero, Che Guevara, was apparently also a fanatic of the game.

See also:

24 Nov 02 | Americas
27 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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