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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 02:37 GMT 03:37 UK
Cubans set new world chess record
Revolution Square Ernesto Che Guevara in Santa Clara, Cuba during the chess game
Che Guevara's statue towered over Santa Clara's record-breaking game
Cuba has broken its own world record for the most people playing chess at the same time.

About 13,000 chess fans gathered in the central Cuba city of Santa Clara for the mass game.

Former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov took part in the event, held in a square dominated by a statue of the Che Guevara. himself a keen player.

Some 11,320 Cubans, including President Fidel Castro, set the 2002 record, but the president did not play this time.

The BBC's Stephen Gibbs, who watched the event, says that the players made an impressive, if surreal sight.

Anatoly Karpov wandered between the tables, sometimes casually checkmating the largely amateur players.

Mr Karpov - formerly a star of Cuba's main Cold War ally, the Soviet Union - said he was interested in setting up a chess school in Cuba, as he had done in the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Che Guevara is credited with sparking the keen interest in chess in the island.

Cuba aims for chess record
08 Dec 02  |  Americas
Country profile: Cuba
10 Oct 03  |  Country profiles

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